Need some tips on how to stop your dog from barking in class?
If Fido is so loud that you can’t even hear the trainer, then you might be!
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place to get help and support.
Just keep on reading for 10 secret tips on how to curb your dog’s excessive barking in class.
10 Invaluable Tips to Stop Your Dog From Barking in Class
Obedience training also teaches your dog manners and can help you identify behavior problems early.
However, group classes can be quite embarrassing if your dog keeps barking.
You’re too frustrated to pay proper attention to what the trainer is showing you, and you feel the other owners’ judgmental looks.
We’ve got your back with these fantastic tips on how to stop your dog from barking.
#1 Talk to the Trainer
My first tip is to talk to the trainer and explain what’s bothering you.
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to say that you’re having problems or that the trainer’s instructions aren’t working for your dog.
A good trainer has many tricks up their sleeve and won’t get offended or accuse you of not following directions.
They will work with you and your dog to solve the problem.
If the trainer doesn’t pay you attention or you’re uncomfortable with their training methods, it might be time to look for a new dog training service.
#2 Determine Why Your Dog Is Barking
To manage your dog’s barking, you have to understand why your dog is barking (the video below can help).
Is your Rover aggressive, or is he reacting to triggers?
You can manage reactive barking with the right training strategy, but aggression is another matter.
Usually, dogs bark in class because they’re uncomfortable, neglected, overwhelmed, or excited by the other dogs and all those strange people.
Such dogs might appear aggressive, but they aren’t.
On the other hand, dogs aggressive to other dogs or people will have hard eyes, rigid bodies, and raised hackles.
These dogs wait until the last “second” to attack and appear offensive rather than defensive.
Aggressive dogs don’t have a place in a group class since they’re a danger to other dogs and people.
If your dog is aggressive, you’ll have to consider dog aggression training – private training or boot camp.
#3 Keep Your Emotions Under Control
Your dog starts barking in class, and you feel the embarrassment creeping up your face.
When the other dog owners start giving you “the look,” your stress levels go up the roof. Does it sound familiar?
Getting worked up is the worst thing you can do when your dog starts barking.
Dogs pick up emotions, and if you’re stressed, your pet will be on edge.
Try to stay calm and radiate that all is well.
Otherwise, your dog will bark more because your pet thinks there’s something amiss.
Why else would you be so worried?
#4 Teach Your Dog to Focus
One way to stop your dog from barking in class is to teach your pet to focus on you.
It’s a neat trick to make your dog stop whatever they’re doing and pay attention to you.
Here’s how to do it, using positive reinforcement:
- Prepare plenty of tasty high-value treats and go to a distraction-free room.
- Say your dog’s name and the command, “watch me.”
- If your dog looks at your face, you reward and praise them enthusiastically. You can also mark the behavior with a training tool, such as a clicker.
- In case your dog doesn’t react to their name, you can wave a treat under your pet’s nose to attract their attention. Then move the reward up towards your face.
- Practice every day and in a variety of situations.
#5 Reward Good Behavior
What do you do when your dog starts barking in class?
Paying your dog more attention or giving them treats to silence them is a bad idea.
You send the wrong message that barking gets your dog rewards.
- Don’t pull the leash, don’t pet your dog to calm them down, and don’t shout.
- Wait for your dog to go quiet.
- The moment your dog stops howling to take a breath, give them a treat.
Eventually, your dog will realize that being quiet during the class gets them tasty rewards, and they will stop barking.
This reward training works very well, but you need to be consistent.
#6 Distract with Toys
Usually, dogs start barking in class because they’re bored.
You’re listening to the trainer and trying to remember all that information, while your pet is idle.
Of course, your dog will bark to try to attract your attention.
Besides treats, you can try to distract your dog with a toy to stop them from barking in class.
If your dog is busy chewing on something, they won’t have the desire to bark and will be occupied while you’re listening to the instructions:
- Bring your dog’s favorite toys, along with some tempting chews, such as peanut-butter filled Kings.
- When you notice that your dog is about to open their mouth, give them the toy.
- Do it every time you notice your dog is getting ready to bark.
#7 Walk Away From Class
For most dogs, classes are fun because they meet other dogs and explore exciting smells and surroundings.
You can use that to your advantage.
To get your dog to stop barking in class, leave the room when your dog starts baying.
You want to show your dog that being loud means an end to their fun.
When the dog is calm, you can get back to class and continue with your work.
Some training centers have visual barriers for “noisy” dogs.
You can use them when your dog’s howling gets out of hand and still be part of the class.
#8 Exercise Your Dog Before Class
There’s one saying that many dog owners ignore – a tired dog is a good dog.
Go for a walk, play games with your dog, use exercise wheels or engage in training before you get to the class.
In this way, your dog will burn off some of their excess energy and will be too tired to bark.
Just be careful not to overtire your pet by accident.
You want your dog to be quiet, not to drop down from exhaustion on the way home.
#9 Don’t Wait Too Long
During class, observe your dog for signs that they’re about to bark or that they’re getting restless.
When you notice such signs, use one of the strategies we talked about – reward your dog, use the focus command, or distract with a toy.
If you have a small dog, you might even scoop them up.
The secret is to do all these things before the dog starts howling.
It’s twice as hard to get your dog to calm down when they’re already excited.
Better to prevent it than wonder how to deal with the barking while everybody is staring at you.
#10 Get Help
If you’ve got a barker, it’s likely difficult for you to concentrate on what the trainer is explaining.
You’re too busy trying to keep your dog calm and can’t keep track of what’s going on in the class.
My advice is to get a second person to help you.
This person might take notes during the training class while you’re wondering how to stop your dog from barking in class.
Then you can go through the information at home.
In any case, it’s better to have someone there for emotional support so that you don’t feel all alone.
Remember that the calmer you are, the calmer your dog will be.
Getting your dog to stop barking in class isn’t mission impossible.
But you’ll have to find the right strategy that works for your pooch and be consistent in how you treat barking.
Remember that the trainers are your friends in these tasks, and don’t be afraid to ask questions during or after the class ends.