Zeke's Class--Day 1

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by tx_cowgirl, May 5, 2009.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    So tonight was Zeke's first day of his intermediate level class. It's a very small class with only 5 dogs(4 today, one couldn't make it). Unfortunately...the others have had NO work with loose-leash walking so I have no idea how they made it in. So today, that's what we worked on. Ugh. But that's okay.

    So, it began with some lecture, explaining what we would do in the class, what methods would be used, etc. Then for a challenge..

    A sit-stay while the trainer walked around placing treats around the dogs, close to them and far away. A sit-stay while owner bounced a tennis ball. (This was difficult for Z--tennis balls boucing all around the room! But he never once moved a muscle, I was so proud!) And for Zekers, a sit-stay with toys and treats sitting around him. He did marvelous and won the challenge. If your dog broke his stay, he was out. It came down to him and the Border Collie of the class and the other decided to sneak a snack. Her owner scruffed her. o-o Trainer had a little private lesson with her afterwards about scruffing and the like...the whole time the owner was very clearly showing her Cesar-like methods. :dogrolleyes: But hopefully the class will be good for her and she'll abandon her domineering methods with her timid dog.

    Anyway...then to see if any of the dogs had a solid "wait" command. To be honest, Z and I haven't worked on that in FOREVER. So it didn't go fabulous, but we'll work some more before next week. Since the other dogs aren't as advanced as they should be for this class the trainer is kind of having to do some back-tracking. But that's alright. Zeke is handling all of this very well--I thought he'd be more intimidated with all the people and dogs. He did stick to me like glue, but honestly I don't mind that a bit--he's the only dog in class who pays no attention to anything else going on. With tennis ball in hand he could care less if a tornado passed by, lol. I have a feeling he's going to have a GREAT heel when we get to it. Not to brag, but he is well ahead of the class. Doing great! He even approached two complete strangers today!!! I was THRILLED! He had an amazing day today. We have some work to do before the next class and I'm loving it already. This is the first training class I've ever attended with any dog and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. Can't wait till next week! :doglaugh:

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    :yipi: I'm so proud of Zeke for being able to ignorethe TENNIS BALLS!!?? WOW!!!

    This sounds so fun!! Maybe i'll sign me and Buddy up for some class!! I'm so glad the trainer did tell the scruffing dog owner a better way. Border collies are SOOOoo sensitive...

    SO WOW!! YOU MUST FEEL LIKE A MILLLION BUCKS!! GOOD FOR YOU GUYS!!
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Classes are great because you get some hands-on professional assistance, plus you learn how to handle your dog in distracting environments. A word of caution: pet store and vet trainers may not always be the best way to go.

    Not to bash on Petsmart trainers(that's where I'm going actually), but typically a Petsmart trainer is the average guy who decided "hey I'll apply for this" and then got trained to use Petsmart methods to teach people how to train their dogs. They usually go into it knowing next to nothing about dogs and how to train. BUT, there are the few who actually know A LOT about training before getting the job. My trainer was formerly a Schutzhund trainer, is training her Shiba for agility, has interest in flyball, has MANY years of training under her belt....she's no newbie by far, and then she applied at Petsmart. Not many are like this though, so just be warned if you choose a Petsmart trainer. No offense--I know there are Petsmart trainers here. :) Many are indeed wonderful trainers, but in many areas of the country there are the people who are there for the job, not because it's actually what they want and know how to do. Vet trainers on the other hand can be anything from Cesar Milan wannabes to awesome positive method trainers. The bad thing is it's hard to judge exactly how they work with dogs because it's not easy to catch them with students. Plus, they may not be able to cover everything because they don't usually have a set curriculum to follow. There may be things that they accidentally leave out.

    I'm not sure about private clubs. I know the one in my town is..well, I'd say average. Overall, they are fairly good and use positive methods, BUT no dog leaves their classes without a prong collar, and their training is based largely on leash corrections. Dog breaks stay=leash correction. Dog jumps=leash correction. Dog barks excessively=leash correction. (This ranges from puppies 10 wks old to dogs 8 or older.) They ARE knowledgeable trainers, but they lack in many areas. But they are based solely on volunteers, so it's not a matter of really only advocating these methods, but a matter of the competent volunteers that they get to train. I'd like to train for them someday and perhaps open the eyes of some of them, or at least change the flow of students that leave their classes. I would never want to take one of their obedience classes but plan to take an agility class--but will train on my terms. No corrections, no prong or choke collars...positive only, no matter what they advocate.

    Anywho...yes I was very excited with how well he did. ^^ I've never, ever tested him with THAT MANY TENNIS BALLS bouncing about. Poor pup; I thought he was going to go insane. When the trainer was demonstrating what we were going to do with the Border Collie, Zeke's eyes were GLUED to her the whole time, lol. I think this is going to be great for him. I can already see his confidence building!! Tomorrow I think I'm going to take Mud and Z both up there for a little double-dog practice. They need it since I haven't done it in a while.
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Didn't get to take them anywhere and I have a million things to do...ugh. But maybe later in the week. All the dogs got a day off today, lol. Can't wait to start something new with Z. :dogwub:
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    Great things to know about different training class situations. Testing with tennis balls all about might make my two explode... LOL. It's their fave esp squeaky ones. How wonderful that it sounds like things are progressing nicely with smart boy!!

    There are a few petsmart trainers talking on another forum -- not to bash because some ar very good. However, they were saying that many take just a few hours of instruction and are there mainly b/c they SELL classes well. The groomers get more training there as a requirement. So you might be lucky and get someone very good or very bad. That's why getting referrals, auditing classes, interviewing the trainer before taking your dog there are all great ideas.

    For those that don't know.
    Faculty | Karen Pryor Academy
    find the right training class Finding the Right Training Class | Karen Pryor Clickertraining
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol yes the many, many tennis balls were sooo challenging for him but I was so proud. ^^ Is it sad that I'm so excited about next week's class? Lol. :doglaugh:

    I wasn't meaning to bash Petsmart trainers either, but many of them are just the average joe who applied for that position but have no desire or knowledge towards training at all. But there are those who are great. The groomers are taught some different grooming techniques than most salons use, although not bad techniques. The Petsmart trainer I'm with has really made a name for herself here. Quite frankly the other Petsmart trainers in this area are idiots. A couple of them have even alpha rolled dogs in class--a BIG no-no and very against policy. And completely unnecesarry. For this reason I quit stopping to glance at the training classes on my Petsmart trips...ugh.

    But anyway...yes many are great and many others are...well, uneducated. We don't have any Karen Pryor trainers here. Too bad!
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Actually, i'm burnt out on nursing, and saw an ad for a Petsmart job, said they would train me....i considered it. I'm sure you are right, there are some who are probably great, and some who aren't much more experienced than me.
    SNOOKS--THANKS FOR THE LINK ON HOW TO CHOOSE A CLASS, I'LL GO READ THAT NOW!!
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I think you could do great. :) It's much easier if you work with a more experienced trainer, and typically the area trainer that you learn from will help you a great deal. (I actually might be getting a training position with Petsmart within the next few months. Not sure yet.) They send you to the Area trainer, you learn about theory, Petsmart's methods, etc, you sit in in a lot of classes, you train to some extent, then you have to sell a certain amount of classes so they know that you can market what you do.

    Plus, if you have questions about how to help a student with their particular issue you have everyone here to assist you. :doglaugh: ;) It might help you a lot to take a training class with an accredited trainer, be it at Petsmart or with a local club. A great way to progress as a trainer is also to volunteer for a shelter. This gives you a huge variety of dogs to work with so you learn how to handle dogs who learn in ways that are so very different from Buddy.
  9. lilypup New Member

    we're doing Petsmart training classes. actually, we're doing puppy training over again. lily does her tricks, and isn't a puppy, but she's small and... was, haha... a shy rescue dog. i thought it would be good for her to get more socialising experience with small dogs like her, and the instructor agreed. people flaked a lot on our first round, and often she was the only dog.

    we are not having to pay for the second round. and it's not exactly full of students. i was wondering if any money was being made on these classes and how the instructors got paid.

    anyways, we signed up at Petsmart because we met the two trainers beforehand, wandering around the store, and they were both excellent. this is a second-half-of-life career for our instructor, a down shift i think. she did HR or something for a big company, but also she'd raised and showed dogs since being a girl. her current dog competes in agility and i forget what else, but he's like superdog!
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    sometimes you find diamonds amidst the dust. there are quite a few Petsmart trainers that i read comments from and talk with that sound like I would be very happy with their expertise. then a few others that these trainers just can't stand b/c of alpha rolls etc but that sell a lot of cla$$es. Getting someone that had been a dog person and was starting a second career sounds very nice. a lot of people are intuitive natural trainers without degrees and certifications and some are just freakos that got their certs of the internet. it’s so hard to know without talking to them and seeing how they work other dogs.

    i get excited about class too, esp after a really good one where my dog impresses me--all those balls around is def impressive for a BC lasered on. LOL just picturing it. mental dialog give me the BALLLLL ggiiiiivvve it NOWWWWW you’re getting sleepy and will drop the ballllllll.

    tiger lily i think it would be a dream career move to quit nursing and train dogs. sometimes those things in life come along to jump at. nursing will still be there. i started my 6 yo golden boy in puppy class and puppy agility and it was a great intro to doing things and socializing. it was kind of funny that he was so HUGE compared to everyone else. by the end of 3 mos some of the dogs outgrew him tho. he was 65 lbs and some of the larger breed puppies got so big so fast.
  11. lilypup New Member

    >65 lbs puppies. ohmigosh, lol, i don't know why it makes me laugh, but it does. perhaps it's because one might think you should be able to catch 'em in the act of growing, but you don't. lol.

    re. diamonds in the dust v. just dust in the dust: as part of our socialisation program, we tried a day of Petsmart daycare. it went so well and we got such a good handler, we thought we'd try a day of Petsmart daycamp. it was all my boyfriend's idea. anyways, he did an undercover midday check-up on the daycamp, and oh! he was not happy with the boy in charge and now he's having second thoughts about the whole thing. i gather the boy was bouncing a ball to entertertain... himself. was totally ignoring the dogs. they'd go sit right in front of him and he never looked up.

    but yes, working at Petsmart sounds like it could be a lot of fun to me too. i wish i'd thought of it before i decided on trying to become a low-paid foodie! haha.
  12. fickla Experienced Member

    Ha, I am laughing my ass off right now. Sorry, but I am a trainer at a Petsmart in Minneapolis and I wish I made that much money! You are right that we get a base pay, mine is only $8.50, and get commission, 20-30%. But I only make about $250/wk max, no where near $1200/wk and I've been there for almost 2 years now. I definitely need my 2nd job, and still can barely make rent with my husband working too. So I don't train for the money :)

    As for the quality of petsmart trainers, you are right in that it totally depends on who you get. We have an accrediation program we go through, but honestly I think I learned maybe 2 things that I didn't know before. Most of my "education" has been through reading everything there is on dog training and trying to train my own dogs. There are some amazing petsmart trainers and some crappy ones, same as anywhere else.

    But really, soda squirted through my nose as I was reading that :)
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol it varies with districts. My trainer came from another state originally where she made $12 an hr but brought home as much or more than her salary in commissions. Each district has a max salary so you can only make so much. Trainers here make pretty decent money. Depends on district topout, store volume, how many trainers are employed at one store, etc.

    I kinda thought you were a Petsmart trainer Fickla. ^^ Until finding the Petsmart trainer we're with now, all the Petsmart trainers I'd met here were a JOKE. Knew very little, and obviously just applied for A JOB, not THE JOB. I'm very impressed with this trainer though. Lots of experience under her belt and knows her stuff.

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