PetSmart is proud to recognize Pet Training Awareness Month! 420K pets are trained every year by our reputable trainers, and we're proud to be the place where passionate and talented people like Patricia can positively impact the lives of pets. Read her story and why pet training is a valuable investment for both you and your pet below.
Meet Sky, my smart, funny, irrepressible Russell Terrier. Due to a near tragedy in our distant past, I can’t help but feel my little friend, and I have lived years on borrowed time. That event is the primary reason I became a dog trainer with PetSmart.
I never thought much about training when Sky first came home with us, just a three-pound puppy with all the speed and bounce of a cottontail rabbit. To be honest, as with so many new dog owners, I never really thought much about the tough questions of dog ownership at all.
But we took the plunge. The breeder handed over her contract, our chosen puppy, and made recommendations for training, though months went by before I got around to enrolling Sky. Eventually, attending those classes fell by the wayside as things do when you’ve got work and kids and a house to attend to, not to mention other bills to pay.
My entire perspective on the importance of training shifted one warm spring morning of 2007. My daughter, Emma, and I were out walking. We'd just passed an outdoor café when a large group of dog walkers turned the corner from one of the side streets. As they approached, Sky panicked. She dove beneath a table, her leash tangled in the chair legs, and she slipped backward, right out of her harness. Her next move was to launch headfirst into traffic.
At that moment, I could only do what we’d been trained to do, despite my sporadic attention to homework, cues, and repetitions.
“DOWN!” I shouted, pointing to the sidewalk. It was an instinctual response, more like muscle memory than anything else, but miraculously… down she went. Sky responded in the only way she knew, what she’d been trained to do in our training classes, dropping right into a down, right there on the edge of the curb. Right on the very edge of oblivion—just long enough for my daughter to get her harness back on. Ironically, several other dogs also dropped into a down, which I can laugh about now but maybe couldn’t fully appreciate at the time.
It was then that I realized just how important her training at PetSmart had been, and how every penny spent on those classes was an investment in our years together. Not long after that fateful morning, I signed her up for another training package, and I was a lot more diligent about homework.
Do you think you will always be in full control just because your dog is on a leash? Dogs can pull a leash from your hand. Dogs can slip out of a harness in seconds. Invest in some training with your new pup because one day, it could save their life.
Check out some of PetSmart's virtual pet training classes here.
Learn more about Pet Training careers at PetSmart here.