Recently I had a few friends and family members over for a barbecue. As I was cooking the hot dogs and hamburgers I turned and asked my dog Angel, “Angel, are you smart?”
Angel immediately answers with a bark. While my family has seen her answer this question and a few similar questions my friends were caught off guard. Amazed, one of my buddies asked me how I did it. I said, “She’s really smart, she understands English.” Being a non-dog person he accepted that Angel can understand the human language.
While dogs can recognize words by the sounds, I don’t think they can actually understand the word. Rather they get the stress points of the word and that’s what they act on. Anyway… This is a cool party trick that I learned from the guy who helped me get started training Angel.
Angel is a quiet dog, rarely barks, even more rare is any sort of growling type noise. So it was a bit of a challenge to get her to do this. But once she learned she had a voice, she can sure use it when she wants to.
Six Easy Steps to Teach Your Pit Bull how to Talk
- Step One: Start by getting your dogs attention with their all time favorite toy or treat.
- Step Two: Tease them with it. Hold it up and move it around. Make sure it’s out of their reach.The idea here is to literally annoy them into barking at you.I may take a bit of time for them to bark, do not give them the toy until they do.
- Step Three: As soon as they bark give them the reward and say, “Good dog!” or whatever praise you use.Now here’s the important steps to making this look natural and non-cued in front of people.
- Step Four: When you hold the toy or treat up and get them to bark using it, they will start to cue in on that motion for the “bark” command.So after several times of getting them to bark, hold the treat/toy up to your chin and wiggle it.When they bark, reward and praise. You can put a word to this too if you want to. I trained both, verbal and non-verbal.
- Step Five: After some time of doing step one you should be able to wiggle your hand by your chin and your dog will bark. If you put a word to it, use that word and wiggle your hand and they should bark.Now comes the fun part.
- Step Six: Changing the cue to a subtle one. You don’t want people seeing you cue the dog otherwise it’s not as impressive.Once you have gotten your dog to bark on command using either a voice command or a hand signal you can move the cue to your eyes.How do I get Angel to bark on command? I blink twice. Yes, it is that subtle and she will bark if I blink twice (without trying to get her to blink) if she’s watching me. You move the cue by putting your hand by your face as usual, but instead of wiggling the treat you blink. When your dog barks, reward and praise. Gradually lower the hand but keep the cue/reward the same. Blink, bark, reward and praise.
Pit Bulls are the Smartest Dog in the World
You can even borrow my line, “Hey, did you know Pit Bulls are the smartest dogs in the world?”
Your friend, “No.”
You, “Yup, watch and I’ll prove it.”
Then turn to your dog, call their name and ask them, “Are Pit Bulls the smartest dogs in the world?” When you say WORLD, blink. Trust me, it’s great to see how people react. Not to mention you are learning how to train your dog to do subtle things and have focus on you.
Summary and Possible Problems
Teaching your dog to speak is fun, but you should be aware this can backfire too. When your dog starts to offer you behavior’s for treats, barking will become one. Sometimes Angel will bark like crazy instead of going to a down or something. This isn’t a big deal to me, after all I did train her to use her voice more. I wanted to make you aware that this can happen.