Teaching your dog to “speak”, or bark, is the first step to teaching him to STOP barking when you want him to be quiet. This is Rusty, 12 year old Shih Tzu’s second and third lesson. Choose a time when your dog normally barks, such as when you knock on the door, or in Rusty’s case, when he wants to go for a walk. Then add a hand signal and word cue to his bark. Reward each bark by clicking a clicker or saying your marker word (“yesss” or “good boy”) then quickly give him a small treat.
If your dog doesn’t respond quickly to your cue, wait several seconds to give him time to figure it out. If he offers a different behaviour than the one you asked for just ignore it. If he speaks without your asking for it first then ignore it.
After he is responding consistently to your cue to “speak”, you can wait for when he is quiet and add a word cue and hand signal for “quiet” to reward the quiet. Then you will be able to alternate between “speak” and “quiet”. Once your dog has learned the “quiet” cue you will be able to ask him to be “quiet” when he is barking!
Old dogs can certainly learn new things. All dogs, including old dogs, love to exercise their minds with the challenge of dog training. They also love that individual attention they get from you during training.
For more information about my dog training services “Dog Training Newcastle” please see my Facebook book page (Newcastle, NSW, Australia)
Rusty was adopted from Dog Rescue Newcastle when he was 10 years old.