If you're trying to figure out the best way to train a dog, the many different dog training options can be confusing. Should you try to train your dog alone or using dog training books? Should you go to group training classes or try private training sessions? Or, perhaps you should send your dog to stay with a trainer. The following overview of boarding and training can help you decide if this is the right approach for you and your dog.
What is Boarding and Training?
Boarding and training is just what it sounds like. You board your dog at a training facility for a specified amount of time. While there, a dog trainer works with him to teach him basic obedience and address some common behavior problems. At the end of the specified amount of time, the dog's owner picks him up and spends some time with the trainer learning to handle the dog.
Where Does Boarding and Training Take Place?
Board-and-train dog training typically takes place at a dog training facility. Usually, the dog stays there for anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the program.
Before You Start
Boarding and training a dog is a lot like sending a child to summer camp. Once he's there, you won't be able to supervise him every day, so it's important to do your homework beforehand. There are several things you should do first before dropping your dog off to board and train.
- Visit the facility. Your dog will be spending up to several weeks at the training facility. Make sure you get to see the areas where he'll sleep, play, and spend time training.
- Meet the dog trainer. Spend time talking to the dog trainer, and observe her in action if possible. This will give you an idea of the trainer's methods, as well as what you can expect by the end of the program.
- Make sure you are committed to being a part of the process. Even though you're leaving your dog to be trained without you, you are still going to play an important role in the process. You need to make a commitment to working with the trainer to learn to handle your dog and practice what he's learned. Without this commitment on your part, everything he learns while he's away will be out the window once you get him home.
- Make sure the trainer offers some sort of follow up that allows you to get in touch with questions or concerns after you bring your dog home.
- Make sure the board-and-train facility is licensed and bonded.
Pros of Boarding and Training
There are several benefits to boarding and training, including:
- With a reputable training facility, the dog gets lots of training, exercise, and mental stimulation, creating the perfect environment to produce a well-trained dog.
- Training is flexible. Since you're boarding the dog, there's no big time commitment on your part which allows it to fit into most people's schedule.
- Provides clear and consistent rules for the dog which the dog owner (if he is committed to the program) can put in place once the dog is back home.
Cons of Boarding and Training
There are a number of drawbacks to boarding and training, including:
- It can be expensive.
- Dog owners fail to realize they need to play a part in training. This is one of the biggest problems with this type of training. After several weeks with the trainer, the dog behaves perfectly. But when you get him home, if you don't follow along with the training as set forth by the trainer, you will not be able to elicit the same good behavior from your dog.
- There are a number of dishonest dog trainers who offer this service. If you don't do your homework beforehand to find the right place, your dog can end up spending several weeks languishing in a kennel, only to be pulled out in the last few days to work on training.
Make sure you consider many options when it comes to training your dog. Talk to your veterinarian and other dog owners to get various options. Do plenty of research first so you can make an informed decision.
Edited by Jenna Stregowski, RVT