Learning to “Speak”

It may not seem like the most obvious command you would want to teach your pet. However, being able to “Speak” on cue is one of the most commonly requested skills that PetLondon Models are asked to perform on film sets.

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When dealing with a dog, by the term “Speak” this would mean a Bark, Whine or Howl that you could ask him or her to do at a given moment. You can imagine the uses for this in for example a television commercial or a feature film.

In this short article we are going to give you the basics if you would like to give this a try at home. Please remember that as with all new skills, it takes plenty of patience and practise before it will be perfect.

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  1. Find what cue it is that makes your own dog bark at you. It may be that its a knock on the door, a phone ringing, holding their favourite toy in front of them etc.
  2. Reward and click the clicker when they bark
  3. If the cue is something not portable then find a way to mimic the cue. An example here, would be, if its a knock at the door, knock on a table or book, something that can easily be done anywhere…
  4. Every time he/she does bark when this cue happens reward your dog both verbally with praise and excitement and depending on your animals age and dietary requirements then with a treat (beware of overfeeding and use healthy snacks in moderation). You can also simultaneously use a clicker and click each time it happens just before the reward is given
  5. Repeat the cue-and reward for a bark-at least 20 times
  6. Say to your dog the word “Speak” every time, just as the cue is happening and just before they start to bark
  7. Do not click or treat for any barking other than in response to the cue
  8. If barking occurs at other times or in error, turn your body away and ignore the dog to make it clear this type of barking will not be rewarded

Its as simple as that! Happy Practising

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