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Teach Your Dog to Speak in Four Easy Steps

Teaching your dog to speak on cue can be a fun trick as well as a useful behavior. It is easier to teach your dog to “quiet” when you put barking on a cue. You also can reward your dog for just one bark, as opposed to barking non-stop for several minutes.

Plus it is an entertaining trick to show friends and family!

  1. Find something that gets your dog excited enough to bark. This may be a favorite toy, ball or treat. If treats and toys do not work, try knocking on a door or ringing the doorbell.
  2. Get him to bark by waving your object around excitedly and being exciting yourself.
  3. As soon as your dog barks, mark it by immediately saying “yes” or “good” and reward with a yummy treat or play with the toy.
  4. When your dog starts consistently offering a bark, add a hand and/or verbal signal to put the behavior on cue.


  • Do not reward barking unless you ask your dog to speak.
  • Try to capture only a single bark. You do not want “speak” to mean a barking frenzy.


  • Teach “speak” so your dog knows how to alert you that he needs to go outside.
  • By teaching “speak” and rewarding for the cued behavior, you can also modify the technique to teach your dog to whisper (bark in a lower tone) and/or be quiet on command.
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