Barking is not all bad. After all, that’s how dogs vocalize themselves. Barking is even cute, especially when it comes from a pup who’s just learning to do so. But there are times when our dogs’ barking gets so annoying that we wish we could just tell them to shut it.
And guess what?
With the help of the “Quiet” command.
That’s right, you don’t have to match the volume of your dog by yelling at him to “Shut it!” because a more efficient way is available in the form of a softer but firm “Quiet” command.
Why Teach Your Dog The “Quiet” Command?
A bark can help ward off dangerous people (and animals) from your home, but does your dog have to bark so relentlessly and loudly? We all have that one neighbor who has complained of our dog’s barking at some point, and I’m sure even you had the same grumbly thoughts when a dog’s barking (yours or otherwise) kept you up in the middle of the night.
One of my dogs starts barking as a way to demand food from us when we’re at the dinner table, and while we never indulge her, she’s doesn’t seem to stop doing it. It can grate on my nerves, especially when I’m already feeling worn out from the events of the day.
The same dog starts barking up a frenzy in the morning, usually for no apparent reason. It’s become such a routine that everyone in our home has just learned to tune it out. But if you’re in this kind of situation and I told you that you can effectively tell your dog to quiet down, you’d want to know how, right?
Luckily, that’s what we’re going to talk about in this training article.
Once you’ve taught this command to your dog, you can use it to stop your dog from barking just about anytime and anywhere necessary; at the dog park, at your yard when the mailman walks by, at home in the middle of the night, and so on.
What To Prepare
Once again, you have to stock up on tasty treats, as we’re going for a rewards/ positive reinforcement- based approach for training your dog the “Quiet” command.
Again, if you’re a trainer who makes use of clicker training methods, charge up your clicker. Make sure that your dog knows the basics of clicker training like what the click signifies (an upcoming reward), what triggers a click (a good behavior), and so on.
We’re going to discuss two slightly different opportunities for training your dog to respond to the “Quiet” command, but for one of them, you need to train your dog how to “Speak” first. That means you have to teach your dog to bark on command.
If you don’t want or have the time to teach your dog the “Speak” command, that’s okay. You can take advantage of the other possible training opportunity: anytime your dog starts to bark incessantly. You can roughly schedule training times if your dog as a schedule of barking like when the mailman comes to your door.
If you’re going to train your dog like that, keep the treats in strategic locations around your house so that you have easy access to them once the barking starts. For example, somewhere near the front door, in the kitchen, etc.
Teaching Your Dog The “Quiet” Command
Whether you opt to train your dog on a fixed schedule or only when the opportunity arises, it’s going to go down the same way.
Of course, the training begins when your dog is barking. So either say the “Speak” command to your dog or wait until your dog starts barking.
Then, say the “Quiet” command while sticking your hand with a treat in it right in front of your dog’s nose.
Once your dog stops barking to sniff at the treat, click then reward (if using a clicker) or reward the treat immediately then give verbal praise (if you’re not a clicker trainer).
To ensure that your dog knows that you are rewarding his silence and not the barking, first reduce the amount of time that passes between your command and the silence by rewarding only if your dog shushes within 10 seconds, then within 8, 6, and so on. Then, you can drive the point home even more by progressively increasing the amount of time that he is quiet before rewarding him.
Over time, you can reduce the treats by only giving it sporadically or with exceptional responses like immediately stopping the barking once you say the “Quiet” command. But don’t stop the verbal praise to keep on reinforcing the behavior with your dog.
Dogs are a joy to have in our lives, but you can be left second guessing their presence when they start yapping away. Luckily, with just a few treats, some patience and time, you can teach them to quiet down with a simple “Quiet” command.
So the next time your mailman walks by, amaze him by exhibiting your dog’s new mute feature.
When do you plan to use the “Quiet” command with your dog? Let us know in the comments below!