Aggressive Barking in a Training Class with Dogs

by Janet

I just joined a dog training class 4 weeks ago and my dog won't stop barking in class at the other dogs!

We train for 1 hour, once per week. Then I work daily with my dog at home. I have a deer head chihuahua who is 10 months old. His name is Sammy and the 2 main problems I have with him are mouthing and barking.
He is almost potty trained and he can follow "let's pee pee or poo poo" commands. He just needs to learn to tell me when he needs to go.

This is the very best training information I have ever found and I wish I had found your site before I paid a HEFTY sum for training class. Your instructions are so easy and clear!

My main question for you right now is:

How can I stop him from aggressively barking at the dogs in class when they walk by?
All the instructor has done for me with this situation is tell me to hold him under the shoulders and keep his legs together -she says this is the calm and settled position-. However, this does not improve barking and he does not settle down at all. In fact, he gets really aggressive when a dog walks by and it is all I can do to hold him. He is only 6 lbs, but extremely strong.
The tighter you hold him, the more he fights and then even tries to nip at me so I will let him go. I am very disappointed in the instructor on this problem.

I would just like to know how to make him a nice quiet dog around other dogs. I can take him to Pet Smart anytime, but he doesn't seem to really be aggressive with the dogs when we walk around. Mainly when we are sitting in class and they walk by us- then he gets aggressive and barks.

Sometimes he will bark at them in class when she gets one to use in a training example. It is so embarrassing to me because I don't know how to stop the behavior and I am not getting any training help from the instructor.

Any suggestions you have would be wonderful. I am going to start working with him on barking with your information on How To Stop Dog Barking and teaching my dog to Settle.

Thank you so much for having this site. I love it and this will be where I will get my information to train my dog. I will let you know how our training progresses.



Janet, your question is a very important one because I know a lot of people feel embarrassed at one point or another in a dog class. I am also sorry you had such a bad experience with the trainer.

So here is my advice:

1- If you are taking a group dog class, never feel afraid to politely let your trainer know that you need help and are no getting it. Most dog trainers are excellent dog handlers but have very little people skills. To try to get the best dog trainer in your area I always recommend you search for Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT). To get this certification, trainers have to study a lot about dog behavior and class management and design.

How do you say anything polite to the trainer when you are so stressed and frustrated?

At the end of the class, take a deep breath, then start your sentence saying something nice to the trainer, something you liked from the class. Then tell her/him you have this problem and what she told you to do is not working.

A good trainer has many tricks under his/her belt and should be able to give you an alternative solution.

2- Never feel embarrassed in a dog training group class . This one is easy to say but hard to achieve, because it is so hard to control our emotions about our furry best friend. But this is very important because your pooch can sense your mood, and if your are frustrated and stressed, your puppy will not be happy with the surroundings or things that are making you upset.

As a trainer myself I can assure you I NEVER think less of a person trying to handle unsuccessfully a dog problem…that's why they are in the class after all! It is my job to help them.

3- Now to solve that barking problem. I am glad you are reading the articles about it and I hope you already found some help there.
The key to solve any dog behavior problem is to reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. So, I would tell you to give your dog treats while he is calm and quiet and ignore him when he is at the end of the leash barking.

Just grab the leash, put your hand with the leash behind your back (to prevent you from pulling on the leash) and wait….just wait…I know it's annoying and everyone is staring at you….just wait…the minute your dog looks at you or becomes quiet, you give him a treat! Repeat a few more times.
He should start getting more and more quiet and attentive on you, the one with the goodies!

If your dog won't get quiet, try to call him to you right before a dog walks by. The idea is to get his attention before he can get too excited.
For more help on this read the articles "Systematic Desensitization" and "Counter-Conditioning" which are useful techniques to help a dog become calm and happy.
Following those instructions, and depending on your dogs level of aggression you might have to start doing this a little away from the class, maybe ten steps behind everyone. Then as your pooch gets better you can start getting closer and closer.

Hope this helps! Keep us posted with your progress!

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May 31, 2021
My puppy is 5.5 months old
by: Pearline

My first dog class there were three other dogs. My puppy just kept barking at the other dogs. Now I have to put her in a private session. She is just not used to other dogs.I purchased a training barking device. Maybe that will help. Any advice.

Oct 13, 2018
Barking at training
by: Anonymous

What if your trainer takes your dog out of class, and says be glad you're getting private training? The whole point is training with other dogs, even though mine barks (shes 10 lbs)

Sep 27, 2017

by: Natalia

In answer to the last comment. Sometimes trainers need to have a little bit of quite to be able to explain something. However, the best trainers will toss treats to the dog only after he is quiet and ALSO teach the owner exactly what they are doing so then the owner can do it on his own. The first group classes with your dog can be very frustrating, but trust the trainer and watch what they are doing to learn from them!

Aug 20, 2017
by: Anonymous

Our dog was barking at his second day in class the instructor ask me to show her sit like he had practiced . I was unable to do anything with him be ause the instructor kept tossing treats while I was suppose to be getting him to sit . After three tosses of her treats . I told her to go help someone else . He would never have even looked my way as long as she kept throwing these treats in front and to the side of him . Then every time she walked by he was looking for a treat from her . I am so very frustrated!

Nov 01, 2013
Another "barker idea"
by: Anonymous

I teach 4 beginners classes a week. This is a common problem. In addition to the distractions mentioned to break the barking - treat when good and quiet; distract before the other dog comes near, I find having the owner do a courtesy turn (show ring term, used differently) helps. I have them turn the dog away in a circle - now he's moving and on to something else - toward a blank wall, pause a second or two, then return to heel position with a "Watch me", "Good Boy" and treat.

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