|Miles the Olde English Bulldogge|
The one aspect of dog training that I am most often questioned about is the Board and Train. For 1 or 2 weeks, I take a dog into my home to train them in a much more intensive way than can be achieved at their own home. After that time, I bring them home, run through everything with their owners, and return in a week to check their progress.
Magic? Many people doubt it. For a long time, so did I.
Any client who considers a board and train with me will inevitably ask, "is it worth it?" This is the most expensive training package (on paper at least) that I offer. How do they know I'll put in the time? More importantly, will it matter if they are well behaved with me once they go home?
The answer, like so many, isn't simple. What I can say is that people overestimate the importance of owner presence in training. Many training issues are dependent on the dog learning a new behavior, although the human certainly has their own learning to do. In so many aspects of training, things go more smoothly if I can focus entirely on the dog, then entirely on the owner. An unsure owner attempting to teach an unsure dog can make progress slow and frustration high.
Instead, I am able to spend my entire day building up the behaviors I want and reducing the behaviors I don't. In one week I can cover at least 8 private lessons. I can teach the stubborn bulldog (above) how to be off leash at the park. Or teach the beagle puppy not to guard his food bowl. Or just teach the newly adopted dog their basic manners.
Think about dogs in shelters and rescues. Is the work that trainers and volunteers put into a dog eliminated when they go to a new home? Possibly, but it is far more likely that the learning will carry over. My little Tater Tot has overcome many fears that luckily do not return when he visits potential adopters.
|Winslow overcoming aggression|
But you do have to bridge the gap, so to speak, between the training house and normal life. A board and train dog goes home with a whole lot of information. I give their owner a flash drive containing videos and documents about their dog's training plan. I outline what we did in terms of vocabulary to use, exercises they should try at home, and what to do if __________ happens.
We spend an hour together doing a typical training session, which allows me to guide the owner on how to progress from here. In a week or two, I come back to troubleshoot or clarify anything that the owners aren't understanding. Depending on the to do list, there may be more sessions at the house. Often, though, I am able to accomplish everything they wanted and our work is done.
|Lucy the wild woman|
I have to say, this type of training has become my favorite. I can bypass owner frustration, I don't need to rely on them to practice between sessions, and I really get to see the dog excel. I've found, at least in my area, that owners are more concerned with results than relationship. Oddly enough, by providing results I am boosting the relationship between owner and dog in the future, again by eliminating frustration.
Are board and trains the best course for every dog and issue? Certainly not. For Parker and Skye's sake, I won't take a dog with aggression toward other dogs, among other things. Because I know Parker would find a way to release that dog into the wild. Sneaky schnauzer...
|Is Parker a giant, or is Skye shrinking?|
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions for my photo issue! I have no clue how Google+ is special, but I'm using it!