Sunday, August 9, 2009

Board and Train for dogs

I used to work at a board-and-train facility. My philosophy is if you have a really out of control dog and have no idea where to start, this is a good option. One week isn't even close to enough. At the end of one week, the dog can learn sit, down, start walking nicely on a leash, and begin learning stay. He won't do any of these things consistently. It doesn't even start to sink in until the end of two weeks. Four weeks is the optimum; they are working well. Could you train a horse completely in one week? No. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying.

It takes six weeks for the behaviors to start to move from short-term to long-term memory and become a habit, so it is imperative the owner continue training at home. During this transition time, the dog usually acts like he forgot everything you ever taught him, and you have to work through that period.

None of it works if the owner isn't coming in for regular lessons, at least once a week, so they learn how to work with dog. The best scenario is they take an intermediate class with their dog after the training. The whole family needs to be trained, and consistent in how they deal with the dog. If they slack off once the dog is home, he will learn what he can get away with, and revert to old behaviors.

People would often bring in their dog to board while they were on vacation and have us give him a refresher course while they were gone. Then one week is okay, with a follow up session with the owners.

There are franchises and corporate operations with great marketing. But you are looking for someone with years of experience training a lot of different breeds, not someone who just took a course and bought a business. No one solution is going to work for every dog. Your dog’s breed, temperament and history all affect how well the training will solve his behavior problems.

Photo above: Cairn Terrier by Terry Albert. © 2009 Terry Albert All rights reserved.

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