Finley is about to have is 4th session there in the puppy class. There is only 1 other dog in it. A lab who has only met 1 dog and that's Fin. It's a Thursday night which I guess isn't really popular, but on the weekends the store is so crowded and loud I thought he would learn better at a quieter time.
I don't know how much Finley is really getting out of it. I think my husband gets more, ie. holding the leash, clicker, treats, and trying to get all the comands right. Although I fear Fin will never get loose leash walking down.
We think Petsmart is great. "We" is my daughter and I. As far as I know our PS only has one trainer and she's great. I may be wrong about that but when we began the class I thought we were told that she was the only trainer. We signed up for one class and then realized that we couldn't make it and she let us switch to another. Unfortunately I've been really sick for the last 2 weeks and the trainer was sick the week before that! I haven't been "doing our homework" as much as we should be and that makes a big difference with any training. I'm still not feeling well and I'm going to restart when the weather is better.
The training is good. You get a binder and you are supposed to do your homework with your dog during the week. At the end there is a final. It's common sense training - nothing bizarre- and that's what I like about it too.
Anyway, you learn a lot. I didn't find that the trainer pushed for the PS products - as a matter of fact she'd tell us where we could get things for less money. But being at the store is very convenient and after each class I'd buy things for both my dog and cat. Things that we needed and things that we wanted.
The socialization part is wonderful. The store is setup to allow dogs to walk around - although depending on your dog's temperament that can get sticky. I never had any big problems but Charley is very friendly and just wants to be pet. There have been other dogs that were not so friendly towards him (within the store) and I've steered him clear of them.
There was one miniature doberman that was very unfriendly in the class towards Charley. I just knew to keep Charley away from him. On the other hand every other dog was friendly. We met another Cavalier and they got along great.
We all miss going, my 14 yr. old daughter, myself and I think I can speak for Charley too! I think it's a great deal for the money! I don't work for PetSmart or anything! I was just as surprised myself to find out how much we liked it.
Hope that helps!
Bella took Puppy, Intermediate, and the Advanced class at PetSmart. We loved them! Being in the store environment was great for her training because it helped her learn to ignore distractions. It is important to find an instructor that is a good match for you.
We are now participating in a local kennel clubs training classes, which are very different from the methods we learned at PS. It is much more structured and "traditional" in philosophy. So, I would say it depends on what you want to get from your training. If you want a dog that will be a good pet (sits, stays, comes when called) and companion and some added socialization, PS is a great choice. If you want more obedience type training (heeling, targeting, etc), talk to a local kennel club about their training style. I've enjoyed getting the perspective of both.
Bella and I just enjoy going to class - it has been a great source of bonding for us. I'm sure you will love it too!!