The quiet command is a method to teach your dog to stop barking when instructed. Once you’ve taught them to bark on demand, you can then teach them to be quiet.
It’s a skill your dog will enjoy learning with you if you follow a few basic rules. Use techniques of treats, cuddles, and repetition.
It seems funny, but in order to teach your dog the quiet command, you have to teach it to speak or bark. What is the quiet command? It’s instructing your dog to be quiet so that you can control its barking and noise.
It’s well worth the effort because a barking dog can annoy neighbors, attract complaints, and get on your nerves as well. Often, dog owners want their dogs to bark when someone knocks at the door or is in the property, but need them to quieten down on command, so they don’t keep on going.
We’re going to look at the quiet command and why you should consider teaching it to your dog.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
There are various ways to stop your dog from barking, but the quiet command is relatively easy to teach and shouldn’t take too long. The longer your dog has been in the habit of barking for, the longer it may take to train them to be quiet.
- First, teach your dog to speak. This can be done by encouraging it to bark naturally. When it barks, say a clear instructional word like ‘speak’, ‘talk’ or ‘bark.’
- Praise the dog by giving it a treat.
- Repeat several times until the dog understands and speaks or barks on demand.
- This may take anywhere from a couple of days to several days.
Now move to teaching your dog the quiet command.
- Make sure you and the dog are in a quiet room with no distractions that will make it bark. Use your bark command.
- Once the dog has barked a few times, hold a treat in front of their nose.
- When yourdog stops to sniff the treat and stops barking, use an instructional word like quiet—heap praise on the dog.
- Repeat this several times, making sure the dog doesn’t get stressed.
- Again, this may take several sessions over a few days.
You can test the effectiveness of your training by having someone knock at the door to see if your dog stops barking on your command. If a door knock doesn’t make your dog bark, choose a situation that does.
Reward Good Behavior When Training Your Dog and When Not Training
As dog owners,we’re conditioned to reward our dogs for good behavior when we are training them. We’re missing a beat by not rewarding good behavior when we’re not training them.
Behavior that is rewarded is behavior that will be repeated. When your dog behaves calmly, reward them. Dogs often behave calmly and quietly, but we don’t notice, so they start to think good behavior isn’t rewarded. Then, they play up and receive a lot of attention, albeit discipline.
Tell your dog they are being good or drop a little treat for them when they are sitting calmly and quietly.
Teaching the Quiet Command is Easier on a Well Trained Dog
To teach the quiet command, it’s much easier if your dog is already trained in the basics of obedience. This doesn’t mean you can’t teach the quiet command to an untrained dog. It just means you may find it more difficult with a dog inexperienced in learning.
Try not to raise your voice if your dog is slow to learn because you don’t want to get into the habit of shouting to give your dog an instruction. They may expect that to be a part of the command and only respond to a raised voice.
- Your dog may take a while to learn the quiet command, so be patient and calm.
- Some dogs don’t bark or speak easily, so teaching the speak command may not work for all dogs.
- If you have a puppy, it’s better to wait until it develops the ability or desire to bark.
- Try clicker training. There are many resources to assist you in this.
- Once your dog has learned the speak and quiet command, try it in different locations with different stimuli to test the effectiveness.
Use the Appropriate Training Treats
Training treats should be small, not big one-off treats. Remember, this training may take several sessions or more, so the smaller, the better.
The treats need to be very yummy, not very big. The size of your thumbnail is sufficient. Cut bigger treats to this size.
You may also want to consider a training package that includes a silent whistle, treat pouch, clicker, and other items, although it’s not essential.
There are non-food related treats as well. Dogs love attention, cuddles, praise, and it’s a good idea to mix the food and non-food treats. This way, your dog never knows what it will get as a treat, and it makes the food treats even more special.
Teach the Basics First Before the Quiet Command
I’vealready mentioned the importance of your dog knowing the basics of good behavior. If you can teach these principles before the quiet command, additional training will be much easier. The seven basic commands for your dog are:
- Sit – This is generally the easiest command to teach and a great start. Use treats and physical rewards.
- Down – Teaching your dog to lie down comfortably is important, especially if you take them to a café or park.
- Stay –This is a command to add to sit and down.
- Come – An essential command in case your dog runs off, gets out of your property or chases after another animal.
- Off – When your dog jumps on people or furniture, the off command is essential to teach it that it’s unacceptable.
- Don’t Touch – Very important when you see your dog going for something you don’t want them to. They need to know there are some things out-of-bounds.
- Heel – Your dog must learn to walk at your pace, not drag you down the street. This is especially important if you have a large or strong dog.
With all this learning practice, your dog should have no trouble mastering the quiet command, especially with treats involved.
Train Your Dog for 10 to 15 Minute Sessions Then Take a Break
When you start training your dog, you may wonder how long you should train for when learning a new skill.
Any longer than 10 to 15 minutes may be detrimental. Dogs become bored or confused easily if the session goes too long. To make the most of your sessions, try these additional suggestions:
- Focus on one command per session: Cramming in too many new commands will confuse your dog, and you’ll likely have an unsuccessful session.
If things aren’t working out how you expected, switch to a command your dog already knows to end the session on a positive note. You want your dog to be happy when the next session starts.
- Eliminate distraction: When your dog is learning new commands, make sure there is nothing to distract them or take their attention away.
- Finish on a high: One of the reasons you don’t want to go too long is so you can end when you reward your dog. Let them know that the lessons are worth doing again next time.
- Reinforce the lessons. Once your dog has learned a new skill, try to use it in everyday life. For example, if they have just learned the sit command, get them to sit for dinner, sit for a treat, and anything else that works.
It Pays to Know Why Your Dog is Barking in the First Place
It helps to identify why your dog barks in the first place because it might help in training them the quiet command if you eliminate the reason that sets them off.
Various reasons to set your dog barking are often:
- They simply want something, and they are letting you know.
- They’re excited, and they want you to know about it.
- They’re afraid of something.
- They don’t like being separated from you.
- They think they need to protect their territory.
If you can eliminate any of these possible stimuli, training your dog to learn the quiet command will be so much easier. The quiet command is a really good way to teach your dog to quieten down swiftly, and you can do it even if they have developed a barking habit.
Writer: Craig Taylor