Petsmart Puppy Training - Any experiences? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Petsmart Puppy Training - Any experiences?

Hi all--

I just enrolled my pup into Petsmart puppy training/beginner classes. I start orientation this Saturday, but the real deal starts in two weeks. Does anyone have any experience specifically with big box store training? I know each place is different and the trainer makes a huge difference, but I want to know how everyone generally felt about doing a big group training setting as opposed to private training.

I know I won't be expecting much outside of the basics--I mainly want her socialized and to be able to do simple commands with "distractions".

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 12:11 PM
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I did one with my older girl back when I really didn't have a clue, it was a waste of money. Not a good environment for a young puppy, there wasn't enough room and everyone was crammed in on each other. It's just a bunch of chaos, lol the trainers don't have any real experience or knowledge. Pretty much all they tell you is the basic stuff that you can look up on YouTube for free, they offer no real guidance. Do yourself a favor a find a real trainer to help start a good basic foundation for obedience and manners. But that's just my experience..

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 12:24 PM
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It will depend on the trainer. I've talked to people who loved it, or loved one class and not the next. Others that hated it. And it was all dependent on the trainer and how it was run.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 12:24 PM
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I haven't taken a dog through them, but we've had dogs that "passed" their beginners class come to our club for the second level.

The dog's weren't even close to being ready. Most could barely moved on a loose leash, never mind at heel. No automatic sit. The PS class didn't even start teaching stay, when our beginner class has both sit and down stays up to 3 minutes or 10 feet away by the end of level one.

So their basic obedience classes don't even cover basic obedience.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far everyone! I'm hoping to get a good feel from the trainer during the orientation seminar, and give the first class a go and decide whether or not from there if it's worth the time and effort.

Thanks again for the responses!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 03:42 PM
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I've had Samson in Petco while one of those classes was going on. I listened in out of curiosity. It was just one class, but extremely basic. I would use a trainer that can give the star puppy/canine good citizen test instead.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bluesasha View Post

I know I won't be expecting much outside of the basics--I mainly want her socialized and to be able to do simple commands with "distractions".

You'll definitely get this. Beyond that, it entirely depends on the trainer. I do freelance graphic design and work part time in the grooming salon at a petsmart, and its training classes don't entirely impress me. For something beyond the very basics, I'd highly recommend finding more specialized training classes, or if you can afford it, a private trainer. Other than that, as you've said, it'll definitely provide ample opportunity to do some focus work under distractions with your girl! Especially in a class full of puppies and the sound of various clickers going off.

I've gone the private lessons route because of what I'm looking to do with my boy specifically, and I couldn't be happier. He's my first GSD and half WL, half WGSL, so I'm approaching things slowly and without too much expectation. We've been working on some fun engagement and recall exercises, measuring and encouraging his prey drive, cleaning up his sitz and platz and working on a stand, testing his environmental confidence by having him climb up, over, on, through, etc. all sorts of weird things, and recently we've started foundation lure work for focused heeling. It's worth every penny to me!

Rocket (pomeranian) - 01/2002 - 03/2016
Hircine vom HausReid "Sawyer" (GSD) - 11/24/16


Last edited by Spetzio; 02-14-2017 at 04:25 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 04:35 PM
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I never utilized them. My sister took her small breed dog and liked the trainer she had. I think the area is way too small to actually work with your puppy without being able to keep them below threshold.

When they opened up a Petco here, the two trainers they hired are actually a couple of trainers from the local AKC obedience club. So ... good trainers. (have worked with them both at the training club).

Xan Varik von Fernheim (born 4/3/13)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 04:47 PM
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If your area is big enough to have large box stores then there are probably clubs close too. Clubs in our area offer 6-8.week classes for $50-$75 (once a week). Trainers and the helpers have titled dogs and usually have a lot of tools in their toolbox to help whatever your training goals..
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 05:19 PM
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Terrible from what I've seen with one exception. There is one person at our closest PetSmart who knows what she is doing. Her classes fill up fast and have waiting lists. I would use it maybe with a young puppy for socialization. But I would not rely on it for long term training.
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