Are They a Real Solution to Your Training Problems?
- Have you been having a difficult time trying to train your dog?
- Do you have a misbehaving little puppy or adult dog that is constantly peeing all over your home?
- Do you have an older dog who jumps on you and everyone who walks through your door?
- Does your dog eat your shoes when you’re at work or bark all day aggravating your neighbors?
There’s probably no doubt in most people’s minds they could really use some help professional dog training offers. So many are wondering if a board and train program the right solution for their needs?
What is Board and Train for Dogs?
The easiest way to think of Canine Board and train facilities is probably like a boot camps for dogs. Dog owners bring their dogs into someone’s care, usually for a two to four week period. When they do this, people are promised or basically guaranteed they will have a “new” well-behaved dog at the end of the training. When a dog is staying at a Board and Train program or facility, ideally that dog will be working daily with at least one trainer to remove bad behaviors and retrain the pup for better obedience. This should also eliminate deeper rooted, problematic behaviors such as fear or aggression.
So let’s learn more about Board and Train and why it might not be all it’s hyped up to be for everyone.
Board and Train Isn’t Always a Fast Easy Transformation
Board and Train sounds like a fast and wonderfully easy solution for a transformed dog to show up at your home for many people. At first glance it seems to require no commitment from the owner. Someone else is doing all the work, and the dog owner reaps the rewards. In reality, it doesn’t work quite that way. People should understand they will need to do some reinforcement work when bringing their dog home. Many programs also last for a month, which may be warranted but may be too much for some families. At Trifecta Kennels you can choose a Board and Train timeframe that suits your needs to a tee, any where from a few days to a month. And discounts are available for longer stays.
So let’s explore why a Board and Train might not be right for every dog. In the first place, dogs don’t always generally associate things such as training well with other things. What that means is, when dogs learn a behavior, they tend to learn it very specifically and associate it with certain things or environments. If you teach your dog to lie down in your family room, they may think “lie down” just means lie down in the living room. They may not think to lie down in other places else for that command. So people may need to teach their dog to associate learned command behavior to other environments.
So, if your dog learns a new skill at the Board and Train facility, they won’t necessarily understand the same rules apply in your home. Another example would be if your dog loves to dash to the door, and the Board and Train teaches your dog to wait at doorways, your dog may need some reinforcement at home. You can’t just be 100% sure your dog will now automatically wait at your front door. The environment changes, so your dog’s behavior might change as well. You may need to reinforce the training to ensure it carries over.
For many people who’s dog lives in their house with them rather than in an outside kennel, they should be looking for a Board and Train facility that does some training in a home like environment. Many facilities including ours, keep their dogs in safe, enclosed kennels for sleeping, but we train the dogs in rooms that resemble home environments as well as outside as well for different aspects of behavior modification. At Trifecta Kennels we do these necessary things for ideal results.
Alongside helping your dog generalize behaviors and better associate them with the different environments they’ll encounter, it’s almost certainly ideal that you continue parts of the training process at home to ensure these newly learned behaviors stick. For example, if your dog was taught to sit and raise a paw at the Board and Train program, but you never affirm or reward your dog when sitting and raising a paw at home or on a walk, it’s probably no going to be too long before your dog stops sitting and raising a paw for you after the Board and Train has ended. In order to keep your dog’s new good behavior(s) around for the long term, you should reinforce them with praise, treats, toys, games, fun, etc. Think of training is a long term endeavor.
Another important thing for many people to consider is you may need to change your lifestyle after Board and Train. This is especially true if your behavior was contributing to your dog’s problems in the first place. Many things you do around your dog really matter. For instance, if you leave food out on the table, you’re probably tempting your dog and making it easy for him/her to fall back into bad behavior. Even if they’ve learned to leave the food alone at Board and Train, continuing to leave temptations around is basically retraining your dog to regress and go back to old, bad habits you were trying to eradicate in the first place.
Finally, the key to continued good canine behavior is building a solid, loving relationship with your dog. A dog should find joy in listening to it’s owner and have an healthy interest in being obedient and well behaved. How would you feel if your dog listens to the Board and Train staff, but they don’t listen to you after all that effort. That means you need training too! It’s not going to bring you any comfort knowing your dog is obedient to everyone but you after going through the program.
A good Board and Train program like Trifecta’s will teach you the commands, hand signals, and behaviors they taught your dog in addition to the best techniques to continue working with your pet at home into the future. You need to put those skills into your life and continue to make your dog understand that you are worthy of their attention. After all, you adopted them and take responsibility for their well being. Another positive benefit of continuing to build on good behaviors is the time you spend engaged with your dog in healthy training moments is it increases your bond. It can really do wonders to build your dog’s love and trust in you.
Dangers of Lesser Board and Train Programs
At Trifecta Kennels, our staff truly love dogs and because of this, we provide safe training, grounds, and facilities. That doesn’t mean other Board and Train programs are healthy and safe. There have far too many cases of animal abuse documented at different places, and there have even been deaths reported at some Board and Train facilities.
Many dog trainers associated with Board and Train programs around the country use harsh methods. These can be things like shock collars and other aversives. When trainers use bad techniques, they can bring unhealthy and undesirable consequences for your dog. These can range from stress, to aggressiveness, to physical harm and more. Reliance on aversive dog training techniques may happen frequently because a program only has a short time available to get quick results, or they may not know proper healthy techniques. Some trainers only work to suppress bad behavior with punishment rather than building healthy behavior through tried and true training techniques. Consider that you won’t be around most of the time to see how your dog is being trained, so you really should trust the Board and Train facility. They should be well educated on how to put your dog’s health and welfare above any canine good citizen guarantees they promise for your dog.
How to Assess a Dog Board and Train Facility
The importance of finding a safe and positive Board and Train facility is extremely important. You have to search and take some time to perform due diligence. Here are some tips for assessing the suitability of a Board and Train facility if you are not located in the Lehigh Valley or the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
- Find out what methods and equipment dog trainers use in addition to the behaviors they will be teaching your dog. If possible, you should get them in writing.
- Inspect the kennel or facility where your dog will live while staying at the Board and Train. Is it in the trainer’s home setting or in a kennel setting?
- Try to take note of other dogs currently in the program or at least boarding at the facility. Do the dogs seem happy and relaxed? Do they respond positively to the trainer? Conversely, look for signs of resentment and fear.
- Find out the policy on visitation privileges, insist on them, and take advantage of visits to your dog.
- Ask for Board and Train references from previous clients and try to speak with them.
- Don’t necessarily trust any trainer or company that guarantees results. Many do have high success rates, but remember dogs are individual creatures and learn at their own pace.
Other Dog Training Alternatives to Board and Train
If your dog does not need Board and Train and they don’t have issues around other dogs or people, standard dog training classes near the Lehigh Valley and Poconos such as those offered at Trifecta Kennels for decades now, can be a fabulous alternative. They provide fun, behavior training, opportunity for socialization, distraction training, even agility training, and they can help your dog generalize behaviors and importantly transfer them to other locations. Training will provide you with an expert instructor who will help build your own dog training skills. This serves to reinforce what your dog has learned in other important places you’ll be visiting with them. If you feel 1 on 1 support is needed as well, private training can also be a great alternative. Some trainers may even be available to come to your home if your dog’s issues need addressing in their normal everyday environment. For problem behaviors, our experienced trainers can help, or you can enlist the help of a veterinary or animal behaviorist.
Remember, dogs are not inanimate things like cars or trucks. You can’t fix problems with a single trip to the mechanic. Whether you use use group training classes, private training, or Board and Train to help fulfill your needs, you’ll need to put in time and effort. Your beloved pup is a living, thinking, and feeling being, so teaching them means you can’t pass the work onto somebody else. Training your dog should last for their lifetime and is part of meeting their physical and mental needs.
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