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.
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.