To bark or not to bark

Here’s how to teach your dog to bark and be quiet on command

To bark on command

Find a trigger:Find a trigger that will cause your dog to bark when you want him/her to, like when the door bell rings. An unknown source for noise is a good ‘barking point’. Hiring a trainer will be helpful.

Speak on command:The success for teaching any command depends on how easily the dog makes the connection between the ‘behaviour’ and the ‘command’. Your timing for rewarding the desired behaviour is critical. Praise and reward should happen instantly when the dog follows the desired behaviour. S/he will begin to learn the command when you tag the word ‘speak’ to your praise. Start to wean away from the trigger and only reward when he barks on ‘command’. If your pet doesn’t understand the pairing between the ‘behaviour’ and the ‘command’, be patient. S/he needs time to learn before associating with the command. Go for more training sessions. Give the command just once; do not repeat it. Growling and whining are all parts of ‘speaking’.

Quiet on command

Reward quiet:To teach your dog to go quiet on command, timing is of critical value. Initially, your dog will not understand the ‘sshhh’ command for quiet. The purpose is to help your pet do it naturally. Give the ‘speak’ command and the minute s/he stops barking, praise him/her. Choose one word for the command, like ‘quiet’, and stay with it or else you will end up confusing your pet. Remember not to overuse the command, and give your dog time to process the command over time. If s/he continues to bark, turn your back or look away.

As soon as s/he stops barking, say ‘quiet’ and praise your pet.

Associate the command with a hand signal:Once the dog knows the ‘quiet’ command, you can teach the hand signal. Bring your index finger to your lips and say ‘quiet’. Also, hold a treat in the hand you are using for the signal. The hand signal acts as a reinforcer to stop the barking, and the treat acts as a motivator for the dog’s nose.

Teaching your dog to go quiet on command is not something that can be used in a scenario where the dog is exhibiting unwanted behaviour. Train your dog to be quiet when you have his undivided attention.

- Malaika Fernandes (certified canine behaviourist & trainer);

Readers’ corner

This cat plays carrom, Does yours?
This is about my pet cat Browny, who’s very playful and active. He is like an alarm clock for me, waking me up every morning. He comes at my window and ‘meows’. When I get up and open the door, Browny will be ready for his bowl of milk. Browny loves to spend time with me. When I am studying, he’s always in my room sleeping in a corner. He always plays with me, but what he loves most is playing carrom, apart from hide and seek.

Though Browny does not know how to play with the striker, he can put black and white coins in the pockets of the carrom board. He is our family member and I love spending every minute with him.

—Manasa Bhat

Animals aren’t meant for shows, it’s humans they love best
Peanut came into our lives when he was two years old. He was given away to a dog breeder by a family after they kept him for one and a half years because they realised he was not qualified to participate in dog shows.

Peanut had a kink in his tail, an extra toe in one paw, defective cartilage in his right ear and an absent testes. But to my daughter Avanthika he was perfect, the most beautiful Fox Terrier in the world.

He came home on her birthday to spend a day with us but in no time, he built a bond with the family.

My daughter and Peanut are inseparable now, and I often call them the AH twins (animal-human).

Peanut is now old and on cardiac medication but is still as chirpy as ever. God bless him.



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