Brandon McMillan's Canine Minded | How To Teach Your Dog To Be Quiet On Command…
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How To Teach Your Dog To Be Quiet On Command…

How To Teach Your Dog To Be Quiet On Command…

Dogs bark. We all know this and most people with excessive barking dogs just tune out the fact their dog is barking out of control. Dogs bark for different reasons. Some want attention while others are being protective. Whatever the case an excessive barking dog is never fun. Now it’s completely normal for a dog to bark when the doorbell rings or there’s a commotion at the house. This is just the dog utilizing its natural protective instincts. But there’s a way to instantly get them to stop on command. This is something I learned while training dogs for television and commercials. Believe it or not the best way to get a dog to be quiet on command is teach them to bark on command. Most people think I’m crazy when I say this but then I explain it, properly execute it and it works like a charm. Let’s break this down…

First thing’s first; You’ll need a bag of treats. Something they like and also be sure they’re hungry. I’d even recommend working them for their diet with this one.

Second you’re gonna attach them to a leash. You know what I always say about my 3 rules of training: Control, Train, Treat.  It’s the foundation of my training. We cannot train until we have control. A leash is usually  the simplest and most effective form of control. Now hold that leash in your hand while training this technique. This will not only make things easier for you but it’ll keep your dog in a steady position while training.

Next you’re gonna need to teach your dog to bark on command. Let’s call it a “Speak” command. This isn’t too difficult with excessive barkers. All you need to know is what triggers them off and you can teach them in a matter of minutes. A knock or a doorbell is a common one. Here’s how we do this: Go to the door and crack it open just enough where your arm can either ring the doorbell or knock. Ring the doorbell and or knock on the door. Your dog will instantly start barking. From there you’re going to stand between them and the door and give a “Speak” command while giving a hand signal. Make your hand signal something distinctive like your pointer finger waiving left and right in the air. While your dog is barking give them a treat but don’t praise them.

Next you want to repeat this process several times over the next couple hours. This will lock in the “Speak” command. Now you’ve given them structure with their bad habit. You’ve simply changed their game into your game. Keep practicing this technique till your dog is speaking on command with just a verbal command and hand signal only. Now it’s time to add the most important step…

By now your dog should be responding to the “Speak” command on cue with no doorbell/knock. Most dogs pick it up within an hour or so. Some sooner, some might take a while to get it. It’s vital to make sure they grasp the “Speak” command before moving on in the process. Go ahead and give the “Speak” command with the hand signal. As your dog begins to bark I want you to now give a “Quiet” command. Be sure to not yell it, just firmly say it. You’ve taught your dog to bark on cue so it’s a controlled bark. This will make it easier for them to stop when you give the “Quiet” command. If they keep barking just wait them out till they stop. Trust me they’ll stop much quicker with the trained “Speak” command. Once they’ve stopped barking wait a couple seconds then pay them. It’s very important to wait these couple seconds afterwards because this will teach the dog that they’re getting paid for being quiet, not for barking. Everyday try and add a second or two of silence before you pay them. Within a week you should be up to a good 10-15 seconds.

You’re gonna repeat this process several times a day for a week. This will lock it in their memory bank for good. The more you do this the better they’ll get at the quiet command. When the doorbell rings they’ll most likely start barking again but now you have a command to combat that unwanted behavior. It’s a little trickier with a doorbell and it won’t go as seamlessly but it’ll definitely be a huge help and make the problem at least 80% better. Some dogs will take much longer as their habit is often ingrained into their system but patience wins the game in training.

As always the details are what make any training technique so effective. First of all having a dog well trained in basic obedience makes this process much easier. If you have a dog that’s out of control in all areas this might be a tough one for them. Also don’t spend more than 10-15 minute sessions training this. Take breaks after 15 minutes and pick it up again in an hour or two. Overtraining is never good for a dog. In my experience dogs learn much better with short sessions every couple hours rather than long sessions once a day. Also be sure once they begin to really grasp the technique to slowly ween them off of the treats. Once they’re keeping quiet every time you give the command I want you to reward them with a treat 4 of 5 times making sure the last one of the 5 is always rewarded. This ends it on a positive note and they’ll wanna do it again next time. Then a few days later 3 of 5, and so on and so forth till the treats are out of the equation and it’s a trained behavior for the dog. Also don’t yell the “Quiet” command. You don’t wanna get into the game of having to raise your voice every time you ask your animal to do something. This is always the most difficult part for people because they want instant silence when they train this. The first few sessions it might take your dog 20 seconds or longer to quiet down. This is the game of patience when training. Wait them out and that 20 seconds will turn into 2 seconds in no time at all. Keep a steady head and take your time. Try it out with your dog and let me know how it goes. Ruff.

– Brandon


  • Eve
    Posted at 22:23h, 01 July Reply

    When you have them on the leash by the door to start the speak exercise, do you have them in a down or sit and stay?

  • Wendy
    Posted at 14:36h, 02 July Reply

    Hi, we have a Schnauzer that barks at everything, animals in the yard, wind blowing leaves, doorbells, etc. We taught him speak when he was just a puppy. So he does that already on command. How would we do quiet now? Also how do you break marking, perhaps you can write an article about it. We have tried everything. He is 9 years old now.

    • Josie Bashir patient 4 mini dog owner
      Posted at 18:33h, 04 July Reply

      have you thought of giving hug I do that with my snauzer when he greets me at door I grab him tight on underarms and he is good and accepts my hug then he runs into house after that.

  • Brenda
    Posted at 09:01h, 03 July Reply

    Hello. I also have a Schnauzer that we have had for 5 yrs now. He is 5 and 1/2 yrs old, We started out teaching him the word “NO”. And with this he knows that with that word he is to cease whatever it is he is doing. Schnauzers are very intelligent dogs and the key to them and any dog is consistence. My dog now understands many words and commands.

  • Brandon McMillan
    Posted at 16:07h, 03 July Reply

    @ Eve it won’t matter. Most likely they’ll be facing the door and that’s where you begin teaching the “Speak” command. @ Wendy, the way to teach him quiet is all in the blog. Wait them out and reward. Patience game.

  • Diane
    Posted at 12:08h, 25 January Reply

    I’m going to try this. I’ve tried everything with my dog. He’s a 9-1/2 year old, 15 pound Yorkie with a mind of his own. Over his lifetime, he’s been to eight different obedience classes. Nothing has worked. I even tried a suggestion I saw on your show using pennies in an empty water bottle. Nothing has worked. Love, love, love my dog, but the barking bothers me and everyone else (especially the neighbors).

  • Puppies Class
    Posted at 13:04h, 21 March Reply

    There was plenty of dilemmas in recent years with my own doggie,
    i dreamed of him to listen to me, i discovered
    many quality tips in this web site.

    • Jesus
      Posted at 03:12h, 19 February Reply

      I trained my puppy to sit long time ago and wrkoed Well but he doesn’t obey when we call him. If he is to exited while playing he probably come but most of time when we call him he stops one foot away and gives us like a suspicious look and stays there even when we have his favorites treats

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  • Matthew Hayden
    Posted at 12:39h, 05 April Reply

    Would like to know how to quiet barking on command… he is small breed .

  • Carol Rooney
    Posted at 17:20h, 07 April Reply

    sounds good except my dogs dont bark at the sound of the door bell. But they bark their heads off at every dog & person they see when they are out in the yard.

  • Janis
    Posted at 21:01h, 12 May Reply

    Some dogs (not mine, of course, oh nooo!) bark up a storm while their owners are away, when there is no one to correct them (maybe that’s their intent). How do quiet-loving neighbors, especially those with dogs that like to sing along with the woeful “orphan” next door, keep their own sanity? We can convince our dogs to shush via your technique of “Quiet,” but what can we do about the poor yowling dog next door, and all the other neighbors banging on the walls? The owners wring their hands and say they don’t know what to do. Some help, please. Thanks. And Brandon, keep on Whispering! 🙂

  • Carol Cushing
    Posted at 13:16h, 31 May Reply

    My dog has been attacked by two other dogs in the neighborhood while on our daily walks. One of the dogs greeted him the doggie way, sniffed him nose to nose and bit him in the face. The other dog went into a submissive pose on the sidewalk when he saw my dog coming, when Boomer got up to the dog the dog attached him, Another time this same dog got out of his collar and ran down the block to battle my dog. He is now 6 and is a very social Cocker Spaniel. However since the attacks having him on a leash around other dogs is a nightmare, he wants to go to battle. The odd thing is I send him to doggie daycare and he is fine around other dogs. I have tried standing in front of him so he cannot see the other dog and hold his face up to look at me while the other dog is in the area and tried treating, no luck. If these other dogs walk by the house and he is inside he just goes insane runs back and forth to the window and barks like crazy. I know he is feeling trapped on the leash now I just do not know how to help him be more comfortable around the other dogs. Do you have any tips? Thanks Carol

  • Joleen
    Posted at 13:46h, 20 June Reply

    I have three Dogs a Minuter Dachshund a Shih Tzu and a half Shih Tzu and bichon. They bark at the Neighbors and there dogs every time they are in there back yard. What can I do to train them so when there in the back yard they won’t bark?

  • Josie Bashir patient 4 mini dog owner
    Posted at 18:25h, 04 July Reply

    they are a handful it is a challenge to even snip nails they just go for my thumbs then taking them to the groomer get them done. Any tips

  • Charlene
    Posted at 19:53h, 18 August Reply

    Is it possible to train two young dogs at the same time? I have two 2-year old puggles and teaching them commands is very difficult. I take each outside separately and try to train them, but the minute they are together it’s like I didn’t accomplish anything. I did get them to stay; but only if they knew they would get a treat afterwards. If I don’t have any treat to give them, that command means nothing. They seem to be too smart for their own good or I’m just not as smart as they are.

    Any suggestions besides permanently separating them?

  • Mary
    Posted at 01:47h, 09 September Reply

    How do I go about this training with 3 dogs?

  • Sam Bracken
    Posted at 22:49h, 09 September Reply

    I’m struggling with excessive attention seeking barking when I come he from work. Will this quiet command help with that? Or do I need to train something else to teach them patience. If I greet my maltipoo she still jumps and barks unless I spend every moment with her for the first half hour I am home. Or If I try to wait for her to be calm she never stops. It interupts the calm my wife has in the house and wakes the Baby. Help

  • Charlene
    Posted at 03:23h, 08 December Reply

    Brandon, apparently we schnauzer owners need extra help in this area. I’m sure we’d all love to see you do this one on video. I have two mini schnauzers we adopted from rescues four years ago. Both are females, one is 9 and the other is 5. The 9 year old is awful about this! When I say HUSH! the 5 year old will at least attempt to be quiet… then she will whine at, instead of bark, when she sees the squirrel sticking his tongue out at her as he runs across the yard. But they both go absolutely berserk when anyone rings our doorbell. And if anyone is actually standing there when I open the door, they get so loud that I can’t even have a conversation through the screen door because they are both going crazy barking! I will try your Bark on command/Quiet technique, but I’d really love to see this one done in action… you can even “borrow” mine! 🙂
    We love your show and watch every week. Thanks so much for all you do in the animal kingdom!

  • Valerie Eschuk
    Posted at 00:16h, 13 January Reply

    Dear Brandon,
    The above situations do not help much because Lola is out side a lot and has a lot to bark at. The problem
    She is mostly hound and her bark is not much more than others but her voice is louder and higher than
    The others. I live in Costa Rica and would so much like to talk to you. Love your program and now what
    You mean when you say your mission is….Blessings, Valerie

  • Marie
    Posted at 01:34h, 18 January Reply

    My dogs never quiet down on command….how do I get them to be quiet

  • Mike
    Posted at 22:20h, 22 February Reply

    is there a recent that you can’t teach the quiet command when they start barking on their own? Why do i need to to teach them to speak first?

  • Nicholas Montes
    Posted at 21:19h, 15 July Reply

    Brandon, my wife and I love your show and have picked up some great tips on helping to train ourselves as well as our dog. We recently adopted a 1 year old beagle with little to no training. He is really sweet and incredibly quick at picking things up. He has a really good sit, stay, down, come, and gets better with off every day. From our understanding, he was left for long periods of time in a crate/alone in a house. Like most beagles he is very vocal about what he wants and we have broken him of the habit of begging. However, every time we leave the house, even for 5 minutes, he gets anxious and scratches at the door baying and howling frantically. We have tried patiently working with some of the techniques you’ve used on some of the dogs on the lucky dog show (such as ignoring with the door closed, treating when quiet, and increasing the intervals). But we can’t seem to get him past 10 minutes alone, which is problematic when my wife and I have to go to work. We go on long runs in the morning and go hiking in the evening, and when we can we take him to a nearby bark park. Not sure what else to do to help our little buddy. Any tips?

  • Lindsay borden
    Posted at 23:17h, 29 September Reply

    I saw on your show that you can use the pennies in a bottle technique to teach the quiet command. Is this a better way? I’ve already started training him with the pennies, so I’m concerned I’m doing it wrong.

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    Posted at 21:23h, 08 December Reply

    […] them for being quiet. As soon as your dog stops barking, give them lots of praise and […]

  • Theresa Willcox
    Posted at 15:49h, 12 February Reply

    Another schnauzer owner here and also a mixed breed/rescue dog. We live on 1/2 acre and both of my dogs bolt out the door first thing in the morning and start barking immediately looking for the neighbor’s dog or squirrels. They stop after about 30 seconds, but by then I’m sure the neighbors are up as well as my family. How do I stop this?

  • Theresa Willcox
    Posted at 15:54h, 12 February Reply

    My dogs bolt out the back door first thing in the morning and bark for about 30 seconds and then stop. By then they have woken up our neighbors as well as my family. I’m sure they are getting their first blast of energy after sleeping in crates all night but it’s fairly early and I’m worried my neighbors will get upset. Then they just chase squirrels and bark at the pool cleaner all day. (mini schnauzer & mutt (rescue – westie/dachshund/jack russell). Sometimes have to close my blinds so they can’t look out the window. Help!!

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    […] “Quiet Command.” This command is an old, but useful, training command. The “quiet” command also comes in handy with an excessive barker. Teaching the quiet command may seem backwards. […]

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  • Anonymous
    Posted at 06:48h, 26 June Reply

    Wendy needs to read the article again 🙁

  • Dara Marina
    Posted at 04:18h, 26 September Reply

    This is such a helpful post for me. Thanks for sharing us.

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    Posted at 17:49h, 21 October Reply

    […] you can train your dog to respond to the command, “quiet” you should be able to use it when you need them to be quiet. This training can take a lot of time […]

  • Donna Lynn Meunier
    Posted at 21:20h, 24 October Reply

    Hi, I have a chihuahua , sheis 2 1/2 years. she does the following, sit stay come( heel when we are walking,) go to place , play dead , sit pretty, she always wants to learn. she does not pull on the leash with the exception of when she encounters another dog, she wants to kill yes kill and barks with her high pitch voice. I work at a pet store ( we do not sell any animals and I bring her. she is behind the counter and when someone approaches the counter it is crazy she wants to kill. please help me I do believe that she is anxious and i do not know how to handle. I sometimes go to dog training classes to socialize her and it does not work however if i leave her loose all is good. I know that she is territorial and wants to protect me( my fault I held her too high) can you give me suggestion i am the type that practices and works very hard to help her. thank you

    Donna Lynn

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