We started the Petsmart obedience classes that my kids talked their grandpa into buying for them and Anna's little dog. The instructor has a lot of knowledge about luring. I don't know if it comes from the Petsmart program or from other experience. She hasn't said what all her experience is. I probably should ask her, out of curiosity if for no other reason. I have noticed that her skills are not very broad-based. I have noticed this because we are there with the one dog who doesn't lure well and does badly with food rewards.

She is definitely food motivated, but perhaps too much so. Also hyper. She couldn't for the life of her get Livvie to "wait" or loose leash walk. I didn't have the heart to tell her she does both at our house. Well, not so good with the wait, since anything that requires stillness is T-O-R-T-U-R-E!!! and to be wiggled out of, literally, if at all possible. But she definitely loose leash walks for me just fine. With the trainer and her little treat, she hops skips and jumps around like she is trying to teach her to dance instead of walk on a loose leash.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
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Most Petsmart trainers, unfortunetly, have little to no experience teaching classes. My best friend teaches at Petsmart, but she is one in a million, is a certified behaviorist and is fluent in choke chain and PR based training, and has been teaching for almost 14 years... but the rest of the Petsmarts in that area have trainers that know next to nothing about dog training, some don't even have dogs! The ones that do can't even bring their own dogs into the store, due to behavioral problems. Says alot right there.
At any rate, if you decide to stop taking the classes, please get a refund and explain why. If everyone who ever dropped out of a Petsmart class did that, Petsmart might get a clue that their hiring procedures SUCK. As it is now, all they care about is the money, and the fact that most people don't refund because they are too embarassed...
my dog is a genuis when it comes to shake-a-paw and rollover. Can't seem to figure out the housetraining even though I've applied EVERYTHING I know about what motivates him to it. And IMO, it'd be way better if he could NOT pee or poo in house, even if he can't rollover.

My 2 cents.
Melissa
If you want a little background on my dog, read the "Why is my dog a dork?" post.

I read it already.
my dog is a genuis when it comes to shake-a-paw and rollover. Can't seem to figure out the housetraining even ... And IMO, it'd be way better if he could NOT pee or poo in house, even if he can't rollover.[/nq]For someone who was complaining in your other thread about know-it-all attitudes, you might want to reread this and check your tone. I can't tell if you want to come across that way or not. In any event, my point was that I was not impressed with the Petsmart method/trainer because it does not take into account that not all dogs are food motivated. As I stated, I can get my daughter's dog to walk on a loose leash just fine and have done so at home.

It isn't with food luring, however. The fact that a professional trainer doesn't have more tricks in her bag or tools in her box or whatever you want to call it is disconcerting, exactly because I agree that the point of the classes is to teach the owners how to get their dogs to do the things being trained. The owners in that class are there because they don't know how to get their dogs to do things and believe that the instructor will be able to teach them how.

If their dog does not fit within the food luring and food rewarding mold, those owners will be SOL and those dogs may suffer.
By the way, I know a lot about brain damage and your dog's problem with housetraining does not appear to be brain damage. The pattern of what it can and cannot do and when it did and did not poop and/or pee outside or near the door does not indicate brain damage. I am not a professional trainer with enough expertise to tell you what else to try, but I don't think you need consider it a lost cause because of the head injury your dog sustained. I can't tell whether that will be good or bad news to you, but I hope it is good news.
My 2 cents.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
Does anyone out there know how to find a really good, qualified trainer? I was actually thinking of going to Petsmart with Sooner but now I'm worried.
Kristin
@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:
Does anyone out there know how to find a really good, qualified trainer? I was actually thinking of going to Petsmart with Sooner but now I'm worried. Kristin

What I did was to ask around. I asked my coworkers and neighbors and people at the dog park (the ones with well-trained dogs). Lots and lots of people had great things to say about the trainer we found. She was also affiliated with a local shelter.

Catherine
& Zoe & Queenie
Does anyone out there know how to find a really good, qualified instructor? I was actually thinking of going to Petsmart with Sooner but now I'm worried.
Kristin
Does anyone out there know how to find a really good, qualified trainer? I was actually thinking of going to Petsmart with Sooner but now I'm worried.
Kristin
Considering that PetSmart training is probably a lot less expensive than a "really good, qualifed" trainer, why not start there?? It'll give you a basic idea, and obviously, most people go into them at least a little bit informed. Most dogs that are there already know some basic things, like how to sit. The trainers where I went to, and this may be different because it's Canada, were teaching based on food-motivation. Which worked for all the dogs in the class except mine, one other who refused ALL treats (though the kid training him did a good job trying things like cat food but never thought to buy a clicker even though I suggested it), and one who ate so MANY treats that he threw up and was switched to clicker-training shortly thereafter.

But when I asked them if I could use a clicker, they were very supportive, offered me suggestions/advice/help on when to click, when NOT to click, how to use it in COMBINATION with food rewards, and had lots of advice for dealing with separation anxiety and the house-training issues I have. Obviously, if you've read any of the posts following the one I started regarding my dog's house-training status, a lot of it didn't work, but at least they were informed.Personally, I think the key to getting benefit out of a training class, whether by a "really good, certified" trainer or not, is to understand the basic principles of training. Lots of people who are considered "really, good" trainers will use methods that you are uncomfortable with, and you don't always know what those methods are going to be until you've paid for the training. I know a young lady who had a Yorkie, and spent a FORTUNE on dog-training with a certified behaviourist/trainer, and after the third class, had to drop out (and got only a partial refund) because they were using a combination of head-collars and choke chains.

You tell me how a head-collar is supposed to work on a dog that is 6" off the ground?? The whole point of them is that you are able to direct the dog's head away from whatever is distracting it, and reinforce your dominance/control by exerting pressure on their muzzles. Put one on a dog that is so far below your hand that you can't make it's nose drop and it's useless. You have to know how a form of training is supposed to work before you can know if it'll work for your dog.

And most people's dog problems are easily sorted out by trainers such as the ones employed by PetSmart. Some have difficult dogs that need specialized training, and THAT is where the certified trainers are really important.
That being said, I'd run a quick search for dog-trainer programs in your area, the kind that teach people how to be trainers, and see how many of them there are, and what kind of programs they offer. Then run a search on dog-training classes offered in your area, and find out how many of the trainers have been to programs from places that you searched out earlier. Personally, you don't have to have a certified trainer to get a good trainer. Where I live, there are so few courses to learn how to BE a dog-trainer that probably 99% of the people doing it haven't been certified, let alone taken any classes.
Anyhow... good luck,
Melissa
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