How To Teach A Dog To Speak?

How To Teach A Dog To Speak

Teaching your dog to speak is a great way to impress your family and friends. It’s also a great and useful trick you can teach your dog to protect your house from thieves. Also, your dog will learn when to bark and when to stay silent, which is a great way to control constant barking. But, how do you teach a dog to speak? What does it take to teach a dog to bark on command?

How To Teach A Dog To Speak?

Every dog is different, each dog possesses certain personality traits and intelligence, making them more or less receptive to training. Therefore, teaching your dog to speak can be really easy or a bit trickier.

The most important thing is to mark and reward only good behavior. When teaching your dog to speak, the timing is everything. You want to instantly say the speak command or click if you are using the clicker. 

Prepare Treats

Before you start with the training, make sure you have some high-value treats your dog loves. Pieces of cheese or bacon should do the trick. 

Entice Barking

Give your dog some treats to see how tasty they are and to get him into the mood for training. 

Now, hold the treat in your hand and keep it close to the dog’s nose. Move the treat around, up and down, and wait for your dog to bark.

Dogs will usually bark when they are trying to figure something out, or when they look for our guidance. It’s their way to let us know they don’t fully understand what we want.

Mark And Reward Behavior

As soon as your dog barks, say the word “speak” or click the clicker if you are using the clicker training. Reward your dog with a treat and praise him for good work. 

This process is called marking the behavior. By doing this you teach your dog that certain actions, in this case barking on the “speak command” equals treats and praise. Therefore, the dog is willing to repeat that behavior to earn rewards.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now, that your dog knows what you want from him, it’s time to further reinforce this behavior. Continue practicing until your dog reliably follows your command. 

It’s Time To Add The Hand Signal

Your dog has grasped that word “speak” means he needs to bark and then treats and praise will ensue. However, you also want to teach your dog to speak on a hand signal. 

To use a hand signal that replaces the “speak” command you need to open your hand, with your palm facing your dog. Then repeatedly close and open your four fingers against your thumb. This motion mimics the dog’s mouth motion when barking. 

Of course, the training process with hand signals is the same as with the “speak” command. Mark and reward wanted behavior and keep practicing.

What Not To Do When Training Bark On Command?

As we have already said, the most important thing in this training is the timing. You want to capture and mark that bark on your command. However, you only want to mark one bark on command. Don’t make a mistake, and reward a dog for multiple barks. This will only provoke and encourage excessive barking. 

Keep the training sessions short if you live close to your neighbors or in an apartment. Barking can become really irritating, and you need to be mindful of your neighbors’ lives and their needs.

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