Any input would be appreciated. TIA.
When I first got Sam I attempted to take a class thru Petsmart and it was an absolute zoo. I went twice and even at my ignorant level then I knew it was not for us. However, I have heard that some people have good experiences. I would recommend going and observing several classes.
I wouldn't. I have heard HIGHLY overprices and not worth it. Very very chaotic
I took Mocha through the basic obedience at a PetSmart here in town and it was alright. It really depends on your goals for her in the future and the trainers experience. Some are great and others....well not so. If you want to do obedience trials I would suggest you stick with the AKC classes but if you just want a well mannered dog I think the PetSmart classes would be fine. I think it was $99 for 8 weeks for the Basic class when I took Mocha through it. Ask what they teach (which commands) and maybe even watch a class before deciding. They vary a lot depending on the trainer. When I took Mocha through they recommended and pushed using a Gentle Leader instead of a choker or prong as a trainig collar. Which is all fine and dandy if she would have taken to it but she hated the thing and never did get used to it even though I tried treating her for it and everything. I liked that it was in the store it helped her get used to working with distractions but it also was distracting to us and the trainer and would sometimes take out of the class time.
I had a terrible time with it. They had 15 plus dogs in a class, which was insane. The instructor canceled several times without calling people, so I drove 30 minutes to show up and find that there was no class. The majority of the dogs were out of control - and Gabs and I spent the majority of the time avoiding getting humped or tackled or bitten instead of learning.
Oh, and if you use a pinch collar or choke chain, forget it. They are very, very, very negative on them. Once, I was in another petsmart shopping and working with Gabs on a pinch collar (which my private instructor had recommended and given to me), and the trainer came over and flipped out on me for using it- "it's cruel.."
My Abbey is a Petsmart puppy school dropout. There were a lot of dogs in a small area and she just wanted to play. She would get frustrated and bark and the trainer told me to tell her quiet and when she stopped, give her a treat. After doing that a few times, Abbey would bark, stop, look at me, I'd give her a treat and then she'd bark again. She learned if she barked she would get a treat, so I guess she did learn something :.
If you want to show, don't. If you aren't planning on showing, it might be a good way to socialize your dog, but I wouldn't expect to learn a lot from them. In our neck of the woods, the kids teaching at the pet stores really don't much about training and have no showing experience.
Go observe a few classes at either location. Some of the petsmart trainers are super, others not. Same with any school, really.
http://www.apdt.com has a trainer search, there may be other schools local to you.
We Took Emma to all her classes at Petsmart! We were very fortunate that the instructer was excellent ( and not a kid ) and the classes were not huge. Our Petsmart only allowed 10 -12 per class ( for Puppy) and while a little wild during free time that was part of the point of training. Emma is one very socialized dog. It really does depend on who you get for an instructor. Go and observe a class or two and see who you like.
I took Molly to class at PetsMart and am very pleased with the results I got.
Our instructor was great (she was certified by the APDT and was very knowledgeable), and she limited her class size to no more than 10 dogs (our class started as 3 and by week 2 there were only 2 of us), so I guess I may have lucked out.
I want to take her back for Intermediate Obed, but the woman doesn't have classes and I'd have to go private which costs more Our vet lets a woman use their office after hours so I might look into that...ok **end of ramble** lol
~Abby, Molly, and Penny (the honorary lab)