We’ve all experienced a dog that yaps, barks, or howls. Instead of resorting to shock collars or other means of quieting a noisy dog, turn it into a fun trick instead. After all, there are times when you want your dog to bark. Isn’t that one reason for having a dog in the first place?
The first step in teaching your dog “Quiet” is to teach him to bark. Yes, that sounds wrong, but it’s true. Once you’ve taught your dog to “Speak” on command, then you have some control of his voice and he’ll be ready to learn “Quiet” on command. Keep the training process fun by practicing for only about 5 minutes a couple of times every day. Stay calm, patient, and upbeat – this is a trick and should be fun for both of you!
- Do something that you know will trigger your dog to bark. Usually knocking on a door or wall will do. As soon as your dog starts barking, say “Speak!” in a firm, commanding tone. After your dog barks again, give him a low value treat such as a small biscuit or piece of kibble. The combination of an unexpected treat and your gushing praise will surprise and delight your dog. The trick is to give the command and the treat immediately after he barks so he begins to link them together.
- Don’t try to teach “Quiet” yet! Just keep practicing “Speak” until your dog masters it. As your dog gets better at it, you can gradually phase out the trigger. Only after your dog is a pro at the “Speak” command are you ready to move on to the “Quiet” command.
- Get some high value treats ready. You know what they are – that favorite bacon-flavored dog treat, bits of chicken breast or apple, anything that gets your dog drooling in anticipation. Just make sure it’s a rare treat – not something your dog gets regularly. Also have some of the low value “Speak” treats handy.
- Give the “Speak” command and reward your dog with one of the low value treats. Repeat this several times.
- Now it’s time to start teaching your dog “Quiet”. Give your dog the speak command followed immediately by “Quiet!” and a high value treat tossed in his open mouth. The unexpected, extra-yummy treat in his mouth will naturally cause your dog to stop barking so he can savor it. At that point, you want to start praising him effusively. Repeatedly tell him how good he is for being a “Quiet” dog.
- Repeat the “Speak” / “Quiet” cycle 4 or 5 times in a row. Your clever dog is gradually learning that “Quiet” earns him higher value rewards than “Speak” does. As you did with “Speak”, practice for about 5 minutes a couple of times every day and give your dog lots of verbal praise.
- Gradually phase out the treats for “Speak” and start giving low value treats for “Quiet” – but still give him lots of loving praise.
And now you have it – a dog that isn’t afraid to bark, but also knows how to be quiet. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us. We care about your pets almost as much as you do!