Teaching Your Dog to Speak….

barking dogTeaching your dog new tricks can be a great way to strengthen your bond. Training of any kind is also great exercise for your dog’s mind and will tire your pup out as much any walk will. Thinking is hard work! Not only is it fun, but teaching your dog new tricks, will result in a better behaved, yet entertaining dog! I have decided to work on teaching my dog Lucky some new tricks. With the weather here so cold right now, working on learning new tricks is a great alternative to walking when the mercury dips too low. I will be posting mine and Lucky’s favorite tricks along with “how to” instructions, so that you can try them with your furry friend.

Last night, Lucky learned to speak on command. It took about fifteen minutes for him to catch on. He was so happy when he finally figured out what I wanted from him. After he knew what I was asking of him, we practiced for about fifteen minutes. Our full training session last night lasted 30 minutes and before we move on to the next trick, we will practice speak every night this week so I don’t confuse him. I decided to teach lucky the speak command first followed by the quiet command. It seemed to work well using the two commands together. When he figured out I wanted him to bark, he would bark a lot, about 10-12 barks in a row. After the third bark I would give him the quiet command and treat him after he was quiet for a couple seconds. This seemed to work well and he picked up on both commands rather quickly. He now will give 1-3 barks on the speak command without me having to give the quiet command. We will be using the quiet command more for excessive barking control.

Teaching your dog to “speak,” or bark on command can be fun as well as useful. A barking dog can ward off intruders and alert you to potential danger. Excessive barking can be a huge problem, but teaching the speak / quiet commands can sharpen the natural instinct to bark. With dedication and consistency, you can teach your dog to bark on command AND to be quiet. Different dog trainers and owners have varying techniques, but here is one basic method that works for many dogs.

I found a website that has steps to teaching your dog to speak, it was written by: By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com Guider many dogs. These steps worked really well in teaching this command to Lucky, so I am passing in on to my readers. The biggest thing to remember is to not get frustrated and have fun! If you are having fun and enjoying it, your dog will too!

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 10-15 minutes, 1-2 times per day (may take several weeks)

Here’s How:

1. Choose one simple word for the bark command. The word should be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “speak,” “bark” or “talk.”

2. Choose one simple word for the quiet command. This word should also be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “enough,” “quiet,” or “hush.”

3. When your dog barks, briefly acknowledge it by checking for the source (look out the window or door, go to your dog). Then, get her attention with a clap, whistle or similar sound.

4. Immediately after the barking stops, say your quiet command in a firm, audible and upbeat voice while giving a treat.

5. Practice the “quiet” command frequently. You can do this anytime she barks, but
keep sessions brief.

6. Once your dog seems to understand “quiet,” you can move onto the bark command.

7. Create a situation that will cause your dog to bark. The best method is to have a friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door. As this occurs, say your speak command in a clear, upbeat voice.

8. After your dog barks 2-3 times in a row, say “good speak!” in a clear, upbeat voice while giving a treat.

9. Repeat the speak command process several times until your dog seems to understand.

10. Once your dog learns “speak” and “quiet” separately, you can use them together – have your dog speak a few times, then tell her to be quiet.



1. Rewards should be immediate and very tasty. You need to make obeying “worth it” to your dog. Small, stinky liver treats or similar goodies work best.

2. Some people prefer to teach “speak” first, and “quiet” second. Others like to teach them together to begin with. This is your choice – it is about your comfort level, confidence and your dog’s ability to learn. Use your best judgment. Dogs with a tendency to become “excessive barkers” might need to learn the quiet command first.

3. Be patient yet consistent. These commands can take weeks to master for some dogs.

4. Teach speak only works on dogs that will bark. If you are training a puppy, wait until she develops the ability and desire to bark, otherwise she will become confused. Remember that the Basenji dog breed does not bark.


One response to “Teaching Your Dog to Speak….

  1. This is perfect! I have been wanting to teach Eko the “speak” command but I haven’t had much luck finding easy to follow steps. Thanks for the tips.

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