brenda taulbee

New Member
I'm not 100% sure how she's done it, but my mum has taught all of our family dogs how to count. I think this is the general idea though:

1. Teach the dog to bark when you hold up a hand and ask "How Many?"

2. After that you have to get the dog to bark consecutively following the "How Many?" command, until you lower your hand. The key is getting them to stop barking once your hand is lowered.

3. Once they grasp that concept, you can hold up a hand with as many fingers as you'd like, and just lower your hand when they reach the desired number of barks.

My problem is getting our pup to bark on command. She just stares blankly. If anyone's interested in more details on this I can talk to my mum and try to weasel her secret out of her... Or if anybody knows how this is done, care to share?

Jean Cote

Staff member
I would think that if you held a toy or a treat up in the air and teased the dog with it, he would bark thus giving you the opportunity to reinforce the behavior. You'd be able to incorporate the command by saying 'good speak' or whatever command you wish to use at the same time the dog is barking. And since you have to lower the treat for the dog to get it, he would probably learn to be quiet (and expect) a treat when your hand is lower.

But this might create a nasty habit in the long run, where your dog barks to get what he wants. So be prepared - some other people on this forum have publicly said that they wished they'd never taught their dog to 'speak'. :dogsmile:


Honored Member
Staff member
I've also seen people teach their dogs to target something with their paw, and use that as their counting method. Many dogs just aren't barkers. The method I know of to teach a dog to bark on command is to hold something really tantalizing(a favorite toy or treat) but not give it to them. When they finally just decide to bark, you reward them with it. This never did work with Mudflap, and she really doesn't like to I just pushed it aside. I never really was a "speak!" fan anyway. ^^
For the paw counting, you can teach them to target something like a square of carpet. They simply lift their paw and put it down on the carpet, like stomping. You teach them to do that in response to a hand cue, then move on to holding up fingers. You give them the cue until they do the requested number, and from there on you just keep practicing. Slowly remove the cue, and just request the number. If they don't give enough, signal them. If they try to give too many, then just go back and signal each one. You can fall into a habit of dropping your hand when they're done or something, and this will help them know when to stop if they confused. If you ask for four, then put your hand(s) down a split second after the fourth "stomp" and praise her.


Experienced Member
I've seen a card trick with a dog.
A person holds a pack of 10 cards towards the dog and says "pick a card ", the dog then nose touchs a card, she remembers the card that the dog chose.
She shuffles the cards, picks out a card that isn't the chosen one and says " is this the card ? " , pointing to the card with her finger; the dog is silent.
She picks another card that isn't the one chosen and says again " is this the card ? "; again pointing, and the dog is silent.
After doing this with a few cards, she picks the chosen card, and changes her finger pointing slightly , asking " is this the card ? ", the dog barks.
The trick is, she taught the dog to "speak" on a certain finger signal, making it appear as though the dog was looking at the different cards.


Experienced Member
This card trick is awesome!!!
I think I'll try this once, but not with barking (I can't get Pami to bark, and I don't really want to... :)), but nodding the head! :)


Honored Member

How did you get Pami to move her head into a nodding? Luring with a treat you move up and down????


Honored Member
I did teach Buddy the card trick above, but, i make Buddy pull out ONE card (which WAS the hardest part), i show everyone the card, "Buddy has picked out the 8 of hearts" or whatever,
act like i am showing it to Buddy:ROFLMAO: who looks at it, but sits there doing nothing
and shuffled the deck,
put a different card in front of Buddy's face, "Is this your card?"
I pull out another card, "Is this your card?"
and then, i fan out the deck, refind the 8 of hearts (or whatever card he had pulled out)
and then
i SWITCH HANDS, now holding the deck with 8 of hearts in front now, I also raise my eyebrows, i hold the deck with slighly different hand position,

and ask, "How about this one?"

weird thing is,
almost every human i show this trick to,
says, "but YOU put the card in front for him...he did not re-find the card, YOU did":rolleyes:

so NOW, i preface the trick, with, "Buddy can READ cards and recognize the card he has picked out".

either that, or i will have to learn an ACTUAL "slight of hand" card trick,
as many humans don't seem to appreciate the dog appears to be recognizing the card he was shown at beginning of trick...


Honored Member
also, teaching Buddy to bark when i raise my eyebrows,
did make me aware,
of how many times a day i DO raise my eyebrows!!
rofl...too funny.

but, since he wasn't getting rewarded for barking if i raise my eyebrows, he did fade that response back out.