'Speak' and 'Shake' - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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'Speak' and 'Shake'

Okay, so I think I decided that over the next week or two the new tricks to teach are 'shake' and 'speak'....along with continuing 'crate', 'lay', 'get down', 'up', 'sit', 'come', 'leave it' and 'stay'.

But I'm wondering, how I can correctly/easily teach 'speak'??
I cheated with Sobacca, because he would bark at the doorbell I went and rang the bell and said speak and treated and he got the point after 15 minutes that speak meant to bark.

Any help, or suggestions on other things to teach would be helpful.


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 10:07 AM
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I am waiting for a good tip on this subject with you. I still can't get Wolfie to speak on command.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 10:14 AM
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With the dogs I have taught to speak, I get them riled up then say "Speak" really short and clipped like a bark. When they bark, then I mark it and treat. After a few successes, I don't have to rile them up first. Then gradually make the word "speak" more like a normal command sound.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 11:54 AM
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For speak, I took the approach of Ruthie. I pushed the dog in a playful way, riling her up, then made bark type noises, which initially confuses/interests her and keeps her riled up, then when she speaks "good girl" (or "yes" mark etc.) and treat. I think when teaching speak by riling the dog up, best not to use the food reward as a bribe (i.e. show it to her first) since the focus on the food might take the wild energy away. After she gets the barking part, add the "speak" command.

Just a warning - when I taught Tuki with this method, initially she had a hard time realizing that she could bark at me without actually wanting to attack me (joking of course) , but now that she's practiced it more, she can do it more peacefully than in this video:


For shake, you can use a food bribe. Put the dog in a sit, hold the food back after showing it, put your food hand around their paws, when they reach with their paw to hit your hand, reward or mark and reward. If they move their head towards your hand (which they will), pull the treat hand back. When the head move doesn't work they'll try a paw. Once they've got the motion, add the word. With my dogs, anytime I put my hand out in an underhand fashion in front of them, it means shake, so I don't really have to give a command.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 12:43 PM
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I've been working on Speak (& Enough) and Over. Since she doesn't bark very often I command "Speak" and say "Good Girl" when she barks. When I get serious about it I'll treat her for it, but for now I just work on it occasionally when it happens (Speak &/or Enough).

Over is a party with treats so far. She's focusing on the treats a little too much now, but we're just starting. GSDs are really smart!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 12:47 PM
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Agreed with the above on 'speak'. I used Hondo's favorite squeak toy and pushed him over the edge with a lot of physical and verbal interaction. "Want it? Want it?" then release the toy and then "Bring it here, hurry, hurry, hurry" and repeat. Jumping around like a loon. As soon as he starts to 'guff' I say "Speak"! and the next noise he makes I reward with a treat.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 01:11 PM
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My daughter discovered that Jiva would speak when she blew on her ear. So we taught speak very quickly by blowing on her ear. I think it's easiest to find what brings out the behavior and then give it a name and reward, as others have suggested.
Jiva loves to speak, it's her favorite command and she sometimes tries to swap out another for a speak. Funny.
Good luck.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 01:23 PM
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Just get your dog to bark or make noise, as soon as they do mark it with a treat, do that a few times then bring the word 'speak' into it and give a treat. J is very talkative so all I had to do was get him barking and he learned within five minutes..

Getting them excited/frustrated (by teasing with a toy, being just out of reach ect.) normally gets dogs barking.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 01:25 PM
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For shake, I put a treat in my hand and closed it into a fist, then held it out to them, sniffing/licking and confusion went on a for a few, but eventually he pawed me hand and I gave the treat, repeat, then add the word after a few times. If your dog absolutely refused to paw your hand, I lightly picked the foot up and said "Paw!" and gave a treat, took longer but she learned.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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That's kind of what I figured with both of them. She's sort of starting to get that I want her to 'paw' at me....as as soon as she's doing it more consistently I'll add the word to it.
With speak, she'll chase me and get riled up...so I just need to make sure I have treats for when she does it. Think with enough work she'll pick them up in no time at all.


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