Week One | Our PetSmart Trainer Taught Us One Perfect Trick

PetSmart has been very generous with our littermate puppies – toys, clothing, and now a 6 week puppy training course (valued at $109), so we only had to pay for one instead of two.  My boyfriend’s first reaction was that we didn’t need training, but that’s what he said with Rodrigo and Sydney too so I wasn’t surprised.  He was wrong the first time we had littermates and we learned a lot about raising puppies from our trainer.

But couldn’t we just take what we’ve learned with four dogs and apply it all to our new littermates?

No!

Thankfully, my amazing Facebook followers gave me the response that I needed to change his mind.

“Puppy training is about dog training and socialization with other puppies.  PetSmart is giving us an opportunity to give our puppies a great experience in a safe environment.” ~ Kimberly, Dog Mom

How could he argue with that one?

He couldn’t.

PetSmart Puppy Training Class

Our trainer, Brittany, brings her dog to help us!

We purchased puppy leashes and harnesses from PetSmart for the littermates and the folks at Zuke’s were kind enough to send us a load of Zuke’s Mini Naturals Dog Treats so we were ready to go.

We arrived a couple minutes late to our first training class thanks to not one, but TWO trains that held up traffic.  But when we got there we got right to it.

There were three dogs total in the class; Scout, Zoey and an adorable German Shepherd puppy named Hannah.  In our first training class, we listened to a lot, practiced “Sit” and “Look” with our brand new clickers (we each got one) and our Zuke’s Mini Dog Treats.

About our PetSmart trainer…

Brittany is pretty cool and very high energy and our puppies adore her and respond well to her.  She knows a lot about dogs – behavior and training.  And has made herself available for my obsessive dog mom questions, like “do we need to correct our adult dogs when they correct the puppies?”

The answer: Only if the adult dogs are correcting due to resource guarding – guarding food, toys, or the humans.  Keep reading to learn how we were able to correct their corrections.

Brittany brings her dog Posi (who she got for free off of Craigslist) to the training classes to help us with the class.  Her dog taught us what a correct “correction” looks like, she showed us what a dog could do – I was astounded by the “bow,” and she gave our puppies an adult dog to interact with – Zoey barked a little, but kept her distance.  “That’s not Rodrigo.”

PetSmart Puppy Training Class with Zuke's Minis Dog Training Treats

Scout checking out J’s hands – you have treats, don’t you?

What we learned in week one…

A sound – “Tsch” – and a touch.  It’s a magical “trick” that works with all of our dogs.

  • When the puppies are barking obnoxiously for our attention – “tsch” and touch.
  • When Sydney is growling, because she’s resource guarding me – “tsch” and touch.
  • When Rodrigo is in the process of ripping apart a plus toy – “tsch” and touch.

There are so many ways we can use this new “trick” and it works.  It doesn’t hurt the dogs, it doesn’t scare the dogs, but it gets it across that we’re not pleased with a behavior and it stops them.  And it works best when there is calmness and confidence behind it.  So I’m been forced to step up and be a true leader to our dogs and it’s not as hard as I thought and they seem to be more relaxed now that they know that “I got this!”

When they start a new, pleasant behavior, we give them tons of rewards and praise.  For example…

When Scout is barking to be lifted up onto the sofa – I make the sound (or sometimes I say “no” or “nope”) and touch his shoulder or back – and Scout stops barking and then either stands there nicely or sits and that is when he’s lifted onto the sofa.

The more we repeat this, the better our dogs are behaving.  Rodrigo hasn’t torn apart a toy in nearly a week.  Sydney is sleeping with Zoey and Scout, and the puppies are learning which behavior is preferred in our family.

All that from our first puppy training class as PetSmart!

PetSmart Puppy Training Class

Scout and Zoey learning to hold a sit.

By the time you read this, we should be two to three classes in.  But as I’m typing this, I’m happy to say that Scout and Zoey have a good sit (they sit at meal times automatically) and they’ve learned “shake” (link is to a video) and “hi five.”

Yep, we have the smartest puppies EVER!!!

6 Comments

  1. Yes, that’s exactly what I do with my cats when they’re doing something I don’t want them to! I use the “tsch” sound followed by a gentle touch. With Ace, I use more of a “hey!” This works so well. I definitely do need to focus more on praising them for good behavior, though.

    I’m so glad you’re taking the puppies to training classes. They will get so much out of it, and I bet they are zonked out after they get home. Always an added benefit :)
    Lindsay recently published..Free dog and cat adoptions attract good homesMy Profile
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  2. I started using the same noise & touch after I saw Cesar Milan use it. It works very well for our dogs, and like you said it doesn’t hurt them and they now know that noise means business. Interesting to hear what she had to say about the older dogs corrections. So, now you really have to step up and be the “Pack Leader”. BTW.. I love that she got her dog free off Craigs List! She saved a dog and it has a happy ending. (better than some of the stories we’ve heard)
    Yay Brittany!

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    • I know, right? What’s amazing is that her dog is so well behaved, so smart, knows so many tricks and he was FREE. Now I want to go and get a bunch of dogs off CL, but J says “NO” so I keep sending links to my rescue friends.

      Our house is really a lot more peaceful. We still see some resource guarding, but not a lot. It’s been tough balancing time with the dogs. Rodrigo and Sydney are used to having us to themselves so we have to make sure they still get their own time so walks with Sydney and jogs with Rodrigo have really helped.
      Kimberly recently published..A Dog Can Dissolve a Bad Mood in Seconds #RecipeForMomentsMy Profile
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  3. Great article. Thanks for sharing this information. I do believe that one of the important keys to a successful Puppy Training is making yourself the pack leader. Establish first your role as a leader and everything will be easy. Best of luck! :)

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