'Speak' is a pretty cool trick. It will impress your friends, and it's also handy to be able to control when your dog barks (as well as when they don't). It may seem like a difficult trick to master, but it's actually easier than you think. In fact, getting your dog to bark on command is probably one of the simpler tricks to try. Why? Because you can capture your dog's behaviour. Barking is a natural behaviour that dogs display, we don't have to tell them to do it. So, if you want your dog to understand the 'speak' command, you just need to catch them barking, and get your timing right. However, if your dog barks a lot and it's getting on your nerves, this might be a trick you want to avoid teaching them. You can also teach your dog to be 'quiet' but not all dogs are able to master this skill, especially the chatty ones!
- If your dog barks, say 'good speak' afterwards and give them a treat. For example, your pooch might bark when the doorbell rings or if they hear a noise outside.
- Repeat this as much as you can, and after a while, try saying 'speak' and if they bark, give them a nice reward.
- Keep doing this when they bark and you will find they'll soon get the idea.
- It's important once your dog understand the command not to reward them simply for barking whenever they want, or you could have a very noisy household. Only reward them for barking after you have said 'speak'.
Another handy tip is to only mark the behaviour with praise when your dog does one bark rather than several barks. You don't want them barking five times every time you say speak, because this isn't what you are after. Unless of course, you want them to bark lots to scare off intruders. Speak can also be handy because your dog can use it as a way to tell you they want to go out to the toilet. Most people use the word 'speak', but you can use whatever word you like. Or, if you don't want to give a verbal command, you can try hand signals instead. You can then get your dog to bark on cue without having to say anything, which can be handy in some situations. If you want to make your dog look super smart, you can also teach your dog to bark at different volumes. For example, you may want them to speak quietly (and this is extra adorable to watch). Or on the other hand, if you want them to do a very loud bark on command, you can teach them to speak loudly. Each time they bark when you ask them to speak, see if they do a loud or quiet bark. If they do a quiet one, mark this by saying 'quiet speak'.