Something as simple as a plush sheep can make your normally quiet pup a vocal canine.
While many owners find themselves at wit's end trying to quiet their yapping pup, it can be equally as frustrating to get your little guy to bark when you want him to. Teaching your pup to bark on command can even make it easier to teach him the quiet command. Whatever your reason for getting him to speak, a toy or treat will work wonders.
Step #1 - Get your pup all riled up. Run around the house or play a game, such as fetch or tug-o-war. While this isn't a good idea for a lot of training situations, it's perfect for making your little guy excited and crazy, which serve as two ingredients for creating a yapping canine.
Step #2 - Grab one of your pup's favorite toys and hide it behind your back, or hold it up high so he can see it but can't grab it. Your dog will probably look at the toy for a few seconds and then wag his tail, throw his butt around and let out a few barks to let you know he wants what you're holding. If he remains quiet, grab something else that really motivates him, like a piece of cheese, and hide it in your hand or place it out of his reach.
Step #3 - Make eye contact with your pup, and say a unique command, such as "talk" or "speak," the moment you hide the treat or toy. Say the command in a jovial voice so you make this a fun, exciting training session for your pup. Dogs are more receptive to commands if they're taught in fun environments.
Step #4 - Throw your dog a treat or his toy and give him praise after he lets out a few barks. If he doesn't shush up on his own, the treat or toy should quiet him. You never want to let him carry on. He needs to understand that he should let out only a couple of woofs when he hears the command. He doesn't need to grab the attention of the entire neighborhood.
Step #5 - Repeat the entire training process about 10 times a day. Some dogs learn the command in as little as one day, while others may need a while longer. When you say your unique command and your pup responds with a few woofs, he's connecting the command with the action. Even after he shows progress, he may need a few more repetitions to fully understand and respond every time you say the command.
Warning: If your pup is scared of loud noises, do not attempt to elicit a few barks by shaking a can of coins or playing loud music. If he's barking out of fear, you may reinforce his fear.
By Chris Miksen
About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.