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PetSmart Training Class



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 25th 03, 09:18 PM
Carney
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Default PetSmart Training Class

Hi guys. I've been lurking here for about a month or so and enjoying
the discussion.

I'm posting for the first time with a specific question. I enrolled
in a PetSmart Basic Plus training course. I did not have faith in the
instructor prior to enrolling in the class, so I understand my current
frustration is all my own fault, but I decided to enroll anyway
because I was new to the area and frankly, just looking for a reason
to get out of the house to interact with people outside of my job.

Please note that this is not a slam against all PetSmart classes. I
think the trainers vary quite a bit and have had friends who had
wonderful experiences in different cities. I am hoping that Leah
might see this question and weigh in with her experience since she
works with Petsmart.

In the very first class, I got turned off by this guy because he
answered a simple question from the other dog owner pretty badly. She
had asked how to get to having a reliable command without treats and
rather than explaining how random reinforcement works, his answer was
to always treat the dog. Since it was his class and he's the
professional, I just held my tongue and pretty much decided then that
I wasn't going to be asking any in-depth theory questions of him
reasoning that this could still be a good experience seeing as how it
was a structured training period with good doggy distractions.

But it hasn't turned out that way. The class is poorly paced and very
boring. Again, I don't think its a structural flaw of the class
design but more in how he implements it. Since we are now three weeks
in, and the dogs (it's a two-dog class) did pretty well this week, I
had asked him if we could try the agility portion off-lead for the
next class. I knew it was early but was desperately seeking any
reason to come back to this class and thought trying off-lead might do
it. His answer was a flat "no". I tried to suss out why and he
eventually explained the dogs weren't ready. I agreed this might very
well be true, but asked what would be hurt by a 5-minute experiment.
If the dogs couldn't be lured and it wasn't working, then we could go
back to leashes. No harm, no foul. He said a flat "no" again.

I can't explain why this annoyed me so much, but it really did. I
think primarily because I was thinking this might be my salvation, my
one reason to look forward to returning to the class, and his response
basically leaves me with nothing to look forward to.

My ideal outcome would be to just drop the remainder of the class and
get half of my money refunded. I know there is probably a "no
refunds" policy so I'm not sure if I even want to raise this with him
or the store, but I am just so frustrated right now that I really
don't want to spend the next 5 weeks doing this monotonous class.

It's not the money. Well, it's partly the money, but I can live
without it. It's just that I am so frustrated. It's not a bad class
for the dog. She's OK with it and he's mostly OK with the practical
side of stuff (though not so good with the theory). It's just that I
think both the dog and I should enjoy the class and right now, I'm
really not.
  #2  
Old July 26th 03, 02:11 AM
Leah
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Default

Carney wrote:
She
had asked how to get to having a reliable command without treats and
rather than explaining how random reinforcement works, his answer was
to always treat the dog.


The local training center (my competition :} uses that philosophy. They say,
why not always carry a treat bag? You love the dog, why not reward him?

But no, that's not the way we're supposed to teach it in PetsMart.

The class is poorly paced and very
boring. Again, I don't think its a structural flaw of the class
design but more in how he implements it. Since we are now three weeks
in, and the dogs (it's a two-dog class) did pretty well this week, I
had asked him if we could try the agility portion off-lead for the
next class.


Boggle. Your PetsMart offers AGILITY???

My ideal outcome would be to just drop the remainder of the class and
get half of my money refunded. I know there is probably a "no
refunds" policy so I'm not sure if I even want to raise this with him
or the store, but I am just so frustrated right now that I really
don't want to spend the next 5 weeks doing this monotonous class.


You can get 5/8 of your money back. You only have to pay for what you used.
And tell them it's because you don't like the trainer.

Training is a big issue with PetsMart right now. I just had to fill out a
3-page survey form giving my opinions on what should be changed in the
preparation of new instructors. (I strongly recommended more supervision.)
From what I hear, they want to strengthen the training program and its
reputation.

If they have a boring, rude instructor, they should know about it.

PetsMart Pet Trainer
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/m...age/index.html
Last updated June 27 at 10:00 a.m.


  #3  
Old July 26th 03, 02:51 AM
Carney
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Default

On Fri, 25 Jul 2003 20:49:06 GMT, Handsome Jack Morrison
wrote:

One of the reasons you said you took the class was just to get out and
meet people, right? Well, just go with the flow then; as you yourself
admit, your DOG is getting something out of it, and that's the most
important consideration, right?

Well, I meant the dog was doing OK. But, she's a good dog and does OK
tons of places. While this trainer wasn't helping me very much, I
also don't think he was hurting the dog and her training. But, she's
not really getting anything more out of it than she would with a
dedicated hour by myself (which I've been doing anyway). Actually
she'd probably get more out of a dedicated hour, because I like to
keep tighter pacing to my sessions than he does.

Recommendation: Grin and bear it, finish the class, and have a much
better reason for enrolling in any future classes (than getting out
and meeting people).

Doesn't really seem like a bad reason to me, but it really wasn't the
ultimate reason. Obviously, I wanted to have fun training my dog,
which is why I chose this over underwater basket weaving. But I do
think I jumped the gun too quickly on picking a class. I had looked a
few months before when I first moved here and coudn't find any
recommendations or resources online. So when I realized that I wanted
a more structured program for my dogs and yes, also some non-work
interaction especially on weekdays, I kind of jumped into this class.
I'm currently branching out a little into the community to see if I
can find someone with whom I'm more compatible.
  #4  
Old July 26th 03, 03:20 AM
Carney
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Default

On 26 Jul 2003 01:11:20 GMT, URK-OFF (Leah) wrote:

Boggle. Your PetsMart offers AGILITY???

Yep. I think it was something that he initiated, probably using his
own money as supplies. It's nothing too fancy so I'm guessing it
wasn't too much money. He uses a modified 2x4 as a ramp. It has
little dowels for steps and bathmat for traction. Then It can be
placed up on boxes to raise it's height. (They're gift-wrapped to
make them more festive.) And there is a triangle of three reinforced
cardboard cylinders all taped together (imagine taping together three
really big paper towel dispensers and that's what this looks like)
that acts as the pendulum to make it into a see-saw. It's not very
permanent so we have to keep adjusting, but it appears to be stable
enough for the dogs to play on. It's kind of cramped in the pen as
you might imagine but it works OK, seeing as how we only have two dogs
in the class. We also do jumps over wallpaper and boxes. Again, not
fancy, but it works. He introduced this into his basic plus class.
If I remember right, you had mentioned that this was a class that was
really left up to the individual instructors as to how to design the
course. Well, I did like his overall design, just not the
implementation.

You can get 5/8 of your money back. You only have to pay for what you used.
And tell them it's because you don't like the trainer.

Thanks for the info. Knowing I can get a refund, I now feel like I
have a choice as to whether I continue or not. I'm toying with the
idea of going back for one more class. We had just done our modified
see-saw and while she didn't seem to love it, she also didn't seem to
hate it which really surprised me... she's a pretty skittish dog at
times and I was expecting this to freak her out.

I'm going to debate going back over the next week, but knowing what to
expect if I do decide to raise the issue, is very nice. Thanks for
the response.

And I wish you good luck in bringing about reforms. As I had
mentioned, I had heard good things about trainers from friends in
Tampa, but I bet its hard to keep that consistent in all the stores
they have.
  #5  
Old July 26th 03, 10:18 AM
DogStar716
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Default

The size of the class should have told you something.... grin The
local PetsMart here, plus the other chain store, have been unable to
hire and keep even inadequate trainers...


I WAS a Petsmart trainer. I quit this week. I've been with the company since
they started the new program. Good program, bad management, at least in my
area. We got a new training supervisor who not only has never taken a class
but knows NOTHING about training or even the Petsmart program in general. She
started making changes to the detriment of the program that I simply could not
deal with and some of her comments "Trainers are a dime a dozen" and "I hire on
basis of personality, NOT experience" drove me nuts So I'm done there.

As for classes, my classes averaged 8-10 dogs. I teach puppy, basic, advanced
(CGC) and clicker. My store is the pilot store for agility classes in my area.
The other trainer and I make over 1,000 a week for that particular store..
Our sales are awesome. And we are treated like dog **** by the very people we
make money for.

. Now, with that ridiculously tiny training "pen",


Isn't that a joke?? Luckily we were allowed to modify ours and had quite a
large area to train in.

At any rate, from what I have seen in my area, Petsmart still does not take
dog training seriously. It's up to the individual instructor to make the store.
Petsmart is retail, after all, and one is just a number there.


Dogstar716
Come see Gunnars Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dogstar716/index.html


  #7  
Old July 26th 03, 02:24 PM
Leah
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Default

(Jo Wolf) wrote:
The size of the class should have told you something.... grin


Not necessarily. My classes were averaging 3-4 dogs, and this summer it's down
to 2-3. And yet my boss is thrilled because I enroll more dogs in that
particular store than any other trainer they've had there. A lot depends on
the demographics of the area.

Many of my students are referrals from past graduates, or I'd have even less
and smaller classes.

PetsMart Pet Trainer
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/m...age/index.html
Last updated June 27 at 10:00 a.m.


  #8  
Old July 26th 03, 02:40 PM
Melissa S. Frye
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Default



"DogStar716" wrote in message
...

This, I bet, is a major reason why they have a hard time
getting decent trainers.


Nope. They have a hard time getting decent trainers because they hire

people

Actually when I wa looking for a second job I was told that I couldn't work
for them beause of the non-competetion clause, as I was teaching agility
(unpaid) for the local kennel club (of which I was not a member).
I ask if they offered agility and was told they weren't.

Of course at this time I had trained dog through CDX and AX and AXJs, taught
agility at all levels for a couple of years...
And I got the feeling that they could have cared less about any
credentials...


--
Melissa S. Frye
Skyrocket cockers www.mfrye.com/skyrocket/


  #9  
Old July 26th 03, 02:45 PM
Melissa S. Frye
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Default


"DogStar716" wrote in message
...
The size of the class should have told you something.... grin The
local PetsMart here, plus the other chain store, have been unable to
hire and keep even inadequate trainers...


I WAS a Petsmart trainer. I quit this week. I've been with the company

since
they started the new program. Good program, bad management, at least in

my
area. We got a new training supervisor who not only has never taken a

class
but knows NOTHING about training or even the Petsmart program in general.

She
started making changes to the detriment of the program that I simply could

not
deal with and some of her comments "Trainers are a dime a dozen" and "I

hire on
basis of personality, NOT experience" drove me nuts So I'm done there.

There is a saying about the Army - "The only times the Army gets better is
when a good soldier stays in or a bad soldier gets out".
Petsmart training just got worse..

Thinking about branching out on your own?

--
Melissa S. Frye
Skyrocket cockers www.mfrye.com/skyrocket/


  #10  
Old July 26th 03, 03:14 PM
Melinda Shore
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Default

In article ,
Melissa S. Frye wrote:
Actually when I wa looking for a second job I was told that I couldn't work
for them beause of the non-competetion clause, as I was teaching agility
(unpaid) for the local kennel club (of which I was not a member).
I ask if they offered agility and was told they weren't.


Wasn't it Tara who referred to them as "McTraining?"

Anyway, no-compete agreements are very common in technology
hiring, although they're pretty much ignored in practice.
Mind you I think it's a big mistake to sign a contract you
don't intend to honor and I wouldn't recommend it. I figure
most stuff is negotiable, though, and if they're having
problems finding trainers they might be willing to modify
their no-compete clause to allow teaching agility and
competitive obedience outside of PetSmart.
--
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis -

If you don't understand how things are connected, the cause of
problems is solutions -- Amory Lovins
 




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