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Is Petco or Petsmart Better for Dog Training?

Petco or Petsmart

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dog training newbie

Training needs to begin soon after you bring your new puppy or dog home, but many owners, especially first-time puppy owners, should consider pet training classes with a professional dog trainer from the start. 

There are many places to find dog training classes, from large pet store chains to private trainers to even your local Humane Society. Most dog training programs now use the positive reinforcement method, as research has proven this to be the most effective

Next, you’ll want to consider your budget (both time and money), the age of your dog (determines which training classes are available to him/her), and the trainer’s certification, if any.  To help you choose the best training classes for you and your dog, we’ve compiled a comparison between group dog training classes at retail stores Petco and Petsmart.

Table of Contents

Petco Dog Training

Does Petco Train Puppies? Do They Train Older Dogs?

Petco is a well-known pet-focused retail store that offers a few basic obedience training classes for dogs ranging from puppies to older dogs, including:

  • 2 levels of puppy training classes
  • 2 levels of adult obedience classes
  • 1 separation anxiety course
Dog Training Newbie Puppy

Petco Group Training Classes Cost How Much?

The price of each Petco dog training class is slightly higher than a single Petsmart class (as of October 2022). However, if you’re looking for several training classes anyway, you might consider buying a Puppy / Adult Dog Essentials ($249) or Puppy / Adult Dog Complete Package ($379) to save about $50.

As of October 2022, Petco Puppy Level 1 and 2 are each $149, Adult Level 1 and 2 are each $149, and the Separation Anxiety Course is $99.

What Do Petco Training Classes Teach?

Petco’s puppy training classes focus on typical puppy behavior problems and how to handle them, as well as the importance of socialization and routine. The adult classes are more obedience-focused, but also include tips on handling common behavior issues and even fun games to help entertain your dog!

How Long Are Petco Training Classes?

The puppy training and adult training classes are 6 weeks long. In addition, Petco offers a 4-week course on separation anxiety for dogs.

How Old is Your Dog? Petco Training Classes by Age

The beginner puppy class, Puppy 1, is for puppies between the ages of 2-4 months old. The next level, Puppy 2, is for puppies between the ages of 4-6 months. The adult training classes and Petco separation anxiety course are for puppies over 6 months old. This is important to remember when choosing the ideal course for your dog, as the behaviors worked through in each training class will be specific to the dog’s age. 

Your dog's age

Are Petco Trainers Certified?

Petco trainers are AKC-certified and Canine Good Citizen evaluators. Petco offers the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test in their puppy course bundles. In the adult bundles, they offer the AKC Canine Good Citizen class and test.

Petsmart Dog Training

How Long Are Petsmart Group Training Classes?

Petsmart is another well-known pet retail store offering a variety of dog training programs. They offer one-time, 1 hour-long group workshops up to 6-week group classes. They even offer specialty long-term courses on various topics you may want or need to pursue with your dog!

Petsmart Group Training Classes Cost How Much?

Petsmart currently offers the least expensive group classes in retail stores, ranging from approximately $20-25 for a 1 hour group class to $139 for a 6-week training course.

Which Petsmart Classes Are For Puppies?

There is only one 6-week puppy obedience course offered at Petsmart, but after completion, puppies can continue to the adult dog training classes.
Petsmart Puppy Training classes are for puppies between 10 weeks and 5 months old, focusing on basic obedience skills, as well as socialization and handling common puppy behaviors. There are also 1-hour group classes like Potty Training and StartSmartTM Training Workshops where you can learn about potty training, crate training, socialization and vet / groomer visit tips.

What Do Petsmart Group Dog Training Classes Teach?

The puppy course is similar to Petsmart’s beginner adult training class for dogs over 5 months old, but the adult beginner course focuses more on impulse control and other behaviors an older, untrained dog may have developed. After completing one of these 6-week beginner courses, owners can move on to intermediate classes, then advanced training courses. These courses focus on increasing the speed and reliability of the learned behaviors and commands.

What Additional Group Training Classes Does Petsmart Offer?

Petsmart also offers focused group classes to meet a variety of needs. The only focused course without a prerequisite is the Stress LessTM Training to help dogs with separation anxiety and other anxious behaviors. Petsmart’s Stress LessTM Training is also the only 3-week long training–the rest of the focused training programs are 6 weeks long.

 

Dog Trick Training

Dogs who have completed Puppy or Beginner training can move on to Trick Training to continue building a bond between humans and their dogs. Once they have completed the Intermediate training class, dogs can complete Brain GamesTM Training, a 6-week program teaching humans various games to play with their dogs that increases mental stimulation and helps with hyperactive and bored dogs. Finally, dogs who have completed Advanced training can continue with Therapy Dog training and learn the skills necessary to complete Therapy Dog Evaluation.

To learn more about each Petsmart class (and current pricing), check out Which Training Class is Right for My Dog?

So, Which is Better for Group Classes? Petco or Petsmart?

The ideal dog training classes for your pup will ultimately depend on the dog’s needs. Are they an adult dog needing to work on obedience? Have they recently developed separation anxiety from a change in schedule or routine? Did you just get a new puppy who needs work on socialization and the basics? Considering these questions, as well as your budget, how much time you can realistically dedicate to training (as well as the cost if you DON’T train), and desired trainer certifications, will determine the best group dog training classes for you and your favorite pet.

Petco and Petsmart Dog Training Classes Comparison

Dog Training ClassCostPetco or Petsmart?Dog AgeTime CommitmentRequired ClassesWhat You Will Learn
Puppy Level 1$149Petco2-4 months6 weeksNoneTypical puppy behavior problems and how to handle them, the importance of socialization and routine
Puppy Level 2$149Petco2-4 months6 weeksPuppy Level 1More typical puppy behavior problems and how to handle them, the importance of socialization and routine
Adult Level 1$149Petco6 months and older6 weeksNoneMainly obedience, but also includes tips on handling common behavior issues and fun games to help entertain your dog
Adult Level 2$149Petco6 months and older6 weeksAdult Level 1More obedience, but also includes tips on handling common behavior issues and fun games to help entertain your dog
Separation Anxiety$99Petco6 months and older4 weeksNoneProactive solutions to address separation anxiety and teach your dog how to be home alone and relax. Your dog will learn how to:
– Relax when left alone
– Calm themselves when stressed
– Develop healthy routines
Puppy Essentials Package$249Petco2-4 months12 weeksNoneIncludes any 2 classes, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test
Puppy Complete Package$379Petco2-4 months18 weeksNoneIncludes Puppy Level 1, Puppy Level 2, and any 1 Adult class, 45 minute private session, and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test
Adult Essentials Package$249Petco6 months and older12 weeksNoneIncludes Adult Level 1 and choice between Adult Level 2 or AKC Canine Good Citizen Class, and Adult AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
Adult Complete Package$379Petco6 months and older18 weeksNoneIncludes Adult Level 1, Adult Level 2, AKC Canine Good Citizen Class, 45 minute private session, and AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
Puppy Beginner Training$139Petsmart10 weeks-5 months6 weeksNoneBasic obedience skills, as well as socialization and handling common puppy behaviors
Adult Beginner Training$139Petsmart5 months and up6 weeksNoneImpulse control and other behaviors an older, untrained dog may have developed
Potty Training Seminar$20PetsmartAll1 hourNonePotty training tips & techniques
StartSmartTM Training Workshop$25PetsmartAll1 hourNoneCrate training, potty training, socialization and vet / groomer visit tips
Stress LessTM Training (Separation Anxiety)$79Petsmart10 weeks and up3 weeksNoneWays to comfort your dog & get tips to help them feel more confident & secure
Trick Training$139PetsmartAll6 weeksPuppy or Adult Beginner ClassFun tricks that continue building a bond between humans and their dogs
Intermediate Training$139PetsmartAll6 weeksPuppy or Adult Beginner ClassReinforces and builds on foundational behaviors
Advanced Training$139PetsmartAll6 weeksIntermediate TrainingStrengthens behaviors to provide faster and more consistent responses and reliability
Brain GamesTM$139PetsmartAll6 weeksIntermediate TrainingTeaches humans various games to play with their dogs that increase mental stimulation and help with hyperactive and bored dogs

Petco vs PetSmart Beginner Group Dog Classes Comparison

Nikki
Nikki

Growing up with golden retrievers, several cats, a chameleon, and a couple birds, site founder and researcher Nikki learned at a young age the importance of effective pet training. Today, she enjoys researching dog training solutions to behavioral issues and working with dog training writers to bring the most useful tips to dog training "newbies".

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