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Discussion Starter #1
Yogi has been doing well at his puppy obedience classes except for one thing...he barks a lot when the trainer is giving the lesson! Yogi's sister also attends and I know he barks because he wants to play with her, but it is annoying and sometimes he'll stop if we divert his attention by making him sit or lay down with a treat, but then it starts back up again.

He usually only barks when he wants to play or when he gets frustrated and wants up onto the couch. He's a Shih tzu, Bichon, Maltese mix, but he barks a lot more than his sister does.

I just wanted to know how we can curb him barking so much at inappropriate times. My husband said to get an airhorn, but I'm not sure if that would solve the problem. I think it would just make him scared. I use a pop can with pennies occasionally and shake it. We just want to correct this behavior before it gets worse.
 

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Be careful you're not rewarding his barking by giving him a treat to distract him! When he barks and you give him a tasty treat right after, he associates barking as a good thing that gives him food when does it.

In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to reward him for when he is quiet. Get him to sit and keep his attention on you. Wait until he stops barking and remains calm for at least 5 or more seconds, then reward him for being quiet.
 

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As Wolfiee pointed out treating at the wrong time can actually make things worse.

If it's excitement barking slow everything down.....all of your body motions need to be calm, deliberate and almost slow motion.

If it's frustration...he's not really sure what he's supposed to do or how he's supposed to it...start over. Immediately do something he knows well, like a sit. Praise and treat for the sit. That takes him out of the frustration mode.
Now, the hard part....what caused the frustration? If it was a complex exercise that you were doing, take it in smaller, easier to understand steps. Use the same slow, deliberate body motions as before.

Excessive body motions will confuse most dogs...they don't know how to read jerky movements (shifting feet, rapid arm movements, bending over, then left and right). Not saying you do these things but, it's a common mistake by most handlers and is quite confusing.
 

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Isn't this something the trainer is supposed to address?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There were 2 trainers-while the one was speaking to the whole class and Yogi was barking, the other trainer came up and directed Yogi to look at her and then gave him a treat. I'm guessing that was wrong. Then she contradicted herself by saying you're supposed to ignore it and then treat him when he's been quiet.

Oh by saying he barks when he gets frustrated I meant not in training. He does well when we work on the commands/tricks with him. He barks when he wants something, like getting up on the couch.
 

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Ignore the bad behavior, wait until he is quiet for a bit, then treat! It should work in all situations, like the couch.

My 10 week old puppy has been doing the same thing (barking when he wants up).
 

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Wanting to get up on the couch and barking is called Demand barking...same class as "I want my food now!" The food thing is also Excitement barking however and very hard to control as it's really two kinds of barking at the same time.
 

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There were 2 trainers-while the one was speaking to the whole class and Yogi was barking, the other trainer came up and directed Yogi to look at her and then gave him a treat. I'm guessing that was wrong. Then she contradicted herself by saying you're supposed to ignore it and then treat him when he's been quiet.
Depends on who's criteria you're using on whether it was wrong or not. Distracting the dog in class would be appropriate IMO, because the training required to get the dog to not bark in class isn't going to happen at the climax of the behavior...unless you get harshly punitive or manage the dog in other ways.

Why not just give the dog a puppy pacifier (stuffed Kong) while the lessons are being conducted? You can extinguish (ignore) the behavior at home. Trying to train out the puppy, in a puppy, during a puppy class isn't within the scope of the course IMO.
 

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I think I have to write to my trainer and thank her again for her incredible awesomeness. Our classes were capped at 6 people so she could give each of us individual attention, and treated every unexpected outbreak of dogness as a teaching opportunity. We had an excitable, 9-month old GSP who was about as rambunctious as you would expect; each outburst became another demonstration for the entire class to learn from.
 

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Wanting to get up on the couch and barking is called Demand barking...same class as "I want my food now!" The food thing is also Excitement barking however and very hard to control as it's really two kinds of barking at the same time.

I'm actually demanding Wally demand his food by making him bark before I feed him? :D

Me: "Bark. Or you don't eat." (that's basically what my holding the bowl and looking at him is saying)

Wally: "But...I'm hungry" <looks up at me with wide, eager eyes>

Me: <no change>

Wally: "Fine! FEED ME NOW!" <Barks and in about 10 different ways>

Me: Good. <gives food>

Wally: FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! <pounces on food and eats the whole bowl in like 5 minutes>
 

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There were 2 trainers-while the one was speaking to the whole class and Yogi was barking, the other trainer came up and directed Yogi to look at her and then gave him a treat. I'm guessing that was wrong. Then she contradicted herself by saying you're supposed to ignore it and then treat him when he's been quiet.
Honestly she probably did it so that everyone could hear the first part of the class. All of my classes start with 5-6 dogs, and at least one barks all class. I have had people complain about me not doing anything, despite my explanation of WHY I'm not doing anything. I have to constantly remind people "Your dog is quiet, treat him!"
 
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