Board and Train: Is It For You? – Dog Trainer Connecticut Blog
Throughout my professional dog training career, I have had many clients come to me after attempting training in the past, including working with other trainers. They tried group classes, private lessons in the home or at the trainer’s facility, and some have also tried the “board and train” method.
Board and Train is basically where you can send your dog off to “school” or “camp” for training. The training usually takes place at a trainer’s private property, be it a kennel or even their home. Usually for several weeks, the trainer works closely with your dog’s behavior on site (often times with other people’s dogs there as well), and once the training period is complete, you get your dog back, fully trained.
To many, this sounds like a dream solution: stepping back and allowing a professional to fix your dog’s behavior problems, and having your dog back completely trained. However, there are some risks involved with the Board and Train approach. Based on my training experience and also my clients’ past experience with Board and Train, here’s what I discovered:
1. First off, because of the amount of committed time and work the trainer takes on with a Board and Train case, this type of training can be very costly. Again, if the results are there, any amount of money is worth your dog’s behavioral success.
2. But, because the owner had nothing to do with the training in the first place, there’s a bigger chance that the training will not translate well to the owner and dog when the dog comes home. Normally, trainers will offer follow-up instructions or a training session together, but sometimes that is not enough. When owners are involved in the training, not only do they learn everything first-hand, but they are also PART of their dog’s success! This leads to more long-lasting results, and confidence boosting for both dog and owner.
3. Ultimately, dog training isn’t just about commands or how to hold the leash — it is about presenting leadership and being consistent with your communication and boundaries. For dog owners, especially those who have dogs with serious behavioral issues, this requires more than just written instructions or just one follow-up training class. This takes time and consistent follow-through, and an owner that was there in the beginning of training, will be more ahead in the game, closer to those permanent results they want for their dog.
4. Environment could play a role in this too: I offer in-home dog training because it allows dogs to learn this new regimen in their most comfortable and familiar environment. While a dog can eventually become accustomed to being trained and behaved outside the home, I think doing the reverse is more beneficial for the dog. Starting off in the home, distractions can be put on hold and controlled, allowing the dog and owner to focus better. Once the dog and owner become more familiarized with the training, then more distractions can be introduced, further challenging them and building reliability. This process sets owner and dog up for success, and gets them more equipped to deal with more advanced training exercises and situations down the road.
This article is not to say that Board and Train is ineffective—there are many who have found success and satisfaction with this training style. But those who think this is the easy way out where your dog will get trained and you’ll have no work to do and no further problems, just remember that there are still risks. More research should be put into this before deciding whether or not this approach is best for you and your dog. My training programs are private and in-home, but they are also results-based, meaning we work together until the job is done! There might be setbacks and it may take time, but as long as consistency and commitment is present, you can’t lose with my Connecticut dog training techniques and protocols!
Call 800-649-7297 if you’re interested in enlisting in my dog training! We’ll schedule an initial consultation to see if we can find behavioral success together!