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Hi all,

I want to teach my 13 months old male GSD Scout to bark on cue. Can anyone give me some clues/suggestions on how to teach him to bark when I want him to?

During several of our walks we have come across dogs particularly small breed dogs (like Poms, schnauzers, corgis, etc.) who while coming across us just start barking like anything at my GSD. And my GSD Scout who is a very friendly dog doesnt bark back but most of the times just moves behind me. However there are times when even he sees a bigger dog who is showing him attitude, he starts barking back. And sometimes he barks at other dogs for no reasons. I would not mind if he barks at those dogs that start barking at him first instead of moving back behind me but also I dont want him to bark at peaceful dogs.

The only thing I can think of is trying to teach him to bark when I give him a cue to bark. Is that a good idea?

Thanks all,
 

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I have heard that part of the foundation of teaching your dog 'quiet' is to teach him to bark on cue, but in practice I don't think it is so easy (I have tried!).

I think a better solution is to determine why he is barking and reward him for not barking. Maybe your dog is barking because he is excited. So you might turn him away from the other dog or distract him with treats and then reward him? And if it is a non friendly dog I also like to move away and ask your dog to do something (like sit, or look at you) and reward. Your dog can't bark when he is eating treat!

I good way to practice is to start dog classes. Even if Scout can sit, down, heel, etc.- he can get used to being calm/safe around other dogs. I also practice by sitting outside of Petsmart/Petco (you can sit as far away from the door as you need to for your dog to be calm) or by sitting a distance away from a fenced in dog park.

If you want to teach your dog to speak anyway I would try to get him really excited by playing with him, running around throwing a ball, playing tug, usually mine will start barking when he is amped and wants me to throw a ball. Originally, I taught Dax to speak by making a weird noise that I noticed made him bark. If you have a dog who barks a lot when he is excited it is very easy to teach them...
 

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keep in mind with the particular breed you have, encouraging him to bark back at other dogs, even on cue, has the very real potential of yet another GSD being labeled aggressive whether the other dog started it or not...
 

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At 9 weeks, I taught Ace how to speak by rewarding him when he does bark. Find out what makes your puppy bark. Playing around on the floor with Ace would usually get him to bark. I kept saying "speak" when I was playing with him. When he barked, I rewarded him verbally and with a treat. I kept doing this for 20-30 minutes. He learned it in one night. I can now get him to speak by moving my hand like a mouth.
 
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