How to Train a Puppy to Bark at Strangers

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

While your Trixie's cute little puppy barks might not bother you now, the story is likely to be different in a few months when she gets her full volume bark. Even worse, when your neighbors start banging on your door to complain. Instead of having to deal with this aggravation, why not spend a little time and train your pup that there are times when it might be acceptable to bark and times when she needs to keep her opinions to herself. One thing to keep in mind: very few dogs bark just to hear the sound of their own voices. Barking is their way of communicating in much the same way that we talk. 

Defining Tasks

The basic premise of this training is that your goal is to teach Trixie that a good time for her to exercise her voice, is anytime there is a stranger outside the house or trying to get in. Although there may be other times when you want Trixie to bark on command, in this instance you are teaching her to bark under a particular circumstance, i.e. a stranger knocking on the door or walking around your yard. It could save you and your family from an intruder or your home from being burglarized. 

Getting Started

Before you start working on training Trixie to bark at strangers, she must first have mastered the four basic commands of 'come', 'sit', 'down', and 'stay'. By mastering these skills, Trixie learns who is in the Alpha position and that she is required to learn the things she is being taught. You need a few supplies to help with the training:

  • Leash
  • Treats
  • Helper

Of course, you can have all the supplies you can possibly imagine, but if you don't have the time and patience to put into the training method you choose, Trixie may never learn that she is supposed to bark when there are strangers about. 

The Hello Friend Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
A room with a door
Call Trixie into a room that has an outside door such as the kitchen or living room. It should be one where most people tend to knock or ring the bell. Have her sit and stay.
Step
2
Call in a few favors
Time to call in the favors from one of your friends. It doesn't matter whether Trixie knows them or not as they will be on the other side of the door.
Step
3
Knock, knock
Who's there? Have your accomplice knock on the door or ring the doorbell. If Trixie barks, go ahead and praise her and give her a treat. Repeat this step until Trixie will bark every time your friend knocks or rings the bell.
Step
4
Who's that tip-tapping on my window?
Now go into another room and have your friend start tapping on the window, making a noise loud enough for Trixie to hear. If she barks, be sure to praise her and give her a treat. Again, repeat this step over the course of several days and several times a day.
Step
5
And many others
The rest of training Trixie to bark at strangers is to have multiple friends come by and knock on the doors and windows. Until anytime a stranger comes to the door or in your yard, Trixie pipes up to let you know all about it.
Recommend training method?

The Pick Your Cue Word Method

Effective
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Step
1
Pick one word
Before you start trying to train Trixie to bark at strangers, you need to choose a command or cue word to initiate barking. Most people use simple word like, "speak" But you can choose anything you want, just be sure to stick with it.
Step
2
Trigger barking
First, you have to get Trixie to bark. Try attaching her to one end of her leash and then attach the other to a table or other piece of furniture. Leave the room, going just out of sight and call her to come to you. When she realizes she can't get to you, she will start barking. When she does, go back into the room, praise her and give her a treat.
Step
3
Short training spurts
Keep repeating this in short bursts throughout the day over the course of several days.
Step
4
Now add the cue
Once Trixie has learned to bark as you leave the room, add your chosen cue word at the moment she starts barking. Be sure to praise her and give her a treat each time she does what is expected of her.
Step
5
Add one stranger to the mix
Have a friend that Trixie doesn't know come and meet you while you are out for a walk. As he approaches you, give Trixie your "Speak!" command. If she starts barking at the stranger, be sure to praise her and give her a treat. The more you practice this, the sooner she will bark at any stranger who comes to your door or comes up to you on one of your walks.
Recommend training method?

The What Do You Hear Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Strange noises
Most puppies will bark at strange loud noises, such as when the doorbell rings, someone knocks on the door, even a strange car pulling into your driveway. Rather than getting upset when this happens, praise Trixie and give her a treat.
Step
2
Well done!
Each time Trixie barks at a noise, get excited with her and ask her questions like "What do you hear?" or "What is it, Trixie?" At the same time, encourage her to approach the door with you to see who is knocking. Be sure to praise her and let her know she is doing a great job.
Step
3
No bark?
If for some reason Trixie seems a bit loathe to bark at the noises, you can try encouraging her with words like "Speak!" or "What is it?" Then the moment she makes even the slightest attempt to bark, praise her and give her a treat.
Step
4
Time to hush
Once you have Trixie barking at strangers, the next thing is to teach her the 'quiet' command to get her to hush. When she stops barking, say "quiet" and reward with lots of praise and treats.
Step
5
Keep practicing
The rest lies in repeating the training several times a day until Trixie learns that it is her job to bark at strangers and she has become good at it.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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