The command „give voice” is usually one of the first commands we reach for when teaching our dog tricks. The question immediately arises: for what purpose? It is hard to imagine a situation in which this command could be useful. However, if we take into account the fact that every interaction we have with our pet helps to establish a stronger relationship with him, a seemingly useless trick gains measurable value. So how do you teach your dog to speak?
How do you teach your dog the command „speak up” – and is it always possible?
Training teaches your dog discipline, and obedience, helps build trust, and a sense of security and strengthens the bond between you and your pet. It can also be a source of joy and satisfaction for both parties. However, in the dog world, just like in people, we meet different characters. There are dogs which are calm and balanced, but also those which get excited quickly, are nervous, fearful and impatient. There is a group of dogs which are very difficult to calm down, they can’t cope with emotions and they tend to force their behaviour for various benefits. In such a case we should abandon the thought of learning the command „give voice”. We should also give up training in cases where the dog tends to bark persistently without reason, suffers from separation anxiety or exaggerates its demands for food and snacks. In the case of other dogs, remember to teach them to bark only on command. Do not reward your dog for barking without a command. Especially when we suspect that he is barking because he expects a reward for it.
Basic principles of training
- We organise short, pleasant, attractive training sessions (preferably five minutes, not more than ten minutes).
- Practice only when both parties are in a good mood. Nervousness, fatigue and haste hurt learning effectiveness.
- We end each exercise with positive reinforcement (verbal praise, gesture, treat).
- At the first stage of learning we train a dog in a quiet place, only at a later stage do we add elements distracting his attention.
- Training must always be based on positive aspects and understanding of the dog’s nature.
- Preparation for training
- Choice of command
Before starting training, it is important to decide on a command that is appropriate for our pet. For example, when we say the word „bark”, which resembles the word „wait” – the dog may be confused and will not know what we expect from him. Therefore, it is worth taking this into account and refraining from using commands which may be confusing for the dog. It is best to use the command „give voice” or „voice”. This command can be reinforced with a gesture so that the dog will remember it more easily.
We must remember that training a young dog is different from training an adult pet. A puppy, despite its tendency to play, learns much faster and does not yet have any fixed behaviour. When training an older dog, we may encounter greater difficulties, as an adult dog may already have established behaviour patterns in specific situations. We will therefore need to be more patient, consistent and personable. Some dogs will learn to respond to the command „give voice” straight away, while others may take several weeks.
How do I teach my dog the command „shout”?
We arouse interest in the treat and give the command immediately before barking.
Since positive dog training is all about rewarding the right behaviour, your pet’s favourite treat will come in handy at each stage of learning. Holding the treat in your hand, try to get your dog interested in it. The dog usually focuses on the favourite treat very quickly and then we give the command „give voice”. We must say it firmly, clearly and loudly. When your dog understands what you want and responds appropriately, you praise him and reward him with a treat. If we are precise and reward the dog at the right moment, it will very quickly recognise what it did that triggered the reward. This exercise should be repeated several times.
Be prepared that at the beginning of training, your dog may make various noises. No matter how different the sound he makes is from a typical bark, we reward him with a treat. Over time, however, we only reward your pet if it barks in the right way.
First, we give a command, and then we show the treat.
In this exercise, we pretend that we are holding a hidden treat in our hands. Then we give a verbal command „give voice”. At the same time, we point with the index finger of our right hand towards the hand allegedly hiding the treat. If the dog barks, we reward and praise it. Repeat the exercise several times.
How to teach your dog to give a voice? Positive training.
Irrespective of the variant we choose, we always have to pay attention to our dog’s emotions, among other things to make sure that the training gives him pleasure. Let us remember that the training should be attractive and evoke positive associations in the dog. Only then will the dog willingly get involved and cooperate with the owner.