It’s true: your Maltipoo barks. A lot. And it can get annoying pretty fast. First thing’s first: you need to find out why they’re barking in order to fix the problem.
There are two types of barking: instinctive and learned behavior. Instinctive is the more primitive form of barking, and it occurs because dogs are naturally pack animals who use vocalization as a means of communication. Learned behavior is when dogs bark because they’ve been rewarded by their owner for doing so in the past.
To figure out which type of barking troubles your little furry friend, you’ll have to take a look at what your Maltipoo tends to bark about and when they do it. Ask yourself the following questions and keep track of your answers on paper or on an app like Evernote so you can review them later:
- When does my dog bark? Does he or she do it at night? In the morning? Only when we’re playing ball outside?
- What does my dog bark at? Is it people walking past our home? Is my dog excited to see me when I come home from work every day (and barks as a sign)? Does he or she bark at other dogs while we’re at the park together on weekends?
- How often does my dog bark during these times/events, and how loudly do they do it? Does he or she just give one sharp woof before running up to say hello when I get home from work, or are there several high-pitched yaps that last for several seconds before settling down again once I offer some cuddles and treats as a reward for good behavior? Does she only start barking after noticing another person walking past our house, or does she start yapping as soon as her ears perk up with interest after hearing something outside, even if there’s no person there yet (she might be anticipating someone will soon walk
Step 1 approach your dog and reward it for not barking at you
- Approach your dog and reward it for not barking at you.
Have a treat ready in your hand so that it’s easy to reach out and give the treat to your dog while he’s not barking. Make sure he sees you coming so that he has time to be quiet before the treat comes out. If you approach him too fast, he may bark because of the sudden movement, which will make it hard for him to get the reward. Approach slowly and calmly until you’re about a foot away from him, then offer him the treat if he hasn’t barked yet or even made a noise.
- Repeat this step a few times as you come toward him from different directions and at various speeds until he is able to remain calm most of the time when people approach him, even when they come closer than a foot away from his face. You want him to be able to take treats without barking or growling no matter what’s happening around him or how close someone gets when offering the treat (unless being approached by an unknown person makes your dog fearful).
Step 2 keep rewarding your Maltipoo for not barking
After doing this for a few days, you’ll begin to see that your Maltipoo needs fewer and fewer treats to keep quiet. This means it won’t take as many treats to get the job done.
But at first, don’t be surprised if you use an entire bag of dog treats in one or two weeks. The key is remembering to praise your dog without fail every time it responds with good behavior and stays quiet instead of barking at a noise or when guests enter your home.
Remember, it may take several months before your Maltipoo stops barking completely. But if your dog is treated well and reaps the rewards of the training, it will eventually understand that being quiet is more beneficial than continuing to bark at noises and other triggers.
Step 3 teach your dog to speak on command
The next step is to teach your dog to speak on command. This can be done by giving the “Speak!” command repeatedly while waiting for your dog to bark, rewarding them with a treat and praise every time they do. This will teach your dog that barking at this command is good and will get them a reward. Be careful not to give the command too often or too quickly though, as you don’t want it to turn into static noise in their head.
Step 4 praise your dog for speaking when you give the command
Praise your dog every time they bark when you give the speak command. Do this consistently, and then also provide a treat as well. Try to do this each time you give the command so they form an association with being praised and getting a treat when they speak. If your dog is able to bark on command after doing these steps a few times, try to build up how long you wait before giving them a treat for barking. Eventually, your Maltipoo will be able to bark at any time if you give the speak command!
Step 5 work on teaching your dog to only speak when commanded
Once your dog has learned the speak and quiet commands, you’ll be ready to begin teaching them to only bark when commanded. It’s very important that you only give the speak command when you want your dog to bark, and that you’re willing to let him or her follow through with it fully. command when you want your dog to bark, and that you’re willing to let him or her follow through with it fully.
Step 6 try teaching your dog other commands in the same way as the speak command
We reached the final step in our Maltipoo training, and it was time to start teaching her commands. If you remember back to your puppy-training days, you’ll recognize that we’re still just using a clicker as an aid in communicating with our dogs (no treats!), so this process will be similar. The first command we taught her was the speak command—we explained that she would say speak, then give her a treat. Of course, this didn’t work the very first time we tried it. She wasn’t listening or understanding what we wanted her to do. We kept trying and trying again, talking to her like she understood what we were saying—until finally she seemed to get it!
Time for step two: when you want your dog to sit or down, use the speak command Wait for your dog’s response Click your dog’s reward Repeat until desired result
training a Maltipoo is similar to training any other dog
In some ways, training a Maltipoo is no different than training any other dog. Dogs are pack animals by nature and therefore have a deep desire to please their leader (you). You can use this to your advantage when it comes to teaching your dog not to bark.
It may take time and patience, but the more you practice with your dog, the more he will understand.