What You’ll Need:
- Small training treats
- Choose a time of day when your dog is calm and alert. If he’s too hyper or tired, he won’t be able to pay attention properly.
- Bring your dog into an area with few distractions and ask her to sit in front of you.
- Show him the treat, and in a clear voice give him the command. You can use “bark,” “speak” or even “say please.”
- Your dog will likely not bark right away. Repeat the command a few times, making sure she sees the treat. As soon as she makes any vocal sound, whether it’s a whine or a full-blown bark, immediately give her the treat and lots of praise.
- Repeat the process until he starts to get the idea. After a few tries, he’ll probably start to figure out that sound gets him the treat, and he’ll get more enthusiastic. Once he starts making louder noises, give him treats for those but not for the quieter ones. Eventually he’ll escalate to a bark, and when he does give him extra praise and treats!
- If your dog only barks once this step isn’t necessary, but some dogs think that if they keep barking they’ll keep getting treats. So, you’ll have to teach her another command.
Tips & Warnings:
- Be patient, and if your dog gets bored or distracted stop for the day. If you try to keep going, he’ll only get frustrated.
- Always end training sessions on a good note, with lots of praise and a treat, even if she didn’t quite figure out what you wanted.
- Use tons of praise! It’s healthier than treats, and your dog will often appreciate it more.
- Don’t fall into the trap of rewarding behavior that isn’t what you asked for. Sometimes your dog might do something “cute” and you’ll be tempted to give him a treat. Don’t do it unless you want to derail your session; it will only confuse him.