Training a staffy to bark on command

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Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LSS23 on Tue Nov 07 2017, 22:12

Our staff hardly ever barks. In fact, the only time that he ever barks is during rough play (something I don’t exactly want to encourage with there being children here a lot). I’ve tried to teach him how to bark through all the usual methods that I’ve found online to no avail. Has anyone ever had this trouble and got any training tricks to share? Any outside of the box ideas that might give him the encouragement he needs? I’m at a loss at the minute.

He’s 13 months old now and he learnt all the other commands that we’ve taught him with reasonable ease. He sits, lies down, rolls over, stands up on his back feet, waits and takes himself off to bed on command. He just won’t “speak”.

Any help would be really appreciated. The next and last thing I’ve got in mind to teach him is to take him to my friends house whose dog, who gets along well with ours, can speak on command. Hopefully he can learn the behaviour from her. Is this a good idea?

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by -Ian- on Tue Nov 07 2017, 22:35

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by -Ian- on Tue Nov 07 2017, 22:38

Hi & Welcome to the Forum from Flo and me Big Grin

My girl only ever barks when we play hide the rope toy or we go to her treat box. I think you'll find that Staffies aren't really very talkative.

Is there a reason you want her to bark or is it just as a party trick kind of thing ?


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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LSS23 on Tue Nov 07 2017, 23:05

To be honest, I’m not too fussed but my wife would like him to bark at the door because our old dog used to and it makes her feel safer in the house while I’m at work. Our old dogs used to and we minded a friends staffy x boxer a week or two ago while he’s was away and he barked at the door too.

There’s been a couple of burglaries near where we live lately (our next door neighbour’s house was robbed the night we were looking after our friends dog and he went berserk around the same time it happened) so I’d like to teach him to bark on command and then hopefully at the door in a similar manner to our other dogs have done in the past if possible.

It’s not just that though. I’ve started trying to train him to speak now so I’m determined to get there with him

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by -Ian- on Wed Nov 08 2017, 01:01

Ah ok I see your reasoning.

Not sure how to achieve the desired effect without ending up with a Staffy that would bark at almost anything, reason I say that is that yes Staffies are smart and will learn to react to a noise or given situation but how do you apply boundaries so that he doesn't bark at the front door at the slightest whim.

You can of course train him to react with reward and could be achieved with repetitive training, though I do think you'd end up with a negative effect with him barking and annoying you for barking at inopportune times.

Having had two Staffies, they are very loyal and will react should their family be threatened anyway, so you might well find that no training is needed.

Hope that all makes sense.


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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LSS23 on Wed Nov 08 2017, 04:03

Yeah, I’ve been thinking that myself.
My original plan was to reward train him to bark on command, then to do the same at the sound of the doorbell and then perhaps on the sound of the gate being opened depending on whether that would be loud enough for him. But getting him to make any noise at all is proving to be extremely difficult. As you said, they’re naturally quiet anyway aren’t they.

As I said, it isn’t that important to me really although I would like to be able to give my wife peace of mind. It is bothering me a bit that we can’t seem to get there with this particular command now though, I’m like a dog with a bone (excuse the pun) and I can’t help but feel like we haven’t quite finished training until he gets it but no ones perfect! He’s very close though to be fair. I know we’re all biased but he isn’t half a cracker!

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by Jenc on Wed Nov 08 2017, 09:22

Hi from me & Katy, I have the opposite problem & in the process of training Katy not to bark at the door or window Rolling Eyes No one can pass our house without her shouting her head off!!!


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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LizP on Wed Nov 08 2017, 10:24

The problem, as I'm sure you're aware, is that most training methods reinforce a behaviour your dog naturally gives you, with the idea being that you can set them up to do what you want so you can put it on command.

It sounds like the only opportunities you have to do this are during rough play. Although I can understand your reluctance to encourage rough play with kids around, I do think that, with good off switches in place and clear boundaries as to when it's acceptable and when not, you should be able to use this at safe times but teach him not at others. We absolutely have a 'quiet' request that all 3 know - essential with the very vocal rough and tumble here! It's also used for not barking at other things - Millie's quite a noisy little thing!

So that's what I'd do, I'd use the rough play to get the bark and reward it with spot on timing, then pair it with the command, and then pair it with the doorbell, etc. At the same time, I'd teach 'quiet' to mean don't bark in case you do get a sudden release of the vocal chords and extend that to mean 'quieten down', so you can ask him to stop playing when you want. You might also want to give him something else to do, one of the things you've already taught, as 'don't do x' is always harder that 'do y'.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!


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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LSS23 on Mon Nov 13 2017, 18:02

Quick update: We carried on using rough play as a trigger and we’re at the point now where he’s barking on command but he’s also sometimes jumping up as he’s doing so which is probably because we used the rough play at the start. Hopefully, this will stop soon as he learns it’s just the bark that earns him his treat. Really pleased though; big improvement over the weekend!

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LizP on Mon Nov 13 2017, 20:21

If he doesn't stop jumping, try only giving a treat for a bark without a jump. What often happens with dogs who are expecting a treat is that they'll try different behaviours to see what works if their first attempt doesn't get them their reward, so sometimes it's just a question of holding out till they figure out the stage you're trying to teach.

Sounds like you're making great progress though, it's so satisfying, isn't it?


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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by LSS23 on Tue Nov 14 2017, 03:47

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing at the minute and he’s starting to learn I think. He’s still getting confused sometimes and going through his full arsenal of tricks, standing on back legs and rolling over etc when I say “speak!” but he’s doing well and he’s getting there.

Going to give him a few more days to get the simple “speak!” command perfected before we start teaching him to bark at the door because I don’t want to complicate things too much yet.

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Re: Training a staffy to bark on command

Post by -Ian- on Tue Nov 14 2017, 09:56

Sounds like real progress Smile


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