I am thinking of bringing my Papillon to dog training at one of these places. I was wondering if anyone has tried them and how well it went. Is it worth the money? Do they do a good job? What can I expect to get out of the training?
Should I invest in a personal trainer instead?
Any info will be a huge help!
Thank you


  1. earcl

    it went very well, and they teach you how to keep your dog under control and still be gentle and kind with it. It is worth the money (to me at least). At the end, the dogs get to interact, so they are not anti-social. Your dog gets training in a room where you are not the only person, so you know the training will work if you are in a park or some place with a lot of other people and animals. you can check out their webpage if you want more info.

  2. philippines travel agency

    The experience and competence of trainers at chain stores is actually hit or miss. They are some really good ones and some really bad ones. Your only safe bet is to visit the store when there’s a class going on and observe. Talk to the trainer afterward. If you’re comfortable with things, go for it. It’s far less costly than using a personal trainer, with whom you don’t have a guarantee either! Regardless of who you choose, just make sure you’re familiar with that person’s methods.
    I personally took my first dog to one of those AKC certified trainers who actively showed and titled dogs in obedience work. She was a mean, sour woman who berated class members and advocated harsh methods that seem to work on her shepherds but not on more sensitive breed dogs like my hounds, who just shut down when shoved, yanked on, and dragged. That was a total waste of money. So, titles and certifications don’t always mean quality.
    I later took that same dog and a younger rescue to a local shelter where a volunteer was teaching manners classes. I learned so much there, my dogs loved going, and they actually started obeying a few commands I hadn’t been able to master with them before. It was nearly half the cost of the professional woman’s class, it was a much better experience, and the proceeds went to helping the shelter dogs. Win-win!
    Some family friends, who have eight(!) dogs in their home, mostly rescues of different ages and breeds, have always used the Petsmart close to their home with great success.
    Good luck.


    I currently have my 5 month old puppy enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten at Petsmart and we love it! She is doing great. Learning a lot and gaining some good socialization skills by being with the other dogs and their owners. What I did is on the Petsmart website there is a coupon for a free training evaluation. I took my pup in for the free evaluation and while the trainer evaluated my pup I evaluated the trainer. I saw how she interacted with my pup, how knowledgeable she was, asked questions about her methods. Satisfied with the trainer I signed my puppy up. You can’t beat it for the money – $119 for 8 classes.

  4. Lauren P

    This is just my take on the subject based on a conversation I had with a manager at a Petco/Petsmart (cannot remember which). I was asking what there requirements for working as a trainer there are, as I was looking to make some extra money. I’ve done enough training in my life time to be very comfortable running a puppy kindergarten and basic obedience and/or manners class. What i was told by the manager there was that doesn’t matter. To be a trainer at Petco you must go to a 6 week class, and previous experience is unnessary.
    Thus, the trainers there may have very little real training background or experience beyond having owned dogs. And therefore, they will not be able to help when problems or difficulties arise. Training is an art that takes many years of learning to become trully knowledgable and good at it; it’s also a continual learning process. I had the benefit of growing up with a parent that trained guard and attack dogs, police dogs, dogs with behavior problems, and basic obedience classes. Thus, my starting knowledge was a little different.
    The trainers at Petco likely do not have these qualities- especially since most qualified trainers work from their own house or rent a building. At Petco, you might learn the basics, but do not expect to have someone that really knows how to train dogs and can help you if problems occur. For the average happy go-lucky dog it’s probably okay; but i would still not recommend going there. Also, training a toy dog is different than a larger dog, and the trainers have to have control over the class.
    I would look for a trainer that does group classes. Group classes allow your dog to learn how to function and listen with other dogs around. Before you sign-up for a class with someone, always go and observe a class first. If you do not like what you see, go elsewhere. The trainer should have control of the class and be aware of different dogs’ problem areas. With a small dog this is extremely important as an accident (large dog out of control) could be fatal. I would also ask the person how much experience they have with training toy breeds; they are different (actually more challenging) than larger dogs.
    Another piece to keep in mind is that once a Papillon gets something, they are not going to want to repeat it for the next five minutes. To them, that’s boring and silly. Once they get, they’re ready to move on. While i’ve never obedience trained a Pap before, I was talking to an obedience trainer and Papillion breeder about the subject because a friend was interested in the breed.
    Lastly, I would only invest in a personal trainer if you are having specific problems or cannot find a group class you feel comfortable bringing her to. Even experience trainers like to work their dogs in a class as the exposure is very beneficial to them.
    oh, I would start with recommendations of trainers from your vets or other dog owners. If you have a dog park near there, go during a busy time just to talk to the other owners- do not let her run around as she could get injured…if you can find a small dog group or small dog play group, that would be a good place to start for trainer recommendations; and a safe place to socialze her.

  5. tyke

    HEL* NO!!!
    Contact your local (county) KENNEL CLUB!!! Use the classes THEY reccomend!
    THE PROS! *NOT* the cootchie-coo baby-sitters!
    The ones who’ve OBEDIENCE *TITLED* dogs!

  6. whpptwmn

    Go to your local kennel or obedience club and take a group obedience class there. These trainers usually have titled dogs and have worked with problem dogs as well.
    The ‘trainers’ at Petsmart/Petco have no business trying to teach obedience classes. They are mostly clueless and these places ONLY hire people who don’t know anything about dog training, and then teach them how to do it by book/video.
    Mandy – they are ‘certified’ by Petsmart/Petco after they have finished watching the videos! LOL!
    In general, ANY certifications from a group mean nothing and are looked down on by the ‘real’ trainers, it is experience that counts, not a piece of paper that says you watched a video.
    Ceci – “I personally took my first dog to one of those AKC certified trainers who actively showed and titled dogs in obedience work. She was a mean, sour woman who berated class members and advocated harsh methods that seem to work on her shepherds but not on more sensitive breed dogs like my hounds”
    The sign of a good trainer is one that is willing to use different methods, depending on the individual dog. Some need a soft touch and some need a firm hand. There are some trainers who believe the only way is the hard way, and almost ALL of the Purely Positive groups don’t see ANY other way. That is one of the problems with the trainers at Petsmart/Petco, they know no other way because they don’t know how to read a dog, or even that other methods exist. My Hounds would fall apart if I used hard methods with them, but I have also worked with many problem dogs that would just as soon bite me as take a treat. A good trainer will use whatever methods work for that INDIVIDUAL, there are NO one-size-fits-all training methods.

  7. Smartphone Software

    Personal trainers are usually better but the good thing about pet smart is your in the class with a bunch of other puppies so not only are they training but they are getting there puppy socialization.
    At my hospital we always rec. Pet Smart
    So I said yes do it.

  8. philippines travel agency

    Hi Sima!
    I took my retriever to PetSmart and wasn’t happy, so they charged me another $99 to go thru again! However their website says you can go thru as many times as you want for free! I had to argue to get my $99 back, and I’m using that to get certified myself thru an online course! If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em so when I’m done with my course, I’ll be applying there myself! I get more out of Yahoo Answers than they teach at PetSmart! Check out the trainers and watch the graduates! Learn from everybody you talk to! Come back to PetSmart when they hire me! I’m Scotty! Happy 2007!

  9. sweetval

    I think everyone has different experiences with Petco & Petsmart Training courses. I have heard negative as well as positive. Personally I currently have my 6 month old puppy enrolled in a group training course @ Petsmart and I love it. The trainer is very knowledgeable and very patient as well as understanding. In the group training course she first goes throgh the process of asking each owner about their pets concerns, news, etc. and talks with them one on one. Then she reviews what we went over previously and what we will be discussing this class. Then she “borrows” a dog to show how the trick is to be done followed by us trying to train our dogs ourselves.
    I have never had a problem with my trainer nor PetsMart in general. I have my dog groomed there and they’re very good. I heard some stories about horrible Petco & Petsmart trainers and group classes. I suggest you go to your Petco & Petsmart and watch to see how the trainers are during the class and talk to some of the people enrolled in the class to see how it is. Also talk to the trainers.
    My class was $109 for 8 weeks. Very self-pacing and teaches me a lot. I plan to enroll my dog in the next course Intermediate. I also plan to go through until she gets her CDC (I think that’s what it’s called) license, all with the same trainer I hope.
    Good Luck.

  10. jungles_

    Petco and Petsmart contract local trainers to teach their classes. Most are good but it does vary. I always recommend observing a class without your pet first to see if you’re comfortable with the training approach, location etc and you can also talk to the others taking the class to see if they are happy with it.
    Most training classes are well worth the money and pretty essential for all dogs. Even if you are good at training I like the controlled group atmosphere to help socialize them as well. Particularly in teaching them that they need to obey even around other animals and distractions.
    You can expect basic obedience ( sit, stay etc) some manners training like how to introduce animals and how to deal with basic issues like begging etc.
    Good luck and thank you for being a responsible pet owner!

  11. strayd0g

    Training at Petsmart (I’ve no personal experience with Petco) is a very good option PROVIDED you check out the trainers beforehand.
    The trainer should be certified, of course, and they should be very active in obedience or other dog-related sports (such as Schutzhund, flyball, ect.). Their dogs should have the Canine Good Citizen certifications, and ideally be licensed therapy dogs (it requires EXTENSIVE training to accomplish these things).
    That all said, training in a group environment is great because you socialize your dog while teaching him to be obedient in a group setting. What good is teaching your dog to be obedient by himself? The moment he’s in a group chances are he’ll be too interested in other things to pay you any mind. With a group training the trainer teaches your dog to respond only to YOU despite the other animals/people present.
    Also, the training is 100% guaranteed for Petsmart…and you can purchase additional private training sessions IF you think they’re needed (some dogs require private training if they’re dog aggressive and cannot be trained with the group).
    Either way, check it out…talk to the trainer at your local Petsmart and get to know them. Test their knowledge a bit and make the decisions for yourself as to whether you think they’re the best training route to take.
    Good luck!

  12. dogtrain

    If you just want to have a well behaved companion, training at these stores offers a convenient way of offering you basic obedience lessons. The focus is on positive reinforcement (Excellent). EVEN MORE IMPORTANT your puppy or dog will get the socializing that is much needed.
    If you are thinking of Showing you dog in obedience, or your dog has major problems a personal trainer may be for you.

  13. sandy l

    i have not gone to one there. but i did train dogs for obdediance compation and i looked at the things the pet smart people were teaching and how they teach and it all is normal and i dont know of any reason why it would not be a very good place to go both you and your dog to learn all of this basic stuff.
    have fun.

  14. mandie m

    talk to the trainer, make sure you like them. petco and petsmart doesnt hire a trainer based on how they train (meaning different stores use different training methods). i would suggest finding a method you like most and then finding the trainer. the only advantage of petco and petsmart trainers is they have to be certified in order to train in the store.

  15. opiniona

    PetSmart has a 100% satisfaction guarentee on all of it’s classes…If you aren’t happy with the training, you can get a full refund or retake the class, and then put the refund into a personal trainer. The problem with personal trainers is that the dog doesn’t get much socialization. Also, he or she might not learn as well because dogs learn from watching other dogs…its called social learning. Pet training at PetSmart takes place not only in the ring, but in the store as well. This provides a lot of distractions (strangers, new smells, toys, other animals, other dogs). If your dog can do it in the store, you can be sure he or she will do it anywhere. PetSmart also uses positive reinforcement techniques, so nothing we do will ever harm your dog. In fact, he or she will love it!
    Training is definately worth the money. Classes are only $99. In Beginner and Puppy classes, your dog will learn sit, down, stay, come, walk on a leash without pulling, take it, leave it, drop it, greeting strangers without jumping, and also a couple fun tricks. They will also talk about potty training and grooming, which is extremely useful for a papillon. They are notorious for have potty training issues.You can also ask the trainer any specific questions you have, and he or she should be able to answer them for you.
    Personally, I have never had anyone return a class at PetSmart, so I think I’m doing a good job 😉

  16. P/T Doctor

    I took my wife to Petsmart because of her inability to retrieve. Left her there for 4 days. I was very unsatisfied with the results. When I picked her up she bit me, growled, howled & still dont retrieve.The *****! Wouldnt recomend it. Try a personal trainer.

  17. iluvmyfr

    I have had one of my dogs trained at Petsmart and it was horrible. I had to go to a behaviorist (who worked at Petco at the time) to have her fix what the Petsmart Trainers screwed up. The trainers that work at Petco are actual dog trainers, the ones that work at Petsmart are just people that went through Petsmart’s dog training program.

  18. regwoman

    I brought my Lhasa to Petsmart, and we both loved it. The trainer was personable, and loved dogs. It was a rewarding experience for us.

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