Have you ever watched a video of a dog barking very softly in response to his owners words? The dog is so attentive and cute while he converses with his owner, as if he can understand every word being said. Perhaps you would like for your dog to learn how to do that adorable trick.
Maybe teaching your dog how to bark softly would be for more practical purposes. You could teach your dog to alert you when someone comes to your door, without the whole neighborhood also knowing. After all, many small dogs already know how to bark loudly. You could train your dog for service work and have your dog bark softly as his alert signal. Maybe you need for your dog to alert you when a seizure or blood sugar drop is coming on, and a quiet bark would be the perfect signal. Whatever your reason for teaching this command, it can certainly be useful and fun thing to train.
Most dogs who are able to bark can learn this command. Many love doing it because it gives them a reason to bark that is acceptable! One of the wonderful things about teaching this command is that you will also be teaching your dog how to be quiet when told to. Putting barking and quieting on cue is very useful, especially for owners of small dogs, who tend to bark a lot.
Expect this command to take between four and eight weeks to train. Most dogs will catch onto the barking when stimulated pretty quickly, but your dog could struggle with barking softly when he would rather bark at his full volume level. Be patient with your dog if this is the case. After all, he has been barking loudly all of his life and now you are asking him to do something completely different.
It is important to practice this often. If your dog will no longer bark using the first method that you try before he has learned the "Softly" command, you may need to switch to another method part of the way through, in order to continue the training. This happens because some dogs realize that the door knock or video noise is controlled by you and so stop barking. The good news if this happens is that you have desensitized your dog to the sound of either door knocks and perhaps even dog barks. If your dog stops barking at the door, you can also try knocking on a different door.
To get started, you will need several small, tasty treats, or if your dog is not food motivated, a favorite toy to reward him with. If you are using the 'Door Knocking' method, you will also need a door that your dog will bark at when you knock, such as a front door, and you will need an assistant to knock for you. If you are using the 'Video' method, you will also need an electronic device that you can play barking or howling videos on, such as a smartphone or tablet, and an assistant if you do not want to juggle both communicating with your dog and playing the device at the same time. If you are using the 'Capture' method, you will need good timing, patience, and alertness to notice when your dog is barking so that you can train right then.