There are times when you want your dog to bark, it is great security, and then there are those times when you don’t want your dog to bark. For example at 3am when everyone is asleep. Dog barking sends a clear message to any person imposing a threat, so teaching a dog to bark on command can be really important.
Teaching a Dog to Bark on Command
Most of us do not have the time or skill to teach a dog to bark on command in the way professional dog handlers and trainers do, but we can still follow some steps to ensure that dog barking occurs when it is wanted.
Some dogs are just naturally talkative and love to get attention, and while you may not think your dog can be trained not to bark on command, they can and we’ll show you how. The commands “speak” and “heel” can still be taught as well, with all training, the younger your dog starts to learn the commands, the easier it will be to teach.
Bark on Command: Begin with the speaking instruction pahse
Take advantage of your dogs natural desire to communicate. When your dog does bark, say its name, followed by “Speak”, so “Bailey, speak“. If he does it again, repeat the instruction and give a simple reward.
You may want your dog to bark when somebody approaches the front door. Again, you will need to be patient, wait until you see a person come to your door (or get a friend to act the role) and employ the instructions. The same works in reverse if your dog is a natural barker when visitors arrive, and you want him/her to be quiet.
As your dog increases the association between the instruction, his barking and the reward, training moves to the second stage. Now you need to anticipate when your dog will bark, and pre-empt it with the instruction: “Captain Fantastic, speak”. Pre-emptin is simple if you know what triggers your dog to bark, for example, another dog coming up to your fence, or someone ringing the doorbell. With constant repetition, your dog will learn to bark on command.
Now that the bark on command is mastered, it’s time to teach your dog to be quiet on command. Firstly, ask it to speak. When he or she barks, reward, then introduce the word “Quiet”. Say this word with extra firmness; you need to catch your pet’s attention when doing so (and they must be in the act of “speaking”. Once again, as your dog learns to respond correctly, reward with lots of praise.
Repetition is training. If you can manage to stay with this training set, you’ll be able to take control of your dog’s barking.