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PetSmart Puppy Class Diplomas

So the puppies have graduated from puppy class and it was fun.  Besides the basics – sit, down, stay, come, loose leash walking – our puppies also learned shake, hi five, and wave.  By the end, Scout almost had a ‘roll over.’

I learned a few very valuable things from Brittany, our PetSmart dog trainer that have been beneficial with our puppies and dogs…

Talking Dog – we got a reminder that our dogs don’t speak (or understand) English.  So when we decided to train the dogs to spend more time on their dog beds than on the sofa, we understood that we needed to teach them a new command.

The dogs know “go to your blanket.”  This means go to the area of the sofa with a blanket.  So we decided to use “on to your bed” instead of “go to your bed” to avoid any confusion.  It’s working well so far, but the dogs are sleeping on the sofa and I’m surrounded by empty dog beds as I type this – we’re not there yet.

Scout in his Graduation Cap, PetSmart Puppy Class

Dogs and Energy – we were also reminded that dogs read our energy.  So when I come home frustrated from my day, when I’m swallowing my feelings to avoid conflict, and when I’m feeling down – our dogs pick up on all of this and it impacts how they react.  So I joined the gym so that I can work out my frustrations on my waste line and come home with a clear head to work on training.

Zoey in her Graduation Cap, PetSmart Puppy Class

Tsch + Touch – this easy little trick has been magical and I use it when the puppies are barking like crazy, when Rodrigo jumps up to the counter, when Sydney is resource guarding Me.  All it takes is a touch to get their attention (it’s soft and gentle and needs to be delivered right before or right at the behavior) and the sound Tsch has an amazing impact on showing our dog the behavior we want and don’t want.

The cool thing is that when my mother-in-law came by the house, I was able to get all 4 dogs to stop barking and settle down with a Tsch + Touch.  It’s magical!

Aversive Dog Training –  one thing our training didn’t teach us was aversive dog training.  As I understand it, this is training where our dogs will do what we say out of fear of the pain to come if they don’t; that’s just heart breaking.  I would never do this to our dogs.

I was recently told that the Tsch + Touch sound IS aversive dog training and after a lot of thought, I disagree.  I think what bucket our training lands in needs to be judged by our intent and our dog’s energy (fearful, happy).

When I spoke with the blogger of Boingy Dog about the Tsch + Touch, she shared that this what I was doing is called a “pet corrector,” which does fall in the aversive realm.  It’s great for puppies, but not great for sensitive dogs.

But she also helped me see that dog training isn’t always black and white. While I see the noise / touch as a way to redirect our dog’s focus; other’s see this as a negative.

When I think of aversive dog training, I think of techniques that cause a dog to fear their owner.  I found the below video of someone demonstrating the alpha roll over on her dog disturbing…


I was going to embed the video here, but I found it so sad that I just didn’t want it on my site, but if you’re interested, you can click over to YouTube to see what I mean and I’d love to read your thoughts on what you see.

Not once did our PetSmart trainer teach us to hurt, scare or bully our puppies.  Instead, we had fun and learned a lot of great techniques to help us live happily with two happy energies and she took the extra time to show us things that we could use with our adult dogs too.

I want to sign up our puppies for the next level.

What did you learn from your trainer?  And if you watched the video, what are your thoughts?

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