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Dog Training at Petsmart or PetCo?

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Angel7

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Hello all! I was wondering if anyone had any positive or negative experience with the dog training school at either Petsmart or Petco?

Any input would be great!


Thanks and Sierra (below) thanks you too!!


 

jcrow

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i have a yorkie boy. i took him to petsmart and i would HIGHLY recommend them to you! we had fantastic results with them. his whole personality changed for the better! it was such a possitive experience and well worth the money.
 

Angel7

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Date: 9/29/2005 9:45:27 AM
Author: jcrow
i have a yorkie boy. i took him to petsmart and i would HIGHLY recommend them to you! we had fantastic results with them. his whole personality changed for the better! it was such a possitive experience and well worth the money.
Thanks jcrow. I''m glad it worked for you and hopefully it will work for us. I''m leaning towards petsmart. Thanks so much for letting me know!
 

jcrow

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sure!

oh- and i couldn''t see Sierra''s pic, but i am sure it''s a cutie!
 

Angel7

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I wonder why it didn''t work?? I can see it!
I''ll upload it.

Thanks again!


cutesierra.jpg
 

Angel7

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Thanks, she''s s crazy pain in the butt! But I love her!


Have you ever heard of the Gentle Leader? Have you used it?
Debating on buying it. It''s suppossed to help them on their walks and prevent jumping up. She gets so excited on walks that she''s pulling, dragging me and choking herself all at the same time!
 

Mara

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We took P to a local place that does dog training and daycare..I preferred it to a place like a Petco or Petsmart where the dogs were in a busy environment with shoppers...I watched a class there and felt like the dogs were easily distracted, especially puppies, by all the people walking by and watching.

I did alot of research on who got the best reviews for training and I wanted to do positive reniforcement..so we went local and were very happy. It was a 6 week class for $150 I think.

Anyway we did so much practice with her after (that''s SO important, almost moreso than the classes themselves) that we didn''t need to do a 2nd class (aka next level) and I taught her other stuff like roll over and ''paw'' and stuff on my own. It''s kind of fun once you learn the ''basics'' on how to train.

Have fun!
 

Angel7

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Thanks Mara. I''ll have to look into other traning places not affliliated with the stores, see if we have some.
Very good point about being distracted. She gets distracted by a moth!
 

Angel7

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Thank you stretch! Very cute kitty! I need to post my cat Misica!
 

jcrow

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Date: 9/29/2005 12:21:01 PM
Author: Mara
We took P to a local place that does dog training and daycare..I preferred it to a place like a Petco or Petsmart where the dogs were in a busy environment with shoppers...I watched a class there and felt like the dogs were easily distracted, especially puppies, by all the people walking by and watching.


I did alot of research on who got the best reviews for training and I wanted to do positive reniforcement..so we went local and were very happy. It was a 6 week class for $150 I think.


Anyway we did so much practice with her after (that''s SO important, almost moreso than the classes themselves) that we didn''t need to do a 2nd class (aka next level) and I taught her other stuff like roll over and ''paw'' and stuff on my own. It''s kind of fun once you learn the ''basics'' on how to train.


Have fun!

i agree Mara - if u don''t practice practice practice at home, then all is neat lost. i stopped with the first class too because once i got the hang of it- i was able to teach him so much more too. they''ll do anything for a treat!!

i kinda liked the busy enviornment in a way because that''s how it is in real life-for me at least ( i like in an apartment complex with lots of other little and bigger dogs and their owners) i found he was really good - and most were- with other people around. it wasn''t stressful at all. he adapted well.
 

Mara

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I just had the hardest time with P and distractions esp when she was a puppy and we did the class young, at around 15 weeks old because I wanted her to learn learn learn....even within the class itself there were distractions which does help them learn how to cope with them but I figured dog distractions were one thing but the busy PetSmart shopping and people talking atmosphere wasn''t really what I wanted. Also, I was so keen on doing the positive reinforcement and this gal who we used had rave reviews from her clients. Oh and it was literally up the street from us. So it worked out very well. I will say that P learned about 90% of her training outside of class and after it ended. The class itself was more for us to learn how to teach the dogs and do a bit of practice, but it was also about socializing them with the other dogs and teaching them how to play with others etc. But the practice outside of class was so key. P has doggie friends who went to class but the parents never did any outside training with them and they lost most of what they learned and are intermittent with ''come'' etc. The funny thing is that it''s not hard to sit down 5 minutes out of a week and do some positive reinforcement training with treats (P loves liver biscotti) and it''s fun for both of us. It''s the way I keep her well versed in things like lay down, roll over, dead, paw and I''ll even go elsewhere in the house and call her to come sometimes and have surprise treats when she does. It''s just fun!
 

Angel7

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Puppies are a lot of work! We got Sierra to sit and give me paw. But she is just too wild and you''re right, we need to learn how to train her and then keep it going.
She jumps on people, she is crazy on the leash, she''s a nipper. Need to get these basics down!
Thanks again all!
 

monarch64

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Angel 7: I highly recommend using the "prong" collar for your puppy. I am the proud owner of an 18 month old crazy beagle, who despite weighing only 30 pounds can give you a real run for your money on a regular collar and 6 foot lead. The first time I took him to obedience class I was in tears. He was the worst dog in the class, wouldn''t sit, pulled so hard on his leash that he was almost hyperventilating. I actually had to pull him out of the class and into the bathroom, where I found myself crying, not knowing what to do! I went through the rest of the 8 week class with the same problem every week, except I got over the crying part. I decided to bring him back to the next "intermediate" session at the instructor''s urging. I also invested $10.99 at PetSmart (or Petco, can''t remember) on a pronged collar. I now call it the magic collar--he has behaved beautifully ever since we started using it. People in the class thought I had gone out and gotten a new dog! I was very against using that type of collar at first, but after I read up on it and actually used it I was completely over any fears of hurting my dog. He wears it every time we go for a walk and doesn''t mind it at all. Good luck with training and I hope you try the collar. Trust me, you will be so glad you did!
 

Angel7

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That is the exact problem I am having with my dog. I can''t take her for walks or bring her in the store because like you said, she''s litteraly hyperventilating from pulling so hard on the leash. I feel like a bad dog owner sometimes because people just look at me funny like, "come on lady, get a hold of your dog!"

I will look into that collar. I''ve also been looking into the gentle leader. Pet classes start soon so hopefully we''ll make some progress.


Thanks for the advice!
 

jcrow

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cosmo was the same when he was little. he also had a slight make dominance problem. with the classes he was a lot tamer.
 

WTNLVR

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There is also a HALTI collar that doesn''t use prongs. It works for most dogs. We did petsmart with 1 dog worked great. Should have done it with the other but didn''t. He''s a spaz and I think he has ADHD to boot. But we love him anyway.
 

3hearts

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In my opinion, Petsmart is o.k. for socializing your puppy with other puppies and getting them used to being around busy environments and exposing the puppy to various people. If you want hard core training, then I recommend finding a dog club near you that has training classes. My Norwich terrier went to Petsmart basically for socializing purposes and to also get myself basic training. But for the next step, I took him to a dog club where he and I both REALLY learned alot more.
 

Angel7

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Thanks for all the tips. She needs some basic training to start her out. She is just a spaz!
Thanks!
 

Mara

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Angel have you tried this for walking her...it takes ALOT of patience which not everyone has (I didn't...we did it sporadically from time to time, but eventually she calmed down thank god!)...but I have heard it works.

It's the positive reinforcement way of training to walk without pulling and beside you..aka you start out going for a walk keeping a shorter leash but letting it hang slack a bit so there is no tug on the dog at all. When the dog strains and pulls and the leash goes taut...stop and just stand there. The dog will most likely keep pulling and tugging and EVENTUALLY turn around to wonder why they aren't moving forward. If you have a strong come command, you can then command them to come to you and sit. Then you can resume the walk. But if there is no strong come command yet, wait til they walk over to you and sit which they will EVENTUALLY do. That's where the patience part comes in, I say eventually because it can literally take them full minutes to figure out they aren't moving and to come back to you to see what's going on. Then when they do and they sit, you can treat them (or not, some people don't like using treats) and then resume the walk. Until it happens again. As soon as the leash goes taut, stop and repeat the procedure. It will take HOURS of time....one person who did it in class said in 45 minutes they made it about 50 yards originally. So don't get frustrated or discouraged if you try it...maybe only do it for 20 minutes the first time and keep upping it. But they say eventually the dogs understand that if the leash goes taught that you will stop and they will figure out how to keep it loose and swinging.

Oh wanted to add that a less strict way of doing the above is starting to walk again the minute the leash goes slack. So walk, and then if it goes taut, stop. Then when the leash gets slack again, aka the dog turns and walks to you or just sits down or something, then start walking again. You just basically want them to get that the 'taut' thing is not a positive one.


Portia used to pull alot when she was a pup and I tried this a few times. But alot of it was just maturity and growing out of that 'havetob100yardsaheadasap' stage. I also trained her to go off leash in our community park here where we take walks, it's amazing to me but she learned that I like for her to walk next to me most of the time...sometimes I will release her and she can run and play with the birds in the field or something, it's a circular park so I can walk around and keep an eye on her. But most of the time she walks right by my side without a leash and if she falls behind I just call her and she comes running up. It's so funny, people are so impressed and in reality she just kind of learned it because every time she would fall behind I would call her and she'd come. Or if she falls behind because she is sniffing something, and I let her do it, eventually she lifts her head and finds where I am at and RACES over to me, even if it's across the field. It's so funny, it gives her a good workout and I think it's a bit of a game for her. Oh but if there is a squirrel or a dog in the field and she wants to get to it, if she is on a leash, she pulls horribly. All her training flies out the window. I stop and command her to come sit by me which she does, trembling with excitement, usually I do a few tricks aka lay down and get her to look at me, and then I ususally release her. It shows her who's in-charge, but then she gets a big reward.


Anyway, patience is the best solution...and trying a form of training so that the dog does realize you are the commander of that ship...even teaching a dog the basics for me is a necessity...it's pretty easy over time but in the beginning is pretty frustrating. Hang in there.
 

Angel7

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Thanks Mara. I have noticed, patience is key. I''ve tried the technique you are speaking of and we''ll do it sometimes and then not.She is a big dog and is so much stronger than me. After the walk I''m exhausted and have burns on my hand from the leash!
I thing the problem with us is inconsisitency. My bf will use "down" and I''ll use "off", poor girl gets confused, she doesn''t know what we want from her!

I think the dog training for her will better benefit us and hopefully this will be a start in the right direction!

Thanks again for all your hlep and expertise. Classes start Saturday! Let''s hope they work!
 

Mara

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Haha I swear if anyone asked me the one thing that having a puppy/dog taught me, hands down it would be PATIENCE. I never really have had it and you have to have it when you are dealing with a little peeing and biting machine. I think it''s great because now I am alot more patient (still not perfect, but no one is!) and I can also use that in other areas of my life (aka my job) and I figure it trains us for having kids if we decide to...because you need TONS of patience for that too!!
 

Jelly

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The Gentle Lead works amazingly well on Jelly. He used to choke himself on walks. We tried a choke collar, which somewhat worked, but I hated the idea of choking him. The gentle lead goes around the snout and when the dog gets out of line, it pulls back on the face, like the mama dog would do to the young pups.

Jelly isn''t crazy about it...but seems to be well behaved when it''s on.
 

Angel7

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Date: 10/10/2005 7:13:48 PM
Author: Jelly
The Gentle Lead works amazingly well on Jelly. He used to choke himself on walks. We tried a choke collar, which somewhat worked, but I hated the idea of choking him. The gentle lead goes around the snout and when the dog gets out of line, it pulls back on the face, like the mama dog would do to the young pups.

Jelly isn''t crazy about it...but seems to be well behaved when it''s on.
I''ve heard of those. I went to Petsmart ($27.00). I''m afraid that Sierra won''t even let me put that thing on her. You should see how excited she gets when the leash comes down. She goes nuts! I''m going to wait for training to start, see how she does, if they recommend a specific collar/leash and or some prescription drugs for her
(J/k) and go from there. We start Saturday. Wish me luck! I''ll report back.

Thanks again everyone!
 

Superstar

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this is very helpful...I have had both my dogs....Lucy and Valentine for about 4 years...and they are nuttso....i have to take them out seperately b/c together they are uncontrollable....Lucy is a chihuahua/daschund mix..she pulls and chokes herself constantly...I have always wondered about this lead and I will definitely go out and buy it and give it a try...thanks for explaining how it works.
 

fire&ice

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The thing about the halti and gentle leader is that you are not teaching the dog not to pull on the leash.

A dog class is only as good as it''s trainer. PERIOD. It doesn''t matter where you go - it''s who you go to. Research then visit the various places & find a trainer that seems to fit with your style. Dog training is an art. Not all dogs respond to training methods. Find the one that works for your dog. Are they treat motivated? Are they praise motivated? Does negative reinforcement work? With most dogs, a variety works.

First, the dog must be paying attention to you. If you can teach the dog to heal, the dog won''t make pulling on a lead a regular event. I''ve always used the training method Mara mentioned except I don''t stop. I change directions & go the other way until the dog stops pulling then I go forward. It drives them nuts because they can''t get to where they want to go. They learn quickly that to go forward & see new things they must not pull.

Another method taught is "correction". You get either a prong collar or choke collar & when the dog pulls you yank on the collar (there is an art to the "yank" - someone must teach you the proper way). This corrects the dog to stop doing what they are doing (pulling).

Both methods may work. It depends on YOUR dog & YOU. I''ve never been fond of all that yanking & I''ve never been good at it. Also, my dogs have always responded to the change in direction.

Honestly, once you figure out what motivates the dog, you can teach a dog most anything. It''s B.F. Skinner behavior modification using successive approximation.

All that said, I would get yourself into a class SOONER rather than later. And, keep in mind, your dog will do it''s best to embarrass you
. Don''t worry about what others think - focus on the task at hand in a calm fun way.
 

Mara

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"Honestly, once you figure out what motivates the dog, you can teach a dog most anything. "

________________

That''s so true. I have taught P to open a door with her nose (as long as it was open a tiny bit to begin with), to lay down, roll over, play dead, speak, shake (PAW)...everyone in the park gets a kick out of it since she probably knows the most ''tricks''...if someone has treats they will inevitably try to get her to do things for them.


She is totally TREAT motivated. And sometimes if I have a toy that she ADORES then I will take it away from her when she is playing with it (and in the midst of loving it) and we''ll do some fun training so she has to ''win'' it back. I always give it back to her in the end if she has been working to get it...so that she never learns that I just ''take'' and don''t return.

Angel, you may also find that you have to find the ''right'' treats for your dog to be motivated. I went through a few with P and some she liked, some she was not interested in at all (bad when you are in class finding this out!). Her fave and most consistent treat to this day is Liver Biscotti, she adores it, it''s crunchy, and they are tiny bite sized pieces great for training. But in our classes, some people brought chopped up hot dogs, or shredded chicken if their dogs were REALLY picky...true fresh meat gets them every time...hehee.
 

Angel7

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Well the first couple of classes went well. The second class was by far the best. I was so impressed with the few changes that were made. Since Sierra is so large and is a leash yanker she said we should try the pincher collar(although she said we have to look the other way because Petsmart does not believe in Negative Reinforcement). I cannot tell you the difference this collar has made. She doesn''t yank, she always stopped when she needed to, it was great. I don''t want to hurt my puppy but the difference was amazing. I tested it on my arm and it is a little pinch. So we just use that in school. It''s amazing how these little treats have such power over the dog! She''ll do anything for them!! I''m looking forward to her becoming a well trained doggie!!

Thanks again everyone!
 

jcrow

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glad things went well. I am sure you will make much progress!

mara- i agree. we did the same thing with cosmo. we learned how to teach him the basics in the classes. once home, i taught him all i could think of once i knew how to get his attention. they''ll do anything for a yummy treat.
 
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