Teaching your dog to speak is one of the easier dog tricks to teach. We are going to teach our dog to bark on cue.
Begin by observing what causes your dog to bark…a doorbell, a knock at the door or you picking up his leash. We are then going to use that stimulus (what causes him to bark) to teach this trick.
Most dogs bark at the sound of the doorbell, so let’s use that as an example. Begin by standing at your front door with the door open so your dog can hear the bell. (If your dog is a bolter, do not leave the door open!) Give a verbal cue, you can choose whatever word you like, but for our example, let’s use the word “bark”. Give the cue “bark” and ring the doorbell. The instant your dog barks, immediately reward him with a high value treat while verbally reinforcing the cue with “Good Bark”. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.
Continue in this same session, give the verbal cue, but don’t ring the bell. You may have to cue several times to get them to bark. If your dog does not bark, go back to the beginning and repeat the first step.
Once your dog barks on cue, try this trick in a different room. This can be a difficult transition for your dog, it is called “proofing”. If at any point your dog is unsuccessful, return to the previous step.
Provided you have a reliable stimulus, most dogs can learn this trick in one session. Practice this trick every day until your dog becomes a master.
If you want to incorporate a hand signal, this is the signal for bark.
Constant Barker-Never reward your dog for barking unless you have cued him to do so.
If the doorbell stimulus doesn’t work, try another stimulus that causes your dog to bark.