Petsmart Beginners Training Failure - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Petsmart Beginners Training Failure

I adopted a 8 month old GSD two weeks ago. His previous owner didn't spend much time training him basic obedience so I am trying to get him up to speed. I took him to the first session of his 6 week of his beginners obedience class last night and it was a disaster. I think being trapped in a training pen with other dogs in close proximity was more than he could handle. He kept barking and lunging at the other dogs. After 20 minutes of dirty looks from the other dog owners, I finally threw in the towel and removed him from the session. I would think that giving a young dog space during his initial training would give him a better chance to succeed. Any recommendations?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 01:47 PM
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In my experience, gsd's aren't good at Petsmart/Petco type training rings. I'm sure there are some very fine trainers at these places but as a whole, not the place for training gsd's.

I did two all dog breed training semesters at a well known training facility. My gsd looked like the dunce. He pooped in the ring, he ignored me and either played with other dogs or wanted to eat them. It was horrible. I then found a real trainer and it made a world of difference. I can take him anywhere.

If you list your location maybe someone on the list can direct you to a trainer/training facility that is experienced with this breed.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 01:50 PM
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Has there ever been anyone with a good training experience with Petco/Petsmart? It's like teaching a kid math in Disneyland. Too crowded and too much going on.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
Has there ever been anyone with a good training experience with Petco/Petsmart? It's like teaching a kid math in Disneyland. Too crowded and too much going on.
I may have choked on coffee.

OP: Look and see if you have a local/regional breed club. They might either offer training or know who to recommend. They also tend to understand shepherds and if other owners are sitting there all self satisfied with their calm puppies and giving you dirty looks, they'll educate those other owners. As one of my trainers reminds us all the time, "You may not have a problem dog now, but your next one could throw you for a loop, so pay attention and don't judge."

You could also consider individualized instruction for a few sessions and then try to find a good group class.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 02:13 PM
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I would go to a more private trainer too than petsmart.

One class I took was too much butterflies and rainbows. We learned very little in it.

The other class- the trainer had a Cane Corso. She completely understood the GSD breed too. We made huge strides in that class. I would have liked to take more classes with her but she moved.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 02:44 PM
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Has there ever been anyone with a good training experience with Petco/Petsmart? It's like teaching a kid math in Disneyland. Too crowded and too much going on.
Honestly, all the students we've had try to take beginner level 2 of my club's obedience class after taking beginner at Petsmart have had to retake our beginner 1. They just are nowhere near ready of our level 2. The local Petsmart doesn't even BEGIN teaching stay. Our level 1 students are already progressing to dropped leash group stays with owners more than 10 feet away with "mild" distractions.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 02:49 PM
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Welcome to GSDs

I went to a Schutzhund club (IPO club). It's a whole different setting with GSDs and mals. My dog acting as an idiot--no condescending looks or fear. They explained very nicely that barking and lunging could be fixed easily. They called my big boy "your puppy" when talking to me about him--he didn't look like a puppy to most people. They were respectful to me and took an interest in giving me real help.

I would have 3 people standing around with me giving me suggestions and encouragement. They were careful at first to have no dogs out, but later he was fine with other GSDs out being worked at the same time.

I learned about focused heeling and how to manage/correct him before he reacted to other dogs.

The wonderful thing was, I got to see and experience working dog (GSD) culture. I saw other people with their dogs, and what was a big deal and what wasn't--with GSDs.

If it is a long drive to a club--do it. It is well worth it. I am driving three hours round trip to an experienced, awesome GSD trainer for a few private lessons this summer.

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Last edited by Moriah; 08-10-2016 at 02:52 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chewy View Post
I adopted a 8 month old GSD two weeks ago. His previous owner didn't spend much time training him basic obedience so I am trying to get him up to speed. I took him to the first session of his 6 week of his beginners obedience class last night and it was a disaster. I think being trapped in a training pen with other dogs in close proximity was more than he could handle. He kept barking and lunging at the other dogs. After 20 minutes of dirty looks from the other dog owners, I finally threw in the towel and removed him from the session. I would think that giving a young dog space during his initial training would give him a better chance to succeed. Any recommendations?
Get a refund (I did) and find a good trainer versed in gsd's. Be careful which dogs you let him interact or play with. Not many other dogs like gsd's.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 03:51 PM
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Has there ever been anyone with a good training experience with Petco/Petsmart? It's like teaching a kid math in Disneyland. Too crowded and too much going on.

I was just trying to be PC, Wolfy

Anyway, with the all dog training facility I spoke of earlier, they were good trainers......until you came along with a gsd!

As Moriah stated, a good GSD trainer is worth hours of driving and $ to. The guy I found was a 2.5 hour round trip but worth every minute of it.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 04:10 PM
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Has there ever been anyone with a good training experience with Petco/Petsmart? It's like teaching a kid math in Disneyland. Too crowded and too much going on.
I have 7 dogs-4 had their training at Petsmart. Both goldens, female GSD and younger male GSD. All of them did 3 classes there, all are obedient well mannered dogs. I love the trainer, she has Rotts and she works her dogs, by far the best trainer I have ever used or met. So yes a very good experience there with several dogs.

Misty- Samoyed Mix, Tannor- Golden Retriever CGC
Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD
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