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How To Teach Speak and Quiet

Often times the only way to fix a problem is to get that problem under your control. Which means that you are able to command the problem behavior to occur. Teaching the "Quiet" command is one of these behaviors. The concept of not making noise is tricky message to communicate to our dog or puppy unless we are able to compare it with its opposite, making noise.

Teaching the "Speak" Command

Often if we already know what triggers barking or speaking we can use this during the first stage of the training process. For instance, let's say our dog barks when someone rings the door bell or knocks at the door. First we would say our speak command, "Speak", then ring the door bell or knock at the door. When our dog barks, reward and repeat. Soon our dog or puppy will take a short cut directly to the "speak" command, then we simply phase out the door bell or knock at the door.

In the beginning, an exasperated exhale, squeak, grumble or noise should be considered good behavior. Reward that exhale or other vocalization with treats, petting and praise.

Repeat these exercises until the dog shows enthusiasm and barks. When our dog barks, give a jackpot reward (multiple treats or a grand play session).

Commands like "Speak" are easier to train because it's a behavior our dog already does naturally.

Teaching The "Quiet" Command

  1. Put our dog on a leash.
  2. In a consistent tone, ask our dog to "Speak," and when he does, give one treat.
  3. Do this part of the exercise 4-6 times in a row.
  4. Then we ask our dog to be "Quiet." When your dog barks, quickly tug the leash and say "No!" "Quiet, good!" Very quickly give 3-5 treats in a row (jackpot reward). Our dog will learn the "quiet" command has a high value reward compared to the speak command.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the dog doesn't need a leash correction as a marker. Do this 4-6 times in a row. Release our dog and take a play break.

As our dog progresses, don't give any treats for completing "Speak" command, and continue to give 1 treat for "Quiet". "Quiet" Still needs to have a higher value reward compared to the "speak" command.