The thought of sending a dog to board and train was always a turn off to me in the past. However, in the last few months my opinion has changed. As a trainer, I get several requests a month to do this. “Please Michelle! Just take my dog and train her!” I would always reply it’s more important that you learn how to train so you can maintain the behaviors that you want. It still remains true- that the owner needs to learn to maintain the desired behaviors. I finally gave in within the last few months to train dogs directly and the results that I was able to get were amazing! I was able to establish strong behaviors and then do a transfer session with the owners. From the transfer session the owners learned how to maintain the behaviors, but didn’t have to the large part of the work of establishing the behaviors.
So my opinion has changed on the board and train.
Benefits I have found:
Dogs work directly with trainer and learn behaviors much more quickly.
Dogs have strong established behaviors from working directly with professional trainer.
Trainer is able to do a transfer session with owner so they are able to maintain behaviors at home.
Great for busy pet owners that want a well behaved dog, but don’t have the time to train.
Less frustrating for the owner as he/she doesn’t have to become a “dog trainer” to teach new behaviors, but will have the knowledge to maintain behaviors.
Things to Think About with Board and Train:
Ask a lot of questions. What types of methods do the trainers use? Positive training has proven by science to be the best, BUT positive training takes more time to establish behaviors. Using aversive training (electronic collars, prong collars, etc.) can work quickly and some trainers may rely on fear so they can quickly establish the behaviors that you want.
Where does your dog stay during board and train? How long will your dog be in a kennel? How much will he/she be taken out? Worked with hands on?
Will they train outside of the kennel/home? Dogs do not generalize very easily, so the trainer must take the canine outside of this area to help transfer these behaviors to your home.
If the training costs more this does not mean that the trainer is better. What are the trainer’s credentials? Currently there are no state laws requiring a license to be a dog trainer. In other words, anyone can print their name on a card and say that they are a dog trainer, so ask a lot of questions. Have they earned any certification and with which organization?
Ask for letters of referrals.
Board and train is just one of many options for training. Has anyone had a positive experience personally with board and train? What did you enjoy about it? Benefits for you personally?