Now, I have read various opinions on puppy training classes held at pet store chains, most of them are not great reviews, but I was wondering, if you can't find any other classes in your area, are they better than nothing? I need to take Star to training classes. NEED to. Mostly because I am an ignoramus when it comes to puppy training. Also because she really needs the socialization with other dogs and people, she is fine with my son and I but gets hyper crazy excited over other people. The trainer I knew to be reputable and good is no longer holding classes for older puppies and the only classes I can find in my area are, well, at Petsmart. I may also be an ignoramus when it comes to finding someone to work with, but I have looked on-line, looked in the phone book, and in the newspaper and can't find anything. Are there any other resources to finding good classes?
Is there a Labrador Retreiver Club in your area (or an all breed club)? They often have obedience classes they run. I'd check that route first before going to Petsmart (where it's a crap shoot on whether you get someone who has a clue or not).
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
watch the classes at petsmart, as it varies widely. Ask the trainer questions - how much experience have they had (other than training at petsmart)?
To find other options - ask your vet, pet supply store, people at the dogpark or dog daycare. Search engines are also available here: http://www.apdt.com and here: http://trulydogfriendly.com
Buy a copy of Jean Donaldson's "Culture Clash" ($10-12 new, $5 used from Amazon). It's mainstream dog training using mainstream scientific principles. Read enough of it so you can evaluate whether the trainer in your local PetsMart is mainstream or wayward. If mainstream, it's a good possibility. If wayward, look elsewhere.
I'm not sure how worthwhile it is to ask where they got their training because you'd have to be experienced enough to tell good from bad.
In addition to dog clubs, vets, etc., also ask at animal shelters who they recommend. Some Parks & Recreation depts. of counties and cities also often offer dog training classes; you might ask them if you have such facilities.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I took puppy classes at Petsmart and the lady was a whackjob, but then I took classes at Petco with an actual dog trainer who just did the classes part time, and she was fantastic. The best advice I can give you is to talk to the trainer for a while, and if all they do is quote Cesar Milan RUN! Because they have no ideas of their own
There must be a trainer somewhere. You may have to drive an hour each way because they aren't (at least in Ohio) in every town and often people do have to drive a bit of a distance to get to one. It is worth it.
One obvious problem with Petsmart and Petco is the amount of space provided for training. They have a a tiny little area cordoned off for dog training. You certainly aren't going to be able to do much in there. In my area, they are more expensive than the good dog training schools.
I realize that these stores may get someone good in there and you could get lucky. However, as you stated, you know very little about puppy training so interviewing the trainer may not be helpful for you at all. How will you know if the person is going to meet your needs or not?
I will say there are different training philosophies out there. Most popular now is positive reinforcement training using rewards to shape behavior. That is the method I prefer. There are still some old school trainers out there that don't use positive reinforcement and feel dogs should just do what we want because we want them to and will sometimes employ some punitive methods. Therefore, you do need to ask some questions before you enroll.
Your veterinarian should be a good resource for finding a dog trainer. That's how I found mine!
Ann & Miles
MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
"Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1
I actually belong to a local Obedience Club. I get better training there for a lot less $$ than Petsmart.
Just google for Obedience Training Clubs in your area.