Why Teaching a Dog When to Bark Also Trains Him When to Stop

Updated on April 24, 2017
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Dogs that have been taught to bark on command are less willing to bark without the command. Your dog will look at you to start, wait for the command, and, if you do not give it, usually forget about barking.

Follow the steps below to teach your dog to bark on command.

Shelties are a dog breed that loves to bark.
Shelties are a dog breed that loves to bark. | Source

Yes, this article is about teaching your dog to bark on command. A lot of you probably looked at this title and thought it must be some sort of mistake. Most people are most interested in teaching their dogs to stop barking.

One of the best descriptions on teaching your dog to bark on command is found in 50 Games to Play With Your Dog, a book written by Suellen Dainty. She wants you to teach your dog to “talk” as a game. I teach this command for another purpose, but the technique she uses is great.

Does your dog have a favorite toy? It can help decrease barking.
Does your dog have a favorite toy? It can help decrease barking. | Source

Teaching a Dog to Bark On Command

1. Have your dog stand/stay. Do not have your dog sit.

2. Take his favorite toy and hold it out just in front of his nose, just out of reach.

3. Give the command “speak”.

4. As soon as he barks (out of frustration) give him the toy and lots of praise. This is not always an easy trick to teach. Some breeds of dog, like the Sheltie, are great barkers and will perform this immediately. Other dogs will just look at you, assume they cannot have their toy, and stop trying. The only one frustrated is the trainer.

5. Try a different toy. Repeat the command and give him a special dog treat each time he performs. You need to give your dog the toy, of course.

6. The next time you try this, give the command “speak” and when he barks, say “whisper” in a very quiet voice. Some dogs are very in tune with your wishes and will try to bark differently. If he barks quietly give him a treat and a “good boy”!

7. During another session, hold the toy in front of him but do not say “speak” or “whisper”. When he becomes frustrated and barks, say “Quiet” and when his barking pauses, give him praise and a treat.

8. Try all three of these commands twice a day, for no more than five minutes at a time, for about 10 days. At the end of that time most dogs will perform every time. Do not be angry if barking on command is never part of your dog's repertoire!

A willingness to fetch at an early age is an indication that a puppy will become a good service dog. A willingness to bark on command is a great quality to have in a personal protection dog. It is not a qualification your dog must have for the job, though, but if your dog does learn to bark on command the rest of your training will go easier.

Getting a new puppy is not easy.
Getting a new puppy is not easy. | Source

Questions & Answers


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      • Val Swabb profile image

        Val Swabb 5 years ago from South Carolina

        In my experience teaching a dog to bark on command can also cut down on excessive barking, not sure why, but it does. Great article again Dr Mark!

      • shai77 profile image

        Chen 5 years ago

        This is really good information. You break it down so it makes a lot of sense, sometimes it can be so frustrating to try to get a dog to do something new. Great hub!

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Hi agilitymach! That is actually why I put the hub together; teaching a dog to bark on command is a great way to make them "look" aggressive, even when they are as sweet as a Sheltie, and have no intention of biting anyone. Thanks for the comment.

        DoM, have you started with Sekhmet? She will probably look fierce as a barker. Did you read Mary´s hub on the vitamins? I was thinking about your Vitamin C purchases, since I try to take mine fresh. She mentioned taking garlic tablets too, but I think the results are always better with fresh.

      • agilitymach profile image

        Kristin Kaldahl 5 years ago

        I have three shelties and totally agree - teaching them to bark is a breeze. As they were BRED to bark to herd livestock by barking at them (thus annoying them), they are very yappy guys. All of my dogs speak on command but are also quiet on command. A "quiet" command is a must for a sheltie. :)

        Fun article. I've found teaching my dogs to bark on command has the added benefit of safety, If I'm out walking my shelties after dark and a stranger comes by that I don't care for, I can make my dogs "bark," and thus look aggressive. It works nicely, even though the dogs are barking for fun - not at anyone. :)

      • Daughter Of Maat profile image

        Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

        I'm going to have to try this. Sekhmet is definitely a barker, and she seems to learn very quickly. I think we'll start bark training tomorrow! lol :D