If you google “Board & Train“, you’ll find everything from compelling reasons why it’s a brilliant idea to strong deterrents aimed at showing why it’s a waste of your hard earned money.
When you are dealing with challenging behaviours, the thought of sending your dog to a professional sounds delightful. You are likely exhausted, possibly at wit’s end, maybe even wondering how much longer you can keep going on. Sometimes, a little respite in the form of “Board & Train” or “Doggy Bootcamp” is all we feel we need to get that second wind.
I often think that Board & Train is a bit like a rehab facility. The client does quite well while he or she is in their new environment. I’ve had clients where the problematic behaviour never happened when the dog was in my home… It’s not because I have any magical powers, but what I don’t have is the same history with the dog. Also, the environment is set up in a way that makes success easier to achieve because the dog is not surrounded by his or her usual triggers.
Because dogs don’t generalize very well, what they learn at “rehab” will not necessarily translate to their home life. Once the dog returns to their usual environment, if the family hasn’t learned how to keep the momentum going and hasn’t also changed, then the behaviour is likely to come roaring back after a few days.
Many board and train facilities offer a transfer session, where the lessons are transferred to the client. This is an important step in helping the lessons stick.
How long does board and train usually last? I’ve seen them range from 2 weeks to 2 months. Sometimes even longer. Ethically, we cannot put a timeline or deadline on when a dog will be “fixed”. Just because you gave someone 2 weeks and a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is also on the same timeline. We can’t force, push, stress your dog so that it learns faster. We won’t. In fact, we have moved away from offering Board and Train, in favour of Doggy homeschool.
We believe that if a dog is mostly trained in his or her own home, the lessons will stick better.
Stay tuned, the next post will be all about our newest service: Doggy Homeschool!
If you are going to entertain the idea of sending your dog to boarding, or doggy bootcamp, then make sure you understand which methods will be used, as well as the consequences of those methods. If you are looking for recommendations for excellent, ethical, effective board and train solutions, I would have happy to send you a list of trusted trainers.