Positive Pet Training #4 – Teaching “speak”


One thing I’ve never been able to teach Mr. N is “speak.” I’ve tried knocking on doors to get him to bark and offering him a toy/treat but not letting him have it. He just looks at me with sad eyes and lies down. I tried for maybe two or three sessions and then gave up. Mr. N isn’t one of those dogs that barks for the sake of barking. He generally barks for a reason: someone at the door, excitement during play time or during dog greetings.

Onyxx likes to vocalize. He whines and chirps and howls. Somewhere along the way, the boyfriend discovered that if you bark at Onyxx, he will bark back.

So I’ve been teaching Onyxx to speak on command instead. I’ll bark at him, and when he barks back, I tell him “yes” and reward him. The things we do for our dogs right? I’m working on getting it on cue so I don’t have to bark at him every time!

I’ll put a video up later.

Have you tried any “unusual” methods in the course of training your dog?




9 Responses

  1. Nola

    April 8, 2014 12:01 am

    I used tugging to teach Nola to speak. She gets really amped up with it, and shrieks/whines/growls/barks. Every time she'd bark, I'd toss the tug for her and when she got it she'd get to play. Worked insanely fast!

  2. KB Bear

    April 8, 2014 3:30 am

    Great story about Onyxx!!! In terms of odd training, I taught my dog to cover her nose with her paw by putting a small piece of masking tape on the top of her nose so she'd try to swipe it away… Odd!

  3. Susan Willett

    April 9, 2014 12:41 am

    When I was trying to teach my dog Rosie to Speak, she would often open her mouth as if she was barking but not make a sound. I thought it was so funny that I decided to reward that behavior and tagged it "Movie Dub." I would say, "Movie Dub, Rosie!" and she would "bark" with no sound. Once my other dog barked at the same time and we all thought it was pretty darn funny. The things we do with our dogs…

    Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

  4. Talent Hounds

    April 9, 2014 2:10 pm

    Great post and excellent idea to have a Positive Training Tuesday Blog Hop – we already do Training Tuesdays too so love to join in. We either feature great examples of positive training, fun anecdotes or videos and tips from trainers. Will you be adding the Linky code etc? Best Susie at Talent Hounds

  5. kalikukur

    April 11, 2014 8:13 am

    My dog does bark very rarely. Actually only when she wants to play with other dogs, who don't want to play with her. But if she doesn't want to bark, that's fine with me, there's a ton of other tricks we can work on. 😉


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