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What is Board and Train (and does it work)?

Dogs are great companions and play a significant role in alleviating loneliness and encouraging physical activity and playfulness, especially for young kids. However, having your dog at its best behavior is almost always challenging, and sometimes no solution seems to be effective. This is where professional dog trainers come in with various transformative ways to change your canine pal’s behavior for the best. While professional dog training is your best chance to effectively deal with wayward dog characteristics, from aggression to bad manners, the training method should be suitable for your particular dog for successful training. This raises the question if dog training methods such as board and train in Williamsburg are effective.

What is the Board and Train Method?

Board and train methods, commonly referred to as dog boot camps, involve entrusting your dog to a professional in a dog training facility for some time, could be weeks or months, for intensive and specialized training to fix a range of nasty behaviors. Are they an effective way to train dogs?

How Effective are Board and Train Programs?

While there may be no concise answer to this question, board and train can be a great and effective option for your dog, especially when your commitments take the better part of your time. However, the board and train facility you decide to take your dog or puppy to plays a significant role in whether the process will succeed.

Some dog owners have reported great success with board and train programs, while others have seen their dogs become uncommonly “calm” after the program due to mistreatment that makes them feel helpless. Before enrolling your dog in a board and train facility, do an extensive background check that includes their programs, certification, licenses, reviews from former clients, etc., to avoid the common horror stories involving harsh and ineffective training methods.

Dogs, just like people, have different personalities, and no one training approach could work out for all dogs. One quality of a reputable board and train facility is whether their training methods are customizable. They should take time to evaluate the dog’s traits before coming up with a training method. Also, your board and train trainer should have an after plan that accommodates how your dog will transition after their time at the facility to avoid potential relapse. Since your dog will likely leave the facility as a work in progress, consistency and promptness are crucial for reinforcing targeted behaviors and should go on even after the training.

Questions to Ask your Prospective Board and Train Facility

Asking the right questions to your potential board and train facility is a great way to understand whether they’ll be a perfect choice for your dog based on their answers. Below are some pertinent questions you should consider during your consultation with them.

  • How will you reward my dog’s appropriate behavior during training? They should evaluate and record what your dog loves most to use it as a reinforcement for good behavior.
  • What mechanisms do you have to identify fear, stress, or anxiety during training? They should have effective ways of knowing how specific dogs exhibit such emotions to assess the program’s effectiveness at every step and whether or not to continue with a particular program.
  • Am I guaranteed results at the end of the training? A reputable and professional dog trainer will rarely guarantee a perfect outcome from the training, as some dogs may develop instincts that resist even the best methods. However, they will commit to trying their most effective methods and working closely with you for the best behavior change.
  • What training and qualifications do your trainers have? A good indicator of an ideal board and train facility is whether their trainers have the correct exposure and training since training dogs is primarily a hands-on approach. Also, ask about the professional dog training associations they partner with and their certifications. 
  • What training methods are used in the facility? Understand the various programs they intend to use on your dog to set it up for success. The best practices should correct and identify what made the unwanted behavior appealing without being hostile to the dog.
  • Do they refer out certain dog training cases to other trainers? It’s a good sign for a trainer who knows their limits and partners with other trainers specializing in training specific cases that may be challenging. Such honesty means they only take on cases they are sure to handle.
  • How do they make their learning fun and engaging to dogs? The best answer to this question is to ask if you could observe one of their training sessions to understand how your dog will be treated during their training sessions.
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