Jump to section
While you may never be able to teach your dog to recite Shakespeare, there is no reason at all you can't teach him to say "hello" by barking or waving his paw. In fact, teaching your dog to bark on command is one of the easiest tricks you can teach him. At the same time, you should use this time to teach your dog to be quiet on command as well.
The cool thing about this is that once you teach your dog to bark on command, you can go on to teach him to bark when he needs to go outside, or when someone comes to your door. The command is simple and so is the anticipated reaction. While this training is relatively simple in nature, you will need to be patient and work with your dog until he masters it completely.
So, the task at hand is to teach your dog to say hello to you, other members of your family, and of course, your friends. Imagine how much fun it's going to be the next time you have a friend come to visit and your dog greets them at the door saying "hello" in his way. In essence, you are training your dog to bark on command or when encountering a specific stimulus such as a knock on the door.
The training is not overly complicated, but it does rely on your ability to remain focused and dedicated to the task. You will need to work with your pup on a regular basis with this training, as the only way you can expect it to be successful, is to practice it daily and if possible several times a day. This is much like the work you put into training your pup to obey the basic commands of 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'down'.
Your pup must have already mastered the basic commands before you attempt to train him to "speak" on command. There isn't much in the way of supplies needed to train your pup to say hello, but you will need the following:
- Treats: A handy supply of your pup's favorite treats to use as rewards.
- A quiet place: You need a quiet place free of distractions to work in.
- Time: You must have plenty of time on a daily basis if possible to work with your
The most important thing you need for this training is patience. It is going to take time to teach your pup to say hello without getting carried away and to stop barking on command.
The Walk Up Method
Getting off to a good start
The first thing you need to do is teach your pup to bark on command. The easiest way to do this is by getting your pup's attention and having him sit in front of you.
Make him bark
Holding a treat out where your pup can see it, but not reach it, encourage your pup to bark. He may not get this at first, but the more excited he gets over the treat you are holding out to him, the more likely he is to bark. When he does, give him the treat and say something like "yes" or "good boy."
Add in the greeting
Time to add the command "say hello" each time he barks to get the treat. When you say hello, hold out the treat. If he barks, let him have the treat and praise him.
Practice makes perfect
Keep practicing this until you can say hello and your dog will bark in anticipation of the treat to come. He is now ready to meet others.
Bring on the visitor
Give a treat to a friend your pup is familiar with. Have him walk slowly up to your pup and say "hello!" while holding out the treats. If your pup barks to say hello, have your friend give him the treat and be sure you both praise him for doing so. The rest is all about repetition, the more you practice with your pup, the sooner he will master this neat trick.
The Get Excited Method
Gather your supplies
Choose your pup's reward for this, stick to one that is used just for this training as this will help your pup make the connection between the specific command, the desired action, and the treat you are using.
Time to get excited
Start by playing fetch with a toy or some other activity that always gets your pup excited. You can even play tug, this one always seems to get dogs super excited.
Show the treat
With your dog nice and excited, show him a treat, let him sniff it, and then hide it behind your back.
If you are lucky, the moment you put the treat behind your back, your pup will bark. If he does, give him the treat and praise him. If he doesn't, which is often the case, show him the treat again and then hide it behind your back. Keep repeating this until he barks and then give him the treat and praise him.
Introduce the command
Once he has mastered barking for the treat, introduce your command, 'say hello' and repeat the training until your dog will respond to the command 'say hello' by barking. When he does, give him lots of praise and a treat.
Repeat the training
Keep repeating this training until your pup will 'say hello' each time he is given the command. Slowly fade out the treats and use just the command. Add the final touch by teaching the 'quiet' command. Give him 1 to 4 barks and then say "quiet" in a firm voice. When he stops, give him a treat. Repeat until he will bark and stop barking on command.
The Formal Training Method
Sit by the door
Start by training your dog to sit 3 to 5 feet from the door every time someone knocks on it. Be sure to tell everyone they need to knock on the door first.
Bark to alert
With your dog sitting in position, let him go ahead and bark when they knock. Let him know this is what you expect by saying something like "Good job" or "Good boy" and giving him a treat. You may have to stand next to him while he learns to remain sitting when someone knocks on the door.
Time to say hello
Your pup must remain seated until he is instructed to 'say hello', at which point he can bark 1 to 3 times before he needs to stop. You can use treats to teach him to remain seated as the person comes into your home. As he barks, use the 'say hello' command, give him three barks and tell him "quiet". When he complies, give him lots of praise and treats.
What he learns
By working with your pup in this way, he will learn that his place is on the spot that is 3 to 5 feet from the door and that the bark is his approved way of saying hello. He will also learn that he gets rewards for doing so.
The rest is up to you
The rest is all about practicing this trick every chance you get. Once he has mastered saying hello for treats, you should be able to slowly faze out the treats and simply use the command and praise to reward him when he gets it right.
By PB Getz
Published: 11/30/2017, edited: 01/08/2021