Has Anyone Ever Taken Their Dog To The Petsmart Or Petco Dog Training Classes? Did You Like Them?

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A Reader Asks…

Which one is better? Is your dog still exhibiting training?

(Scroll down to see responses)

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    • Amanda
    • August 4, 2009

    My pup is currently in her 3rd training class at PetSmart (advanced).
    It is very affordable (slightly over $100 for an 8 week class) and the trainer is great. On the other hand, the other trainer there is not very good, so the quality of the class really depends on the trainer.
    I suggest going to your local PetSmart or PetCo while I training class is going on and see how the trainer interacts with the dogs. That way, you will be able to see if the trainer will be a good fit for you and your dog.

    • Lisa
    • August 4, 2009

    I haven’t because I haven’t heard any good things about their classes. I found other obedience schools to be a better fit & value for the money.

    • Shadow's Melon
    • August 4, 2009

    No, and I never will. If you want to persue good training, with someone experienced, then contact your local training club, obedience club, agility club (yes, the can refer to good obedience instructors, too) and get a referral from them.
    You will likely find that these trainers will be MUCH LESS expensive than the typical pet supply store classes and they will have so much more experience. Example: Our PetSmart charges $100+ for a class of 6 weeks and they are not very experienced trainers by any means. My trainer is only $50 for a 7 week course and has dogs with UDX titles, agility titles, conformation wins and 25+ years experience in training, showing and breeding.

    • michael g
    • August 4, 2009

    No mater where you go – Go to a class ( alone ) and I’m telling you , you will just know!
    Kinda like dating. You know from just 1 date if it’s right.
    Watch the instructor , and his knowledge, manerisim, personality ect ……
    It will take 15 mins. max !!!

    • Kimberly A
    • August 4, 2009

    The PetSmart training classes here are wonderful. I think it all depends on the training working there, but it’s really good, especially for the price. Here, it’s 8 1hr sessions for $100

    • Kit_kat
    • August 4, 2009

    no way they charge doubel of all teh other trainers in my area. from what I’ve seen I don’t care for their training methods either.

    • Amy V
    • August 4, 2009

    I took my parents’ dog to Petco for training about 8 years ago and, looking back, I thought their training methods were unnecesarily rough (a lot of yanking on the leash, jerking the dog into place, etc). But I had never trained a dog before so I didn’t really know any better.
    I went back to Petco a few years ago, this time with my own dog, and the difference in training methods was night and day. I don’t know if the company changed their doggy curriculum or if the trainer simnply had her own ideas and beliefs, but the dog responded better and I felt like a nicer person.
    Since then I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve read a lot of training books by different authors and tried different techniques on the three dogs I currently have at home. The methods you use should depend on how YOU as a person feel about carrying them out, and also on the personality of your DOG.
    The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the more you know, the more you’ve got in your bag of tricks! ANY training class is going to be helpful, and it’s good for your dog to interact with other dogs in the class. And it’s important to reinforce what you’ve learned, every day, at home.
    I know my answer is long, but I hope it helps 🙂

    • ownedbym
    • August 4, 2009

    I truly believe the training method and location is second to the trainer themselves.
    When I got my first pug about five years ago, I took her to Pet Smart for the puppy class. Unfortunately, two weeks into the class, my pug puppy broke her foot which had to be put into a cast for about six weeks. The trainer was a really nice, and allowed us to start classes in the beginner section after the cast came off. The trainer herself was very friendly and clear in her directions. What I liked the best about the class however, was at the last 10 minutes of each class was spent with the dogs off leash in the training area playing with each other under professional supervision. At the beginning of the classes my pug was quite fearful of other dogs but by the end she was playing with everybody. The socialization was just as important as the commands she learned. To this day, she is still the most friendly of our dogs. Also, she has remembered. Almost all of the commands that she learned during her beginner’s class.
    When we got our German shepherd puppy last year, we knew immediately that we would have to take her in for training. The trainer was not the same at the original Pet Smart store, but we were confident in the methods. This experience, however, was terrible. The trainer was awful. She would spend most of the class reviewing what was gone over in the previous class, and would only address new material, very briefly in the last 10 minutes of class. Also, due to insurance constraints, we unleashed supervised play that I’ve had been such a fan of during the original classes has been discontinued. My German Shepherd puppy really did not learn anything from this trainer.
    My husband and I were at a different Pet Smart in January and met the trainer at that store. We told her about our experiences with the trainer at the other store and how disappointed we were. She was extremely sympathetic and explained her methods for training. First, she does not believe in automatically graduating a dog at the end of the class. She does believe that different dogs learn different rates and she believes that a dog should not graduate until they have learned the concepts. So, to that end, she has dogs repeat classes until they understand and have the concepts down. But, only the first round of classes is paid for. As long as the owners are willing to put in the time, she will not ask them to put in more money. Now, some people may say that part of the job of the trainer is to make sure that the dogs learn the commands in one series of classes and if the dog doesn’t, then it is the fault of the trainer. I disagree with that.
    We started our German Shepherd puppy in the beginner class and it was wonderful. The trainer was very patient but would tolerate no excuses, if we slacked off in reinforcing the lessons. She would say there is only so much she can do in a one-hour session once a week, and if we were not willing to put in the time to reinforce the lessons at home, we might as well just take our money back and stay home.
    Now, some people don’t like this method, which brings me to the point of this answer. You really need to have a chemistry with the trainer in order for the training to work. Go see a couple of classes before you sign up for them. See what methods the trainer uses. See how the trainer asked with the dogs and with the owners. Then decide for yourself whether you agree with what they are doing or not.
    Always remember, however, that there is no miracle cure for bad behavior. It took a long time to develop the bad habits, and it will take a long time and a lot of patience to make them go away.
    Whatever you decide, good luck with your training!

    • Leena
    • August 4, 2009

    I am in the process of PetSmart puppy training. Class is ending next week and I do plan on doing the next placement class. I love it as does my dog. We learned a lot and she got great socialization out of it. I don’t know anything about the Petco classes. Training is a process that you have to always do with your dog. I highly recommend the classes. The cost is fair too.

    • greekman
    • August 3, 2009

    No, these are not serious training classes. Look for a good trainer in your area and go that route instead.

    • ♥shelter puppies rule♥
    • August 3, 2009

    All the petsmarts in my area have turned to petcos, so I think they’re the same company. I’m going to the first puppy training class tonight, my dogs breed type needs the training, socialization and stimulation, otherwise I would have just used a good training book and done the exercises myself. If your dog is that type too that needs this (mine’s a jack russell terrier haha) you might want to invest in this too. If you don’t like the trainer’s methods, you can always get a full refund. But you have to register in advance for the classes because they only allow so many pups.
    They also guarentee your dogs training for a lifetime or money back. They said I will be able to walk my dog without a leash (in most situations) for life.
    The 8 classes where I’m going are $95 and 1 hr long.
    Had the training class, there were 6 other puppies there ranging from 12 weeks to 7 months. It will be hard with the two 12 week puppies, not because they misbehave but they just can’t learn the same so young. Anyway, basically we met in a room and the puppies socialized. There was a blue pit bull, very beautiful who my dog bonded with maybe only because the 12 months bonded with themselves and none of the other pups were as friendly.
    While the puppies socialized the trainer introduced herself, said she owns 10 dogs, told us a little about vaccine importance and stuff we knew, said she could help us out if we wanted to show our dogs or do agility, then we went around the room introducing ourselves and saying the major things we hope to accomplish at the classes. Most people said to stop biting, but..they are puppies after all..well anyway, we learned the sit command and the “look at me” command.. Next week we’ll be in the back warehouse doing things with leash walking. So far, my thoughts are “well, this is nothing I couldn’t teach myself SO FAR..but my puppy enjoys the socializing and was happy, and I don’t know how to teach walking without a leash so I’ll stick with it.” They had older dog class after the puppies.
    Hope that summary helped..

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