Dog training and boarding is like a training boot camp for dogs. Dogs are placed in facilities that will care for them for weeks and, during their stay, they’ll get one-on-one training. This training can range from basic obedience to some facilities promising to eliminate any problem behaviors such as fear or aggression. If your dog has some persistent behavioral issues, seeking professional help is the way to go and you may be considering a boarding and training program. But is it the right fit for your dog? The short answer is: it depends, and it depends a lot on your objectives for training and what your dog’s personality is like.
Should you consider dog training and boarding?
Boarding and training sounds like the perfect solution for any dog owner that wants a well-behaved dog without having to go through the work of training. But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Even if you do choose to put your dog in a training and boarding facility, you still have to do some work. These programs aren’t a quick and magical fix. Dogs aren’t that great at generalizing what they learn. That means that, whatever commands and behaviors they learned during their stay, it doesn’t mean that they’ll do the same anywhere else. It’s part of the owner’s job to teach them what it means in other scenarios.
So if the trainer creates a set of rules for your dog to follow, your dog won’t necessarily understand that the same rules will apply in your home. It’s your job to carry on doing the trainer’s work. If you’re not willing to do this, then dog training and boarding is definitely not an option and will only be a waste of your money. If, on the other hand, you’re prepared to do the work, it’s time to see if this is a good option for your dog and what your ultimate goal is.
When is dog training and boarding a good option?
Although this isn’t true for every dog, some of them can do great in dog training and boarding facilities. To know whether or not your dog can be a good fit, take into consideration its personality and the way it interacts with other dogs and humans. Typically, a dog that is a good fit for this type of program is social and enjoys the company of other humans and dogs.
Dog training and boarding can be an excellent option for the following situations:
Besides everything mentioned above, one situation where dog training and boarding is a good option is when you’re planning to go on vacations that’ll require you to leave your dog in a boarding facility. That way you can choose to leave your dog in a program like this while you’re away.
When is dog training and boarding not a good option?
Dog training and boarding facilities aren’t always the best option, this is especially true for dogs that are reactive around other dogs or humans, shy and fearful and prone to stress whenever there’s a change in their environment, or that suffer from separation anxiety.
Therefore, these programs shouldn’t be consagidered to deal with the following situations:
In short, these programs aren’t suited to correct any behavior that happens in a specific environment and scenario, without addressing the root cause for that behavior.
How to choose a Dog Training and Boarding facility?
If, after careful consideration of everything mentioned above, you come to the realization that these programs are a good option for your dog, the next step is to choose the best dog training and boarding facility. Pick a few facilities in your area and pay them a visit. Some of the things you need to know before making a final decision are:
- The training method and equipment they use
- What behaviors and commands will they teach your dog
- The amount of work you’ll need to do when your dog gets home
- If the dogs that are currently at the facility seem relaxed and happy
- References from previous clients
- You’ll be able to visit your dog during its stay
- The amount of time per day the dogs are confined
- The amount of time per day the dogs are trained
- What do the kennels look like
- What do they do whenever a dog misbehaves
- What do they do whenever a dog does something right
- If they require all dogs to be vaccinated (including against kennel cough)
- Their training qualifications and certifications
Avoid any facility that guarantees any behaviors without any work on your part or that doesn’t allow any visits from owners. Also, you should avoid facilities that use punishment during any part of the training program and that don’t require dogs to be vaccinated.
Making sense of it all
Dog training and boarding facilities aren’t a quick fix but they can be a good option for some dogs and in some cases. However, you’ll always need to do your part in carrying on with the training at home. What you do with your dog after it gets home will make a huge difference in the success of the program. It’s unrealistic to think that sending your dog away to learn new behaviors and commands in a boarding facility will change the way your dog behaves in your house when everything else stays the same. Dog behavior is in constant change and dog training requires consistency in order to be effective.
If your dog’s personality, traits, and behaviors aren’t a good fit for a dog training and boarding facility, there are other options. You can hire a dog trainer that will help you shape your dog’s behavior and address their root cause in the exact place they happen. Group classes are also a great option for dogs that are social but suffer from separation anxiety. It’s a great way for them to socialize with other dogs and for owners to socialize with other people.