01 Jul How To Teach Your Dog To Be Quiet On Command…
Dogs bark. We all know this and most people with excessive barking dogs just tune out the fact their dog is barking out of control. Dogs bark for different reasons. Some want attention while others are being protective. Whatever the case an excessive barking dog is never fun. Now it’s completely normal for a dog to bark when the doorbell rings or there’s a commotion at the house. This is just the dog utilizing its natural protective instincts. But there’s a way to instantly get them to stop on command. This is something I learned while training dogs for television and commercials. Believe it or not the best way to get a dog to be quiet on command is teach them to bark on command. Most people think I’m crazy when I say this but then I explain it, properly execute it and it works like a charm. Let’s break this down…
First thing’s first; You’ll need a bag of treats. Something they like and also be sure they’re hungry. I’d even recommend working them for their diet with this one.
Second you’re gonna attach them to a leash. You know what I always say about my 3 rules of training: Control, Train, Treat. It’s the foundation of my training. We cannot train until we have control. A leash is usually the simplest and most effective form of control. Now hold that leash in your hand while training this technique. This will not only make things easier for you but it’ll keep your dog in a steady position while training.
Next you’re gonna need to teach your dog to bark on command. Let’s call it a “Speak” command. This isn’t too difficult with excessive barkers. All you need to know is what triggers them off and you can teach them in a matter of minutes. A knock or a doorbell is a common one. Here’s how we do this: Go to the door and crack it open just enough where your arm can either ring the doorbell or knock. Ring the doorbell and or knock on the door. Your dog will instantly start barking. From there you’re going to stand between them and the door and give a “Speak” command while giving a hand signal. Make your hand signal something distinctive like your pointer finger waiving left and right in the air. While your dog is barking give them a treat but don’t praise them.
Next you want to repeat this process several times over the next couple hours. This will lock in the “Speak” command. Now you’ve given them structure with their bad habit. You’ve simply changed their game into your game. Keep practicing this technique till your dog is speaking on command with just a verbal command and hand signal only. Now it’s time to add the most important step…
By now your dog should be responding to the “Speak” command on cue with no doorbell/knock. Most dogs pick it up within an hour or so. Some sooner, some might take a while to get it. It’s vital to make sure they grasp the “Speak” command before moving on in the process. Go ahead and give the “Speak” command with the hand signal. As your dog begins to bark I want you to now give a “Quiet” command. Be sure to not yell it, just firmly say it. You’ve taught your dog to bark on cue so it’s a controlled bark. This will make it easier for them to stop when you give the “Quiet” command. If they keep barking just wait them out till they stop. Trust me they’ll stop much quicker with the trained “Speak” command. Once they’ve stopped barking wait a couple seconds then pay them. It’s very important to wait these couple seconds afterwards because this will teach the dog that they’re getting paid for being quiet, not for barking. Everyday try and add a second or two of silence before you pay them. Within a week you should be up to a good 10-15 seconds.
You’re gonna repeat this process several times a day for a week. This will lock it in their memory bank for good. The more you do this the better they’ll get at the quiet command. When the doorbell rings they’ll most likely start barking again but now you have a command to combat that unwanted behavior. It’s a little trickier with a doorbell and it won’t go as seamlessly but it’ll definitely be a huge help and make the problem at least 80% better. Some dogs will take much longer as their habit is often ingrained into their system but patience wins the game in training.
As always the details are what make any training technique so effective. First of all having a dog well trained in basic obedience makes this process much easier. If you have a dog that’s out of control in all areas this might be a tough one for them. Also don’t spend more than 10-15 minute sessions training this. Take breaks after 15 minutes and pick it up again in an hour or two. Overtraining is never good for a dog. In my experience dogs learn much better with short sessions every couple hours rather than long sessions once a day. Also be sure once they begin to really grasp the technique to slowly ween them off of the treats. Once they’re keeping quiet every time you give the command I want you to reward them with a treat 4 of 5 times making sure the last one of the 5 is always rewarded. This ends it on a positive note and they’ll wanna do it again next time. Then a few days later 3 of 5, and so on and so forth till the treats are out of the equation and it’s a trained behavior for the dog. Also don’t yell the “Quiet” command. You don’t wanna get into the game of having to raise your voice every time you ask your animal to do something. This is always the most difficult part for people because they want instant silence when they train this. The first few sessions it might take your dog 20 seconds or longer to quiet down. This is the game of patience when training. Wait them out and that 20 seconds will turn into 2 seconds in no time at all. Keep a steady head and take your time. Try it out with your dog and let me know how it goes. Ruff.