Although it might seem like training a dog to speak on command promotes unnecessary barking, it actually helps keep a barking dog under control. By teaching a Border Collie to speak on command, you make it clear when you want the dog to bark or howl.
Being in control of when your dog barks also allows you to give time for your dog to let out tension or stress from time to time. This command lets you decide when your dog is allowed to let out a couple of barks.
Steps to Training Speak to a Border Collie
Here are the two main methods to train your Border Collie to bark on command. Method one is the easier one that I suggest you start off with. If it doesn’t work with your dog then skip to method two. It should do the trick.
- Find a treat that your dog loves. It can’t be some hard and crummy treat that the Border Collie will barely care about. It has to be something really good that will get your dog excited. Usually some sort of meat will do the trick. When you get something good, start teasing your Border Collie with it.
- As you see him getting more excited over it, start acting excited yourself. Hold the treat out of the dogs reach and say “Speak” in your excited voice. You can even shake the treat or dangle it in front of you dog. Don’t worry, you’re not being cruel. You will give him that treat as soon as he barks for you.
- By this point your dog is probably getting very impatient with the treat. Most dogs would let out a bark or two to let you know they really, really want that treat. Wait for that moment to happen and keep saying the command “speak”.
- As soon as the Border Collie barks, quickly give your dog the treat along with some praise. Also be sure to say “Good Speak” to associate barking with the speak command. Now try this two more times and then take a break.
- Keep practicing this command once or twice per day until your dog learns to bark when you say the command. If he barks before the command, do not give him the treat. If you reward him for barking before you say the command, he will think that all he needs to do for a treat is bark no matter what command you asked him to do.
If you’re reading this far then I’m guessing your dog didn’t get impatient about a simple treat. No worries, you can still teach him the command but it will require you to “trick” him into barking for you.
- Find something that you know will get your Border Collie to bark – ringing doorbell, knocking at the door, squeaky toy, etc.
- Now that you found your dog’s weakness, it’s time to use it to your advantage. Simulate whatever makes your dog bark – ring the doorbell or start squeaking his toy – and say “speak” right away.
- As soon as he barks, praise him for the bark and give him the treat. Reward him for listening to you by saying “Good Speak”. Continue practicing this until you don’t need to trick the dog into barking on command.
Have you successfully trained your Border Collie to speak on command? Was it the method one, method two or something completely different? Share your stories and comments in the comment section below.
If you want to learn how to cure even some of the worst Border Collie behavior problems and the exact things you need for a happy, healthy and obedient dog, check out the Border Collie Owners Guide.