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I started doing Obedience classes with my 4 month old puppy yesterday, we start puppy Agility tonight so I will update how that goes. I really don't see us doing anymore obedience after this unless things change after these next 5 classes. He already knows everything they are teaching for the most part, except the complete loose leash walking we will start at some point. He is great at it until he recognizes our neighborhood and tries to run home.

Anyways, during the class they said when the dog is barking at other dogs or for whatever reason to get the puppy's attention on you and when they stop barking immediately give them a treat. I thought it was weird but, we tried anyways because we have noticed our puppy loves barking demands which is of course of a puppy thing but, we don't want it to be a bad habit when he gets older. Obi, our puppy, figured out almost instantly what they were doing so he would just bark and immediately be quiet wanting a treat. He kept doing this over and over waiting for a treat and we told them we aren't doing it this way anymore he figured out the system. So now they say during the classes if he starts barking a lot then we need to take him from the class and bring him back when he is quiet. I understand the concept but, it's kind of annoying spending the class going back and forward, maybe he will figure it out though. He is really smart.

I'm hoping that during the in between time I can work on his demanding barking so we can actually enjoy the class instead of having to leave a lot. Any tips? This is the reason I am considering no more obedience until he is at least 1. He's a puppy and he barks to communicate and to play and all these other reasons. I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of him having to be silent. He should be able to act like a puppy.

I have no problem teaching him at home, we have done really well with it. We just wanted to try the classes out to see what us and the puppy think. Hopefully the agility tonight ends up a lot more fun for us all. I just want him to learn and have fun.
 

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I'm doing a puppy kindergarten right now and a mal/shepherd barks at other dogs the trainer gets in front of her and then just keeps backing her up and taking her space until she looks up at her. She got better by the end of the class. The owners were just standing in front of her to block her view before this happened. Very different approaches I guess.
 

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I don't think your trainer understands that GSD puppies are all afflicted with Last Word Syndrome!

I am not sure I would be paying for classes where I was being told to leave every time my puppy barked. I get the attention thing, but a puppy class is for puppies. Puppies are mouthy.
 

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Teaching your dog to behave around other dogs IS the main purpose of a group obedience class! That being said, it does sound like your puppy figured out that barking gets him treats, not his focus on you. Smart puppy LOL!

IMHO training is all about communication. I'm not a big fan of shoving treats into the dog's mouth for every little thing, nor do I think that timeouts are an especially effective method of deminishing his barking in class because it assumes that your puppy would rather be in class and doesn't actually enjoy your little forays outside! If he does, you're actually reinforcing his misbehavior, not distinguishing it!

But given that these methods are what your trainer has suggested, I'm guessing it's a purely positive class/methodology, so this could be tough to get through. Personally, I'd use a negative marker (no or nope or knock it off) coupled with a small leash pop to get his attention, then immediately give him something else to do. Then you can reinforce compliance with a treat and praise. If that's not possible in class, I'd focus on it outside of class.
But focus on it I would, because you don't want your puppy to continue to think it's okay to act that way! And teaching him there's a right time to pay attention and focus won't in any way squash his personality or communication at other times.
 

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LOL your puppy is to smart for that class. I love a back talker.



First, I would put a command to the barking. Once you can turn it on, then you can turn it off :) I do the same thing with jumping. Up / Off. Bark / Quiet. Once you teach that, then you can teach him impulse control and teach him what you really want.




I also have ethical issues with a trainer not addressing an issue in class. They aren't giving you a refund for the amount of time they are giving you a "time-out". And the entire class could be learning something.
 

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Yeah, that seems unfair/silly to have you step out of class because your puppy is barking, then return. When they should assist you with working through it with him or allow you to. I feel like it's a missed training/correction opportunity for you guys.


I'm also in a puppy class right now with my 5 month old. Every once in a while he barks at the Golden Doodle in class. I think because the pup is really jerky when he moves, it gets mine excited, the owner is a little over animated as well. I have been telling him " eh, quiet" and will reset him in his position. This has been working, he then puts his focus back on me.


There have been something's that have been suggested in class that I have modified because I know it will work better for us. I think that's fine. Maybe talk to the trainer on the side - I mean this is a class full of dogs - of course some are going to bark.
 

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GSDs are too smart sometimes for training that works for other dogs! My pup likes to jump up on a baby gate. Initially, she was very responsive to our down calls but then she figured out, "Wow, I get a lot of attention when I jump" so it actually got worse even though she was ultimately listening to commands. So had to switch up and go with the ignore option instead. She's jumping less now that she figures out it doesn't get her attention anymore and if we are close to the gate, we put our backs to her which she hatesssss.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone!! I'm gonna reply to everyone individually to keep my thoughts organized haha, but we are definitely gonna go through these suggestions until we get what works FOR US.


She got better by the end of the class. The owners were just standing in front of her to block her view before this happened. Very different approaches I guess.
They were putting curtains around him to block his view from the other dogs. He wouldn't bark until the other puppies did but, like Sabis said, german shepherd puppies love having the last word!! But, after a little while the curtains stopped working because he knows the dogs are around him. Even if he doesn't see them he can still bark at them, he's too smart for their little tricks. But maybe if we do the whole blocking off thing rather than their curtains and show him we are what's important not everything around him then this might help.

I don't think your trainer understands that GSD puppies are all afflicted with Last Word Syndrome!

I am not sure I would be paying for classes where I was being told to leave every time my puppy barked. I get the attention thing, but a puppy class is for puppies. Puppies are mouthy.
:laugh2: Ain't that the truth!! Last Word Syndrome, I love it! I was thinking the same thing!! He always has to have the last word. We knew what we were getting in to before we got another GSD puppy. We can handle his mouthiness haha. It's easier at home in our own environment rather than when the instructor is talking to everyone and Obi wants to have a conversation with us. The sending us outside didn't happen until the last 10 minutes but it was still annoying and got me thinking the same thing. What am I paying for if we aren't in there. Luckily my brother was with me and said he would keep track of each lesson when we were sent out. Like you said, I definitely understand the importance of it though. Hopefully we have solved the problem before our next class on Tuesday, but if I need to I will talk to the instructor and voice my concerns.

I'm not a big fan of shoving treats into the dog's mouth for every little thing, nor do I think that timeouts are an especially effective method of deminishing his barking in class....

But focus on it I would, because you don't want your puppy to continue to think it's okay to act that way! And teaching him there's a right time to pay attention and focus won't in any way squash his personality or communication at other times.
Thank you for the reassurance. I can say that it was in the back of my mind that teaching him not to bark there would change the way he is outside of class. I love our talkative little guy, but I want him to know that training is his job right now, even he is an adorable ball of fur. You're also exactly right, he was so excited to go out of the class and wanted to play with me. He did want to go back in the class though, he jumped at the door and it was obvious but he got over it immediately. So it doesn't seem like either of their 2 ways are gonna work. It also is indeed a positive class like you said. I really don't like drowning him in treats. When he is first learning something, then sure treats are cool but, not when he knows it and will do the command any other time. So we brought out our clicker and used that lower the amount of treats. He already knows the click means a treat is coming.

Once you can turn it on, then you can turn it off :)

I also have ethical issues with a trainer not addressing an issue in class.
It is so hard sometimes not to laugh at his sassiness! It's still really cute haha. I actually really like your idea of the on and off switch. We actually just started doing that with Up and off. I didn't think of teaching him speak yet, he already does it so much. I'm gonna start that for sure. I'm definitely not gonna keep with the leaving that class thing all the time, if that's their only other option then they have lost us. Hopefully during the next week I can find what works for us and do things our own way and enjoy the class.

I feel like it's a missed training/correction opportunity for you guys.

..... and will reset him in his position.

..... Maybe talk to the trainer on the side - I mean this is a class full of dogs - of course some are going to bark.
I completely agree. Instead of sending us out I feel like we should have been trying different ways to get Obi's attention. Tricks worked to get him to do something else, but after the start of their class he just wanted treats. With the week in between the classes we will have a chance to reset and get things going our own way. Worst case I will talk to the trainer, but hopefully we get things moving our own way.

GSDs are too smart sometimes for training that works for other dogs! So had to switch up and go with the ignore option instead.
I definitely agree. Ignore will definitely be something we do more at home if it comes down to it. Doing that at home will be much easier than at the trainers, cause he can bark all he wants until he gets the picture.
 

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I don't think your trainer understands that GSD puppies are all afflicted with Last Word Syndrome!
That is SUCH an accurate description! LOL. Sez she who lives with a highly opinionated little girl.

Aly

ETA, OP you've gotten a lot of good advice so I don't have anything to add. Just wanted to mention that I really like your thoughtful approach and to keep on enjoying that sassy boy.
 

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That is SUCH an accurate description! LOL. Sez she who lives with a highly opinionated little girl.

Aly
I like it when the dogs back talk. I have a great memory of Sabi arguing with me across the coffee table over pizza bones. Makes me smile every time.
I view it as a request for engagement, rather then a demand for attention. Semantics I know but sometimes life is all how you look at it.
 

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I view it as a request for engagement, rather then a demand for attention. Semantics I know but sometimes life is all how you look at it.
I love talkative dogs! I agree that life is often a matter of perspective, but I don't think that what you've described is just semantics. I think that not only are they trying to engage you (and that's very desirable IMO), they're often trying to tell you something. Sometimes it's not important in the grand scheme of things (e.g., "I am gonna die if we don't go play kickball RIGHT NOW"), but sometimes it's critical (e.g., "Wake up, the oven is smoking!").

Then too, I've always talked to all of my animals, so why wouldn't they talk back?

Aly
 

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my big-boy lately hangs around with a "I trust you'll figure it out eventually" attitude most of the time. If he talks to us it must be important. My gal, on the other hand, will give a couple of barks as if there is someone outside. I turn to see and find out she is staring at me! What? Have I spent too much time on the computer?
 

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As I have said before, to each their own. In my world idiocy is encouraged.

Therefore it stands to reason that along with hugging, sitting on me, vaulting on furniture and herding me to the door I also encourage voicing of opinions and ideas.

Like Aly, I talk to the animals(and the TV) so why shouldn't they talk back?

My dogs are required to live by the house rules, beyond that everything is negotiable. They cannot negotiate if they cannot speak. As far as barking in a puppy class, I understand the concept of not barking I just disagree with it. To my mind it's like a toddler swearing, ignore it and it becomes much less appealing and stops on its own.
 

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... As far as barking in a puppy class, I understand the concept of not barking I just disagree with it. To my mind it's like a toddler swearing, ignore it and it becomes much less appealing and stops on its own.
Frankly, a trainer that insists on not barking in a PUPPY CLASS would have me asking for an immediate refund and looking for another class/trainer. That curtain image had me lol. Even as puppies, all of my dogs would have simply shoved it aside to rejoin the class --- commenting as they did so.

I might have helped them too...

;)

Incorrigible Aly
 

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Blocking this little guy with a curtain because he's barking is crazy sauce!


Gah! I wish we could join you in class with our GSD pups. Really give them something to talk about. lol


I would consider another training facility.
 

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My trainer had also talked to us about teaching Halsey to bark on command and then teaching her to stop would be much easier. We've worked on up for jumping up on us when we want it and are still working on off with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
At least I know I'm not weird for thinking their teaching style is weird. I'll try one more class but, if I don't like it next week then I will probably ask for my money back. Hope everything goes smoothly. They seem like nice people, with good intentions so maybe all I need to do is make sure the understand my intentions as well. But I will respond to more messages personally when I get home to my computer tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I view it as a request for engagement, rather then a demand for attention. Semantics I know but sometimes life is all how you look at it.
I love talkative dogs! I agree that life is often a matter of perspective, but I don't think that what you've described is just semantics. I think that not only are they trying to engage you (and that's very desirable IMO), they're often trying to tell you something. Sometimes it's not important in the grand scheme of things (e.g., "I am gonna die if we don't go play kickball RIGHT NOW"), but sometimes it's critical (e.g., "Wake up, the oven is smoking!").

Then too, I've always talked to all of my animals, so why wouldn't they talk back?

Aly

See I am the same way. I talk to my dog. They're the best listeners, they're funny, loving, and all around the best. I love how vocal he is. I know that he sounds different ways when he wants different things. I've spent so much time with him and I've learned so much about him because he talks to me. They offered to teach us how to train our dogs to wait in a certain spot when someone rings the doorbell so they don't run to the door and bark. But I love that my dog runs right to my side and barks letting whoever is at the door know hes on the way. It's his home. Rules are different in our home va outside in various environments. It's a whole other sense of security. I understand there are times he needs to be quiet. But not during an entire puppy class. It's not like he isn't paying attention to me when hes barking. If anything he is more focused on me then than he is just hanging out laying there.
 

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No, you're not weird in your reaction to the puppy class. I have two thoughts about that. First, if you're not comfortable or satisfied, leave and find another trainer/class. (Keep in mind that you may not get a refund even if you request it). The second thought is to stay in the class, but use it for your own purposes. That is how I typically handle obedience classes with my dogs. I do their training myself and then find a class that fits my schedule and vaguely fits my ideas about training. My goal is to teach/show the dog that the same commands/rules apply regardless of where we are and/or who's around us. I've usually done my (age-appropriate) exposures first (e.g., passing people/dogs during walkies, watching groups play soccer, visiting the vet office, going to a barn, home depot, etc.), but nothing beats a roomful of strange dogs/puppies for distraction. I always talk to the trainers about my goals before joining the class so that they know I'm not there as some kind of subversive. (Okay, so maybe they think that anyway, but they were forewarned. LOL). None has ever refused and I often learn a different way to teach the same thing; more tools, it's a win-win.

As to door behavior, I let my dogs go ahead of me to the door, barking all the way. All of them know the command 'place' and there's a runner near the door that we use for that purpose. So, they can literally swarm the door until I arrive, but once I do, they must go to the place, sit and wait while I open the door and greet who's there. Usually it's a neighbor or a friend. Strangers see my dogs outside (90 pd Rachel's the smallest dog I've had in decades) and rarely approach the house.

Keep talking to him. I think it deepens the bond and it's fun and funny.

Aly
 
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