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My almost 5 month old puppy is currently attending a puppy group training class. It’s him and about 5 other pups. Currently my puppy has an issue with barking at dogs that we’re trying to work on. The way I usually deal with it in real life situations is by creating distance and then treating calm behaviour. I can’t really create distance in the puppy class though, because we’re indoors in a room. Even if I back us up into the farthest corner and try to get him focused on a treat/command, he is still pulling/barking/whining to get to the other dogs. To the point that sometimes he disrupts the class with his barking. It also isn’t all that enjoyable for us to be stepping on his leash and having him jump around for the entire hour. Any tips?? There are also two instances during the hour where the puppies get to be off leash and play with eachother, and it’s his (and our) favourite part of the class.
 

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EC -- MMc is a current puppy class instructor and has had great success , pretty sure she will chime in here with advice .

Mr. Business was also a mess at first in his puppy class , One thing that worked for me was teaching the " Sit on the dog " at home , second was I was the last to enter the class , if he started barking and rasin cain I would turn him around and walk out of the class , then try again , it could take several attempts but he would settle down , I feel your pain lol we also got stuck sitting in the far corner .

Good luck
 

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I always let my instructor(s) know what I am having trouble with and/or worried about and ask not only for their help, but ask to alter what we do to accommodate that. In your case, I'd let them know I will likely be taking my puppy out of the room to get him/her to calm down a bit before coming back into the room.
When our girl was younger, she was very excited about the other pups in class. Fortunately we were in a very large open space, and we could easily move off quite a distance where she could settle a bit and work. As class progressed, we moved her closer and closer and within 15 minutes or so, we were with everyone else.
As a puppy class instructor (long ago), I always appreciated my students' voicing concerns and was more than happy to help them set their puppy up for success.
Don't hesitate to do whatever you need to get your dog in the best shape possible.
 

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KC ,are you sure ? lol That Zany looks like a Princess :)
I just post all the good stuff, haha! She is often called "tiny spawn of Satan" for good reason!
 

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Thanks, Doc!
Before folks even come to class, I send them a list of stuff to bring and that includes at least 2 different “puppy pacifiers” (I learned that from the woman I assisted). One is usually a chew toy and the other is usually a frozen stuffed Kong.
Over the past 6 months, and 42 puppies, this has been effective for all of them. I am surprised your instructor hasn’t mentioned that.
What you are describing is typical for lots of puppies and group class is a great place for them to realize that it is not all about them, all the time (it just feels that way for the owner 😁). You need to correct and redirect when the pup kicks up a fuss.
The pacifiers should be something amazing that the pup loves and doesn’t get often but not something super messy or odiferous (for the sake of your classmates).
Also, you may want to consider skipping group play to show the puppy that training class doesn’t always end the way he wants. If you do this, throw him a big party of praise and tiny treats when you get out of sight of the other puppies, essentially rewarding him for making the right choice to go quietly.
 

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I avoid "puppy" classes where a group (and I don't care if it's a large group or a very small one) are allowed to play. If it's the only thing I can find to get the pup into and he's really excitable about other dogs--I make sure the instructor knows that I'll be walking out of the class if I can't get that puppy to settle down in the presence of other dogs and I won't be staying for the "play" sessions.

This works for me and has worked for all of the Dobes. By the time they are 6 months and either have been or will shortly be in the conformation ring they have learned that they are never going to be allowed to play with another dog while on leash or in the presence of a bunch of other leashed dogs.

For most of the puppies I've raise all the barking and play bowing to other dog and puppies is just part of being a puppy--the barking usually means nothing except excitement and I know that I can get it under control fairly quickly.

dobebug
 

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I am not a fan of allowing puppies to play either. If I'm honest this doesn't sound like a very good trainer/class. They should be helping you to calm him. That's what happens in the FIRST DAY at the place where I attend puppy classes.
He's likely being over stimulated and wanting to play. I'd suggest not feeding him before the class and taking high value treats like cheese or chicken or hotdog...

If high value treats don't bring his attention to you and calm him, sit on the floor and force him onto his back between your legs. Pin him down if you have to by controlling his head, control the head, control the dog. Once he stops struggling give him calm relaxing praise and gently pat his belly. The first few times you do this, it's not going to be pretty, he's going to fight you pretty hard. You are the boss and you need to make sure YOU get YOUR WAY. So you may want to try this at home a few times. After he is calm for a bit allow him to get up and start working on some training with the treats. If he starts acting crazy and barking it's back to laying on your lap and being calm. Rinse and repeat. You may not get a lot accomplished in the first class but you should see a pretty big improvement by the next class.

Good luck
 

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I agree with Kristen to definitely talk to the instructor - they are there to help you be successful!

Unlike a few others, I do take my puppies to classes that have playtime, but I'm pretty particular with where I go and the structure of the class. We start at maybe 10-12 weeks old go for 6-8 weeks or so. The class is structured to be the first 40 minutes or so working on starting to teach commands, working individually with your puppy in the group setting, and then there is a very short time of group play, generally broken into two different groups based on puppy size and play style. Pups will play for maybe 3 minutes, and then they take a break (you catch your puppy since recall out of play is impossible at this age!), they calm down, and then they play again for another few minutes, and then they are done. The last ten minutes of class they work on mat skills.

In any case, the first thing I'd do is ask for some guidance from the instructor - that's what they are there for!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We're still attending this class, and the trainer just recommended that I take him to a different room when he barks.. I'm wanting him to overcome this though, not just avoid it. I'm thinking that when this training class finishes, that we'll go to a personal trainer to overcome specific issues. The barking is non-existant if I treat him constantly as dogs pass, but dogs don't pass by my house often enough for me to really make it a training session. Does anyone know what types of places have a steady dog flow? Pet store parking lots?
 

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The point of removing your dog from the class when he starts the barking--isn't entirely about the avoiding the things that make him bark (since some of it is clearly a desire to play with the other dogs--not just to bark) removing --means you are stopping the behavior by not letting him continue to self reward (barking is part of puppy play behavior).

Personally that's exactly what I'd be doing--deprivition of desired (ends, objects etc) is a better way to handle some things than trying to distract by doing nothing but feeding treas--which sometimes clearly ends up appearing to the dog as a reward for the behavior.

During the winter months you may have a hard time finding a place where dogs are around but you can avoid interacting with them at all. Finding any kind of pet store is probably your best chance but you may have to wait until it's warmer, nicrer and drier.

dobebug
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The point of removing your dog from the class when he starts the barking--isn't entirely about the avoiding the things that make him bark (since some of it is clearly a desire to play with the other dogs--not just to bark) removing --means you are stopping the behavior by not letting him continue to self reward (barking is part of puppy play behavior).

Personally that's exactly what I'd be doing--deprivition of desired (ends, objects etc) is a better way to handle some things than trying to distract by doing nothing but feeding treas--which sometimes clearly ends up appearing to the dog as a reward for the behavior.

During the winter months you may have a hard time finding a place where dogs are around but you can avoid interacting with them at all. Finding any kind of pet store is probably your best chance but you may have to wait until it's warmer, nicrer and drier.

dobebug
I understand the point of removing him temorarily, but he just removes us for the entire class, so that we can see the instructor, but Cyber can’t see anything. Is he learning anything if he’s just not participating at all? We’re still doing the exercises with him, but seperate from everyone else
 

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I understand the point of removing him temorarily, but he just removes us for the entire class, so that we can see the instructor, but Cyber can’t see anything. Is he learning anything if he’s just not participating at all? We’re still doing the exercises with him, but seperate from everyone else
Perhaps you can ask to work on getting Cyber's focus back while you're removed, but then come back to class and try again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How many classes have you had ?
We’ve had 6 classes. 2 more left. For 4 of those classes, he barked the whole time and was just “allowed to”. For the past 2 classes, we’ve been put into the foyer. We’re behind one of those half half doors, we can see out, but the bottom door is closed so that Cyber can’t see out.
 
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