To teach your dog to speak on command, get your dog excited until he barks, then click and reward. When he is regularly barking for a reward, pair it with ‘speak’ or ‘bark’. If you are having trouble getting your dog to bark you can ring a doorbell, tap on a wall or even just click and reward when he makes the slightest noise or looks like he is going to bark.
Remember, you are rewarding each time he gets anywhere close to what you want him to do, so sometimes you need to start small with what you reward.
Teaching Your Dog to Get You Something
It has always been my dream to teach my dog to take out the recycling. Now, perhaps a 3kg Pomeranian isn’t ideal for this task, but with some training it is possible to train your dog to get things for you combining the 3 previous commands. Essentially you are combining ‘take it’, ‘bring it’ and adding the name of the item.
You have already taught your dog to touch something with his nose on command. Simply place the item on the floor in front of him and say the name for example ‘paper’ so that he touches it. Just as he does this say ‘take it’ and reward him if he picks it up. Then say ‘bring it’. Repeat several times until he is stringing all 3 together, then say ‘bring paper’, click and reward.
Teaching Your Dog to Go to Someone
Another parental dream is to have my dog go and find missing children. This is not as hard as it sounds. The first step is to teach him using the training stick the name of your child. You do this in a similar way to the method you used to name things, but use the training stick as an indicator. Hold out the stick and reward your dog for touching it with his nose. Then point the stick at your child and reward him for following it. Reward and click when he touches the person with his nose. Once he is doing this reliably say the name of the person, click and reward when he goes to them.
Teaching Your Dog to Find Something or Someone
If you are interested in teaching your dog to follow his nose, you can start out with something that smells strongly or a favourite toy. Hide it close by or just in front of him under a towel making sure he can see where it goes. Encourage him to find the toy then reward him for uncovering it. When this is reliable introduce the word ‘find’. You then hide the item further away and in progressively more difficult locations, so that ultimately he really is having to rely upon smell.
There is only a small addition to then ask him to find a person if he already knows the name of that person and their scent. You can then string this command and ‘speak’ together, so that he will find your child then bark when he finds them. The perfect parental solution. The following video shows how to teach your dog to find something.
If you have always dreamed of your dog being a Hollywood star or the new Red Dog, you can train him with just 10 minutes a day. Soon you will be sitting back and raking in the royalties. For some more inspiration, this beautiful fellow has a great range of skills.
- Always reward just after you click. Your dog needs to know a click ALWAYS means a treat.
- Find a treat your dog really likes and train when he is hungry.
- Keep training sessions short, 10 minutes a day is perfect.
- With any training session end on a positive note, try to get him to do a behaviour he knows and reward it.
- When your dog finally gets the idea and performs the trick perfectly, give him a jackpot of lots of treats and a big fuss, so he knows he did well.
- Shaping a behaviour means rewarding progressive approximations of the behaviour, so to teach a new behaviour analyse the steps and reward each small step on the way
- If you are getting frustrated, stop and try again another day. Dogs, like people have good days and bad days and you want all training to be positive.
- Always end on a positive note.