When it comes to training your dog different commands, some things are easier than others.
Sit is easier than lay down, lay down is easier than roll-over, roll-over is easier than stay.
Sensi knows so many different words and commands that I long ago stopped keeping track. The day I realized that he was picking up on words without me doing any training was the day I stopped counting his commands.
But of everything I’ve taught him, there’s one command that sticks out as by far the easiest to teach.
What is it? Speak, of course.
I scratched my head a bit thinking of how I could train him to bark, and then I had one of those true light bulb moments.
“When does Sensi usually bark?” I asked myself. “I know! When he’s frustrated!”
So I made a simple training game that basically involved frustrating my dog.
I took his favorite toy from him and held it up high in the air. When he jumped for it, I pushed him away and scolded him, “Bad dog!”
If Sensi had a thought process, it would’ve been, “Jumping isn’t working, so I’ll try sitting nicely for my toy.”
I felt bad as I dangled the toy high the air, teasing and taunting him with it despite his well-behaved sit.
For quite a while, Sensi went back and forth between jumping and sitting. Eventually, he gave up and laid down, looking very depressed.
As mean as this sounds, I knew I had to keep him engaged, so I teased him even more. I waved the toy in front of his face and then ran off with it. As he ran after me, thinking we were going to play, I came to a stop and again waved the toy just out of his reach, then lifted it above my head.
“Arf!” Sensi barked, now clearly frustrated.
I immediately gave him the toy, played for a few seconds, and then went back to the keep-away game.
Within a matter of minutes, Sensi was barking each time I lifted the toy away from him. I started interjecting the word speak, and voila! The dog learned to “speak” on command.
It doesn’t get much easier than that.