Guinness went to Puppy Kindergarten when he was about 4 months old, but we ended up quitting about 2 or 3 classes before it was over b/c the training was questionable to my husband and me...but we still got a lot out of it. He still needs more training and I'm trying to find the best place to take him. Our vet has a class (but not a lot of openings, classes) and we have a Petsmart about 10 miles away. Is Petsmart the way to go? Has anyone done training here? Should I try the vet's classes instead? Are there any other places I should look into?
Any thoughts would be great!
Where do you live? Maybe someone will have a good lead...
I'm personally not a huge fan of the chain pet store classes, as their trainers *rarely* have a clue. Trylooking here for something in your area: www.apdt.com/po/ts/default.aspx
I went to "petsmart" because it was convenient for me. However, if I do more training, I would definitely go to a highly recommended trainer. Although, dh just met someone who trains police dogs and she goes to competitions (placed 4th in California recently) so I'm hoping she'll help us. I would love her to get her Good Canine Neighbour certificate.
We did puppy classes at petsmart and they were OK. It was a good environment for practicing the simple stuff, lots of great distractions.
I would just shop around. Go watch a few classes, get references for trainers and make your decision then.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
The PetsMart instructors can vary between great and well-qualified to lousy and unqualified.
Visit the class and watch how the instructor teaches. Talk with her/him about h/h training, experience, etc.
I did that and the instructor (Trish Pooley) was extremely well-qualified -- she'd worked under 2 local trainers with good reputations, had several years experience training at our local shelter, had gone through two one year courses, one in San Francisco, the other in WA (or OR), both with excellent reputations.
I was well pleased.
Trish's replacement was a young woman who'd work in their grooming service and (IMO) was not well-qualified or helpful.
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":
The above posters have a lot of good advice. My personal experience with Petsmart has been great, our trainer clearly loves dogs, is very knowledgeable and will even do one-on-one sessions with you if you are having problems. HOWEVER, experience can vary widely and I am sure there are crappy trainers out there at chain stores. I echo the above advice and think you should check out Petsmart, but keep your options open and look around if you don't like/trust the trainer. The key is practice practice practice! We practice commands every day for about 10 minutes with Leonidas and without that I don't think he'd be doing nearly as well. Hope that helps...
I just went there today and the really good trainer at my petsmart is now teaching intermediate so...I might just go.
We take Milly to Obedience Classes through a Kennel Club associated with the Labrador Club of NSW. We are very lucky that it is about a 5 minute drive from our house!
Before that, we took Milly to Puppy Preschool that is held by a Vet Nurse that works at Milly's vet. It is held at the vet clinic on the weekends, the problem with that is that she taught us some things that we are now having to change at the Obedience Classes which is taking a bit of time. If I were to do it all over again I would have waited until Milly's last shot and enrolled her straight into the Obedience Classes and skipped Puppy Preschool. But at the same time, it was good socialisation for her as a small puppy - they did not much more than play the whole hour every week that they were there!
Chain store classes can be, IMHO, hit-or-miss. If you've found a good one, excellent! My biggest hesitation is the TINY space they use to train in....
I'm an asst trainer -- we work outside where there's plenty of room to spread out, especially for heeling.
+1 to all Bob PR's advice above to ask/look/investigate.....
You may try local AKC clubs: http://www.akc.org/clubs/search/index.cfm
I would check Obedience Classes first: http://www.akc.org/clubs/search/inde...bed&display=on
Somebody told me this past weekend to check the local YMCA.
Good Luck and visit some classes first before paying the whole 6 - 8 sessions. I understand it is usually ok to just visit during one of the classes, so you can have an idea of what methodology the instructor is using.