How to Train a Rottweiler to Speak

Easy
2-5 Weeks
General

Introduction

There's someone on the other side of your door and you really wish they would go away. Maybe it's a guy with a petition or someone trying to sell you a product you don't need. You give your Rottweiler a command and they let out one loud, ferocious-sounding bark. Away the persistent salesman goes, sure there's a vicious dog on the other side of the door. It doesn't matter that your Rottie is about as aggressive as a marshmallow. They have a loud, effective bark. Training your Rottweiler to 'speak' is a pretty easy command to master and has a range of uses.

Defining Tasks

Most Rottweilers love to bark. Most owners are more concerned with how to make them stop than the other way around. However, teaching your Rottie to speak can actually make it easier to teach them the 'quiet' command later on. You can also train them to use 'speak' to let you know they need to go outside. Plus, it's a great party trick for your pup to learn. It shouldn't take long to teach your Rottweiler this skill, as you can use their own natural instincts to speed the process.

Getting Started

There are a couple of ways to train your pup to speak on command. For all of them, you will need treats. You can also use your Rottweiler's favorite toy. Some pups learn this command more effectively on a leash and harness. Remember, as with all training exercises, be patient with your dog and give them time to figure out what it is you want from them.

The Doorbell Method

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Step
1
Enlist the help of a friend
If your Rottweiler tends to bark at the sound of the doorbell, you can use this to teach your pup to speak. Find a volunteer willing to help you by standing outside the door and pressing the doorbell to prompt your pup to bark.
Step
2
Ring the bell
Have your friend press the doorbell. As soon as your Rottweiler barks, say "speak" and give them a treat or throw them a toy. You want to catch them early in the barking if you can.
Step
3
Keep practicing
This method is all about repetition. Ring the doorbell, say "speak", and give your pup a treat over and over. You may grow tired of the sound of your doorbell pretty quickly.
Step
4
Say the command without the doorbell
After a few tries, say the command word "speak" without having the doorbell ring. If your Rottweiler responds with barking, give them praise and a great reward. If not, keep ringing the bell until they do.
Step
5
Refine the skill
Once your dog is good at responding to the command, you want to teach your Rottweiler to only bark once when you say "speak". Limit yourself to only rewarding your pup when they bark a single time after hearing the word "speak".
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The Get Excited Method

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Step
1
Get your dog's attention
Find one of your Rottweiler's favorite toys or pick up a treat and use it to make your pup focus on you. Get them really excited about the thing you have. You may even want to jump around a bit.
Step
2
Ask the dog to sit
Once your Rottweiler is all riled up, say their name and ask them to sit. When you give the command, use a firm but friendly voice so your pup doesn't think they are in trouble.
Step
3
Give the command to speak
With your dog in the 'sit' position, say the command along with their name. For example, "Buddy, speak!" Use a enthusiastic, excited voice. If your pup makes any noise at all, such as a grunt or blowing their lips, praise them and give them the toy or treat you used to get them excited.
Step
4
Repeat the same steps
Let your Rottweiler play with the toy or enjoy the treat for a while and then repeat the process from the beginning. Get them excited, have them sit, and then give the command to 'speak'. It may take a few tries before you get anything more than a grunt.
Step
5
Build towards a bark
Each time you practice, wait for a bigger and bigger noise before you reward your Rottweiler. After a while, your pup will build up to barking when you give the command "speak." Be sure to give the reward quickly after the first bark to show your dog that one loud woof is plenty to get a treat. Eventually, you should phase out the reward so your pup responds to the command without needing a lure to do so.
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The Out of Reach Method

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Step
1
Get a harness and long leash
For this method, you will tether your Rottweiler to something secure, such as a tree or fence post. The best thing to use for this is a harness, but a wide buckle collar will work too. NEVER leave your dog unattended when they are tethered.
Step
2
Find a way to dangle their toy
Attach one of your pup's toys to a short pole, such as a PVC pipe or broom stick, using a string. With this device, you can keep the toy out of your dog's reach. With this method, you will use your Rottweiler's natural feeling of frustration with being tied up to encourage them to bark and reward this instinct to train them to speak.
Step
3
Tempt your pup
Dangle your Rottweiler's toy in front of them, just out of their reach. You may need to whip it back and forth a bit to engage them. It shouldn't take long for your pup to become frustrated and bark at the toy. As soon as they do, reward your dog by allowing them to grab the toy.
Step
4
Try again
After a minute or so, tell your Rottweiler to drop the toy and repeat the process. Continue playing this game until your dog is regularly barking at the toy.
Step
5
Add in the command word
Hold the toy out to your dog again, but this time when they bark say "speak." Practice with the command for a while and then change the rules of the game so you only reward your pup by giving them the toy if they bark when you give the command "speak." Once your Rottweiler has a good sense of the rules, practice off of the tether to make sure your dog has a full grasp of speaking on cue.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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