Was it Worth it? Did it Work?
Over the spring, I enrolled Ivy, my now 10-month-old English Setter puppy in our first training class – a beginner training class at Petsmart. We had been working with Ivy the best we could at home, but we needed some additional help!
After successfully completing the beginner course (click here to read our review on the beginner level), we decided to continue on with the Intermediate level class as well. Hopefully our experiences will help you make a decision that’s best for you!
What Behavior We Hoped to Correct
Ivy now knows all the basics but we wanted to reinforce her loose leash walking and her consistent response to every command no matter how big or small the distraction is around her.
Why We Chose Petsmart
We live in an extremely rural area and were limited to a Petsmart or a private trainer. Private lessons appeared quite expensive compared to the alternative with a 6-week course for $119. We also decided to continue on with the Intermediate level after completing the Beginner level because we felt like we still had more to learn and needed to reinforce many of the lessons we learned in the first 6 weeks.
What You Learn
After completing the Beginner course, dogs are allowed to move onto the next level of training. The Intermediate class is intended for dogs who know the basic cues such as sit, stay, come, but need to practice those behaviors with added distractions. The Intermediate course helps dogs reinforce those behaviors but simulates distractions so you are able to achieve the same results no matter the situation.
The 6-week class teaches cues including:
- Maintaining “Sit” during Distance, Duration, and Distraction
- Right Turn “Heel” and Left Hand “Heel”
- “Place” or “Settle” with Distance, Duration, and Distraction
- Loose Leash Walking Overall
In addition to these cues, you begin to form a relationship with your trainer who can help answer any other questions you may have such as other basic house manners, boarding issues, house-training, you name it. The class also is a huge benefit with socialization with other dogs. Petsmart teaches positive-reinforcement training meaning praise for an action completed and no praise for an action left incomplete.
During our first six weeks in the Beginner class, Ivy improved by not jumping on people, sitting, staying, laying down, and watching me for further cues.
The Intermediate Petsmart class thoroughly helped us by establishing a place for Ivy to go settle when I am in the kitchen cooking or guests are over. I use the command “place” or “settle” and designating a no-slide mat for her to report to and stay until I relieve her. This is an extremely useful tool for us!
Another big win for us out of this class was teaching “wait” out of car doors and doorways to her home or yard. Inside of bolting through these doors, Ivy now patiently waits until I give the command to go. I’m able to gather up my things or make sure I have a firm grip on her leash before she moves forward.
Ivy also improved on her loose leash walking skills, although I must say this one may always be a work in progress for us. One of the most fun lessons was completing an obstacle course weave through chairs and having Ivy stay at my side using the commands such as “easy” or “watch me.” Ivy has also really mastered “sit” and “stay” and “touch.”
We were so pleased with our trainer Kayleigh who took an active role in Ivy’s happiness and training. She was extremely knowledgeable and would always take the time to answer any owners’ questions including ones outside of the curriculum as well.
Some additional perks in your Intermediate class includes:
- Graduation cap, diploma, and pictures at the end of 6 weeks (BIG DEAL FOR DOG MOMS AND DADS EVERYWHERE)
- Coupons for Petsmart treats and training equipment
We decided to give the next level of classes – the Advanced – a try to help solidify what we’ve learned. Winston will also be joining us for this class! Stay tuned for our review of next class!