How to train a dog to speak?

April 13, 2012

Teaching a dog to do tricks is fun! Everybody would want to see a dog perform. And what do you know… dogs love to perform too! There are a lot of wonder dogs that act and do things like humans do. I have seen a dog that turns off the lights, flushes the toilet and one that dances on its hind legs. Being able to train the pet to do these things is a feat that not all dog owners can do. So would you like to amaze your friends with a dog that can speak?

We all know that dogs do not speak the way we humans do. However dogs converse with each other in their own language. The growls, grunts, whining and barking obviously has a meaning that only dogs understand. A dog’s most common communication is barking. Barking is a natural canine behavior. To teach the dog to speak simply means training the dog to bark on command. Apart from impressing your friends with a pet that would speak or bark on command, the training would benefit the pet too. It would make a shy dog more vocal and confident. The dog can be trained to speak when it wants to go out. And most importantly the training will lessen the dog’s propensity to bark.

The first thing you need to do is to know what makes the dog bark. Does the pet bark when he is hungry? … when the favorite toy is taken away? The barking may be triggered by the barking of other dogs. Training the dog to speak is rather difficult more so if the dog is distracted. Therefore you need to find a place that is free from distractions. Arm yourself with the dog’s favorite toy or treat. Allow the dog to smell the treat or play with the toy. The dog will get excited trying to get what you are holding in your hand. Give the command “speak” again and again until the dog barks. Reward the dog immediately by giving the toy or the treat when he barks. Continue the training. The dog should understand that by barking he will get the toy or the treat. Dogs learn by association. Receiving the treat must be associated by the dog to obeying the speak command.

The “speak”, “talk” or any other command must be used consistently through out the training so as not to confuse the dog. Dogs have short attention span and they get bored easily. It would be best if the 10 to 15 minute sessions can be done three to five times everyday. Once the dog has mastered obeying the speak command you can do away with the treat. You can also introduce the open and shut movement of the thumb and fingers to command the dog to speak.

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