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Discussion Starter #1
Our new dog starts barking at nothing for no reason at any time of day or night, so we need to do something about it... but my other two could really benefit from that as well.

My question is... how do you handle 3 dogs at the same time? I'll probably use the doorbell to teach them 'speak' first, that should work pretty well.. but do you think it will be effective if they have to wait for their turn to get a treat? Or should I only work on it when we have 3 people at home?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Two mutts and a newf. 42lbs, 55lbs, 80(?)lbs.

I'm still working on finding something that makes them bark to teach 'speak' though. Knock on the door didn't work, I can't do the doorbell or they'll try to sneak out through the open door. Tqo only bark at people outside, the newf seems to bark randomly, and it's not really something I can control. ugh.
 

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Do you really want them to bark every time someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door? If they are already barking at things that is the time to teach them what "quiet" means. When they bark, say quiet and if they stop, tell them they are good and give them a treat. Once they anticipate the treat they will come to you and it should not matter who gets treated first every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I've read everywhere that the key to teach them 'quiet' is to teach 'speak' first... that way you control the barks and they're more likely to stop when you ask them to be quiet, as opposed to the frenzied barking that happens when they see people down the street or whatnot.
Although yeah, I might try that first with the newf, he's less crazy when he barks.
 

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I did the 'Hold food out but refuse to give it until the dog gets so frustrated it barks' method...

It has some pros and cons. It took a while to get my dog to bark (she's not super vocal unless she's trying to move the cat) and when she did finally bark by that time she was also nibbly and hyper and that state seemed to always accompany the speak command for a few weeks, though she has learned at this point that barking is the desired behavior.

You also have to teach them quiet immediately thereafter or they will just bark and bark. It's a little scary because you are teaching them to bark freely for food as a transitional phase and you can't mess up and allow that to stick. You have to work on it in the same session if you are using this method. She doesn't hold quiet well yet in every day situations (like with said cat) but she knows what it means.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes that's my worry, lol. There's so much barking but I can never figure out why my new dog randomly barks at my old dog, and he just ignores me when I try to get him to stop.
 

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You can't expect them to do it in the real world until they can already do it in 'ideal' conditions... The Three D's (Distance, Distraction, Duration) apply to pretty much every command. This is why I suspect a lot of people can't get quiet working, they start with a really high level of distraction/excitement and the dog is way too hyped/distracted for learning to take place (and barking just exacerbates that). That's the major pro to the 'frustration' method I described, you can get to them in a lower energy/more attentive state.

Maybe you should teach them all separately before doing a joint session, or teach your most biddable or calm dog first and then use him/her as a mentor dog. At some point having at least 1 dog who understands the concept should make it easier for the others when they see that the quiet dog is getting tons of treats and then as soon as they shut up they can have some too.

Reward small steps to help the dogs get it too, gradually raise the bar. You went from a full on bark to a grumble, take the treat, next time I want a huff or a softer grumble, etc. Silent for a second, treat, two seconds, treat...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fcVPfkbYIM
 
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