Training a dog can be a difficult process for any new owner. It requires a lot of time, energy, and patience. For a lot of people, dedicating hours to teaching a dog how to be obedient every day is simply not possible. Luckily, dog training and boarding facilities are available.
When you sign your pooch up for one of these programs, they'll live and learn at a separate facility for a short period of time. Depending on the particular program, it may be at the trainer's house or a kennel facility.
During this time, your dog will be taught the basics of being a good dog. It's a lot like summer camp for kids. You get to send your dog off for a few weeks while your canine companion is taken care of by a professional trainer. But is it a good option for you and your dog?
Types of Training Programs
There are a number of different types of training programs available. It can be difficult to distinguish which is more effective. Many trainers advertise the effectiveness of their methods and make bold claims on how their teachings have transformed dogs.
It's a good idea to take these claims with a grain of salt. You need to remember that all dogs are different. A method that worked for one dog may not be great for another.
Positive Reinforcement Training
This type of training is the most recommended because it's more humane to the dog. Trainers will reward good behavior to teach dogs what they should and shouldn't do. Any negative behavior that occurs will be ignored or redirected.
Trainers that employ these this technique often have years of experience under their belt and will know how to adapt their methods for your dog. Beyond the ethical reasons, studies have shown that positive reinforcement is much more effective than the alternative.
Negative reinforcement programs do exist. Some trainers claim that these methods can be used to teach your dog faster. While it may be effective to some extent, more scientific studies agree that positive reinforcement is better.
With negative reinforcement, trainers will use punishment and physical abuse to stop unwanted behavior. You should never put your dog through this. Not only is it morally questionable, but it can have a lasting effect on your pooch emotionally.
Basic training is ideal for new puppies or dogs that don't have a good grasp of basic commands. Throughout their stay, your trainer will teach your furry friend how to sit, stay, heel, and much more. These basic skills can be used once you bring your dog home. It'll teach them restraint and show them how to listen to you.
Additional techniques are also used to stop unwanted behavior. If your dog pulls their leash, climbs on furniture, or jumps on strangers, your trainer can work with them to put a stop to it.
Also Read: Dog Whistle Training Tips
This type of training is geared towards dogs that are experiencing issues in the home. This can be anything from aggression towards a certain stimulus or anxiety. The trainer will work closely with the dog to overcome the problem.
Typically, your dog will be exposed to the triggering stimulus slowly over the course of the training period. Numerous techniques will then be used to change the way your dog reacts.
Home vs. Kennel Training
Training and boarding can be done at the trainer's home or in a larger facility. Both options can be effective, but they both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. With home training, your dog will stay with the trainer and likely be surrounded by other dogs. They'll become a part of the pack and learn with the other canines.
Because it's in a home setting, many of the surroundings may seem familiar to your pooch. This can be a great thing because the trainer will be able to teach your pup how to behave inside a home. The downside of home training is that some dogs have a problem focusing with so many other dogs around to socialize with.
Kennel facilities usually house many dogs at one time. There's usually a large staff to take care of all the dogs. Rather than staying with others, dogs are usually kept separate. This will ensure that your dog gets individualized attention.
The main downside to being in a kennel is the lack of interaction. Dogs often stay in their kennel for most of the day. They're only let out to exercise and train.
Do I Need To Be There?
One of the biggest misconceptions about training and boarding programs is that the owner doesn't have to do a thing. Your pup's training will be useless if you don't know how to keep it up after you bring them home. Many programs require scheduled visits so that you can learn commands as well.
You'll learn various cues and how to reward your dog for a job well done. It's important to attend these meetings so that your dog will learn to follow commands when you give them. Canines are not great at generalizing things. They may associate their new behaviors with their trainer.
You have to be there periodically so that they know to continue the good behavior when they get home.
How To Find the Right Program
There are a lot of things to consider before you sign up for a program. There's a lot of great trainers out there that will work hard to instill positive behaviors in your dog. However, there are others that will use shady methods to get the job done. You need to do your research and find an option that works for you and your pup.
Talk to Trainers
Have a conversation with trainers that you're interested in. Take this opportunity to ask all the questions you want answers to. It's important that you learn more about their methods so that you can rest easy knowing that your dog is safe in their care.
One good way to see how the trainer will be with your dog is to watch them with another. You'll be able to learn more about their unique methods and have a better idea of what you can expect after the program is over.
Take a Look at the Facility
Your dog is going to be spending many weeks in the facility, so you'll want to make sure that it's safe and comfortable. Take a look at where they'll be sleeping, playing, and eating. It's important that you make sure that your dog is getting the attention they need.
Meet the staff and take a look at the other dogs around. If they're happy, your dog will likely enjoy their stay. Also, make sure that the facility is licensed and bonded. This extra measure can make all the difference if an accident occurs.
Consider Price and Length
These programs are not cheap by any means. Just a couple of weeks can cost over $500. Make sure that you get an estimate ahead of time so that you're not met with any financial surprises. Also, ask about the length of the program. Some trainers offer short 2-week sessions that are designed to brush up some skills while others offer full programs that last up to 6 weeks.
Be realistic about your expectations. If a trainer is offering a short 2-week program that promises to teach a puppy a range of new skills, it's almost always too good to be true.
Learn More About Training Requirements
Not every facility is going to accept every dog. Most have strict requirements that you must comply with. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's a good way to tell if a trainer is doing their due diligence.
Programs often require proof of vaccinations, feeding guidelines, and several pieces of equipment. A good trainer will also require you to supply their regular dog food and medications so that the transition to the new living arrangement is as easy for your pup as possible.
There's no guarantee that your dog is going to act perfectly when they get home. In fact, it's not uncommon for dogs to have a short period of uncertainty where they forget what they're supposed to be doing.
Look for a trainer that can provide you with some assistance after they get home. Many trainers will support you during the transitional period and may offer follow-up visits to reinforce any methods your dog is having trouble with.
Dog training and boarding is a great solution for owners that don't have time to train a dog on their own. With the right program, your dog will learn a lot and have fun in the process. Your companion will come back home with the skills they need to thrive.