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Petsmart Puppy Classes? Good? Bad?

Karsalis
October 12th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Hi. How is Petsmart for puppy classes? My vet recommended Puppy People in Vaughan. However their classes are double the cost for half the number of lessons. Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks

Goldenmom
October 12th, 2004, 12:10 PM
I can only speak of the classes around here, but they are not recommended. Petsmart are dog supply stores, not obedience professionals. I would suggest you look in the yellow pages around you and see what else you can find. The facility I go to in Kitchener comes with University educated obedience trainers.

I personally would keep searching.... Go to each place and get a feel for things. Definately ask what their preferred methods of training is, as some use aggressive methods, where others (like mine) use only positive reinforcement training.

Heather and her 3 Golden Girls.

Mysts38
October 12th, 2004, 12:17 PM
I personally wouldnt take my dog to a place like Petsmart for obedience training,anymore than I would buy my sofa at a lightbulb store...

SHop around....there is a training place near us that is alot more expensive than Petsmart...but their quality of training is also higher..she only takes 5 dogs(pups)for each class and she has an assistant..that is where hannah will be going.

You do have the options of visiting each training place and judging the methods before you make up your mind...

TalonsMa
October 12th, 2004, 02:28 PM
I know of a few ppl who have taken their pups to PetSmart for puppy classes, and had nothing but good things to say about it. So we've enrolled Solara, she started this past Saturday and loves it. And my hubsnad love it as well, as there are only 4 pups in the class so we get lots of one on one time. The instructor is extremely helpful, and even rescheduled one of our classes for us (we had to go out town unexpectedly), with no problems at all! For basic and advanced obedience we will be taking her elsewhere :) I say check the place and especially the instructor out and go with your gut feeling.

sue fox
October 12th, 2004, 08:56 PM
OOOOOhhhh!! glad this was brought up. I've been training Scottie halt/sit/stay and just started come, and want to start obedience training but a little leary since Roxie(past) did well but had a bad experience. We couldn't find anything close at the time and this guy was quite good but there was a loud/alpha dog there at the time and I've always wondered if his consistent barking(3 classes he came) contributed to Roxie being so excitable with every dog she encountered. Especially if I was around! If I wasn't around not too bad and she actually was fine once she met others and was aloud to socialize with but she always had to be "up front" protective but not aggressive hard to explain. I'm sure if provoked she would have stood her ground.
Scottie likes every dog he meets so far and there is this huge Bouvier which we see beyond a fence every night we go for a walk he is loud! But I love going by there as he is getting used to him. Now he'll go to the fence and stay there doesn't want to move while the Bouvier barks a few times and tries to get close, Scottie wags his tail and moans, kind of. I talk really quiet to the other dog and he calms I think looking forward to our nightly visit. Sorry didn't mean to go on, It's just so much fun.
Anyone in the Windsor area have anyone they recommend? for the obedience training i mean.
Thanks Sue

pug lover
October 13th, 2004, 12:18 AM
puppy classes are just that--puppy. these are not obedience they are socialization. places like pet smart are great i believe for this sort of thing. they see peopple and dogs and cats shopping carts and they learn not to react to everything around them. passing puppies around is always a favorit of mine.

GunnerX
October 13th, 2004, 07:11 AM
One time I took Ariel to PetSmart to shop and they had a class going on. I decided to stand and see what they do and saw that with most of the dogs, they were teaching them to sit, lie down, etc. Do people really need a class for this? I think a good $20 book or even just browsing through the net would be more help. At 3 months, Ariel already knew all the stuff they were teaching. My wife and I were considering it at first but after seeing that, I decided not to.

Goldenmom
October 13th, 2004, 09:04 AM
puppy classes are just that--puppy. these are not obedience they are socialization. places like pet smart are great i believe for this sort of thing. they see peopple and dogs and cats shopping carts and they learn not to react to everything around them. passing puppies around is always a favorit of mine.


I disagree with you completely.

They ARE obedience classes. At the age of 6 weeks I had my girls sitting on command with hand signals, at 8 weeks they were responding to "down" This is not socialization, this is obedience that will affect your pup the rest of its growing life.

In reputable classes, they give about 15-20 minutes of "socialization" time and the rest is work.

They also give out handouts that should be done at home every single day until the next class. This is also obedience training.

Sorry, but the first 4 months of your pups life is THE most important time for learning obedience as well as everything else associated with a growing pup.

I took my classes seriously, therefore, I now have 3 very well trained, obedient Goldens.

To say Puppy classes are for socialization only, doesn't sit well with me, as you can see.

Petsmart etc. are animal supply stores, thats all. A trained facility where the people get paid well for their experience is where I would want to take any pup.

This is all my opinion only and how feel.

Heather and her 3 Golden Girls

Karsalis
October 13th, 2004, 09:30 AM
Has anyone had experiece with Puppy People, in Vaughan?

They are very expensive, but might we well worth it if the training is good. They are run by experts.

debanneball
October 13th, 2004, 09:39 AM
Actually, what exactly would define a 'puppy class'? A class where the puppy is house trained is what comes to mind for me. Now, what you should look for (is exactly as Golden puts it) an obedience class. They are the best thing that one could do for their dog.

An example...you are in a park, your dog runs towards another dog, you wonder, is it a frinedly dog or not...you want your dog to stop immediately, and come back to you. You and your dog will learn this in an obedience class, and in the long run, your dog will be all the better for it. :D

TalonsMa
October 13th, 2004, 03:29 PM
i don't see any problem with Solara going to PetSmart for her 'puppy classes' she already knows all the basics, this will just reinforce what we've already taught her. But everyone is entitled to their own opinions :D Nothing wrong with that.

PetTrainerMeeko
November 7th, 2004, 07:39 PM
As a PetsMart training instructor I am offended. The number one thing most people have against our training instructors is they think they are either A. Part time trainers who work in other areas of the store, or B. Inexperienced and can't get a job for a more reputable training firm.

Let me just say the best thing about being a PetsMart trainer is the fact that most programs focus on distractions. If you've ever been in the store on a adoption day, in a busy city, you know it can be loud. The fact that your dog will not only be able to do a 20 foot down stay off-leash, but will be able to do that with everything going on is a great tool for training.

Most of our trainers are under-paid , and under apperciated. The reason class prices are "cheap" is that we are trying to make training affordable for everyone. The thing most people don't realize is that 1 out of every 5 dogs remain in it's original home. Behavioral problems are the number 1 reason most animals are given up for adoption. By offering an no-kill adoption center, and trainers working with those centers we help ensure that those pets will not be put to sleep because someone couldn't spend the money for classes. So you know, most trainers at these stores make less than 8.00 an hour, and only make a VERY small percentage comission wise for their time. For most doggy boot camps, the 800 dollars you spend to send your dog away goes right to the trainer.

Personally I wish we were paid more, but I stay with PetsMart because the ideals they stand for. I have been with the company for 7 years. During the hurricanes that hit Florida they gave money to help their associates who were homeless due to the storms. These same associates that came in everyday to work, not because they were getting paid great, but because they enjoyed it.

Another thing I've read a lot recently is that puppy classes are just that, they aren't obedience classes, and that you can learn everything from a book. Yes, that you can, but the majority of people I've dealt with have already tried a book, and need a bit more help to show them what they are doing wrong. We teach several different levels of obedience classes, from a Puppy Headstart and Basic class - for those dogs learning basic commands, to Clicker training, and Advanced classes with AKC Canine Good Citizens.

Each PetsMart trainer has to go through a training program, and then be evaluated by their area trainer. Sure a few bad ones do slip through, but the best way to find out, talk to the other associates within the store. Ask the trainers what level they are, we have from area trainers down to level 1 trainers. Each store generally has a Senior ,who has been training for at least a year, and evaluated by their students, and corporate.

I look at PetsMart this way, they are regulated , so you know what is taught. Sure each trainer does it a little differently, but generally we keep it pretty much by the book. And the program itself was written by renowned pet behaviorists as well, so you don't have some guy who has just had some luck with his own dog , that is teaching at a fair ground or park.

Overall the best thing you can do with any trainer is ask to sit in on a class, if they refuse, you know that trainer is not right for you. See how the teacher responds to your dog, if you tell them it is fearful of strangers and it goes to pet your dog over it's head look for another trainer. It really doesn't matter where you go, as long as you go to a good trainer, and work with your dog at home to reinforce the things you learn in class.

heeler's rock!
November 7th, 2004, 08:03 PM
Thanks for coming on here PetTrainerMeeko. I just have to say as a dog trainer myself, that I would never recommend PetSmart to anyone that is serious about training.

Having a class in the middle of a store is not a distraction. Using treats and clickers is no way to train a dog. How does PetSmart suggest weening an owner's dog off of treats? How do you train if you forget your treats or clicker at home? I'm really curious, not trying to be judgemental.

Real training is done outdoors with nothing but a 6 foot leash and a collar. That's all you should need and your dog should listen to you out of respect for you, not for a treat. That's like bribing your kids with money to do their homework! What will make them do their homework when you're broke?

I'm really sorry if you're offended, but I've seen dogs that are trained with treats and they become food agressive and end up in shelters. They don't listen to their owners and if the treats not good enough, they won't listen. I'm also saying this out of experience as my oldest dog was treat trained when I first got her, and she snatched food right out of my hand! Now, she's learned to respect me and that's why she listens to me. I didn't know any better but have learned that treat training is the most horrible thing to teach your dog. JMO.

TalonsMa, if you're serious about training, PetPlanet in Calgary is an amazing place. I don't work for them, but their trainer is awesome. PM me if you want to know more.

Writing4Fun
November 7th, 2004, 08:42 PM
If treat training is so awful, why does every conformation handler and some agility handlers use them? I believe the general concensus around trainers who use treats is that they are to be used to develop a desired behaviour, to the point that it becomes natural for the dog to respond to that command even when you don't have a treat. Yes, just like children. When potty training my son, I had to bribe him with stickers, puzzles, treats, anything I could think of to get him to sit on that toilet. Now he does it without bribery. Same deal, no?

heeler's rock!
November 7th, 2004, 09:53 PM
Agility and training for showing is totally different. They are for fun, and treats to teach dogs tricks and stuff is fine because it is not a required behaviour. I have no issues using treats to train my dog to jump over hurdles because it's not something I expect her to do all the time without hesitation. I will never use treats to teach my dog something as important as a sit stay or a required command. Also, if you use treats every now and then for training agility or fly ball, your dog doesn't come to expect treats all the time. They are still just used as an occasional reward, not for all the time training.

Training kids is different. When kids are young, bribery is sometimes the only thing that works, but when they're older, we expect more and we don't expect to have to bribe them to do what we tell them. Dogs only have the mental capacity of a 2 or 3 year old when they're full grown so bribery is harder to untrain, so why do it in the first place?

Treat training your pet to listen to you when you ask it to sit, is not a healthy, respectful relationship on your pet's part. This is all just my opinion and those who disagree are more than welcome too, but it won't change my stance on the subject.

heeler's rock!
November 7th, 2004, 10:09 PM
I just want to say that everyone is entitled to their opinions about treat training and such, so I want to appologize if I have offended anyone at all. I'm just trying to inform people about the dangers of treat training, clickers, and even halti's. They just mask the issue, not fix the issue. This is just a hot topic for me, so I'm probably gonna stay away from this one, unless someone posts something I just can't ignore :o.

Anyone who wants to know more about non-treat training methods, please PM me. Writing4fun, thanks for your questions and for trying to understand where I'm coming from. Not too many people would have been quite so polite. Sorry again to anyone who might not like what I posted, but we're all here to learn from eachother. :o

Sheriffmom
November 8th, 2004, 08:36 AM
Hi guys,
We took Sheriff to Petsmart puppy classes and we loved it! The trainer was so nice, and Sheriff learned tonnes! Everytime we take Sheriff to Petsmart he heads for the training area first, if Rebecca is there he can't contain his wiggle bum. He loves her. We've now hired her for the private lessons (Sheriff still has some tugging issues when he walks on lead, and due to our shift work it is so hard to co-ordinate going to regular classes.)
For me the issue is not necessarily where the classes take place, but more does the trainer work well with the dogs? Does the trainer really love dogs? Is my dog learning?
Just my thoughts.... we were very happy with the specific trainer we had at Petsmart. I am not advocating specifically for Petsmart, nor do I know anything about any of the other trainers working at other stores. I'm just saying Rebecca was great with our pup!! :)

Schwinn
November 8th, 2004, 09:19 AM
We can't say enough good things about our experince. Daisy loved it, and she learned really well. That may be a reflection of the dog, but I know we'd go back in a minute.

PetTrainerMeeko
November 8th, 2004, 12:03 PM
The problem I have with a random ratio of treats is that most people don't make it truly random. I have to explain to people that a treat every other time, or every 2 times isn't a random ratio for treats. You have to give treats sometimes and then don't use them at other times. I generally recommend all of my students to go practice in the local dog park, where treats are not allowed, and I try to tell them no to use treats at home.

Some breeds of dogs though, to get them to do even required behaviors will need some motivation, whether it be treats, toys, or just A LOT of praise. These dogs tend to do better on a strict schedule and then weaning them on to a random ratio schedule.

What most people don't understand is that we don't think your dogs should have to do things for treats all the time, unless he needs it. I cant stand to hear these so-called training experts preaching about how clicker training is bad, or treat training is bribery, and that they listen to the needs of their students to judge what collar they should use. Generally these trainers that attack PetsMart, and other such training programs are generally afraid of a little competition.

I am friends with several other training facilities in my area, and sometimes I send dogs their way, or vice versa. It's a good idea to know whats being offered somewhere else and be able to help out your student. Because after all, most trainers in these big PetsMart situations aren't making enough to live. All of our trainers have at least 2 jobs to pay the rent, but we care about our students. That is what keeps me there. And if I have to use treats with a dog I will. It is a good place to start for most dogs.

Most PetsMart trainers to will evaluate your dog, and if he's wearing a harness have you try something else. I personally like Halti's and Gentle Leaders, as long as they are a training tool and not a lifetime use thing. I would much rather have my student try these first over using a Prong or a Choke Chain.

I do tell my students about them all, I've had dogs that have needed prong collars, but it's generally 1 out of every 1000 dogs might need it.

I've also read things about how if you look at our graduation book none of the dogs are sitting perfect and polite, and how their owners have to pin them down. I will tell you this, graduation pictures are the hardest part of our class. I would wiggle and squirm too if I had a silly hat thrown on my head and this flashing thing that keeps going off in front of my eyes.

I like to have fun, and make my classes as rewarding for the students as it is the dogs. If they aren't having fun their dog won't have fun either. Whether it be a simple game, or a prize system , we seem to get results.

As I said in an earlier post I get upset when people discredit PetsMart trainers just because they work for PetsMart. You can find a bad trainer at any training facility. The main thing to do, ask questions, see if you can sit in on a class. Also see if they try to pressure you into a class or signing up on that day. If people want to signup the same day I've spoken to them thats great, a majority though want to think it over. Which is understandable, it's an investment of their time. I generally will tell them to give me a call if they have any questions, and 90 percent of the time the people that go home are in a few days later in a class.

Make sure the trainer is right for you, and that their methods will work for you.

Dukieboy
November 8th, 2004, 12:28 PM
What is wrong with a harness?

heidiho
November 8th, 2004, 12:56 PM
I dont get it,it is not like it is the bag boy at Petsmart is teaching the class.I heard nothing bad about petsmart classes...They are trained teachers out here they are..

heeler's rock!
November 8th, 2004, 01:20 PM
What most people don't understand is that we don't think your dogs should have to do things for treats all the time, unless he needs it. I cant stand to hear these so-called training experts preaching about how clicker training is bad, or treat training is bribery, and that they listen to the needs of their students to judge what collar they should use. Generally these trainers that attack PetsMart, and other such training programs are generally afraid of a little competition.

I am most definitely not a so-called trainer. I have done a ton of research into dog behaviour and have found that the most effective methods of teaching are to think like a dog in a pack would. Do you ever hear of a wolf giving a cub a treat to listen to them? No. It's ludacris! I'm actually quite insulted by your comments and I will never recommend treat trainers, clicker's, or halti's to any of the people I come into contact with. No dog breed I have EVER come accross needs bribery to do simple tasks. That's just an easy way out and most people taht do use treats, only use it because it's easy. Simple as that.

PetTrainerMeeko
November 8th, 2004, 04:36 PM
I generally don't like harnesses because they spread the weight out, making it so your dog can pull easier. For smaller breeds harnesses are ok, but larger ones I would try something like a martingale collar, metal buckle, or gentle leader.

As for not using treats what type of training do you reccomend a person use? What type of training do you do if not with treats, or some form of motivation?

The majority of the training community have found that a diverse training method, focues on positive reinforcement works better than the old school push your dogs nose in the pee to make him realize not to go the bathroom in the house.

For dogs with agression, and fear, treats are a good tool to help make these dogs better, in a faster more reliable method. Clickers can be seen as a result of the Pavlov's theories. As someone who is an educator as well for kids I also have to disagree with something else you mentioned, about not rewarding kids for good behavior. I look at it this way, if you went everyday to your job, didn't hear a bit of good progress, never got paid for your work, got a raise, would you keep working for that person??? No, I think not.

Schwinn
November 8th, 2004, 04:44 PM
[QUOTE= I look at it this way, if you went everyday to your job, didn't hear a bit of good progress, never got paid for your work, got a raise, would you keep working for that person??? No, I think not.

I think I need a new job...

glasslass
November 8th, 2004, 05:20 PM
Books on training are good for suggestions. But, your puppy can't get socialization with other dogs from a book.

Goldenmom
November 8th, 2004, 05:28 PM
Sorry, the bottom line here is that we will agree to disagree. People need to experiment and use what methods works for THEM. I treat trained my girls and am very happy with the results. I recommend this type of training for anybody. Dr.Ian Dunbar is my hero and I follow all his training methods and tell everyone to also buy his books. To each their own...

Heather and her 3 Golden Girls

heeler's rock!
November 8th, 2004, 05:39 PM
Yeah, I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Meeko, you are COMPLETELY missing my point about treat training. I give my dogs treats because I feel like giving them treats, not to get them to work for me. Kids do deserve rewards for good behaviour, but parents shouldn't have to bribe their kids to get them to do something simple, like taking out the trash.

I use a maringale collar and a 6 foot leash, with a hell of a lotta praise in my training. Dogs don't need treats to learn! They need direction and a desire to work for you because they love and respect you, like you love and respect them. I am so done with this thread because it's like talking about religion when you contradict training methods. I'm not the only one who thinks treat training isn't any good, and the proof is the amount of trainers that DON'T use treats and get amazing results that last a lifetime, not the depth of your treat pouch.

heidiho
November 8th, 2004, 05:41 PM
I always heard start with treats but wean them off treats as there reward,then just start praising with no treats...................

glasslass
November 8th, 2004, 06:18 PM
I use treats for tricks, not basic obedience commands. Den-Den loves to perform his tricks and does so eagerly - for the treats! Corky learned tricks by watching Den-Den and he wants those treats too. Funny thing is he dances (twirling on his back legs) and does it in the opposite direction as Den-Den. Wonder if he's left-pawed or if that's just his perspective of the correct direction from his angle?

tenderfoot
November 8th, 2004, 08:57 PM
Wow, this has become quite the heated debate. I believe strongly in "when you know better you do better" - and everyone is doing the best with what their experience has taught them.
It is hard to disagree with any training method based on positive treatment of the animal. However, if the human relies on devices or treats to communicate with a dog - the dog relies on it as well and it can be much harder to get off leash at 'college' level (i.e. distractions). Few dogs are going to come away from playing with other dogs for a scrap of hotdog. So people often say you have to have better treats for those occasions, well what if the guy next to you has even better treats? Is my dog going to go to him instead?
We have worked with award winning obedience dogs who are great in the ring working for liver, but get them home and ask them to do something and they look at you waiting for the next bit of liver - not willing to do anything until they see the food first. I do not consider that a well trained dog.
A person should treat their dog for being a friend - but the dog should be working for the human out of relationship - love, trust and respect - through my voice, hands and body language.
Most 'gimmicks' work out of force or bribery, and I don't want anyone I have a relationship with to be with me for those reasons. Clickers can be great for animals who are not relationship oriented, i.e. a Komodo Dragon - who could care less about you as a friend, but is willing to perform for a mouse.
Dogs are hard wired to have leadership in their lives- so why not maximize that? It's why I have dogs - to have relationship with an animal I adore and respect. I want my children to cooperate with me out of love and respect, not because I am offering them candy or forcing them.
Many of our clients come to us because they are not happy with devices or bribery and find that relationship training is fast, effective and hands off. You don't have to carry anything with you because you always have relationship ready at hand.
We have a Petsmart training program here and I have heard goods & bads about it. Our local lead trainer at Petsmart has been with them for a year and feels that he has gotten everything he can from what they offer - so he has asked us to take him to the next level so he can offer better classes to his clients, because he cares about being the best he can be. In the end the person teaching you makes all of the difference. Petsmart is doing the best they can with what they know right now. It is not easy to hire people and train them to be trainers without a 'gimmick' of sorts.

tenderfoot
November 8th, 2004, 09:34 PM
I just had another thought - imagine that (sorry I get so verbose at times). Puppy socialization. You shouldn't have to pay for it! Pay people to teach you how to be a great dog person - not to socialize your dog.
Socialization needs to be happening all of the time, and with all kinds of creatures, not just other puppies. Different kinds of people, young and old, all kinds of EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds etc. Different environments, loud, quiet, large, small, busy, bright, dark etc. The key is to expose your dog to everything in a positive manner, so that when they are faced with something new in life the dog remembers that so many new experiences were wonderful and fun and they are confident to experience more.
Depriving a dog of life's experiences can be just as cruel as neglect. Lack of good socialization can result in terrible emotional disorders which can lead to fear aggression, insecurities, phobias, etc. That's no way to raise a dog.
Remember that puppies have fear periods at approx. 8-10 weeks and again at 16 weeks. Becareful not to expose them to any scary situations (i.e. vet & shots), during this time. This is when memories imprint themselves for life. So if an old man stepped on your puppies toes and she screamed - she might always think of old men or old men's feet as scary. So if this happens don't fawn over her - inside you can think "poor thing", but on the outside try to be nonchalant about it otherwise you might be feeding the fear and creating a drama queen.

PetTrainerMeeko
November 8th, 2004, 09:53 PM
I'm sorry if I offended anyone, I didn't miss your point. I do agree that people shouldn't have to bribe their dogs with treats, and that they should work with treats on more of a random ratio type of method. With my own dogs I use just a clicker, and buckle collar, and have an 10 month old english mastiff puppy who walks perfectly next to me.

The problem I had with this post was that people were assuming that PetsMart and their trainers use this bribery method, when in reality the majority of them don't. I don't, neither do any of the trainers in my area. We are the same trainers that volunteer at the ASPCA on the weekends, and help out adoption centers because we want to work in different training areas, than just basic obedience.

I don't think you should have to bribe a dog to do things, but sometimes a strict treat ratio works with really problem dogs. I'm not saying it's an always situation, but by saying EVERY dog will work without food just isn't always true. One of my dogs will, the other one won't. My bloodhound, who is as stubborn as hounds go doesn't respond to anything besides praise, and his rubber frog pool toy. This is a form of bribery, as it is his motivation.

In training methods will be different from trainer to trainer, and schools, but I wish that people wouldn't discredit a store, or trainer because of the establishment. Check out your trainer, no matter where they are, and make sure their personality matches with your own, and the methods you want to use with your dog. The best trainers are the ones open to different ideas and methods, and willing to work with you to find the method that is right for your dog.

Again, I don't mean to offend anyone, and it's your right to disagree with me, I just wanted to give an bit of insight to those people who aren't training professionals who want to know about different training programs.

heeler's rock!
November 8th, 2004, 10:40 PM
No worries, and thank you for coming on here to shed light on Petsmart. I love Petsmart for pet suppiles and such, and I don't think every trainer that has ever worked or does work for Petsmart is bad. Here in Calgary though, I have yet to meet a well rounded Petsmart trainer and I still can't agree with treat or clicker training knowing what I know, so we'll always disagree on that one.

Thank you very much Elizabeth for coming on here and sharing the knowledge you have gained. I wish I lived by you so I could learn as much as possible from you!! I am really glad you're on this board. :D

tenderfoot
November 9th, 2004, 06:51 PM
Thanks so much for the kind words, Pami. I wish I could beam you to Colorado too, but until then we have the web. :thumbs up

Dukieboy
November 10th, 2004, 08:18 AM
I just had another thought - imagine that (sorry I get so verbose at times). Puppy socialization. You shouldn't have to pay for it! Pay people to teach you how to be a great dog person - not to socialize your dog.
Socialization needs to be happening all of the time, and with all kinds of creatures, not just other puppies. Different kinds of people, young and old, all kinds of EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds etc. Different environments, loud, quiet, large, small, busy, bright, dark etc. The key is to expose your dog to everything in a positive manner, so that when they are faced with something new in life the dog remembers that so many new experiences were wonderful and fun and they are confident to experience more.
Depriving a dog of life's experiences can be just as cruel as neglect. Lack of good socialization can result in terrible emotional disorders which can lead to fear aggression, insecurities, phobias, etc. That's no way to raise a dog.
Remember that puppies have fear periods at approx. 8-10 weeks and again at 16 weeks. Becareful not to expose them to any scary situations (i.e. vet & shots), during this time. This is when memories imprint themselves for life. So if an old man stepped on your puppies toes and she screamed - she might always think of old men or old men's feet as scary. So if this happens don't fawn over her - inside you can think "poor thing", but on the outside try to be nonchalant about it otherwise you might be feeding the fear and creating a drama queen.


With what is going on here with the proposed BSL and hysteria people don't want to interact with a pitbull puppy. They make judgements on sight and cross the street or actually leave the park. It is such a crucial time for my dog to interact with other people and dogs. If I have to pay for a little extra exposure I am willing to.

dannyboy
November 10th, 2004, 09:57 AM
I took my dog when he was a puppy to PJ's pets for training. Due to his(Charlie's) car sick problem we decided to have the store instructor come to my house for training. Basically the trainer showed us how to walk him with a pinch collar (I don't know the proper name) and to sit so he gets treats. Now that he is 2 years old he behaves well while on a leash and sits nice for treats but when the collar comes off, all hell breaks lose. I'm now looking for some training for on or off the leash.

rottnrottz
November 10th, 2004, 09:59 AM
Hi There
I dont want to start a big debate here but I have been a pet trainer with Petsmart for 6 yrs now and when I first started with them Yes I will agree that it didnt matter who you were a cashier a floor cleaner you could be thrown a book and CABAMHHHHHHHH you were a dog trainer :mad: I worked so hard to change the attitudes of the public when I came on board and it was tough but I had been training dogs for 15 yrs and had to show the public that, it probably for my store took 2 yrs to change peoples opinions but Petsmart stands behind rescue groups and helps them alot so I stuck it out as that is something special for a big store to do they really dont just sell dog food.
Then petsmart got it together and put a program together about 2 yrs ago with 6 behaviourist including Pamela Reid and revamped the course in EVERY store :thumbs up
And each tranier has to do a 120 accredidation course and at the end of that they are evaluated by a Area trainer and if they are ready will do classes if they are not they will be trained until ready or let go. And when they are just starting their own classes they are limited to no more than 5 dogs at one time.
I feel Petsmart has come along way in the last 2 years so maybe come on in and have a sitdown and just watch a class it may change your out look.
Thank you for listening
Take care
Rottnrottz

Writing4Fun
November 10th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Thanks for coming on here RottnRottz! I think I had read somewhere that the training you (meaning Petsmart trainers in Ontario) received was in conjunction with a behaviour specialist at Guelph University. Is that true?

yvonnem
November 10th, 2004, 01:54 PM
You know, I have been following this thread with much interest. Even before it started I had informed The Boyfriend that he was taking the mastiff puppy to PetSmart for puppy lessons.

Maple (the puppy, not TheBoy) can sit and drop and come and will behave mostly on the leash and knows "easy" when taking treats and "settle" when he gets too active. The training is mostly for TheBoy who has never been to obedience classes. He makes the standard novice mistakes -- his commands sound like a question, he repeats something 2 or 3 times, he calls the dog over to tell him "no". today is TheBoy's day off and this morning I made him take Maple over to the vet's office because the last time we were there, he was nervous and growled at the receptionist. They spent about half an hour in the office and the receptionist and the vet tech took turns giving him treats (the puppy, not TheBoy) and weighed him (42 pounds!!!! and he is only 12 weeks old). I have told TheBoy that he has to do that a couple more times before we go for our next set of shots.

See, I don't need to train the puppy, although the socialization with a number of other dogs and people will help him -- I need to train TheBoy -- and PetSmart will do that just fine.

PetSmart and other stores of that kind are a good way to get novice dog owners introducted to the idea of obedience classes and dog training. The program is short (8 weeks, I think) and the classes are small and the owners are going to be more relaxed about their surroundings.

When I took my first mastiff to a "real" training class I was in with about 25 other dogs and although I warned the trainer that Bo could be dog-aggressive, he did not believe me. And he picked on her because he thought she was slow and stupid. boy! did she scare him a time or two! Although the trainer had an excellent reputation in schutzhund (sp?) and in the rottie community, his training method was too punitive for my sensitive mastiff but I was too much of a novice to understand that his methods were the problem, not the dog's "stupidity".

I have watched a PetSmart class where "my" trainer was teaching and I think she is going to be just fine. She has a good sense of humour and is very patient and I had no arguments about what she was teaching (although Maple has already learned different words for some things). I'm not certain that we will continue with PetSmart classes after the puppy one is over, but we'll see ....

tenderfoot
November 10th, 2004, 02:21 PM
Isn't it so sad and nuts that people don't understand what great dogs pits can be? But we are working with a media driven - fear based society and the pits & rotties get the all the bad press. You really have a great opportunity to re-educate the public about pits and you sound like you are up for the job.
We had BSL here in Denver but they stopped it this past year. We have had so many attacks and deaths from dog attacks here - I can understand why people who don't know dogs would be scared. But I consider it our job to educate and expose people to emotionally healthy dogs and try to reverse the damage that has been done.
I didn't mean to say it was bad to do group classes for the socialization, but just that there are so many other (cheaper) choices available. Any and all (safe) socialization is best.
I suggest to my clients that they put a bandana on their dog (pits & pit mixes) - it makes them look friendlier and less scary to the general public. If you can teach him to carry a ball in his mouth that can also create a feeling of playfulness in eye of the beholder.

PetTrainerMeeko
November 10th, 2004, 09:47 PM
Thanks RottnRottz for coming an speaking up. It is hard to put out a good reputation, and it is good that our program has changed quite a bit in the past few years. I'm waiting to see what the new year holds in the way of classes, as they are revamping the list to give a better overall training experience instead of going through one class and thats it.

I like the idea of putting a bandana on a pittbull, they get such a bad rap here in Florida as well. Which is sad, cause pits can be wonderful sweet loving dogs with the right owners. I am more afraid of some smaller dogs than I am most larger breeds like Pitts and Rotties.

Batman
December 11th, 2004, 11:37 AM
We decided to enroll Batman in the puppy classes which started today. We also have planned to enroll him in one of the very reputable dog training schools later. We just decided that that would be best for us.

I have to say that I was really dissapointed today. I do think that it is great that Petsmart offers an inexpensive accesible alternative for people who would not otherwise do puppy training. However the materials we covered today were SO basic and the instructor had never heard of "nothing is life is free". One of the other dog owners brought it up (didn't use that name) and she looked at her like she was crazy. Also the other people in the group clearly have done zero reseach. Batman already sits, stays, listens to us, comes when called, is improving with drop it and leave it. He is pretty good about stopping bad behaviour when asked to stop and his housetraining is really coming along well. He is doing so well because I have done lots of research and I am on this board and other boards and websites everyday keeping myself motivated with his training.

The group seemed to be where I would have been before I even decided to get a dog. Some didn't really understand crate training, or how to housetrain and the class is clearly aimed at them. I kept thinking that this type of class should be held for BEFORE people get their dogs. :rolleyes: Infact come to think of it it should be for NOVICE DOG OWNERS... not just puppies. There should be a puppy class for people who have already had a dog.

Batman still has a lot to improve on so we will certainly make the most of the class. However after reading the book I really think this class will be more about motivating ME and the BF rather than teaching us new techniques etc. As well it will be good for Batman to practice his commands in a hugely distracting setting.

I am concerned about the amount of space allotted for the class. It hardly seems to fit all the pet owners...

As well our class is being taught by a trainee with an "experience trainer" of 4 years helping. The trainee is very nice but honestly she seemed to know less about dog training than I do... and I don't know much compared to lots of people on this board. The other experienced training seems alright and knows her stuff... but 4 years isn't THAT long to be supervising. I am a ballet teacher and I have been teaching now for 8 years (20 hours a week) and only now would I consider putting myself in a supervising situation.

Oh and one final observation. The trainers spent a lot of time talking about food rewards, finding the right one etc... I was left wondering about verbal praise or toys etc... I personally am only using treats (yogurt drops) for when he goes outside and very occasionally for when he comes to me when called.

After I go to a few more classes I will post again. I sort of wish I had known it was going to be like this before I had enrolled. :(

tenderfoot
December 11th, 2004, 11:54 AM
Can you get your $ back? Heck - it sounds like you should be teaching this class.
You can get the distractions you want for training by going to the park. It sounds like you have been doing such a great job that you are ready for that "very reputable dog training school" NOW! Give yourself credit for all that you have learned and worked hard on.
Do not think you have to be at a certain level of learning for that school to take you. They should welcome anyone at any stage of training - it should not matter where you are in your training for them to be helpful. The point should always be to educate the person so that the dog has the best environment possible for successful learning .

Batman
December 12th, 2004, 08:37 AM
At this point we can only get our money back to do the class again at another time.

My fiance and I are so motivated now to get Batman in tiptop form for next Saturday. It should be easy because as long as we train in 5 minute intervals (not much longer) he seems HAPPY learning. In the New Year I am going to sign him up at "Who's Walking Who" which is supposed to be great and I believe they also have fly ball and agility.... so they really aren't just basic training.

Back to Petsmart... I would like to add that I am sure it makes a big difference depending on which instructor you have. So my advice to anyone enrolling would be to watch the different instructors in action to see which one seems the best. As well you could attend a few of the puppy seminars (free) to get a feel for different teachers.

vivilee
December 28th, 2004, 11:25 PM
Clicker training is not bribery. The clicker is a "shaper" and the treats help to shape the behaviour you want to mark as correct.

Just because your dog is working for treats doesn't mean he doesn't love you. What motivates humans to work? Isn't it money, fun, happiness, etc.? What's fun and like currency to a dog? I would say it is food, recognition for doing a good job, praise, and the love of their human/pack leader.

The best way to reward good behaviour is a food treat because it is a shared resource. Your dog doesn't know that you don't also eat the same food as he does. He thinks you are sharing your food with him. That is pack mentality.

To get a really good idea of what clicker training is all about I would recommend the book by Karen Pryor called "Don't Shoot the Dog". She is the pioneer of clicker training and the book is not only a book for dogs but for all aspects of life in general. It's all about positive training and how being positive works faster and more efficiently than all other methods.

Of course, like humans, dogs are as individual as well. Clicker training is perfect for most dogs but perhaps not for an extreme alpha dog or a dog that is food aggressive. For abused, shy or insecure dogs, clicker training works wonders. I would choose the method of training that most corresponds to your beliefs, values and personality as well as your dog.
:grouphug:

heeler's rock!
December 29th, 2004, 09:43 AM
Vivilee, I hope you don't mind, but I'm gonna disect what you just said.

Just because your dog is working for treats doesn't mean he doesn't love you. What motivates humans to work? Isn't it money, fun, happiness, etc.? What's fun and like currency to a dog? I would say it is food, recognition for doing a good job, praise, and the love of their human/pack leader.

It is true that your dog still loves you, but they don't respect you and your word. I have seen HUNDREDS of dogs at offleash areas that DO NOT listen to their owners, because the owners treat train. What does someone do when they forget their treats at home? I've also seen dogs get into fights over treats at offleash parks, because the owner whips out a bag of goodies to get their dog back to them, and then all the other dogs come crowding around to get one, and they fight over it! That's ridiculous! If my dog isn't going to listen to me because it respects me, then I haven't done my job of being the Alpha pack member.

The best way to reward good behaviour is a food treat because it is a shared resource. Your dog doesn't know that you don't also eat the same food as he does. He thinks you are sharing your food with him. That is pack mentality.

The best way to motivate and reward your dog, is praise. Lots of chest massaging and kind words, not food. I've never seen an Alpha male of a wolf pack, give a cub a treat for good behaviour. That is most definitely not pack mentality. :rolleyes: When wolves communicate, they are efficient and they do not negotiate. When a cub steps out of line, the Alpha corrects him quickly and efficiently. There is no room for negotiation where as treats leave TONS of room for negotiation. When I see people treat train, and I have treat trained my oldest dog, if the dog doesn't listen, you keep trying and the dog keeps blowing you off. The dog learns that you're not serious, and it doesn't have to listen to a word you say. The training I do now, corrects the dog immediately so the bad behaviour doesn't repeat itself, and the dog knows I mean business.

To get a really good idea of what clicker training is all about I would recommend the book by Karen Pryor called "Don't Shoot the Dog". She is the pioneer of clicker training and the book is not only a book for dogs but for all aspects of life in general. It's all about positive training and how being positive works faster and more efficiently than all other methods.

You are right, treats are a quick way to get your dog to sit, rollover, shake a paw, and lie down, but it is not how you get your dog to listen to you. Treats only mask unwanted behaviours, and they only work for a limited amount of time. Proper training involves a lot of time, energy, and dedication, but the results last a lifetime and the rewards are immensely worth it. It gives me great pride when I can call my year and a half old puppies once, and they come running back to me immediately, while someone with an older dog, has to chase it all over the park because the treats aren't as good as the pee on the branch. The other great thing about establishing Alpha and not using treats or clickers, is that it will work for any dog, no matter what. The methods are clear, simple, and direct, and because dogs do work in packs, all dogs are capable of learning the desired behaviours. I can get a dog to sit on a snap within the first hour of ever seeing it, without talking to it once. That's because I leave no room to negotiate what I'm asking the dog to do. People are way too talkative with their dogs! The more you say your dogs name, the less importance it will have when you need it to. I only talk to my dogs when absolutely neccessary.

Too many people opt for the quickest route possible. Treats, clickers, and haltis don't solve any issues, they only cover them up. People need to invest more time correcting the unwanted behaviour, and only praise the dog with love and affection, not treats.

Clicker training is perfect for most dogs but perhaps not for an extreme alpha dog or a dog that is food aggressive.

Most dogs become food agressive and Alpha because of treat training. The top dog gets the treat! My oldest became food agressive after she was treat trained. I would have to say the treats and clickers don't work. They only look like they do.

tiernan
December 29th, 2004, 09:54 AM
Why not? You have the benefit of all the store distractions and socialization.

Also, I think it really depends on who the trainers are. Where we are from the trainer is one that is nationally recognized.

My previous dog was never trained, however, with my new girl we are going to take her to the Petsmart basic training course and I will let you all know how it goes.

Have a great day!

heeler's rock!
December 29th, 2004, 10:07 AM
I'm not going to repeat myself on all the reasons why I don't agree with treat training. Most of it is from personal experience. As for store distractions, it's nothing compared to being at an off leash park, a road, or even in the neighbourhood. The 2 most important influences on me in respect to training, are also nationally renowned. Neither uses treats. Infact, one of them was the sole doggie daycare provider for the X-files and is credited with starting the first ever doggie daycare in Canada. Anyways, I'm not badmouthing Pet Smart or their trainers and I agree that socialization is extremely important for developing puppies. I just can't and will never agree with treat training. I used to, and then I saw the light and the error of my ways. There's no going back for me. Good luck with your classes.

vivilee
December 29th, 2004, 10:34 AM
There are good clicker trainers and there are bad clicker trainers. Good clicker trainers use treats randomly. If you treat each and every time you make a command, then yes, your dog will eventually assume that he gets a treat everytime you click--I mean wouldn't you? However, randomly using treats and making it feel like a game means that the training remains fun.

As for the sharing of resources, wolves definetly share their food with members of the pack otherwise how would the pack survive. The top wolf just lets the other members eat--which is exactly what you are doing with treats. If a member of the pack disregards the rules of the top wolf, then top wolf will not let him eat, or growl, ignore, fight or send him away. Simple as that.

The thing is, dogs do see humans as different from themselves, otherwise why would they adapt to our demands like peeing in one spot, rolling over, giving paw and doing tricks for our approval. Every behaviour within a household is very different from living in the wild. Dogs are not wolves and wolves are certainly not dogs--although they do share some of the same instincts. And yes, a wolf will not ask a member of its pack to do tricks for a piece of meat but it will share meat for being cooperative.

Did you know that wolves do not bark? Barking is completely dog. As well, with between 20,000 - 50,000 years of ancestry between wolf and dog the ancestry is so removed that dogs and wolves are very different--just looking at the appearence of dogs vs. wolves is evidence enough. Dogs are more scavengers than hunters--that is how they became domesticated. If a dog is a scavenger then it makes complete sense how dogs respond so well to treats. I don't think it would be possible to clicker train a feral wolf unless the training were started very early on.

heeler's rock!
December 29th, 2004, 04:55 PM
I know all of what you said already, but it doesn't change the fact that dogs learn quite effectively without treats. Whether or not they look like wolves doesn't change the fact that they still operate in packs. Have you seen dogs together? Even at offleash parks they form packs with eachother all the time! Because I am Alpha with all 3 of my dogs, I have the ability to step in whenever I deem fit, and they have to listen to me. I also maintain control over them at all times. There is no need to treat train your dog when you can get more consistant results without. I know that wolf packs share their food, but at feeding time, the Alpha eats first and lets the rest of the pack eat what he allows them to, when he allows them to. I'm saying that they don't reward the cubs with food everytime they sit. That's ridiculous!

Don't get me wrong, my training isn't harsh or mean, it's just very direct. I only correct what needs correcting at the time, and I also praise like crazy when they do good. I also give my dogs treats, but at random. They don't have to do a task to get a treat. That way they don't associate the two.

Even using treats part time can be harmful. When I got my red heeler, I treat trained her because I didn't know any better. After that, she became food agressive and grabbed food out of your hand! My brother-in-law was eating a sandwich and Red jumped up and took it right out of his hands, right in front of me!! She'd never done that before. It took a while to correct that, and it's still there, just not as bad. She still begs at dinner time, the whole time. Anyways, I'll never agree with treats and clickers because they aren't neccessary. There is no need to use them when you can get your dog to listen and work for you out of respect for you. It's quite simple actually.

vivilee
December 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
Well, I guess every dog is different. I've clicker trained my dog and she doesn't beg at the table and she certainly doesn't grab anything out of my grasp when I'm eating it...but I guess I can see how that could happen. Too bad for the dog and for you. That's why I always say that it is not for every dog. But when it does work, it works very well.

The only thing I don't like about clicker training is the fact that you can't use it for housetraining. It's a great communication tool for everything else but housetraining. That's probably why I'm having such great difficulty right now with my pup.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that you have your methods down and that you care so much about your dogs. It's just that I don't agree with all that you say but that's all that it is really, an opinion. :D

LavenderRott
December 30th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Maybe I am just slow or dense, but I have a hard time with the whole clicker training concept. I tell my dog to sit, she does, I praise. No need for a clicker here.

My dog gets out of the yard, is across the street. She sees me and comes running. I see a car coming. I yell "SIT!" , she sits. Saved from car. No time for clicker here.

Am I missing something? If so, could someone explain it to me?

heeler's rock!
December 30th, 2004, 03:08 PM
I understand. Training is a very touchy subject sometimes. Just to clarify, I never clicker trained my oldest dog. I did treat train her though, and that's what led to the food snatching. She's really very good now. I do care deeply about my dogs, and other people's too. That's why I'm against treat and clicker training. I feel that it causes more harm than good in the long run. I do enjoy a good debate about it all! Good luck with house breaking your pup. Some dogs just take longer than others.

tenderfoot
December 31st, 2004, 09:48 AM
Looks like I have been missing out on another good debate.
Ms Pryor has done a great job and she has changed so many people lives around to her methods. Thinking positively is the best way to teach. Kudos!
For animals who are not relationship oriented I would try bribery. But even my parrots cooperate out of relationship with us - not food. I heard a great story once of Karen Pryor working with a Commodo Dragon and she got him to cooperate wonderfully with a clicker & mice. That makes total sense with such an animal, but dogs are different. It works with dogs no doubt, but is it the best option? That is for each individual person to decide. It certainly isn't the only option.
If 'click and treat' works for you great, but to us it is the difference between a child having good manners out of love & RESPECT for the people around them NOT because they are getting little bits of candy everytime they do something right.
Clickers are simply replacements for your voice and touch. If you can click faster than you can speak then I guess it would be an option. But are you really improving your relationship? Or would your voice or touch build deeper relationship? I would certainly rather have my hubby kiss me than have him toss me a cookie. One is far more personal, and, yes, dogs thrive on relationship - it's why they are such a big part of our lives.
Many of our clients come from other training methods and find they do not always hold up in the average home with behavioral issues. Treat based training (which clickers are) only seem to touch the surface of communication. They keep things on 'a do it for a treat' basis. We prefer to work with our animals from a love & respect foundation that lasts a lifetime. I don't want to carry extra gimmicks with me - it's just me and my friend and we understand each other.

LavenderRott
December 31st, 2004, 09:55 AM
Good. I am not any dumber than I thought I was.

heeler's rock!
December 31st, 2004, 10:25 AM
Elizabeth, you're so eloquent! I love reading your posts! They make so much sense! :o I hope someday that I will be able to make as much sense!! :p

mona_b
December 31st, 2004, 11:35 AM
. I am not any dumber than I thought I was.

Your too funny Sandi.... :p

When my dogs were pups,and I was training them,I gave them treats.When you have 2 3month old puppies you need to motivate them and get their attention.I used the treats with all the basic commands in the first part of their training prossess.And this was how I trained my previous GSD.And guess what,none of them ever tried to take any food from anyone.Everyone I know who has treat trained has never had a problem with this either.Heck,this is how my sister trained her 3 Huskies and Border Collie.Again,no problems with food snatching either.When my dogs were off leash,all I had to do was call them once and they came right away.I praised them,and gave them their favorite ball.Leash went on and we were on our merry way back home.I had to start to reward Tron with his favorite ball.This is how my brother wanted me to do it.So I also started to do it with Yukon.But yes,I still gave them treats.Why?Cause they were good boys.... :D

As for the comment about the dogs not listening when off leash,don't think it has anything to do with treats.It has more to do with not being taught the re call command.Which is one of the most important commands.Along with sit,stay,down and heel.

Just my input on this. :)

LavenderRott
December 31st, 2004, 11:39 AM
I will never understand why anyone would take a dog that was not 100% reliable on a recall to some place and turn them loose. Chase is very reliable on a recall, but she tends to be a bit on the slow side. She is rarely taken anywhere unfenced where she is allowed off leash for this reason. Missy, well, that will probably never happen. Once that nose of her kicks in, a bull horn won't get her attention.

mona_b
December 31st, 2004, 11:45 AM
I will never understand why anyone would take a dog that was not 100% reliable on a recall to some place and turn them loose..

I'm with you on this one.

db7
December 31st, 2004, 11:54 AM
With all this talk of conditioning a dog, love and respect I have got to say very emphatically, Dogs are INCAPABLE of love. Bonding and respect and understanding comfort zones yes but love? uh-uh.

glasslass
December 31st, 2004, 12:14 PM
With all this talk of conditioning a dog, love and respect I have got to say very emphatically, Dogs are INCAPABLE of love. Bonding and respect and understanding comfort zones yes but love? uh-uh.

Prepare for reaction on this one! I can't believe anyone who has ever had that special relationship with a pet could ever make this statement. If you've never had that special relationship . . . . my sympathies! But I have and I know better. I've also watched my parent's dog mourn when my Pop died and Den-Den mourn when a friend who lived with us died.

glasslass
December 31st, 2004, 12:32 PM
Ahhhhh, DB7! I KNEW you were just pulling our chains! Right?

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=7532

:crazy:

heeler's rock!
December 31st, 2004, 03:13 PM
I don't know about the people you know Mona, but unfortunately, a lot of people I know that have treat trained, end up with dogs that beg all the time. Sure, not everyone, but most of the people I know and who's dogs I've trained. As for the re-call thing, most people that I have met, think that because their dog listens to them within 4 walls when they have treats, that out at an offleash park, the same will happen. I have seen people at off leash parks call, and call, and call their dogs till their blue in the face with a bag of treats. Their dog comes when it feels like it, and sometimes not at all. They can never understand why their dog didn't come, since during class inside a building, the dog listened perfectly. Hmmm....

My 2 pups have never been treat trained and I managed to get my 2 month old border collie listening to me without 'em. That's just me and I still feel that even with puppies, treats are just not neccessary. They work to get your dog's attention, but they aren't the only way to work with a dog. We'll just have to disagree on this one! :)

tenderfoot
December 31st, 2004, 03:37 PM
Pami - Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope you had a wonderful Holiday and hope we can chat someday soon.

db7 - you are joking...right? :eek:
What humans determine to be love can be considered a 'survival of the species' response (mothers protect their young out of the emotion of love and pack members protect each other out of a kind of love), but it does not diminish the reality of the emotion. It exists for many creatures of this earth and humans benefit from it greatly in our relationship with our dogs.
If you see Doug or I with any of our animals there would be no doubt in your mind of the reality of love in our relationships as I am sure you feel with your dog.
I am sure that I have been hoaxed into responding to this posting - but I couldn't ignore it - sorry.

LavenderRott
December 31st, 2004, 03:43 PM
Well, whatever you want to call it, I certainly enjoy Missy's waggin' butt greeting me at the door like some long lost hero.

mrmilo
December 31st, 2004, 05:16 PM
I am a big supporter of clicker training and I have been using it for about a year now with excellent results. As someone mentioned earlier the clicker is really a tool to help shape the behaviour you want. I think you have to find what motivates your dog whether it's food, praise or toys and go with it. Use can use the clicker with any motivator. When I started with the clicker I was not using it properly so I didn't get any results. I then decided I wanted to try agility. It was only after learning from my agility instructor the proper way to use a clicker that I then started to see the results I wanted.

mona_b
January 2nd, 2005, 10:29 AM
Well the people I know,family,and friends have "never" had a problem with treat training.They have taken the time to train on their own.No help from trainers.I have done all the training with my dogs on my own.Also with no help from trainers.I guess this is the reason why they know the recall so well.Because it is not done in a bulding with 4 walls.It's done outside with many distractions and it begins on a 30' training leash with time and patience.And at the leash free park which is by our SPCA,all the dogs there come when they are called.Yes,the majority have been trained with treats.And yes some still do use treats.But that's after they come when they are called.Which they do every time.

My GSD Tron is a retired Police Dog.I did all his basic training.Which I took seriously.I had too.I taught him all the basic commands.Yes,with treats.He made it on the K9 Unit with flying colours.And he never became a food stealer.

My husband had a Lab/Husky mix(before I came into the picture. :D )and guess what,Levon was a food stealer.And here is the kicker,he was NOT treat trained.Yes,he broke him of that habit.Took some time but it worked.So yeah,I guess we will have to disagree. :)

heeler's rock!
January 2nd, 2005, 05:00 PM
I think it's great that you did your recall training outdoors! That's the one thing people need to do more. I have a lady who actually told me that her breeder told her that her dog can never be off leash, so she's never taken her! :eek: Now, her dog is 2 and she affraid that she won't come back if she's set free. It's quite a pitty. Teaching a recall within a building is useless. It's also great that you trained a K-9 dog! That's really admirable. Looks like we agree on some things! :)

tenderfoot
January 2nd, 2005, 05:46 PM
Mona B - Sounds like you are quite the trainer & have a great relationship with your dogs - congrats on all of your success! :thumbs up

mona_b
January 2nd, 2005, 11:08 PM
I was training Tron for my brother who is on the K9 Unit.I had him for 18 months.Then he took Tron for his on going training.He is SchH III certified.He passed that with flying colours.The fun part was training him in German...LOL...Got that help from Mom who lived in Germany for 10 years.... :)

Not much of a breeder to tell someone their dog could never be off leash.. :(

Yes,we can agree on that the recall should be done outdoors.They need to be in a situation with distractions.With any type of training.And I had 2-3 month old pups I was training at the same time.And Tron needed to get used to all the sites and sounds for the work he was going to get into.Even the noise of fireworks.That was fun.LOL.

You hear alot of how Huskies should not be off leash.But my sister has 3 of them along with a Border Collie.And they are on a farm.The only time they are on a leash is when they go into town and on walks.It takes time and patience when training,but it does pay off in the end. :)

Thank you for the comments tenderfoot and heeler's.It is a great feeling knowing I contributed to something as training a Police Dog that made it....I have had him back for a year now.He is slowly coming around since we lost his buddy in Sept.

greaterdane
March 7th, 2005, 08:22 PM
Just caught this thread now... wow I am behind. We took Ozzy to the local petsmart here for training. The trainer was taught at Guelph University and was awesome. We treat trained, didnt really use the clicker and weaned Ozzy off the treats. He still lives with us and will forever, he does not bite when he takes treats or anything for that matter from anyones hand. If he is very really hyper, you show him the treat and say nice, and he takes the treat nicely. I liked my experience with petsmart, it was fun and educational. I own many "$20 training books" and I got more out of the classes then I did from those books. Its not just the training, its the experience, the socilization for the dog and the owner. It was fun for all of us.

Lucky Rescue
March 7th, 2005, 08:57 PM
Bonding and respect and understanding comfort zones yes

I think many people would say that IS the definition of love - human and animal. :confused:

friskypuppy
June 17th, 2012, 12:17 AM
Using treats to train a dog is the preferred method by behaviorists and educated trainers. Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous (http://www.adogsview.net/Types-of-Collars.html). I personally would take my dog to Petsmart training over any other training in the area because those are the most educated trainers. Down in west Georgia my choices are Mans Best Friend (which I would never choose because they train dogs with chokers and prong collars which are dangerous) or Sit Means Sit (which I would NEVER use because they use shock collars to teach stupid things like sit or stay which not only is dangerous but psychologically damaging and raises cortical levels which can cause health problems in the future. Not to mention that they have been banned in 13 countries because they meet the physical and legal requirements for abuse!) or Bark Busters (which teaches 'dominance' or 'alpha' training, a method that has been out of favor with the general public for 20 years and was never supported by behaviorists). Petsmart has the only training program around that uses all the latest in behavioral science. Now, since it is a big company you are bound to get some idiots here or there, it is definitely worth it to do your homework. Your dogs well being is at stake.
As for treats being a 'crutch' this is true. But for every adult dog 'that should know better' still using treats I can counter with adult and even old dogs still being shocked or jerked around on a choker. At least treats are safer!
I have never used anything but treats and a clicker and I have never had a problem with any dog i've ever had. My dogs can sit/stay/come at a crowded dog park and I've even had a poodle turn mid-stride from chasing a rabbit! I had no treat on me that day and he still did it. I had a lab halt in his tracks after chasing a car, also with out treats.
I love my dogs too much to rely on any other method of training.

LavenderRott
June 17th, 2012, 06:48 AM
Using treats to train a dog is the preferred method by behaviorists and educated trainers. Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous (http://www.adogsview.net/Types-of-Collars.html). I personally would take my dog to Petsmart training over any other training in the area because those are the most educated trainers. Down in west Georgia my choices are Mans Best Friend (which I would never choose because they train dogs with chokers and prong collars which are dangerous) or Sit Means Sit (which I would NEVER use because they use shock collars to teach stupid things like sit or stay which not only is dangerous but psychologically damaging and raises cortical levels which can cause health problems in the future. Not to mention that they have been banned in 13 countries because they meet the physical and legal requirements for abuse!) or Bark Busters (which teaches 'dominance' or 'alpha' training, a method that has been out of favor with the general public for 20 years and was never supported by behaviorists). Petsmart has the only training program around that uses all the latest in behavioral science. Now, since it is a big company you are bound to get some idiots here or there, it is definitely worth it to do your homework. Your dogs well being is at stake.
As for treats being a 'crutch' this is true. But for every adult dog 'that should know better' still using treats I can counter with adult and even old dogs still being shocked or jerked around on a choker. At least treats are safer!
I have never used anything but treats and a clicker and I have never had a problem with any dog i've ever had. My dogs can sit/stay/come at a crowded dog park and I've even had a poodle turn mid-stride from chasing a rabbit! I had no treat on me that day and he still did it. I had a lab halt in his tracks after chasing a car, also with out treats.
I love my dogs too much to rely on any other method of training.

All dogs are not created equal and to think that one method of training works for all dogs is foolish and dangerous. Used properly, choke collars, e-collars and prong collars are no more dangerous than a clicker.

Barkingdog
June 17th, 2012, 11:49 AM
Hi. How is Petsmart for puppy classes? My vet recommended Puppy People in Vaughan. However their classes are double the cost for half the number of lessons. Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks

I would try to find some dog trainers and see if you go and observe one of their training session . I did this and when I saw the trainer use a choke collar on one of the dog to teach it how to heel I knew I did not want to bring my dog to him. I think it really depend on how good the trainer is at Petsmart . I would try to go to Petsmart and watch the trainer and see how you feel about him/her and also watch how the dogs behave around the trainer. Dogs are very good at judging people.

Choochi
June 17th, 2012, 11:54 AM
All Petsmart classes and instructors are not equal. I've watched some that I thought were rather good and some that were down right nauseating to watch and made me want to yell to the people in the class RUN!! As such, I can't tell you either way if your local Petsmart classes are worth attending or should be avoided. I think you would be much better of looking for a trainer who teaches classes and also competes in some sort of dog sport or competitive obedience WITH GOOD RESULTS!! The fact they compete is a good sign they can be of real help, but if they're horrible at it, what are they really teaching you?

Choochi
June 17th, 2012, 11:56 AM
I don't know about the people you know Mona, but unfortunately, a lot of people I know that have treat trained, end up with dogs that beg all the time.

Funny cos all of the top world level competition trainers in a variety of sports who I know train with food and I would say they do so with some pretty spectacular results. I think your comment says some thing about the competency level of the people who's training you've witnessed, not the method.

Choochi
June 17th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Dogs are very good at judging people.

No they're not! lol They are horrible at making logical decisions about people! They respond to cues they're owners often don't even see.

I have seen dogs respond poorly to people who are very good to them and are very trustworthy. I have seen dogs who are in care of people who should never be caring for dogs respond extremely well to them because they are fed tons of treats and their owner mistakes that positive response for thinking the person is trustworthy and safe to take care of their dog. Dogs are no more good at predicting character flaws then children. Children are scared of the dentist and they will trust a stranger with a pretty smile and a candy. Dogs are the same. Surrendering the responsibility to make decisions regarding character to your dog is plain foolish.

tenderfoot
June 17th, 2012, 04:03 PM
We cannot judge all dogs as being equal in their ability to respond to the world just as you cannot judge all people to have the same abilities. Dogs are individuals just like people - we are all the same and all different. What dogs do have is a keen sense of energy. They read our energy and each others energy fairly accurately, what they don't all do well is interpret intentions. That's why chaos and confusion can ensue when WE aren't clear about how we communicate our intentions.
Hope that makes sense.

Barkingdog
June 17th, 2012, 05:33 PM
No they're not! lol They are horrible at making logical decisions about people! They respond to cues they're owners often don't even see.

I have seen dogs respond poorly to people who are very good to them and are very trustworthy. I have seen dogs who are in care of people who should never be caring for dogs respond extremely well to them because they are fed tons of treats and their owner mistakes that positive response for thinking the person is trustworthy and safe to take care of their dog. Dogs are no more good at predicting character flaws then children. Children are scared of the dentist and they will trust a stranger with a pretty smile and a candy. Dogs are the same. Surrendering the responsibility to make decisions regarding character to your dog is plain foolish.

I was not talking about one dog! I was talking about the dogs that are already in the training class. If I saw a group of dogs in a training class and their body language show that they're uncomfortable around the trainer I am going to listen to the dogs. And my dogs are very good at judging people.

Longblades
June 17th, 2012, 05:42 PM
The term "shock collar" is out of date. Today the proper term is Electronic Collar. Assuming of course it's not an old fashioned collar that does nothing but shock and has a limited range of stimulus. Modern collars use electonic stimulous but the most advanced also offer tone and page (vibrate) options.

Safety and effectiveness of modem electronic training devices are supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the International Association of Canine Professionals, among others.From: http://www.friendsofk9.com/documents/The_Facts_About_Modern_Electronic_Training_Devices .pdf (The Facts about Modern Electronic Training Devices
Today's technology is surprisingly subtle, more effective

Barkingdog
June 17th, 2012, 05:46 PM
All Petsmart classes and instructors are not equal. I've watched some that I thought were rather good and some that were down right nauseating to watch and made me want to yell to the people in the class RUN!! As such, I can't tell you either way if your local Petsmart classes are worth attending or should be avoided. I think you would be much better of looking for a trainer who teaches classes and also competes in some sort of dog sport or competitive obedience WITH GOOD RESULTS!! The fact they compete is a good sign they can be of real help, but if they're horrible at it, what are they really teaching you?

Yeah , that is what I was saying , it's really hard to to past off all Petsmart classes as being bad , I know some people have good luck going to Petco for
training classes, it really depend on who is the trainer and I if my dog does not like a trainer I will not bring him to them. Some people likes the trainer that used the choke collar , so I find it hard to ask dogs owners if they know a good trainer. I feel you really should to go to a class and watch the trainer before paying $200 to them. I am glad I did. I think is great the OP is bringing their dog to a training class. I see so many dogs owners being walked around the park by their dogs. The dogs have their owners very well trained.

Choochi
June 18th, 2012, 11:37 AM
I feel you really should to go to a class and watch the trainer before paying $200 to them.

X100!

and at least with a place like Petsmart that's super easy. Heck you could actually come out and watch an entire course, and talk to the people after class before committing. You could go to a few different stores and watch a few of their trainers in action.

What could be misleading about watching a class, and watching the dog's reaction (since this was brought up) is that without the experience and knowledge of what you're looking for (which if you had you wouldn't need the classes) it's easy to be misguided. I say that because I have seen trainers with some very charismatic personalities give absolutely horrendous advice, while the dogs are acting like all is fine, and while the people in the class are so mesmerized they think Jesus himself is teaching. (e.g.. Cesar, and while you can say but in this case the dogs don't look fine, the people with not enough ability to read the dogs don't see it, or if they think they do, the charismatic trainer can explain away their worries) Has nothing to do with energy or intentions. Most trainers who give horrible advice do honestly think they are helping, very few get up in the morning and think to themselves how can I screw up another dog today.

millitntanimist
June 19th, 2012, 05:23 PM
Yeah, I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Meeko, you are COMPLETELY missing my point about treat training. I give my dogs treats because I feel like giving them treats, not to get them to work for me. Kids do deserve rewards for good behaviour, but parents shouldn't have to bribe their kids to get them to do something simple, like taking out the trash.

I use a maringale collar and a 6 foot leash, with a hell of a lotta praise in my training. Dogs don't need treats to learn! They need direction and a desire to work for you because they love and respect you, like you love and respect them. I am so done with this thread because it's like talking about religion when you contradict training methods. I'm not the only one who thinks treat training isn't any good, and the proof is the amount of trainers that DON'T use treats and get amazing results that last a lifetime, not the depth of your treat pouch.

Hrm, dominance/alpha bunk, 'treat' training misinformation, martingale collar. Sounds like a Brad Pattison trainer.

Digston
June 19th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Training method depends largely on the owner. When I was choosing a puppy class I picked one that used treats and positive reinforcement, but that isn't why I chose that particular trainer. I chose him because he also taught proper correction techniques. When I looked into PetsMart they didn't offer that information in their classes. Perhaps that has changed now.
I agree with everyone that you need to spend some time observing the trainer you are considering in action.

Don't pick a trainer for your dog. Pick a trainer for you.

Barkingdog
June 19th, 2012, 10:09 PM
X100!

and at least with a place like Petsmart that's super easy. Heck you could actually come out and watch an entire course, and talk to the people after class before committing. You could go to a few different stores and watch a few of their trainers in action.

What could be misleading about watching a class, and watching the dog's reaction (since this was brought up) is that without the experience and knowledge of what you're looking for (which if you had you wouldn't need the classes) it's easy to be misguided. I say that because I have seen trainers with some very charismatic personalities give absolutely horrendous advice, while the dogs are acting like all is fine, and while the people in the class are so mesmerized they think Jesus himself is teaching. (e.g.. Cesar, and while you can say but in this case the dogs don't look fine, the people with not enough ability to read the dogs don't see it, or if they think they do, the charismatic trainer can explain away their worries) Has nothing to do with energy or intentions. Most trainers who give horrible advice do honestly think they are helping, very few get up in the morning and think to themselves how can I screw up another dog today.

The trainer I watched left the dogs owners to be on their most of the class
and he only worked with a couple of the dogs. The class was too disorganize
and noisy for me. I am hard of hearing and I had a hard time hearing the trainer. I when to one trainer and she ran her class better and people where not all talking at once. It is hard to find a class that can I hear what is being said and it cost so much for private lessons.

Barkingdog
June 19th, 2012, 10:15 PM
The term "shock collar" is out of date. Today the proper term is Electronic Collar. Assuming of course it's not an old fashioned collar that does nothing but shock and has a limited range of stimulus. Modern collars use electonic stimulous but the most advanced also offer tone and page (vibrate) options.

From: http://www.friendsofk9.com/documents/The_Facts_About_Modern_Electronic_Training_Devices .pdf (The Facts about Modern Electronic Training Devices
Today's technology is surprisingly subtle, more effective

I meant to say 'choke' collar not shock collar. OOPS ! That is a big difference.
I never call a Electronic Collar a shock collar.

Longblades
June 20th, 2012, 07:10 AM
I meant to say 'choke' collar not shock collar. OOPS ! That is a big difference.
I never call a Electronic Collar a shock collar.Sorry Barkingdog, I was responding to FriskyPuppy who said in his/her first, and still only, post here, "Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous'". I think I will agree they have a higher liklihood of being miss-used than some other collars but in and of themselves are no more dangerous than the person on the other end. I would suggest the user of all three get lessons on how to properly use them. I've seen damage done by flat collars, head halters and harnesses. The harnesses present the most damage I personally have seen, with poor little doggy underarms rubbed raw to the point of bleeding. Unfortunately any device can be used improperly by someone wanting instant control and not willing to train proper leash walking without pulling.

FWIW I entirely agree with the view of PetSmart, that it depends on which trainer you get. When I went to observe I saw absolute idiocy in attempts to teach a young dog recall. Of course I did not go there but a friend did, got a different trainer and loved her.

For all of you looking for a trainer may I suggest you check out:
http://www.cappdt.ca/public/jpage/1/p/Home/content.do
You will find comparable associations for other countries in the links section.

Members have varying abitlities, strengths and methods but at least it is some assurance the trainer has some training background, is serious enough to belong to an organization with a mandate and code of ethics. The FIND a TRAINER section has some very good advice.

My own personal help in finding a trainer is to ask them what dog training theory they endorse. My favourite is Operant Conditioning. If they don't know what it is, haven't studied any dog training theory then I run the other way. The catch is, I have to know a bit about them myself. Also, if they claim to have a trainer versed in one area and a competitive background, google to see their placements in their claimed area. One international training scheme I looked into has dogs sitting on fire hydrants in their ads. The person I spoke to had never trained a dog professionally, did not know anything about theory and their trainer, claimed to be exceptionally talented and successfull in one area, had no record, let alone winnings, in any background I could dig up.

Good luck to everyone. It is hard to look for a trainer when you are a newbie and don't know what to look for. Unfortunately you must remember, it's an unregulated business and anyone can stick a shingle out and call themselves a dog trainer. On another board I go on a person took a course in how to be a dog groomer, on-line, and the lack of knowledge and wrong ideas is obvious and appalling. Now she is taking a dog training course, on-line again. Meanwhile the majority of her posts are asking for help on how to train her own dog. Caveat Emptor.

Ann Marten
August 29th, 2012, 12:24 PM
The Space in Pet Smart is much to small to accommodate the puppies. The instructors typically are not adequately trained in dog and puppy behaviour
management to handle a class in that very small space. It is a very poor start for an active puppy. All the puppies in the class I attended barked and lunged or hide under the chairs and the instructor just kept on talking. I asked for a refund after 2 classes.
We are now attending a very interactive puppy class in a large space. The puppies have play breaks during class and everyone is having fun. The puppies
are learning to socialize and then come back to their owners to do some learning.
My advise: Find a reputable Dog Trainer in your area that allows the puppies to
socialize. Training should be positive with no strong verbal or physical corrections..
Don't go to Pet Stores for Dog Training!

imhappytoo
September 17th, 2012, 02:07 AM
I adopted my dog from the local pound. At the time of adoption, I was told he had behaviour issues, including not walking on a leash, not being house trained, food aggression, and that it was highly recommended to take him to dog training.

I decided to take him to Pet Smart as it was affordable to do dog training there and I couldn't afford training anywhere else. I have done the Beginner, Intermediate and Advance Classes with my dog. Albeit, my dog is not perfect but he is so much better than what he was when I first got hime. Any issues he has now is really my fault as I haven't been as consistent with training as I should be, especially since dogs need consistency and repetition in their lives.

It's interesting, about all the treat and clicker talk. I was at a dog behaviour seminar and the place I went to was not Pet Smart, but another accredited dog training facility in Calgary.

What I found interesting is that dog training is not regulated and people can be trained anywhere. That being said, I was happy with Pet Smart trainers and felt they knew what they were doing. The trainers said they had intensive training and it did show.

Like Pet Smart, the dog seminar I went to encourages food training at first, as it's an instant gratification. Like people, we want instant gratification and for dogs, it's food (and for some people it's food too - ex. potty training!).

However, the trainers do eventually ween dogs off of food and clickers. It was interesting to learn about dog behaviours and why they do what they do.

As for clicking, it's based on Pavlov's theory. Pavlov would ring a bell and then place food out for the dogs and the dogs would then salivate. Eventually, the food was removed and when he rang the bell, the dogs would automatically salivate. The clicker idea is like the bell, where a dog will automatically associate the sound of the clicker with doing something like sitting. In Pavlov's case, it was salivating.

Part of training is good socializing and manners for dogs. Pet Smart addressed this.

I do agree that larger dogs should not wear halters, as the large dogs will continue to pull and dog owners have issues controlling their dogs. I even learned that at Pet Smart and in the seminar.

What I liked about both facilities is that they encourage positive reinforcement and I think both places discourage shock collars, pinch collars and choke chains as these are negative reinforcements and could cause problematic behaviours later on.

Both facilities also combined hand motions and words when training your dog. This makes sense, and it was nice to see that an accredited training facility and Pet Smart used the same techniques. After taking the seminar, I was happy to see that the training at Pet Smart and at the facility were very similar.

I know someone commented about having the dog training in the middle of the store. I thought this was a great idea, because my dog got distracted at off leash parks and would never listen. Having the class in a distracting environment, my dog learned how to listen to me and he started to learn to ignore the distractions. After the classes, I found my dog listened more at off leash parks. However, I do think it's time for a refresher, as his listening skills are not as good as they were when he was in classes!

By no means am I a dog trainer, but I have worked with dogs and have seen the consequences of what happens when dogs are not properly trained and aggression issues can kick in - with people and/or other animals. At the end of the day, the dog gets blamed and put down but the blame should be placed on the owner for not training and controlling the dog.

I think by not training your dog with people who have experience and not socializing your dogs in a safe and controlled manner (prior to off leash parks) can create future problems.

You may be able to buy a book and train your dog by yourself, but having your dog meet new people, new dogs and have distractions causes your dog to listen and focus on you more than he/she would at home. Like I said before, training in a group also allows your dog to socialize and learn about good behaviour and manners.

To be honest, I think any dog training is better than no training (as long as it's mostly positive enforcement - there are some cases for negative enforcement, namely when dog's chew electrical cords).

At the end of the day, if you can only afford Pet Smart, do it. I enjoyed the classes, and my dog loved going. We got homework so we could practice and review the skills daily (again for repetition) and I enjoyed the different class levels. I have nothing but positive things to say about the training and I've recommended the classes to other people who wanted affordable training.

If you are not comfortable with the Pet Smart environment/trainers, I am sure there are different trainers available that are affordable. Check out your local humane society, as it may provide training classes that are affordable for dog owners. I would also check your local pound as they may have classes (Calgary's pound does not provide classes) or resources/information regarding affordable dog training classes for people.

Hope this helps and have fun training! :)