I have a 6 month old Black Lab. I taught him to speak, and somewhere along the line he picked up this strange behavior. It's like the speak command is a heated seat button in a car, where you press it once for high, twice for low, and three times for off.
To get the desired reaction, he needs to be given the speak command three times.
Attempt 1: The dog responds with an exaggerated jaw movement, and low volume (call it 10%) bark, as if to say, "I acknowledge your command, and will respond accordingly, using my inside voice".
Attempt 2: Same as before, but with a medium volume (say 40%) bark
Attempt 3: The desired reaction, his full blown, guttural Lab bark
It's proven hard to correct because I don't know why he does it in the first place, and I don't want to reward him for getting it right after three attempts. How should I go about correcting this behavior?