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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Picking The Right Training Class

Picking the Right Dog Training Class

PetSmart Debbie McKnight, Accredited PetSmart Trainer

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Wondering which dog training class is the right one for you?  The following descriptions of PetSmart accredited dog training classes can help you decide:

Potty Training Seminars (for Pet Parents only – no pets), which are one-time classes that last one hour, are great for people that have not yet gotten their new dog or for someone that has a new puppy that isn’t old enough for a Puppy class yet. Potty Training is briefly covered in both Puppy and Beginner classes.

Wondering which dog training class is the right one for you?  The following descriptions of PetSmart accredited dog training classes can help you decide:

Potty Training Seminars (for Pet Parents only – no pets), which are one-time classes that last one hour, are great for people that have not yet gotten their new dog or for someone that has a new puppy that isn’t old enough for a Puppy class yet. Potty Training is briefly covered in both Puppy and Beginner classes.

Puppy Class is great if you have a new puppy that is under 5 months old.  Topics covered in Puppy classes are socialization, handling, problem solving (i.e. potty training, puppy biting, crate training, etc), and basic cues; such as sit, down, and come.  All puppies, even if you are training them at home, should attend a group puppy class.  It is a great way to socialize and teach puppies to listen with distractions.

If you have a dog that is older than 5 months and has had no previous training, or if you are unsure of his training history, a Beginner Class is the right choice for you.  Beginner classes still cover problem solving and socialization, but teach all the basic cues.  By the end of a PetSmart Beginner class, your dog should be able to sit, lie down, stay (with no distractions and with you next to them), come when called (with no distractions), and walk politely on leash.  In general, your dog should be able to do these things in the store with whatever “natural” distractions are present. 

Intermediate Class is great for dogs that have been through either a Puppy or Beginner class with PetSmart (the dog does not need to attend both Puppy and Beginner), or dogs that can perform the basic cues with some distractions.  If your dog can perform the basic cues at home, but tends to get overly excited around other dogs, you may need to start with a Beginner class to teach your dog how to listen and respond to you, even in the presence of other dogs.  If you are unsure how your dog might perform with other dogs present, you can always bring them to a PetSmart on a busy Saturday and see how well they listen!  Intermediate class covers: heeling, wait at doors, come and stay with distractions and distance, go to bed, and more.

Advanced Class is polishing all the skills learned so far.  Any training aids used, like special harnesses or treats, will be faded out in this class and the distraction level will increase.  At the end of Advanced class your dog should be prepared to take the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Test, which is a starting point for many other dog sports and activities.

Trick Class is great for any dog!  Your dog should know how to sit and lie down, but they don’t need any additional behaviors to get started learning tricks.  Dogs love learning new things, so don’t think their education is over when they’ve mastered the basics!

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Comments

07 Sep 2010 6:23 pm

julie45 said:

I am very sorry to hear about your experience at our store. For many of our Customers and their pets, coming to PetSmart is a convenient and special outing –a time for togetherness and fun.

PetSmart’s policy is that every pet must be leashed or in a carrier when visiting PetSmart.
All dogs must be vaccinated in accordance with city/county/state/provincial (or other) ordinances.
Potentially dangerous dogs, which are defined as dogs exhibiting out of control, vicious behavior, creating fear or imminent danger to people and/or other animals, are not allowed in any PetSmart locations.

I am very concerned about the situation you described in your post. Would you please e-mail me the specifics so that I can have our customer service team research this incident? petcommunity@ssg.petsmart.com

06 Sep 2010 7:19 pm

prot44 said:

Well Debbie,, THAT just isn't the case at more than just a few of the petsmart store training classes I have experienced.
Several aggressive dogs have been in the classes and the trainer (s) don't seem to even notice or care. It is impossible for the pet parents to really pay attention to whatever is being taught, due to all the barking,lunging,and growling going on in the area. Not to mention all of those who don't enroll in classes, and bring their ill mannered, aggressive dogs into the stores, and allow them to approach other dogs, carelessly. That is something I cannot stand. I had to go back and totally desensitize my dog, after having some idiot in the store walk right up, without even asking, with a rott mix, that proceeded to grab my dog who was in a down / stay, by my side, by the neck and began shaking him!
I seriously considered legal action, but that isn't my style. However, someone else may not be so kind.
How can Petsmart allow just anyone with any pet, dog or otherwise, to come into the store? You can't ever tell what ANY animal is going to do under certain circumstances. The most wonderful dog in the world, with no history of aggression at all, under just the wrong situation, could become aggressive. Then what?
Oh, and is the petsmart accreditation your only form of certification, or diploma? Or did you obtain any type of formal education prior to going through the area store to be trained?
thanks in advance,
Prot

03 Jun 2010 7:08 am

BLOODHOUND74 said:

I took my bloodhound puppy to this (Puppy Class). She is now very well trained. I loved the instructor she was very nice and patient with me and Mia. This was 3 years ago. I believe her name Was "Hannah". Anyways very good classes, I learned a lot of stuff there!

03 Mar 2010 1:49 pm

Drgnrdr said:

Deb, from one area trainer to another, we need to make sure they have "leave it" (one cue, like the "come" cue, that could save your pets life)which means "don't touch look at me instead" which is taught in the Puppy and Beginner class, this helps when going into the Intermediate class, we'll be using this cue when working with distractions. Also, even though we understand Pet Parents need help with their pets who may be aggressive to unfamiliar people and or unfamiliar dogs, they are not allowed in any of our classes, we are trying, thru our Puppy Class program to avoid developing dogs that are Aggressive. Once your beloved pet gets to this stage of aggression they need to please see a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, you won't believe how many Pet Parents I have to refer to a Behaviorist, and all they needed was to get to a class earlier and get some important basic training and socialization and most of this could have been avoided. Thanks Deb for all you do.

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