Training your dog to speak or be quiet should be one of the first things you teach him. It can be confusing to many dogs when you want them to bark sometimes, but not other times. No dog owner should want their dog to stop barking completely; instead, the goal should be controlling when and how much they bark. It is very possible to teach your dog to bark or stop barking. Here are a few methods for training your dog to speak or be quiet:
- Do not yell. You may instinctively yell at a barking dog to get them to quiet, but this is counterproductive. Your dog will interpret this yell as a sign that you are joining in with his barking. He won't be able to understand your words to know that you actually want him to stop.
- Retrain them. To train your dog not to respond to cues like the doorbell or knocking, start by ringing or knocking on the door. Your dog will start to bark. Ignore them. Wait until they stop barking. Then offer praise and a treat. You are training them that by not responding to the sound, they will get a treat.
- Be consistent. Repeat this exercise several times per day. Always use the same commands, so that your dog does not become confused. Eventually, they will stop barking even without the treat. Expect that your dog will give one or two barks to alert you to the noise, and then will be quiet. Most dogs cannot be completely silent when the doorbell rings.
- Teach to bark on command. Give the "speak" command. One method for teaching your dog to bark on command is to tie his leash to a fence or other immobile item. Stand a few feet away, and tease him with a toy or food while giving the command. He will inevitably start to bark. When he does, reward him. Eventually he will bark with only the verbal command, without the treat or food. Then, use the "quiet" command to get him to stop barking, and give verbal praise when this happens.
Some dog breeds are more likely to bark at the doorbell, a visitor, or any other excitement, while other breeds are known for being quieter. Your dog barks to communicate, but it can be very annoying at times when your dog just won't stop barking. Excessive barking can be a problem, but getting your dog to speak or be quiet is actually not very difficult.