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This version of How to Teach Your Dog to Speak was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on June 25, 2015. No, your dog won’t be reciting Shakespeare anytime soon, but barking on command is actually one of the easiest tricks to teach.
In clicker training, you use a sound (the clicker) to let your dog know when she has done something right. Treats are a great way to teach a behavior, but once the behavior is learned, continuing to give treats actually distracts your dog and slows response time. Once your dog can bark on command 10 or more times without a treat, start working in short training sessions with no food. Once your dog learns that barking on command leads to treats, it may be hard to get her to stop barking.
Your dog needs to know she has to pee and pooh outside before you can teach her to ask to go.
Now that your dog knows barking can open the door, you need to teach her to go outside to potty, not for treats.


Sit in the room with the door out, but act as if you have forgotten all about letting your dog out. Hopefully your energy, your dog’s excitement, and the treat behind your back will result in a bark. Now that your dog is starting to associate a word with barking, say “speak” or “talk” and wait for her to bark. Start by saying “quiet” without showing the treat, but still rewarding after your dog stops barking. Imagine you really need to use the toilet, but you’re in a foreign country, can’t find a bathroom, and don’t speak the language.
After several rounds of knocking and asking to “speak”, you want your dog to start barking at the knock alone. And once your dog has those commands down, you can teach her more complex speech behaviors like barking to be let out to go potty or barking to announce visitors at the door. When they have mastered this, you can start increasing the number of correct responses before giving treats.


You might also consider adding a hand signal, since dogs learn visual cues more quickly than spoken ones. When you feel your dog has mastered barking on command, see how many responses you can get without a treat. Teaching your dog how to ask to go outside by barking will help prevent messes in the house and make both your lives easier.
On the other hand, you may want to teach her to bark for security reasons, or because you have a big house and can't hear people knock.



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