• Report: #22122
Complaint Review:

Animal Behavior Training & Associates Aka ABTA Aka Animal Behavior College

  • Submitted: Tue, June 04, 2002
  • Updated: Wed, October 05, 2011

  • Reported By:Sherman Oaks CA
Animal Behavior Training & Associates Aka ABTA Aka Animal Behavior College
9018 Balboa Blvd #591 Northridge, California U.S.A.

Animal Behavior Training & Associates aka ABTA aka Animal Behavior College (Petco Affiliate) Misrepresented Course; Misled; No Contact with School or Instructors Throughout; Oral Promises and Agreements NOT KEPT; GET IT IN WRITING!! Northridge California *UPDATE ..COMPANY RESOLVED THIS ISSUE TO MY SATISFACTION AS SOON AS COMPANY PRESIDENT BECAME AWARE

*Consumer Comment: ABC, not for anyone with an IQ above 100

*Consumer Comment: ABC has been a HUGE disappointment!

*Consumer Comment: Better Results

*Consumer Comment: Positive Experience with ABTA

*0: Animal Behavior Training & Associates Resolves Complaint Issue

*UPDATE Employee: Unfair report by student of ABTA

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This has been a difficult and expensive lesson for me. I found this company through Petco.

I contacted ABTA with the specific goal of taking a course that would be helpful to me in the volunteer dog rescue work that I do and have done for years. I made it clear I have lots of experience with dogs and wanted specifically work at training dogs with the problems that abandoned and mistreated dogs usually have. I was told by the sales person I spoke to several times before signing on and by Jori Stahl (the student coordinator type person) that this would be the perfect course for me. I read about the team of involved trainers on the website and was convinced they were experienced people and exactly the type of teachers I wanted to learn from.

PLEASE NOTE that except for leaving messages for Jori Stahl (which were usually not returned) I had no contact at all with any instructors until I observed a 7 week Petco group class (of about 15 dogs and their owners) for one hour a week for seven weeks. There was no special training for me during these sessions and I would have learned more taking my own dogs to an obedience class (and paid a huge amount of money LESS than what this cost me).

I did speak to Jori Stahl again via an email exchange when I contacted ABTA about my dissatisfaction. At that time, she offered me a refund of about $400 based on charging me roughly $300 for each section of the course I had completed (I completed all but the final two 7 week observation sections which I'd learned were useless for me). I never did receive that refund. This was in February 2002.

I contacted the Better Business Bureau Online and filed a complaint. Jori Stahl called me about my report and said she was surprised I had not received my refund. We had a long conversation about my problems with the course and she offered a refund of approximately $975 (the $400 she said she thought I had received and another approximately $500). She also offered to arrange for me to work with private trainers handling difficult dogs in an effort to provide me with what I wanted to get out of the course to begin with.

She said she would call me back in three days. I told her I would wait for her call. She never called. Instead, I got a letter from her saying ABTA would refund me $432.21 and nothing more. This is very typical of my experience with this company. The course was oversold and misrepresented orally before I signed up and Jori again came to me by phone with an offer that would later be ignored in writing.

It seems I will not get any satisfaction from ABTA and I want to warn others about making the same expensive mistake that I made.

Contrary to what you will see on the website and hear from the sales persons, it's a notebook (typed double spaced and without any photos) containing information you could find in any book on dog training or you already know if you have any experience with dogs, a video which shows how to conduct an orientation of the 7 week Petco obedience course (and sell Petco products) and two cassettes which are some guy reading verbatim the material covered in one of the sections of the notebook. My tests were returned weeks after I'd completed them and with NO COMMENT by any instructor. I read the article, took open book tests and mailed them in. When I called to express my concerns about the program, my calls were ignored. I didn't get to speak to anyone until it was time to get the time and location of the Petco course I would observe.

I'm very sorry I was taken in by this company. Beware!

Sherman Oaks, California

STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/04/2002 06:02 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/animal-behavior-training-associates-aka-abta-aka-animal-behavior-college/northridge-california-91325/animal-behavior-training-associates-aka-abta-aka-animal-behavior-college-petco-affiliat-22122. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

ABC, not for anyone with an IQ above 100

AUTHOR: NotQuiteRight - ()

For me it could just be my attitude, the staff is extremely condescending. The material for the class is basic , I mean very basic. We all know a dog will work for treats. It does not teach you anything that paying 100 at petco, pet-smart etc wont get you. This is high profit for these people and if you are not meeting their deadlines they harass you. If your schedule changes then they are completely unsupportive. They are all in California so if you are on the east coast do not expect any of them to understand traffic of time difference. I am terminating the program as we speak because the trainers they offered me to work with are people I would never take my dog to train with. However I will say that I assume the service and experience you have with ABC likely depends on the location you live in. The other student in my class had the same coordinator and program manager as me. 

Lastly, if you complain to your "ABC" mentor about your coordinator it is considered inappropriate. I said that the coordinator was awful and I hated her and all of my interaction with her. This was spoken to the "Trainer and other Student" prior to class. The instructor said nothing other then apologize for the coordinator. 

From the last email I got before deciding to drop the class. 

"She's informed me that you conducted yourself unprofessionally in the first class, making derogatory comments about Animal Behavior College and your previous externship coordinator.  This was even commented upon by another member in the class.  This violates the verbal agreement you made with ABC that 'Inappropriate, disruptive, or profane behavior is not allowed,' and can be grounds for dismissal from the program." 

The teacher didn't have a problem until I missed the next class due to work, and I couldn't make the following due to work as well. I let her know in advance that I wouldn't be able to make the next two classes and offered to come to a different time slot for those weeks. Shortly after I received this exaggerated email.

However I was glad to end the class as the teaching facility was moldy and poorly ventilated. As well the trainer did not explain what the externship would consist of or even let me know what she expected from me in the class. It is my belief that they just pay the training class fee that you would if you wanted to train your dog only all you do is observe the class for at least the first 5 hours. 

The class is over priced. Not a real education and thats why people will defend it. The tests are SUPER easy, and you can cheat if you want to. People will always like this school there is little to no work required other then patience and the ability to deal with uncaring staff. 
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#2 Consumer Comment

ABC has been a HUGE disappointment!

AUTHOR: Igallwas - (United States of America)

I am currently in the ABC program and it is NOT what it was made out to be.  My experience is very close to what the original auther on this report wrote.  The program is nothing as it was described and it was sold as a program you could graduate (if you put in the time) in less then a year.  I'm in the mentorship phase and it's bad enough they sent me to a place I wouldn't EVER take my dog, but they can't even get a class together for me to continue on completing my requirements/training.  My mentor isn't even teaching the class, but a younger girl who has less experience then I do is.  It's a real shame and I can't tell you how dissappointing the material is, the support from the school is (I live in the Chicago area) and mentoring is...  I have nothing but regrets and would encourage ANYONE to keep looking at different schools!  So bummed...I really was looking forward to this program...what a let down.  I feel helpless because my counselor just gives me attitude and keeps blaming everything on the economy...meanwhile there are 3 places in my area looking for trainers to teach classes! 
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#3 Consumer Comment

Better Results

AUTHOR: Paula - (U.S.A.)

I am a recent graduate of ABC. My experience was very possitive. I had very quick responses to all of my questions. I was able to contact my program manager either by phone or e-mail. Infact, Jori Stahl was my program manager, and she sent me hand written critiques on the few mistakes I made. I would recomend ABTA to anyone interested in being a dog trainer.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Positive Experience with ABTA

AUTHOR: Donna - (U.S.A.)

I am a student in ABTA's Animal Behavioral College program, and have had a generally good experience with them. Other than some slow response time, interactions have been positive, with favorable outcomes.

As promised, the company provided written and recorded materials for self-study. Yes, the information was generally available in other places, but ABC condensed it into one format that allowed even someone with animal experience, such as myself, a central resource. No one should rely upon any one source anyway, and I have an extensive library of my own, as any potential dog trainer should.

ABTA's promise to match me with a qualified trainer for an apprenticeship has been fulfilled. I am learning more than I ever imagined, and am more than satisfied with the mentoring and feedback that the assigned trainer provides in areas relating to practical application of the concepts. For me, this has been the most valuable part of the program, as it's an opportunity that would have been difficult to arrange on my own.

In general, I have found that ABTA has met all of its obligations and promises to date. The organization has provided a good foundation from which I can grow and create my own career in the industry.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the company to anyone who is serious and patient about learning the basics of the dog training business.
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#5 0

Animal Behavior Training & Associates Resolves Complaint Issue

AUTHOR: - ()

My complaint against Animal Behavior and Training Associates, Inc. aka ABTA, Inc. aka Animal Behavior College was taken care of to my complete satisfaction by the company's President. As soon as Mr. Appelbaum became personally involved, the matter was settled and closed with a high level of professional courtesy and cooperation.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Unfair report by student of ABTA

AUTHOR: Chris Snedeker - (U.S.A.)

Firstly, I had a completely different experience with this company. I am now currently employed as a trainer and had a senior trainer walk me through the entire process.

I graduated in the top ten students in the United States and received good work and praise comments on my test results.

I received a free membership to the National Association of Pet Dog Trainers and had no issues with returned phone calls or emails.

I found a lot of the material was in fact what I already knew, but a lot of it wasn't. It touched base on behavior modification, not just obedience training. This was worth all the money I paid!

Secondly, yes the tapes were verbatum, but while I drove to and from work each day I could listen to these tapes instead of always referring back to the book, this really helped since I was already working a full time job.

Lastly, this company and everyone in it have always made me feel like a valuable asset. I too have experience in dog/horse training, but gained invaluable knowledge from the senior trainers I now work with and the support staff at ABTA.

Maybe the attitude of the person making the complaint had something to do with her perception of ABTA?
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