How do I make my dog bark when he wants out?

LTanyaG submitted this question:

My Fox Terrier knows he has to go outside to urinate and deficate, but he will not bark. He will go to the door and wait and if I don't get there in time he will do his business right there. Also he is petrified when I put the leash on him. As soon as I put it on him he sits frozen and will not budge I have to carry him or take the leash off.


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This is a training issue. Your dog knows that going to the door sometimes gets you to let him out - but he has not yet associated in his mind that if he barks, you will come to let him out. Most training programs are for getting your dog to STOP barking, but you can use the same ideas to train your dog to bark.

The first thing you should do is teach your dog to bark on command. This is not very hard. Pick a command. "SAY" followed by other words is usually a good one. Get some dog treats, and start using the command in front of the dog, making it clear that you have a treat. Pick some random phrase. Then go to the dog and tell it "SAY - GIVE. (wait for bark) ME (wait for bark) A (wait for bark) TREAT (wait)." You'll probably have to start out with "GIVE" or the first word in whatever you want it to "say." Keep holding out the treat, out of reach of the dog, saying "SAY - GIVE" until it barks. This will be pretty random, essentially what you're doing is waiting for the dog to randomly bark at you or make noise at you. When it does, praise the dog, pet it, say "GOOD DOG!" and give it the treat. You will have to do this awhile, but eventually the dog will learn that barking after each word you say will get it a treat.

Now you've got the dog trained so that you can get it repeatedly barking on command. Your next step is to make it do this before it goes outside. Keep a box of treats by the door. Whenever you see the dog waiting, use the bark command and a long phrase that will make him bark 5 or 6 times. Then give him a treat and take him outside to do his business. Also be aware that to some extent, you can control the time the dog wants to go to the bathroom by feeding him only at set times. If you portion out his food and put it down at the same times every day, dogs will usually start wanting to go out at set times as well. If you watch closely to figure out when, that will make it easier for you to anticipate when the dog is going to want to go. Eventually the dog should learn to associate barking with both the treats and with going outside.

Finally, consider putting some housebreaking pads out by the door (assuming it's a back door or someplace that won't get in the way).  

The question about getting him to accept a leash is answered here: what to do if a dog won't walk on a leash.

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