Board and train programs can be an excellent option for busy pet owners who don’t have the time to train their dogs themselves or those who have had unsuccessful attempts at doing so. However, the success of your dog’s train-cation depends significantly on the quality of the trainer and program you’ve chosen, your commitment to continuing the training commands when your dog returns home, and your expectations.
What is board and training?
Unlike traditional dog training programs that require multiple classes with the trainer, pet owner, and dog, a board and train program is an intensive training course where your dog temporarily lives with the trainer for intense daily training and behavior correction. Because of the daily consistency and attention (and the expert knowledge of your trainer), these programs usually produce better results more quickly.
However, it is important to note that every dog responds differently to training and moves at its own speed. Dog trainers should explain the realities of what they can and cannot do, and the pet owners should enter the program with realistic expectations.
Setting realistic expectations for board and training
Board and training programs can sound like the perfect solution to having an instantly well-behaved dog. However, like any training program, it is not a simple, quick fix. Dog owners must realize everything that is involved in the training program before sending their pup to boarding school.
If you’re thinking about sending your dog to board and training, remember these points:
Every dog is different
Every dog responds differently to training and moves at its own speed. Dog trainers should explain the realities of what they can and cannot do, and the pet owners should enter the program with realistic expectations.
You should see results
No matter how difficult your pup is, you should still see improvement after the program. Good dog trainers have a list of tricks and should be able to adjust accordingly to your dog’s learning style. If you are already aware of specific behavioral issues, you should ask your trainer if they are experienced with those issues and some different techniques they use to correct it.
You will still need to do work
Board and training programs don’t relieve you from all of the work of training your dog. For continued success, it is essential that pet owners continue to use the commands learned in the training program. Your trainer should have a briefing with you before your dog returns home to go over commands and what you’ll need to do when certain behaviors are encountered.
Programs can be pricey
These programs combine boarding and training into one intensive stay—so it is reasonable to expect a price tag that reflects that. If you find an offer that seems too good to be true, you should question the quality of the training, how much time will be dedicated to your dog, and whether your dog will spend the majority of its stay locked in a kennel.
You will need to conduct your research
Not all training programs are good choices, which means you will need to review and research your options properly before settling on one. Some training programs have been known to deploy aggressive techniques to force behavior changes, which can be harmful and come at the cost of your dog’s well-being. Read reviews and ask questions about the training techniques and schedule. And while it is normal for trainers to prohibit visits during the program (for fear of regression), you may be able to ask for photo or video check-ins.
It can be worth it
With the right fit, a trip to boarding school can do wonders for your new puppy, rambunctious rescue, or stubborn old dog. Pet owners who have seemed to fail at the self-training should certainly look into these programs and see if board and training is right for their pup.
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