Teaching your dog to bark when cars drive into your yard is a security measure to warn you when someone arrives. You first need to teach your dog to bark on command, however, before you can train her to bark for specific reasons. As with all dog training, keep the experience fun and lighthearted to avoid stressing your dog.
Teach the Command
Teach your dog to bark on command by waiting for her to bark naturally and then saying the word “speak” at the same time as she does so, using a high-pitched, happy voice. Reward her immediately afterwards with treats, a game with her favorite ball or toy, or lots of praise. Do this every time she barks in your presence, several times a day for a week.
Initiate an action that you know usually makes her bark, such as having someone ring the doorbell, honk the horn or open your gate. Be ready to give her the speak command as soon as it happens but before she barks, and reward her as you always do. Practice this several times until she begins looking at you expectantly as she hears the sound.
Tell her to speak without initiating the noise. Generate excitement by jumping around and encouraging her in the same high-pitched voice, until she barks on command. Reward her well to show your approval.
Practice this at least five times every day, until she begins to show understanding of what you want her to do.
Implement the Command
Take your dog outdoors to where she will typically be when cars drive into the yard. Ask a friend or family member to drive in and give her the speak command as the car enters. She may automatically bark at the car, in which case reinforce the action by giving the command in your usual voice and reward her afterwards.
Repeat the action several times, giving her the command each time. Ignore her if she barks in between car entries, because you don’t want to encourage her initiating the barking. If she barks for any other reason, call her to you and distract her instead of reprimanding her, otherwise she may take your response as acknowledgement.
Practice this several times a day for a week, until she understands that she is expected to bark either when given the command or when cars drive in. Reward her when she does it correctly and continue to ignore her when she gets it wrong.
Items You Will Need
- Ball or toys
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.