Petsmart dog training
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Thread: Petsmart dog training

  1. #1
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    Petsmart dog training

    Every time I go in with my puppy they ask me about joining their classes. I've sat in on a few and they look pretty decent. I like the fact that they don't use choke/pinch collars and they seem to use strictly positive reinforcement. (no leash tugs or anything from the trainer i talked to)

    I'm just wondering if it has worked for anyone. It looks like it could be something that varries from store to store but the people seemed really friendly and a lot of the dogs I met in the store coming out of the advanced class were pretty well behaved at least as far as i'd really need.

    Walking well on a leash, sitting, not jumping when being introduced to people, etc..

    Anyone familiar with their program?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    I go there with my German Shepherd puppy and i like it a lot. The classes are free for me because I actually work at petsmart. I paid for the first puppy class and could have got a refund because I was hired within a week but I decided not to because I enjoyed it a lot.

    I will warn you, it does depend on the store/trainer. The first 4 weeks were fine until one day I was trying to teach my dog "leave it" and the trainers "demo dog" a pit bull was sitting there trying to take my dogs treat. This of course made it impossible to get my dog to even THINK about leaving her treat for another dog to take.

    Finally I had to walk her dog back over to her just so I could finish this trick. She also warned me that if Pandora tries to correct her dog she might get hurt in the process. I didn't think my dog was wrong trying to defend a treat she knew was to be hers. And if her dog would even think about attacking a customers dog then it shouldn't be in the store (in my opinion).

    Now, after working there for quite awhile I know this pit bull is harmless and very well trained. But that one session made me switch trainers that same night but since then this new trainer at the same store that I go to is wonderful with my dog. She is newer to training but very well informed and has helped me quite often. She also takes the time to explain why she does such things and even when im not in class just working with her she will sit around with me and we'll just chat.

    Also, with petsmart training don't just expect them to do the work for you. You will get much more out of their classes if you take what you learn in class and practice with your dog daily and whenever possible. They teach YOU how to train your dog. You can't just show up to class every week and expect a miracle.

    Anyhow, in my experience this has worked pretty well. Pandora is responding to positive reinforcement more than I thought she would.

    Ask the trainer if you can bring your dog to a class or just to a private setting with her/him. See how she/he reacts with your pooch and I guess decide from there.

    I'm sure there are better qualified trainers but I like petsmart. At the end of class they also let the dogs play with one another which at least for Shepherds is great for socialization. I think this helps to curve possible dog-aggression later in life (which I hope to avoid).

    Hope this helps.

  4. #3
    Senior Member MyCharlie's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    We actually had our first puppy class at Pet Smart tonight and I thought it was great! I was going to go with another trainer, but she was waiting for the class to fill up before starting and I didn't want to wait a few weeks to get Charlie started so we signed up with the Pet Smart class instead. At first I was reluctant because when I called the store the person who answered wasn't real informative but after meeting the teacher last week while shopping she was great and that made my mind up.

    Anyway, about tonight's class - it is a puppy class and we just talked tonight. She gave advice about how they use positive reinforcement and about how to deal with potty training, crate training, biting/chewing, etc. so Charlie didn't really get to interact with the other dog. One thing I would ask about is how many other dogs are signed up for the class. In our class it's only Charlie and one other little teeny girl so I'm a little disappointed because I'm afraid to let him play with her and hurt her. They have another class that started last Saturday so I may actually see how that class is and may switch him.

    I'm not sure what kind of training they get to become trainers, but some of the techniques she mentioned I wasn't real sure about (like squirting with a water bottle to stop biting). But she also said some great things, like how important it is to socialize your puppy now, and how important certain commands (like "look") are. So like SMoore said, I'm sure a lot of it depends on the trainer.

    Okay, I'm rambling...... but so far we're happy (although it's only been 1 class)!

  5. #4
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    well while I have not had petsmart training classes. I'd say just like any class whether dog training or taking college level chemistry, its all in the teacher. and don't think simply because a class is offered by some prestegious kennel club that the training is necessarily above the rest. trust me been there, done that, ridiculously horrible experience! not saying that the kennel club was bad, just our trainer had no idea how to give instruction.
    I'd say sit in on one if you can and see if its something you want to pursue.

  6. #5
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    I learned a couple of things from my experience with Petsmart trainers. The first was that they are better prepared to deal with little dogs. Our entire class was comprised of small dogs except for our german shepherd puppy. When our pup developed some issues, the second thing I learned was that the Petsmart trainers are taught certain techniques but they are not taught the "why" behind what they are told to instruct you to do.

    Our Petsmart trainer was a nice young man, and we still visit him every time we're in the store, but we only attended three training sessions. I hired a private behaviorist/trainer to work with us at home and she was wonderful and more helpful to us with our breed.

  7. #6
    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    The classes at any place, Petsmart or anywher else, depends completely on the trainer. We get this question on the forum (about Petsmart) at least once every month. So do a search at the top of the page for the topic and you can read past threads. The short story is that it is all very individual.

    There are certain techniques they cannot and will not train you for because of the liability. That's why they don't use choke chains. I believe not giving paying customers all of the options is a disservice. Some dogs need choke chains and pinch collars. However, they should never be used on a small dog due to trachea problems. But that limitation (liability) washes over into many areas of training. So you are really left with only half the options. Just my take on things.
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes. Being wise is learning from others' mistakes.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    I don't like their typical training environment - a roped off section in the middle of the store. Some of the newer Petsmarts have training areas more defined at the front of the stores that are separated by half walls and plexiglass....I still thinks it's too distracting for new-to-training dogs and owners, but it's better than being smack in the middle of the store. I'm sure there are lovely Petsmart trainers, but most of the ones I've known/talked to have about as much dog sense and experience as my little finger. I'd look for an experienced trainer you feel comfortable communicating with.

    I would stay away from trainers who say they *only* use positive reinforcement (dogs learn by corrections too! Sometimes faster, more efficiently and with less confusion/frustration) or trainers that 100% eliminate various training tools. Not all dogs are the same and they can't all be taught by the same cookie cutter methods. I want a trainer that has the experience and knowledge to help an owner find the right/appropriate training tools and the right training techniques for their particular dog. I just haven't seen that at Petsmart.
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  9. #8
    Member KumoES's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    The main trainer at my petsmart, Emily, has been wonderful to work with. I took Kumo to her puppy class and while he's an absolute nightmare *at* class, he's better for it at home. There were 7 of us in that class. I think it depends on day and time of year.

    Just on sunday we started the next in the series. There's only one other dog in the class, but that's great for dealing with distractions, and especially for training our pups to sit when dealing with a distraction. One other dog is a lot less tempting than 6.

    But I do very much think it depends on the trainer.

  10. #9
    Junior Member Christen's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    Chester and I completed Puppy School with flying colors and had a great time! Everytime we walked into the store, he got so excited about being there that I ended up having to walk him around the store before class to chill him out. :P

    I think I was pretty lucky with my class cause there was only me and one other owner / puppy, so it was very one-on-one when we needed it, and the trainer, Ryan, was awesome. I liked that the class was held in the middle of the store - it is a controlled environment among chaos, and making a puppy focus in that environment worked well in getting him to pay attention when we're out in public.

    You really have to be sure you have time to work with the puppy at home, though, and not just rely on the classes - the classes will teach you how to teach your dog the behaviour you want, but only positive reinforcement at home will make the lessons stick!

  11. #10
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    Hey there.. I have taken Chloe to puppy, beginnner, and intermediate classes all at petsmart. She is the best trained dog I know. My trainer at petsmart is extremely knowledgable when it comes to training dogs. She was a wonder to work with. We are just waiting for the advanced adult classes to start up in our area and we will be going to them as well.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Dogstar's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    It really, really depends on your trainer.

    There's one trainer in my area I *loathe*. She's rude, she's got HORRIBLE leash handling skills (to the point that if I were to be forced at gunpoint to take one of her classes, she could use my dog in a demo when she pried the leash out of my fingers- lots of inadvertant corrections and HORRIBLE timing- and timing is essential if you're doing operant conditioning with a verbal marker instead of a clicker) and she's just not knowlegable at ALL- she walked up to my friend's Dalmatian, and without asking, told him to sit, and then popped a BIG piece of freeze dried liver in his mouth! Now, firstly, you do not tell someone's dog what to do without asking unless it's something like telling the dog to get off/down if they're jumping, or hush if they're quiet- something that's actively impacting you. Grady was standing very politely at heel while Lindsay counted out change. Secondly, liver is full of purines- which are the primary cause of urinary tract stones- which most Dals lack the enzyme to process. Liver is NOT something you ive to a dalmatian, EVER- and heck, even if he hadn't been a dalmatian, he could have had food allergies, he could have had a sensitive stomach (the treat was HUGE- and it would have given Mal the runs for at least 2-3 days.). And she got all nasty when Lindsay got very upset when she had to scrape it out of the inside of Grady's mouth- he dropped most of it but it had disintigrated when it got slobbery. A dog who was not as well-trained to drop ANYTHING would have swallowed at least some of it. UGH. And I've gotten at LEAST 6 training clients from that neighborhood who tell me they've taken petsmart classes with their dogs but have dogs who don't even have the faintest idea how to sit, down, or walk along on leash with a lure. I wish they'd fire her!

    OTOH, there are two- possibly three now, I was at Petsmart the other night and watched part of a class that looked very impressive, I'm going to watch another and I may sign Lizzie up for a puppy class with that instructor if her puppy class is good- she was teaching touch-targeting as a part of LLW and her instructions (I couldnj't hear, as it was in the glassed in area) seemed to be good- I saw lots of progress in the dogs from the beginning to end of the class, which is a major test of the trainer.

    In short? I think Petsmart trainers can be fine. But a lot of them are horrible and you'll find much more experienced trainers and better priced options elsewhere.

  13. #12
    Senior Member soleilwhippet's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    i bring soleil to petsmart for trainning classes. she loves it. like every one says it all depends on the trainer.
    Chloe: why did you do both puppy and begginer classes? just asking.

    collie: Merlin my best bud.
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  14. #13
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    Well I figured if she did more training as a puppy it would stick better. So what I did was take her to the same classes...beginner and puppy. They are basically the same class. She started classes at about 4-5 months. My thinking behind it was that if she goes to the same classes a few times it would be much easier to continue with her training at home. Plus when she was there at such a young age all she did was wanna play, so if she went twice I knew that she would definately catch on to everything. She is so well trained because of this its awesome. Her leave it and off and stay are so great. Her watch me commands...she is a fantastic dog =)

  15. #14
    Senior Member Dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: Petsmart dog training

    Not a fan from what i have seen. I don't like to use treats or clicker training.
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