How To Teach Your Dog To Speak

>> 7/18/09

Speaking, also known as barking on command, is a good training exercise for a dog who responds well to basic commands like "sit" and "stay!"

Step 1 - Get your dog into position

While in the backyard or dog park, give your dog the voice command for “sit!” Praise them for obeying you.

Step 2 - Hold out a treat

Hold a treat within their line of sight and above their head. Instead of a firm voice, say the command “speak!” in an excited, enthusiastic voice. Keep repeating the vocal command until they issue a couple of sharp, short barks, rewarding them with the treat and words of praise.

Step 3 - Remove the food

Repeat these steps a few more times with dog treats and then try the “speak!” command without food. Reinforce a two-bark response with words of praise.

Step 4 - Who’s at the door?

Reinforce the trick indoors. Bring your dog into a room close to the front door, giving them the commands to “sit!” and “stay!” Knock on the inside of the front door and give the command to “speak!” Repeat this process until they give two short barks each time they hear the knock or the “speak!” command.
Reward the first few good responses with a treat.

Step 5 - Ring the bell

Position your dog in another room, open the outside door, and ring the doorbell while using the “speak!” command. Reward a two-bark response with a dog treat and words of praise. Your best friend should now be able to speak on command.

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