This should never happen! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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This should never happen!

I was in Petco today watching a training session with a large breed puppy. It was about 20 minutes into the hour. The owner and trainer were both young. I watched the trainer hand the owner a long strip of jerky and say, Make your dog sit. The dog didn’t have a clue what the owner was asking, and either wasn’t hungry or hadn’t yet been trained. The boy kept saying Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit and the dog looked confused and didn’t know what to do. He had no interest in the food. After 20 minutes, I can understand why. The dog wasn’t hungry. I wanted to say something but I couldn’t, so I eventually went to the register.

A minute later I heard a loud, angry barking and the owner was begging his dog to Come. I glanced over and it looked like the trainer tried to make the dog sit and the dog had enough and sent for her. She is lucky it was just a bark. I commented to the cashier on their training method, still being very polite, and she didn’t say anything so I left. I thought about going back and handing the young man my trainer’s card, but technically that would have been interfering with their business so I left.

Don’t these large companies have some responsibility to the community and their customers not to put an inexperienced person into the role of trainer and then take money for it? I am still upset. Some breeds are unforgiving of bad handling. I saw no connection between the dog and owner. No eye contact, no communication and no understanding. I almost wish I had gone over and showed that owner how to make a dog sit in about 2 seconds and earn his dog’s respect at the same time.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:14 PM
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I have seen some pretty awful trainers. You did a better job then I would have. I couldn't have kept quiet.
Sit is the simplest thing to teach a puppy. Head goes up butt goes down. Lol.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:21 PM
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ah I tend to go ahead and make some type of comment about how it's sad that they allow such crappy training. Loudly. In hearing of the client.
I've occasionally laughed at loud.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dainerra View Post
ah I tend to go ahead and make some type of comment about how it's sad that they allow such crappy training. Loudly. In hearing of the client.
I've occasionally laughed at loud.
My favourite was when a Petsmart trainer walked by Ryka and I with her dog, and her dog was lunging and barking at Ryka while she was in a sit. Then she picked up her dog and started petting him telling him to stop... lol.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:47 PM
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I was at a petco where the trainer was teaching leave it. She lined up treats spaced about 2 feet apart all the way down the isle. Then told the owners to walk past the treats while saying "leave it". That's all you could hear "leave it..leave it.. leave it....." every dog pulling and every owner dragging them on. The kicker, when everyone was done she told them they did a good job. I could tell by the way she was talking that she honestly did not have any knowledge of what she was trying to teach or realize that the exercise did not teach owner or dog anything. I think that's just as sad/bad.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:55 PM
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About a decade ago, I used to frequent PetSmart. And from time to time I'd watch the trainers do their work. It was so hard to watch them. First of all they're in a little "pen" which is smaller than my living room, at the back of the store. They crammed in somewhere between 12 to 15 owners and their dogs. The trainer couldn't have been more disinterested...just repeating instructions like a robot. Hard to watch.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:57 PM
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Let's see: several years ago, when the store first opened, I was there with Rayden. He was trained in English, German and hand signals. Head trainer (guy is still head trainer) walks up to me and tells Rayden to "sit" Of course, Rayden glances up at me and then looks at the guy like he's a moron. Man then tries to grab the leash out of my hand while telling me that he is in charge of training at the store and that he can help me get my dog under control before he becomes too much for me to handle. Excuse me? I tell him that my dog is trained and he says "well, he didn't sit when I gave the command" so I go through his basic commands in English, then in German and then in Hand signals "No, he just doesn't listen to morons"
To this day, that man turns and walks away when he sees me in the store.
Another time, we're working puppies in the store. Watch the trainer doing a private lesson. owner: "Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit" Dog is just staring around the store and then lays down, probably out of boredom. "Give her a treat! She's getting the idea because she's not standing up anymore"
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 03:33 AM
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Once upon a time at PetsMart, I was listening to a training session that I was not a member of. And the young trainer had a can of pennies and a clicker and was trying to mark some form of behavior, but her timing was so bad, and the pup had no clue, and the owner wasn't getting any of it, and I wanted so badly to walk up, rip the leash out of the trainer's hand, and give the owners my trainer's business card. But I didn't have any of my trainer's business cards. And it wasn't my place. I walked away. I don't know if there was anything better I could do. But I don't think I handled that too well. I felt sorry for the dog, and the owners of the dog. The thing is, at that time PetsMart classes cost $119, whereas the same number of sessions at a real trainer's was $90.


It's not like the owners are being cheap to go there for classes. They simply do not know better. I can go there for classes and get something out of them even if the trainer doesn't know anything. Because I am just there for the dog to experience the environment while I work on a few things with the dog. I don't do anything I am uncomfortable with.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 09:27 AM
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One time I managed a low income property in CA. One of the residents was was an “advanced” trainer at Petsmart. She had gotten so “good” that she did all the training sessions for the newer trainers.

She owned a male shepherd herself, and it was on a tiny patio 24/7. It pooped and peed on the concrete slab, and once a week she would just get a large bucket of water and just flush the patio with it.

She eventually stopped paying her rent and we had to evict her. When we got the go ahead from the sheriffs constable, we entered the unit. She had left the shepherd inside, and abandoned him there. He was inside by himself for 2 weeks while we waited for the proper paperwork. We didn’t know he was inside, and the apt was trashed, he hadn’t been fed, and he peed and pooped everywhere. We called AC per the constable, and they picked him up.

He had sever malformations in his legs from growing up on the tiny concrete patio and had difficulties walking. He had severe scarring on his muzzle and ears, and was missing large patches of hair from flea infestation. He was so scared, he trembled constantly. His foster mom ended up keeping him, because he would have been deemed an unadoptable dog at the shelter for all the behavioral issues and for the intensive physical care he needed. I stay in touch with her, and he’s made amazing progress, but he’ll never have full movement without pain because of the way his joints formed.

If this is how an advanced trainer trains their own dog, it doesn’t surprise me one bit to hear your stories!

I’ve gone through a lot of dogs (rescue, rehabilitate, rehome) and it is well known in our town to avoid the Petsmart trainers. I’ve never seen it occupied once, and we go there a lot for small soft training treats, and mice for our snake.

Wish there was something we could all do to get those “training sessions” shut down across the board. And @selzer, who would shake a can full of pennies at any dog?!?! Great way to give them fear of loud noises! They should hand out thunder shirts to the owners on the way out of the door.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 10:01 AM
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It’s funny even when I was a kid, my parents found a fantastic professional trainer who helped me and my dog compete and do well even when I was like 12. They knew nothing about dogs and still don’t but even they knew to avoid PetSmart
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