|

Board and Train Programs: What to Watch For in 2024

Are you considering a Board and Train program to teach your dog new skills? Not sure what to look for?

You’re in the right place!

As a professional dog trainer who has offered a successful Board and Train (B&T) program for several years, I believe Board and Train programs are one of the best forms of dog training.

But not all training programs (or trainers) are created equal.

It’s important to know what to look for before committing to sending your best friend off for training.

That’s where I come in! I’m here to educate you on the green flags and red flags when looking into programs so you can make the most informed decision to ensure a smooth and steady training experience.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

What’s the Scoop on Dog Board and Train Programs?

A Board and Train program (commonly referred to as doggy boot camp) is basically like sending your dog to boarding school.

They’ll stay at a professional dog trainer’s facility for anywhere from two to six weeks (some programs go longer), diving deep into training customized to your needs.

Depending on the program, the trainer will work with your dog in basic commands, tackle behavioral issues, or even prep them for advanced roles like competition dog sports or service dog tasks – the specialized programs tend to go significantly longer than basic obedience.

It’s an immersive experience with an emphasis on consistent expert training. So, when they return, expect some newfound skills to be part of their repertoire!

Understanding Board and Train Dog Training Programs

Board and Train programs might differ depending on the company’s specific focus. However, when it comes to basic obedience training and behavior modification, many tend to cover areas such as:

Is a Board and Train Program the Right Fit for You and Your Dog?

Board and Train programs are often advantageous. They’re particularly useful if you struggle to juggle private or group sessions or if your bustling schedule makes it tricky to lay down that essential training groundwork. Think of it as an intensive training camp for your furry buddy, tailored to fit into your hectic life.

Key Benefits

  • Consistent, everyday training by a professional.
  • Immersive training and socialization in a short period of time.
  • The hard groundwork is done for you.
  • The trainer gets to know your dog and can better help you as needed.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Pricey – They are typically the most expensive type of dog training program.
  • Your dog likely won’t be home during the length of the program.

B&T programs undeniably bring a wealth of benefits. However, it’s not uncommon for some pet parents to feel apprehensive about parting with their four-legged friend for an extended period. The financial aspect can also be a bit nerve-wracking, with prices varying based on the program’s intricacies and length.

If you’re finding challenges in training your pup at home, this might be the solution you’re looking for.

A handy tip?

Many dog owners sync their Board and train schedules with their own vacation plans. This way, their dog gets training while they’re away, killing two birds with one stone. And if the budget’s a pinch point, keep in mind that some trainers offer payment options to lighten the load.

As a pet professional who has had almost every single dog parent nervous about the length of time (usually 3-4 weeks with me), I would always reassure them that it would fly by. I also sent detailed video and photo updates twice a week, which helped speed things up too… and sure enough, time never ended up being an issue, despite the initial concern!

Two guide dogs at dog training after a board and train

Key Considerations Before Enrolling Your Dog in a Board and Train Program

Just as you would research before any significant investment, the same diligence should be applied to choosing a Board and Train program for your pup. Here are some major Red and Green Flags to watch out for when seeking the ideal dog trainer:

Short-duration Training Programs, Specifically Two Weeks or Less for Adult Dogs

While the thought of missing your dog is challenging, prioritizing their well-being is vital. Two weeks can be a lot to take in for a dog, especially those who are more anxious or take time to adapt.

Dogs often need several days, if not a week, to truly settle in and establish a trusting bond with their trainer. Condensing the training process can lead to rushed sessions and unnecessary stress on your dog. An extra week might seem trivial to us, but it significantly impacts the quality of your dog’s experience.

An exception can be made for puppies. Their adaptability is often quicker, and their training centers more on socialization and foundational puppy lessons than rigorous obedience. But, a standard 2-week program is generally not recommended for dogs over 6 months.

The Trainer Adopts a Universal Training Method

Each dog is unique; a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t always cut it. A proficient trainer understands the importance of flexibility in techniques and adapting to meet every dog’s individual needs.

If a trainer seems rigid with only one dog training method, it suggests they might be effective for a specific dog type but could falter with dogs that don’t fit into their predefined mold. Diversity in training methods is essential to cater to the broad spectrum of canine personalities.

Absence of Follow-Up Lessons

Dog training isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s a two-way street involving the dog and its owner. If a trainer only provides a single lesson when you pick up your dog and offers no subsequent follow-ups, it’s a signal to keep searching.

Opt for a trainer who understands the importance of continuity, offering at least one additional follow-up session after the initial go-home lesson. This ensures a smoother transition and continued learning for you and your pup.

Lack of Post-Program Support

Training doesn’t end when the program does; continued support is key to success. While each training company may have its unique way of extending help post-training, a complete absence of such offerings is a huge red flag.

If they don’t promise any form of ongoing support, it’s a clear sign you should look elsewhere. Your dog’s long-term success hinges on sustained guidance and assistance.

Offering Blanket Guarantees, Especially for Behavioral Concerns

At first glance, a guarantee might seem reassuring. After all, who wouldn’t want a surefire promise on their investment?

However, when it comes to dog training, it’s not that simple. Dogs, being the dynamic creatures they are, aren’t programmable entities. They evolve due to age, experiences, environment, and more.

The essence of a Board and Train program is to lay a strong foundation, but it’s not a magic wand solution. You, the dog owner, are responsible for consistently reinforcing and maintaining the training. A trainer offering blanket guarantees is likely not seasoned enough or might prioritize a sale over genuine outcomes.

Training Programs Spanning 3 to 6+ Weeks

A good measure to consider when evaluating training programs is the duration. Generally, the sweet spot lies between 3 to 6 weeks.

This timeframe allows ample opportunity for your dog to adapt, learn, and grow. Longer durations often equate to your canine companion’s more comprehensive training experience.

Adaptive Training Methods

Seek out trainers who shun the “one-size-fits-all” philosophy. An ideal trainer recognizes the distinctiveness of each dog and is equipped with a diverse set of techniques. Seasoned trainers possess an extensive toolkit, ensuring they can cater to every furry individual’s unique requirements.

Provision of Weekly Progress Updates

Consistent communication is key. While the mode of updates might vary—be it through emails, texts, Google Drive, or social media stories—it’s imperative that the training facility keeps you informed. An ideal trainer will offer weekly insights into your dog’s progress, ensuring you’re looped into your pet’s journey and milestones.

Extended Post-Program Support

A training company that’s truly invested in your dog’s success won’t just stop at the end of the program. Look for programs that provide continued support to ensure the training sticks.

This might manifest as lifetime assistance, group training classes for a specified duration, or even unlimited follow-up private lessons. Some of these programs offer testing for the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), which often excites pet parents to do more with their dogs.

These offerings are indicative of the company’s commitment to your pet’s long-term well-being and development.

The Company Does NOT Guarantee Results

Counterintuitively, a company that refrains from offering guarantees showcases a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in dog training.

Recognizing that every dog, owner, and environment is distinct, they appreciate that various factors shape the training’s outcome. Such a company emphasizes genuine training results over superficial sales pitches.

Always remember: true dog training success results from efforts between the trainer, the owner, the dog’s inherent nature, and its environment.

Group of dogs during training. Pets learning waiting in a row on meadow. Selective focus on Czech mountain dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Board and Train programs can often be effective for aggressive dogs, providing them with consistent training and the opportunity to address their behavioral challenges.

However, it’s essential to understand that aggression cannot always be entirely trained away.

Sometimes, underlying genetic factors play a role, and no amount of training can change your dog’s DNA. Before enrolling your dog, having an in-person consultation with a potential trainer is wise. This can offer insights into the potential outcomes and set realistic expectations.

Yet, it’s crucial to remember that while training can make a significant difference, no outcome is set in stone!

Absolutely not. Dogs, unlike machines, don’t come with a ‘reset’ button. Their behavior is shaped by patience, dedication, and consistent reinforcement over time.

While Board and Training can lay a strong foundation, the work continues at home.

Without your active involvement and persistence in reinforcing the training, there’s a good chance your dog could revert to previous behaviors. The success of the training is as much about the owner’s commitment as it is about the initial program.

That decision rests with you and your specific needs. If you lean towards having a professional lay the initial groundwork for your puppy, or if your own schedule is tight, a Board and Train can be an excellent kickoff.

However, it’s important to understand that these puppy programs aren’t about drilling strict obedience.

Instead, they focus on instilling fundamental skills and building a foundation for more advanced training as the puppy matures. Think of puppy training as sending your child to kindergarten: it’s about setting the stage for future learning and growth.

In Conclusion

Choosing a board and train program for your dog is a significant decision that can lead to remarkable improvements in behavior, alongside fostering a stronger, more harmonious relationship between you and your furry companion. As you weigh your options, remember that the right program will not only address your dog’s needs but also support you as their primary caregiver, ensuring lasting positive outcomes.

Investing the time to research and select the best program is an investment in your dog’s future and your shared happiness. Trust, transparency, and a proven track record of success should be at the heart of any program you consider.

Looking to unlock the full potential of your dog with the right training solution? Join the pack for more insights and guidance. Subscribe to my newsletter and get expert advice, tips, and updates on the latest in dog training and care, ensuring you make the best choices for your beloved pet.

Join the Pack!

Sign up for my newsletter and fetch the latest tips, tricks, and industry insights straight to your inbox!

Similar Posts