Although dog barking can be a serious problem for those owners who live in apartments, teaching your dog to bark on your command is one of the coolest tricks you can teach him. I like to call this "Bark On Command." Here's how you can teach your dog to bark on your command:
Wait for a door bell or anything that may cause your dog to bark. The moment he starts to bark, say: "Speak, Speak ... , Good Boy (or Girl of course) , Good speak..." Repeat this for a couple of days and keep in mind that you will get the best result if this can be practiced a few times per day. You can even stimulate your dog to bark; for example if you know that he barks when the doorbell rings, use that as a stimulator and get him to bark and immediately say your magic sentence: Speak , Speak, ... One thing to remember is whenever your are praising your dog using your voice, the more excitement in your voice the better the results. Try to use a high pitched tone of voice.
After practicing this for a few days, you can start ordering your dog to speak. Tell him to speak and then wait for him to speak. Sometimes it help if you go ahead and mimmic a dog bark yourself even if it may sound like a silly idea to you. You can also hold a cookie in your hand if you usually use a treat when teaching your dog new tricks. This will let your dog know that he is about to receive something good for doing what he's been asked for. This will allow him to be more relaxed and also help him to realize that this is just a playful, positive training session. Use of a treat is specially powerful if you have been punishing your dog before for barking.
After her very first bark on command reduce the frequency of your magic sentence when he barks on her own. But still ask him to bark a few times per day and praise him for that. Eventually you should not say anything or even go back to your "shushig" when he barks on his own. This way, he can distinguish between the two and will realize that even though he will be praised when he barks on your command, he might get punished for barking on his own or joy barking.
One more thing that can be useful here: if you're using a treat, try to give him the treat after asking him to do one more thing for you. For example, after you asked him to speak and he barked praise him with your voice, then ask him to sit and only then give him the treat. This way he won't get the idea that if he barks he will get a cookie, this is a very bad habit and unfortunately very common.
Another use of the "Speak" command is to see where you are standing in your dog's hierarchy of status, i.e. to figure out who is the alpha there, you or your dog. When you ask your dog to speak, if he just looks into your eyes and barks, it will probably means that he considers you as his equal or even worse, he thinks that he's the alpha dog and your leader; but if he is not comfortable looking into your eyes when he barks and looks in other directions, it means that he has a lot of respect for you as the leader of the pack and the alpha. congratulations!
Your Dog Can Speak!
by Gareth Heath
Gareth heath writes about humane, nonviolent approaches to dog training.