Wednesday, April 25, 2012

She doesn't speak

I think I might have created an uphill battle. Haddie does not speak.

When she came to our home she was a wiggly puppy who never made a sound, however, she was much more excitable then than she is now at 10 months.

We have a beagle that barks at cats who cross her vision while starring out the front window, or who lurk too closely to our back fence line. Otherwise, Cora is a silent dog.

My thought was that I did not want two barking dogs. Not taking into account the big picture that one of those dogs (Haddie) would have to learn to not bark unless commanded, and who would stop when commanded. Really, she would be under my lead in regards to barking and it should have never been a concern nor developed into an issue.

But at the same time, my thought was on a fellow CCI pup who attends our church like Haddie. Haddie is the silent one under our feet, while other puppy is under foot but will routinely give a quick bark every time the music begins after moments of no music. (That puppy's PR is not too happy, but I secretively think it is funny since our Worship Director is also a CCI PR - hahaha).

That is all the behind the scenes story to current day with a CCI 10 month old puppy who does not speak.

Now, I want her to speak. We chatted with our trainer last night and she said to get Haddie really wound up, perhaps with the best savoring treat you can think of, and see if she will get so excited that she'll bark at you. She gave an example with a three month old pup in class. The puppy got wound up and sure enough barked at the trainer and received the reward.

My son laughed politely and said, 'Okay, get Haddie excited ...."  The trainer laughed too as she knows that our pup is very mellow so we were already in an uphill battle (remember, mellow does not relate to naughty - she can be naughty).

Haddie loves chicken. Loves, loves, loves. Her commands can be spot on and fast when she knows that chicken is coming her way. I rarely use chicken because I don't want her relying on it. I only pull it out when I know I have a tough outing, or a tough learning objective.

I pulled out the chicken tonight and Haddie got excited by Haddie's standards, and at one point her cheeks were puffing out in that doggy way that looks like they were going to let her voice be heard, but nothing. Nothing. Poor girl was beside herself trying to do what we were asking.
We eventually stopped, gave it a rest, distracted her with different things to break the concentration before going back to work on commands she knew in order for the chicken reward.

Got any ideas? Open to suggestions on how you make a 10 month old puppy Speak!


  1. Hahaha! This made me laugh, as I am just writing a post about how D always barks. Just a reminder that every pup has different challenges. Maybe I should take advantage of it now, and teach him "speak." :-)
    Poor Haddie. I wish I could help!

  2. Hannah - yes, jump at the chance to teach him Speak. Then you can also teach him Quiet. =) Dante is so adorable!!

  3. Oh gosh, I wish I could help. But if you were in a GDB Puppy Raiser's place you would have the perfect pup. They're not allowed to bark unless it's play time. Some pups are just quiet and that's how they are.

  4. We didn't get Ansel to speak until he was almost a year old. We caught him at a very excitable time and used his favorite toy. All of a sudden, he barked. It only took one time and he quickly caught on (with lots of praise).

    Carver is still a quiet dog, we haven't worked on speak yet. Now, if I just could turn his whining into a bark......

  5. The only thing Churry has ever barked for is my son's RC car. That's one of her favorite playtime activities is to chase it or have it chase her. If it stops, she will pounce at it a little bit, then if it still doesn't go she will bark at it. It's the only thing that will get her excited enough to "Speak"! I've also been trying to teach that far she's not generalizing the command to any other situation.

  6. Oh the speak command. I have raised 3 puppies and was only about to get 1 to learn this command. Andros and Butler were just silent dogs, they NEVER bark. No matter how hard I tried I just could not get them to speak. I will say, the dogs I do know who speak, also bark not on command quite regularly. It's hard, but honestly, CCI doesn't care too much. They woud rather have a silent dog than a crazy barker.

  7. Thanks for all the feedback!! I told the kiddos this morning after reading the variety of comments that I think we should just leave it alone and not worry about that command. Madison - you have totally cemented this thought for me!! Thanks!!! If she gets released because she is too quiet, then she will make her pet family VERY happy I am sure. =)

  8. Haddie sounds so much like Hosta. I never could get him to bark - he did once actually in the back yard at something and it scared him to pieces. Actually, come to think of it - it was probably also the only thing he was ever scared of was his own bark. Even in the kennels now at KSDS, they tell me he's the only one that doesn't bark. Some pups are just quiet I suppose! :) Now, to get that Merlot to stop barking in his kennel!

  9. My first three pups all did learn the speak command eventually, but it was difficult to get them to do it. I agree with Madison. It's not the end of the world if they never learn speak. I have heard of a good number of pups that haven't learned it and graduated. A suggestion for teaching it, if she whines at all or puffs out her cheeks like she is going to bark, reward her. This will let her know that she is heading in the right direction and then you can build from there. That is how I taught Heidi "speak." I rewarded her for the movement of the lip. Then I waited a little longer to reward and she started to whine, then reward that, and keep working at it til they bark.

    Hope that helps! Speak is my least favorite command to teach.

  10. Some of the dogs never ever speak. Even at CCI, they just end up telling their match, that their dog doesn't bark! They are just silent dogs! People in my group never have heard their dog bark. Guess it just all depends on the dog!

  11. Thanks, Monica! That's good to hear it is not a "have to". Having a pet Beagle that shares her voice freely, I love the perk that Haddie is quiet. =) I have read your blog and your story is fantastic! I can't wait to read more.

  12. My husband just graduated in May with his service dog. His dog will speak but usually only when playing and excited. The trainers did say that not all of them will speak and they still graduated.

    Also, sometimes he'll sneeze when my husband says speak and the trainers said they will take that as a speak because the dog is trying to do something with their mouth.

  13. Although this is an old post, I found the topic quite interesting. We have never heard my husband's CCI hearing dog bark. She's as quiet as a little church mouse. For someone with hearing loss, a dog barking really doesn't help them. She does all of her communication with nudges. We find her quietness to be a blessing. We can take her anywhere and never have to worry about her making a sound. Unless of course she falls sound asleep, then watch out! Her snoring sounds like a freight train is coming through!

  14. Leslie - well, then maybe Haddie has a future in the Hearing Dog program. She is a nudger!! It wasn't until recently did someone tell me that Adv Training can work that natural instinct into something positive in the Hearing Dog program. I hope she nudges her way in that direction - that would be cool. And, yes, she snores like a Great Grandpa in a recliner. She always has snored loudly and has a loud deep grunt too when you hit that sweet spot when giving her loves. It is so funny. =)