Recently I’ve been contacted by people looking to work on some behavioral problems for dogs that have already been sent away to a facility for training. These people spent a truck load of money and handed over their dog to people they didn’t know in hopes that their dog would come back to them more obedient and better behaved.
Sure it sounds like a pretty good thing. You don’t have to take the time and spend the effort working to train your dog. You just drop them off to a supposed professional and pick them up a few weeks later and BAM! – they’re fully trained. They call it “board and train,” or “doggie boot camps.”
I, myself, have been approached by a few places who were interested in hiring me to train dogs this way and I turn down the opportunity each and every time.
Whatever name it goes by I call it useless, a waste of money and potentially harmful to your dog.
Why it doesn’t work
There are a number of reasons that I don’t like this dog training model.
The main reason is that if you give me your dog I’m pretty sure I can get him to improve in just about everything – for me. The problem is that just because he’ll do it for me doesn’t mean you will have the same ability.
As you work with your dog, you’re learning how to better communicate, interact and relate to him. You’re building and developing your relationship step by step, day by day. This is not something you can simply be given, it’s something you must earn.
My wife, for example, doesn’t have the same ability to control my dog that I do. It’s not because I’m the dog trainer, it’s because I’ve spent more time with my dog and done much more training with her. Although my wife knows what to do she hasn’t spent the time working with Hayley and therefor has much less control over her. Hayley loves us both very much, but she listens and responds to me better.
Dogs take time and effort – by you, the dog owner. You get what you put into it. If you don’t invest the time with your dog, don’t expect them to respond to you.
Another, more important, issue to consider is who you’re leaving your dog with. What kind of training methods do they use? How are they going to treat your dog?
This is very important. Just because the trainers are smiling with happy dogs in the pictures on their web site and they have a bunch of testimonials doesn’t mean they’re going to treat your dog well.
I’ve had more than a few clients that had their dogs come back from a few weeks away getting trained with fears and anxieties due to aversive training methods.
Would you give your kids over to someone you didn’t know, someone you just found on the internet? I think not. Why do anything different with your dog?
This is especially important with puppies. The puppy period is crucial to their development and you NEED to be there to make sure that everything is being done properly because you don’t get a second chance. If you send your puppy away and they have a negative experience or they don’t get the proper socialization, you may have just killed your dog.
I’m sorry if that scares you but I want you to understand the severity of this. The first two years of life is the most important for a dog – and you should be a part of every single second, even if it includes some barking, nipping and pooping.
Keep your dog at home with you where the belong, put in the time and effort and take an active role in their training. The time you spend now, will provide you with a great life-long relationship with your dog that you have helped shape.
I heard a great quote the other day about kids that I feel also applies to dogs. It said that they spell love, T-I-M-E.
Keep your dogs at home and invest in your future together by going through all training together as a family.
Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.