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Old October 12th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Karsalis Karsalis is offline
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Petsmart Puppy Classes? Good? Bad?

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
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Old October 12th, 2004, 12:10 PM
Goldenmom Goldenmom is offline
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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.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 12:17 PM
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Mysts38 Mysts38 is offline
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Petsmart no no

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...
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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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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.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 08:56 PM
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sue fox sue fox is offline
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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
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Old October 13th, 2004, 12:18 AM
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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.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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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.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:04 AM
Goldenmom Goldenmom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pug lover
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
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:30 AM
Karsalis Karsalis is offline
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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.
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  #10  
Old October 13th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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debanneball debanneball is offline
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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.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 03:29 PM
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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 Nothing wrong with that.
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  #12  
Old November 8th, 2004, 08:36 AM
Sheriffmom Sheriffmom is offline
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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!!
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Old November 8th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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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.
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  #14  
Old November 8th, 2004, 12:03 PM
PetTrainerMeeko PetTrainerMeeko is offline
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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.
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  #15  
Old November 8th, 2004, 12:28 PM
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What is wrong with a harness?
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Old November 8th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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heidiho heidiho is offline
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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..
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  #17  
Old November 10th, 2004, 09:57 AM
dannyboy dannyboy is offline
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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.
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Old November 10th, 2004, 09:59 AM
rottnrottz rottnrottz is offline
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Petsmart Trainers

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 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
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
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Old November 10th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Writing4Fun Writing4Fun is offline
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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?
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Old November 10th, 2004, 01:54 PM
yvonnem yvonnem is offline
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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 ....
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Old November 10th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Hi Dukieboy

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.
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  #22  
Old November 10th, 2004, 09:47 PM
PetTrainerMeeko PetTrainerMeeko is offline
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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.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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tiernan tiernan is offline
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Really?

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!
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Old December 29th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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heeler's rock! heeler's rock! is offline
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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.
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  #25  
Old December 29th, 2004, 10:34 AM
vivilee
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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.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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heeler's rock! heeler's rock! is offline
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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.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
vivilee
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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.
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  #28  
Old December 30th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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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?
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  #29  
Old June 17th, 2012, 11:49 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by Karsalis View Post
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.
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  #30  
Old June 17th, 2012, 11:54 AM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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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?
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