They may not teach your dog which fork to use for salad and which to use for steak, but the trainers at Petsmart will teach him some manners far more important in the life of a dog. They use only positive reinforcement methods, which will make your dog very happy.
For puppies 10 to 20 weeks of age, Petsmart offers puppy kindergarten classes that will help you socialize your puppy to new people, places and things. This valuable class lays the groundwork for future training and helps your puppy learn some basic manners using simple commands. The trainers will teach you how to interact with your puppy to get the results you want. Your little friend will learn the basics: sit, stay and come. If you don't want your dog to grow up to be a big, strong dog that pulls you down the street on a leash, get him started early with a lesson in leash walking, another important skill covered in the puppy class.
If you adopted your dog as an adult and are well past the puppy stage, or even just barely into adolescence, the beginner training is for you. This class is for dogs from age 5 months and up. It's never too late to begin training your dog and, as it turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Intended for older dogs who have never been exposed to formal training, the beginner class covers the basic sit, stay and come commands. Beginner classes are beneficial for shy older dogs who will learn to overcome their anxiety when meeting new dogs. In addition to learning the basic commands and walking on a loose leash, your dog will learn the "leave it" command, which teaches him to ignore something interesting if you ask him to.
This class is intended for dogs who already know the ropes and need a little more stimulation. Dogs love to learn new things, and there is always something special you can teach your best friend. During these classes, you will reinforce the commands your dog already knows. She will also learn to stay for a longer duration than before, heel and "go to bed." Wouldn't it be great if you can get your kids to behave so easily? Any behavior issues will be addressed and you will be taught how to break bad habits.
For those real show-offs, the dogs who seem to "get it" so easily the first time around, Petsmart offers an advanced training class. You will learn how to teach your dog some advanced tricks, such as "shake a paw" and play doggy games. Your dog will learn to ignore distractions and how to stay calm when you are not within his sight for a few moments. Furthermore, you will learn simple hand signals, and your dog will perform skills with less expectation of a reward. Very impressive indeed!
One-on-One, Happy Campers and Click-a-Trick
In addition to the four classes, Petsmart also offers one-on-one training sessions for those dogs who have you convinced they need just a little more attention. During these sessions you will discuss any problems you may be experiencing with your happy hound. The trainer will guide you through these individualized training sessions that fit into your schedule. The Personal Training Camp is for dogs being boarded at Petsmart. For an additional fee, your dog will have 30-minute sessions one-on-one with a trainer. The Click-a-Trick class teaches your dog more advanced skills, such as crawling on the floor, giving a high-five and rolling over.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.