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Trainer suggestions Pittsburg, PA area

2160 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Maryn
I've been searching & searching for trainers and it seems that my best bet via word of mouth around here is PetSmart. I find it hard to believe that Petsmart can teach Greta but our local one is getting rave reveiws from people who have used it. The only thing that makes me feel better is that they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee & will let you keep repeating the class until you feel your dog is trained.

I found this on the AKC page & I'm REALLY interested in it. Can you take a look and tell me if you think it looks okay? There are 2 trainers per class, it fits into my schedule & the location's good for me. The one thing that scares me is that it's only $65 for 8 weeks.

(I'm in Western Pennsylvania, East of Pittsburgh, btw)
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Re: Can you look at this please?

The range of classes sounds great, but I'd like to see some mention of training techniques. Can you go observe a class? I would personally not take a class that doesn't use positive training techniques, requires choke chains, or doesn't want you to use treats. It might be a wonderful place, but you can't really tell simply by looking at the website.

Petsmart is only as good as the trainer employed at that particular location. I have not been at all impressed by the ones I've seen at my local store and would not take a class there, but some board members have had good luck with actual experienced trainers at the store near them.
Re: Can you look at this please?

I agree with Cassidy’s Mom and will add the following.

What are your goals in your training? The schedule sounds like it’s heavily geared toward entering obedience trials, which would make sense considering its AKC affiliation and the number of trials they say they are putting on each year. Most clubs like this, however, understand that not everyone is going to enter trials. If possible, you really want to observe a class or two and talk with the trainers.

Don’t worry about the price – worry about the techniques they used in their training. The price does not seem out of line for an AKC affiliated club, IMO. My club in Calif charges $10/class for non members.
AllisonS, I edited your 'Subject' hoping it may catch the eye of others in your area who know trainers. If you need me to change it back, just PM me and I'll do so.
Not a problem editing the post.

She has a BIG problem running out the door & running away. She's blown past me, the kids, the neighbors, etc. She doesn't have a fear of cars & when I call her she just looks back like "yeah, right" and keeps going. If nothing else, I just want her to learn "come".
Hopefully someone will chime in with classes, heck Pittsburg is a big town, right?

In the meantime, I'd work on training the HUMANS in this. Not opening the door unless dog isn't around and managing the dog if he is.

Does he 'sit'? Cause you can keep a pot full of treats by the door, and everytime you go out or open it, have your dog 'sit' BACK away from the door, give the treat, and then make your 'escape'. At least then you can manage where he is and have time to leave. Even a 'sit/stay' and you can toss the treat for him to catch as you progress with him.

That's one of the training methods that has us teach something good we WANT the dog to do so we can reward him. Rather than have him escape and have to punish him for getting out. (which, by the way isn't good cause if when we finally DO catch our dog outside we are angry it's not much incentive for the dog to get caught the next time!)
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She does a lot of things but all bets are off as soon as she gets excited.

Even if WE'RE all careful one of my kids friends are always coming in or out & Greta will escape then so training HER is the only real solution.

She really doesn't care about treats so that's not a big incentive. You could have a juicy steak in front of her and she doesn't seem that impressed. You have to kind of coax her to take food from you which, I guess, is good considering that she'd snap your hand off as a puppy before I corrected that.

The only thing that'll make her stop in her tracks is a ball. She LIVES to play ball but if I can't find one quick enough she's out of earshot. She's FAST.
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There are three CPDT certified dog trainers in Pittsburgh.

Lilian A. Akin (412) 732-8092 [email protected] September 23, 2003

Katherine G. Gaughan (412) 341-3563 [email protected] November 2, 2002

Samuel F. Mastroianni (412) 343-4084 [email protected] March 11, 2006

Here's the list for the entire state:

The CCPDT home page:
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Thanks. I'm not in Pittsburgh. I'm about 40 minutes East of the city. I had found that list a few days ago & contacted 2 trainers that were kind of close but they were $80 an hour plus mileage which just isn't happening with my husband the non Shepherd lover.

The original title to this thread was "Can you take a look at this please" so I was pretty much just looking for opinions on since I haven't done formal trainingbefore.
Okay I guess the thread title change did throw that off track a bit.

I checked the website for the folks you're asking about. Looks like a good place to me and I am a certified dog trainer. I like their setup from what I can see online.
We used Barb Levenson training center in Penn Hills, when we lived there (we have since moved). I thought that she was a little kooky, but our dog was extremely well trained by the end. Not sure if she is still doing the training or has a lot of helpers/assistants but we had good luck with her techniques. As you have read, the training is really up to you once you learn the basics. You just need to keep on it!

Good luck - here is the link:

Barb is still training, I think just monday evening classes. And from what I gather, she's a little 'kookier' lol

Her group classes seem reasonable.

I take it you're closer to the greensburg area? I would check out the wcotc. Also, I just emailed a trainer I found through the GSD club of South Western PA in Gibsonia. They are breeders and do obedience training. They are in the North Hills area, and are farther...but seem like nice people. Von Hauben GSDs if you'd like to check them out.
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