Puppies love to learn all kinds of things – especially tricks you can impress your friends with. Isn’t that nice?

Teaching tricks is a great way to teach them something new while keeping their brains engaged and out of boredom. In this article, we’re going to add another trick to your pup’s ever-growing list of talents: how to teach a puppy to speak. 

Just a disclaimer – we’re not teaching them to speak English. You’ve got too high standards if you expected that. No, we’ll be teaching your puppy to speak with their own voice which is likely to come out as a bark by command. 

Teaching a puppy to speak is actually pretty easy.  

In this article, we’ll cover why you might want to teach a puppy to speak, what you’ll need to get started and give you our step by step guide on how to teach a puppy to speak. You’ll have your puppy chatting away in no time. 

Before we get started with how to teach a puppy to speak, have you downloaded the Zigzag Puppy Training App? You probably want to. It’s a full training programme designed for your dog’s breed type and age so they learn exactly what they need at the right time. We even have a team of puppy experts available 24/7 to help you with any wobbles you might be having with your pup. 

puppy barking
Photo by Robert Gramner on Unsplash

Why should I teach my puppy how to speak?

May sound contradictory, but teaching a puppy to speak can also help you teach your puppy to be  quiet. If you’ve discovered how loud and inconvenient barks can be, teaching them how to stay quiet as a byproduct of teaching them to bark can be very useful. By having speak and quiet on command you can have more control over your dogs barking.

There are no rules to say you have to teach your puppy how to speak, by the way. But your puppy does love to learn new things, and it’s also a great opportunity to bond.

husky looking up
Photo by Josephine Amalie Paysen on Unsplash

What do I need to teach my puppy how to speak?

You won’t need anything fancy to teach your puppy to speak! Just following the steps below will get you there:

  1. Plenty of Rewards –  Their rewards and treats can be whatever your pup really loves. They could be high value food rewards like some sausage or tiny bits of cheese,  or their favourite toy if that’s what they prefer to work for. 
  1. You’ll need something that is likely to make your dog bark. You might use the doorbell, knock at the door or engage in some exciting play. Anything that causes your dog to ‘speak’ will work. 
  2. As with any training, be it tricks or obedience, you’ll need plenty of patience. But most importantly have fun and enjoy learning with your puppy.

How to teach your dog to speak in 8 easy steps

Teaching a puppy to speak is actually pretty straightforward. It’s a great party trick to wow your friends with, and also an unconventional way to teach them ‘quiet’

Teaching your puppy to ‘speak’ is also a fantastic warning mechanism. You can use it to warn away snooping intruders, or can have them ‘ speak’ when they need to go to the toilet. So it isn’t just a trick, it can have some useful functions too.

  1. The first step of teaching your dog to speak is causing them to bark. If there are things that usually trigger their barking, you can use that like a doorbell, a knock at the door or some vigorous play for example. 
  2. Choose the cue word that you want to use for your dog to speak. You can use ‘speak’, ‘talk’ or ‘bark’ or any word you choose. Just keep it short and unlike any other command you use. 
  3. Get your dog to bark using their trigger. 
  4. As your dog barks, say your chosen cue word.
  5. Reward your dog for ‘speaking’ using a treat or toy. 
  6. Repeat this a few times until your dog starts understanding what you are asking and is responding consistently to your cue.  Keep practising this exercise at different times of day to be sure your pup has really grasped it. 
  7. Having taught your dog to speak you can also teach a quiet command. Have a look at our guide to teaching your dog to be quiet. 
  8. As with any training,  practice in different locations where your pup is likely to be more distracted. You want to make sure they’re able to ‘speak’ in any scenario, so this is the ultimate challenge.
dog smiling at camera
Photo by Lukáš Vaňátko on Unsplash

Are some breeds better at speaking than others?

There are definitely some breeds that tend to be more vocal than others, we’re looking at you Huskies and Terriers! Teaching them to speak is often easier simply because it’s easier to get them to bark in the first place. 

Some dog breeds like Basenjis or Frenchies aren’t so vocal and have their own set of sounds like yodels (yes, you read that correctly) and little grunts. Teaching won’t come as easy, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. You’re just going to need a bit of patience, like with all things puppy. But you might do better training them alternative tricks instead to make sure they’re being set up for success. It’s meant to be fun after all! 

If you’re teaching your pup to ‘speak’ and be ‘quiet’ because you are having a problem with excessive barking, our guides on physical and mental exercise might help to rule out barking out of boredom. If your puppy is barking at night, you might want to check out our guide to keep your neighbours from calling the police. 

There you have it! All our magic spells and secrets on how to teach your puppy to speak. Don’t forget our guide on  how  to teach your puppy to be quiet – they definitely come hand in hand. If your dog loves to talk too much, you’ll need this one for sure.  

The Zigzag Puppy training app is full of training content and tricks just like this one to teach your pup. We have practical golden lessons like toilet training, and learning to be alone to make your journey together as smooth as can be. And remember: our team of fully qualified puppy experts are always on hand 24/7 to help you out when things get tricky.