Dogs may bark to signal to other canines, express emotion, mark their territory, or catch their owner’s attention. For instance, a dog may bark out of fear, boredom, or worry when left alone. Once more, our dogs’ attempts to communicate with us through barking are common behaviors. But sometimes all we want is for the dog to be quiet!
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 going to 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 going to 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.