Originally Posted by Alex
I am actually an area trainer for PetSmart. I am responsible for running all of the new hires through the training program. It is far too short, and no where near involved enough, but it is what the company requires of me. I started training at PetSmart as a means to the end, and have stayed because I love what I do. I still plan on opening my own full service facility, but I want to be able to do it all (training, boarding, daycare, and grooming) and PetSmart is a great place to build up a great client base.
Now, not all trainers are created equal. I have seen many PetSmart trainers that have no place owning a dog, let alone training them, but I am proud to say that I do not have any of those in my district. I have been with the company for quite a few years now, and train privately on my own as well. PetSmart is actually a pretty good place for group classes, if you have the appropriate space, because of all of the distractions the store can provide. If you know how to handle your store, you can limit the distractions that come until you're ready for them. If a dog can heel off lead through a pet store, with loads of people, many other dogs, cats, hamsters, parakeets, screaming children, and thousands of very nice smelling (if you're a dog) items, then they can heel anywhere. It is also an amazing socialization opportunity if you're careful. Of course there will always be the amazingly intelligent people *sarcasm* that bring in aggressive dogs and allow them to terrorize half of the people in the building, but I have developed ways to handle them. I only wish other trainers for the company have done the same.
IMO it shouldn't matter where you train, but how you train. That is what should define if you are good at your job or not. I could pass on thousands of success stories from inside my PetSmart,and in turn, could pass on quite a few failures as well.
PetSmart as a whole could do a better job training our trainers to be actual dog trainers. But, I can not change that. You can. They don't listen to one Area Trainer. They listen to their customers. They listen to numbers. They are a corporation...they listen to dollars.
You want PetSmart to change, do something about it.