Teaching your dog to 'speak' on command

27 Jun 2023

Excessive barking can be a problem, especially when it's unwanted. Teaching your dog a 'speak' cue - otherwise known as barking on command – can be a great way to encourage your dog to bark in a controlled manner. In addition to this, a 'quiet' cue can be a valuable way to reduce your dog's tendency to bark whilst sharpening their natural instinct.

 

Excessive barking can be a problem, especially when it's unwanted. Teaching your dog a 'speak' cue - otherwise known as barking on command – can be a great way to encourage your dog to bark in a controlled manner. In addition to this, a 'quiet' cue can be a valuable way to reduce your dog's tendency to bark whilst sharpening their natural instinct.

 

STEP 1

Start by holding a treat in your hand. Make it visible to your dog but be sure not to let them take it just yet! Wait until your dog barks, and then reward them. Repeat this step a few times.

 

STEP 2

Now, when you notice your dog is about to bark, say 'speak,' or your chosen cue word. You can then reward your dog for barking on command. Repeat this several times so that your dog remembers.

 

STEP 3

Now that you've practiced the first two steps, say your cue word while holding a treat. Make it visible to your dog and wait for them to bark on your command. Attempt this step until your dog responds to your cue word, rewarding them each time.

 

STEP 4

You can now practice this step without holding a treat. Saying your cue word, wait for your dog to bark on your command. Reward them immediately if they follow your instruction. If you find yourself waiting for your dog to bark on command, go back to the previous step and practice slowly phasing out your hand, making the treat less visible to your dog.

GET YOUR FREE PET CARE GUIDE

Our free guide is packed with expert advice and answers to all your questions on toxic foods, body language, training, and brain games for your pet. We’ve even included recipes for making pet-safe homemade treats and toys.

TEACHING YOUR DOG A 'QUIET' CUE

Now that your dog has learned how to bark on command, you may find that they'll be inclined to bark even more - especially if they can smell treats! The best way to control any unwanted barking is by teaching them a ‘quiet’ cue.

 

STEP 1

Wait for your dog to stop barking before saying 'quiet' or your cue word of choice. Once they're quiet, reward them with a treat.

 

STEP 2

You can mix this in with your dog's 'speak' training. Encourage your dog to 'speak' and reward them for barking on command. When they've stopped, say 'quiet' or a cue word of choice, before rewarding their behaviour. If your dog continues to bark, be sure not to reward them. Instead, wait until they've stopped barking before trying again.

 

STEP 3

You can now start to build up the duration of the 'quiet' cue, increasing this by a few seconds each time. If your dog struggles with the length of time increasing, it's best to shorten the amount of time and build this up again.

 

STEP 4

Be sure to practice each time increase around 5 times so that your dog learns to remember to wait for you to say your cue word.

Want more advice?

Take a minute to sign up and receive Battersea emails so that you can get all the latest tips and tricks from our animal experts.