Training options?? Petsmart any good?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by jls944, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. jls944

    jls944 New Member

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    My wife and I just bought our first pup (Boston terrier). I am trying to do some research before we get him so I can be better prepared when he arrives (end of September).

    Both my wife and I would like to train the dog but am wondering if we should get some outside help (seeing this is our first dog). Does anyone have experience with Petsmart training? Would you recommend them or should I look somewhere else? I live 40 mins. north of Boston so any recommended dog trainers in the area would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. poodlesmom

    poodlesmom New Member

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    Congrats on your soon to arrive furpal!:) Bostons are delightful companions.

    I have never used Petsmart training myself but I have observed some classes when I have been there shopping. From what I have seen I think for the most part they are great especially for the 1st set of puppy classes. It is very important for socialization around other dogs and to get a general idea of the basic commands.

    As far the other classes I have heard both good & bad. I think it really boils down to the actual trainer who is running the class and how experienced the trainer is.

    If there are any kennel clubs in your area many times they offer obedience classes. I found my 1st trainer through our vet who referred her to me. There is also an on-line site "APDT" which lists dog trainers by area. I would suggest making a few calls and set up times for you to go & observe a class to see how the trainer interacts with the people and their dogs and see if you feel comfortable with their training methods.

    No matter where you decide to have classes I personally think it is important for it to be a fun experience for both you & your furpal.:)
     
  3. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    Congrats on your new puppy.

    Before you sign up I would watch the trainer for awhile first.

    The trainer at our petsmart was terrible and I dropped out of the class after the 2nd session, because it was a HUGE waste of time. We did nothing but stand around.

    You can probably find a better solution in your area, but if you are looking for a cheap way to socialize your dog and learn some very basic skills, it could work for you. Again, since every trainer is different... I would watch a class first.

    Good Luck

    Elissa
     
  4. WES

    WES New Member

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    Dog Trainer...

    Before you go to Pet smart take a look here:

    The MSPCA at Nevins Farm
    400 Broadway. Methuen, MA. 01844-2052
    Phone (978) 687-7453
    http://www.mspca.org/site/pp.asp?c=gtIUK4OSG&b=126787

    40 min North of Boston should very close. Bella just completed her second OB course
    (Better Manners). The teachers are quite good and the price is very reasonable. Class size is limited, there were 5 or less in my classes, one teacher and one or 2 assistants.
    Good Luck.
     
  5. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    personally i'd look somewhere other than petsmart. while it depends heavily on the quality of the trainer in the store, i've yet to meet a petsmart trainer i've been even moderately impressed with.

    try doing a google search for "dog training club" and your location or call your vet and ask if they have any recommendations.
     
  6. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I think it would be fine for puppy socialization .... but not for handling classes. You've got a long time to check around and visit . You must be very excited !!! Do you have a good puppy book ? ( :) for those who know me !!!
     
  7. jls944

    jls944 New Member

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    Thanks for all you input. WEP, that MSPCA is actually in the same town as me. I was that they had puppy socialization but I don't think includes training. Have you taken your dog through the puppy socialization classes? Thank you.
     
  8. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Congrates!!!!!!!

    I have been to Petsmart's Begenner and Intermediant training class they are very good but here are a few things to watch out for with Petsmart

    1). The trainer has to be good and know what he/she is doing in order to have a good training class that is structured and fun at the same time.

    2). The trainer will not let more than about 4 or 5 dogs in the class at one time trust me on this one no mader how good the trainer is the ring is only so big and in my beginner class there was only 3 dogs (including me my mom and Lizzie)( you had to be 16 or older to go by yourself and I was only 12 at the time) and the class was great because the trainer was able to work with each one of us. Now I had a private class for the Intermediant class but the trainer wanted Lizzie to be around other dogs also so she lets us sit in and so times demonstrate some times and it was a very good class but the only thing wrong was the it had 11 dogs and people in there at ONE time!!!! That's VERY bad!!!!!

    3). The trainer is friendly and wants to help you and is willing to let you ask questions and want it to be a good experence for you and your dog!

    Ask if you coudl talk to the trainer and sit in on one of the classes to see how the trainer runs the class is the trainer nice likes dog(yes I have seen trainers at petsmart that do not really help you and will not help your dog) if the thrainer is willing to answer questiond that you have.
    Other than that Petsmart training is very good and a good idea for you and your new puppy!! Good Luck!!!
     
  9. WES

    WES New Member

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    Training...

    My dog was a little older when I found out about the Methuen MSPCA so she did not go to the puppy playgroup. Bella has completed basic manners (L1) and better manners (L2). I am planning to take best manners (L3) in the fall. Take a look at the MSPCA website, click on the link under
    Community Canines
    at Nevins Farm

    It has all of the class offerings and info. Check out manners for mini’s (dogs less than 30 lbs)
     
  10. rhinecat

    rhinecat New Member

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    Petsmart trainers vary from awful to excellent. My store had an excellent trainer with 30+ years of experience, but on the whole, the job doesn't pay enough to retain someone who's good at their job. Not that beginners can't do well, but when you're paying for it, you tend to want the best, you know? :)

    You can always ask to sit in on a training session and watch. If you like what you see, great, sign up. If not, then you know you don't want to sign up, plus it will give you an idea of what you're looking for and not looking for in a class. Ask the breeder or rescue you're getting the dog from who they would recommend, too.

    The most important thing you can do is SOCIALIZE like crazy! I would recommend buying a copy of Ian Dunbar's book "Before You Get Your Puppy." Dr. Dunbar is big on early socialization, and I really agree with what he suggests on that topic.
     
  11. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    I completly agree with rhinecat about the Petsmart trainers and that book would be really good and you must SOCIALIZE like crazy!!!!
     
  12. cindr

    cindr Guest

    Doggie training

    Hi Pet Smart is okay and that is all I will say about the training. I will say this I have watched many of their classes and was quit disapointed. But as a recognised dog trainer I will not critise them. I will not recommend them but I will not discredit them either
     
  13. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    I have not been impressed with the Petsmart trainers I have seen. However, these trainers have BIG classes to deal with and are quite overworked. I can't say I would be at my best if I did 2-3 classes per day and had that many owners (the puppies are not the problem, ever) to straighten out!

    I am not fond of petsmart for handling/training classes, but it seems fine for socialization. Honestly though, why not just go with a reputable trainer who has smaller classes and more time to spend with everyone?
     
  14. otch1

    otch1 New Member

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    Hi ... I agree with your comment RD about going to an established, reputable trainer. Petsmart's a wonderful place to socialize a puppy, but most Petsmarts are not a place to do continued training at, past the kindergarden puppy classes. Small spaces, dogs too close together, slick floors and they do not require employee/trainers to have an extensive training background. They certify trainers themselves, in a short period of time, some still refering to their manual at the Petsmart in my area, while teaching. The stores very lucky when they have an established trainer apply and even then, I find they don't keep them long due to wages. The store can only pay about 1/3rd of what most of us trainers make in our own programs. I love the Petsmart in my area though to pick up fun toys, treats, get some snuggles from new puppies on their first visit to a store, watch the daycare pups and kindergarden class, on occassion. The puppies do seem to be having a good time. I'm old school though... for most of us it took years of apprentiseships, continueing ed, behavioral study, training and competing with our own dogs sucessfully, before being qualified to teach others. Petsmarts program does not require that.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New Member

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    Never mind! I rethought what I had posted.

    Sorry about that.

    Some PetSmart trainers are pretty darn great, if I do say so myself. Others...well...many shouldn't be allowed to handle a hamster, let alone a dog.

    :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  16. otch1

    otch1 New Member

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    Hi Alex... you're a PetSmart trainer aren't you!? lol . I absolutely apologize for making a blanket statement about "reputable" trainers. I do not like the space the trainers train out of at the very large, very busy Petsmart in my area. It is a cordened off area in the store. No bigger than 20 x 20, with folding chairs for owners, all side by side. Slick tile floors. Students having to walk the isles amongst shoppers dogs, to do heelwork. This is not a large enough space to safely train all breeds/all ages in. The trainers at this particular store, several being students in college, several hired because they showed their own personal dogs in 4-H, then took the Petsmart trainers course. While I feel that 4-H educates kids extensively on healthcare, maintenance and proper handling of their dogs, as young adults, they rarely have extensive hands on experience with all breeds, dealing with serious behavioral issues , ect. That is not to say that the PetSmart in your area is the same. Again, if you're a trainer for this chain of stores, I apologize and would like to hear from you directly what you think about their training program. Have a good day!
     
  17. Sadie'smama

    Sadie'smama New Member

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    I don't have experience with the training, and in fact thinking of enrolling Sadie in beginners training classes.

    I just wanted to congratulate you and your wife on the coming puppy. :)
     
  18. Alex

    Alex New Member

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    I am actually an area trainer for PetSmart. I am responsible for running all of the new hires through the training program. It is far too short, and no where near involved enough, but it is what the company requires of me. I started training at PetSmart as a means to the end, and have stayed because I love what I do. I still plan on opening my own full service facility, but I want to be able to do it all (training, boarding, daycare, and grooming) and PetSmart is a great place to build up a great client base.

    Now, not all trainers are created equal. I have seen many PetSmart trainers that have no place owning a dog, let alone training them, but I am proud to say that I do not have any of those in my district. I have been with the company for quite a few years now, and train privately on my own as well. PetSmart is actually a pretty good place for group classes, if you have the appropriate space, because of all of the distractions the store can provide. If you know how to handle your store, you can limit the distractions that come until you're ready for them. If a dog can heel off lead through a pet store, with loads of people, many other dogs, cats, hamsters, parakeets, screaming children, and thousands of very nice smelling (if you're a dog) items, then they can heel anywhere. It is also an amazing socialization opportunity if you're careful. Of course there will always be the amazingly intelligent people *sarcasm* that bring in aggressive dogs and allow them to terrorize half of the people in the building, but I have developed ways to handle them. I only wish other trainers for the company have done the same.

    IMO it shouldn't matter where you train, but how you train. That is what should define if you are good at your job or not. I could pass on thousands of success stories from inside my PetSmart,and in turn, could pass on quite a few failures as well.

    PetSmart as a whole could do a better job training our trainers to be actual dog trainers. But, I can not change that. You can. They don't listen to one Area Trainer. They listen to their customers. They listen to numbers. They are a corporation...they listen to dollars.

    You want PetSmart to change, do something about it.
     
  19. Alex

    Alex New Member

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    One quick note...PetSmart REQUIRES that each class have a minimum of 5 dogs in it...the max is 10. They can get in serious hot water for not meeting their class quota.

    You should be hard pressed to find a good PetSmart trainer with fewer than 6-8 dogs in their classes. My training area is 16 x 28 and I can comfortably seat 12 small dogs and 8-10 large dogs and their families. I give every client ample time to practice, as well as plenty of one on one time with me before and after classes, as well as pretty much any time they need help.

    More dogs in a puppy class equal more socialization.
     
  20. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Well this class did not have that many sign up but everybody wanted to do it and so she went and did it and really I am glad!!!! Aslo these we dogs that were about 6 months to one years old!!

    Well I think our training ring is smaller and is was not very good to have that many dogs in there and it made Lizzie VERY uncomfortable in this class and me and my mom!!!!

    ANd my trainer is VERY good and that is why I think she did it with only that many!!!

    Also In the class that had 12 dogs these WERE NOT small dogs. They had this HUGE LAB , Smooth Collie (that did not like Lizie and when every we get out to show how Leave It was done and they had some puppy crack in the middle of the ring and I told Lizzie to Leave it and to walk aroung it and she did but the other dog was barking like mad at Lizzie and it was very hard for her), And Lizzie!!! And lots of other small dogs!!! :eek:
     

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