Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we appreciate it and sometimes we don’t! Use these simple steps to teach your dog the meaning of the word “quiet” and to enjoy a little quiet yourself:
- Allow your dog to bark three to four times, for example at a noise or passerby outside your house. Then say “quiet,” and prompt his silence by holding a treat right in front of his nose.
- Wait for 2 or 3 seconds of quiet as he sniffs the treat, then begin to reward by feeding him several tiny, pea-sized treats (like chicken, hot dogs or bits of cheese) in a steady stream. Keep the rewards flowing every few seconds until whatever triggered your dog’s barking is gone.
- After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days of training, your dog will begin to understand what “quiet” means. You’ll know that he’s catching on when he consistently stops barking — even just for a second — and looks to you for a treat as soon as he hears you say “quiet.”
- At this point, you still say “quiet” but stop prompting the behavior with the treat on his nose. Then gradually extend the time between your cue “quiet” and your dog’s reward. For example, say “quiet” (no treat in front of his nose), wait for 5 seconds of quiet, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Keep treating every few seconds until the trigger is gone.
- Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time between your cue and the rewards, and between rewards, from 5 seconds to 10, then 20, 30, a minute, and so on.
Key Tips for Practicing the Quiet Command
- Rather than waiting for your dog to bark, you can knock, ring the doorbell, or use some other prompt to get him barking. Then start at step one above.
- Vary longer periods of quiet with shorter ones, so your dog can’t guess how long he has to be quiet each time before earning a reward. For example, start with two seconds of quiet, then increase to five. Try 10 seconds, and then go back to 2. Increase to 15 seconds, then 30, and then an easy 5.
Give our steps a try and then let us know how your dog is doing with the quiet command in the comments below!