Can My Dog Learn To Bark On Command?

We are often asked how to teach your dog to bark on command.

A good bark is all that most people will ever need from their protection dog, letting strangers know your dog is alert and aware. Without deep understanding of the various drives of protection training, and more importantly experience a whole lot can go wrong if you were to try this on your own using one of many sources of advice available on the internet.

We strongly advocate you pursuing this under supervision of an experienced K9 trainer, where your dog can learn to bark on voice command and later only with an inconspicuous hand signal. It is very easy to mistakenly teach your dog to bark at all people and effectively ending your walks in town.

Many dogs cannot be trained in protection because they lack defensive drive.

However, even if your dog lacks that drive, you still can teach them to bark on command. The hardest part of this training is to initially get the dog to understand what you want it to do - to bark on command.

Here you use frustration/teasing to initiate a bark, followed by a quick reward in the form of treat or toy. The game is slowly advanced from one initial location to other locations, adding distractions, and to the point where he barks on command inside the house and at nighttime.

If done incorrectly however, it will now become very difficult to extinguish the nuisance problem you created, i.e. your dog barking frequently, and at all kinds of people. Now imagine what can happen if you try this on your own with a dog that is genetically programmed for advanced protection work.

Why you should hire a professional

Here, an experienced K9 trainer harnesses the dog’s natural suspicion level and defensive drive, dictated by genes, appropriate age and temperament. Instead of food or toy as the reward used in the frustration approach, a dog with the right genetic disposition learns initially that by barking a suspicious person is going to run away. There are many variations to this exercise and it ties in with more advanced protection work where the bite becomes the reward.

Needless to say that strong obedience work is the foundation you will need to lay first. Your dog should never equate people and aggressive behavior or you will end up with a dangerous dog you cannot trust.

It is true that on a very basic level both frustration and defensive drive can be used to teach a dog to bark on command, yet it becomes a highly complex issue when all other factors are taken into consideration. A lot can and will go wrong experimenting with any of the ‘do-it-yourself’ approaches available on the internet.

About North Edge K9

Our team at North Edge K9 is comprised of active police K9 handlers and trainers with decades of street experience. We are available to guide and assist you in all your training needs, including teaching your dog to bark on command. E-mail us at for more information.