By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance
Teaching your dog to bark on cue is a fun trick. My favorite way to teach this is by using the dogs’ ability to mimic behaviors.
Dogs are very observant and learn a lot by watching other dogs, so teaching your dog to watch and mimic behaviors is a useful training method.
I like to use a clicker to train this behavior. The clicker will allow you to mark the behavior quickly, as it happens, and signal to your dog that he is doing what you ask. Remember to always follow your click with a treat.
First have plenty of treats, sit in front of your dog and say “speak” or what ever cue word you choose. Then make a quiet barking noise. Wait a few seconds. If your dog makes any attempt to bark, even a quiet whimper, mark the behavior by clicking as soon as he moves his mouth or makes a sound, and give him a treat.
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You will repeat this several times until your dog gives you a bark each time you ask him to bark. At this point try just saying his cue word “speak” and see if he remembers to bark without you making the quiet bark.
Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t seem to get it at first, be patient and break the training into several short training sessions. Your dog may seem a little confused to hear you making barking noises, but soon he should join in to the fun.
I like to use this behavior to help people who wish to reduce their dogs excessive barking. If you teach your dog to bark as a specific behavior, put the behavior on cue, the dog will tend to only bark when you ask him.
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