To Board and Train or Not to Board and Train

You see a need for some professional training, so now what?

You know you need support training your dog if you’re best efforts to address behavior issues haven’t yet succeed, and if living with the current situation is unfair to both you and your dog. You’ve considered (or even tried) group classes, but the environment for your dog is either overwhelming or incredibly distracting. You’ve done some research, and now you’ve got to weigh the two remaining training options, a board and train program or private lessons. If that’s where you currently find yourself, you’re reading the right post.

What exactly is a board and train program?

Board and train programs have the dog stay at the training facility, or sometimes at the home of a trainer during the entire duration of the program. They’ll need to be kenneled/crated when they aren’t actively training. A good trainer will make sure the dog is getting plenty of daily activity, so this shouldn’t be a major concern, but a crate-trained dog is almost always a prerequisite. These programs usually last three to five weeks. Training companies usually allow but discourage visits until the end of the program. Most training companies require a board and train to address serious behavior issues (aggression, fear biting, etc.). They normally include a couple hours of owner practice at the end of the program to help ensure the new behaviors and skills transfer back home.

Private lessons, that seems obvious enough, but am I missing something?

Private lessons are exactly what they claim to be. They remove the dog from the group environment, which is often necessary for actual progress in the beginning stages of training. In some cases, a group environment can even be a safety and liability issue, so private lessons solve that problem as well. Working one on one with a trainer, you’ll get to see the techniques and strategies used to teach new skills and modify behavior. A great trainer will transfer his expertise to you, while the dog is getting trained at the same time. There are ample opportunities for hands on practice and coaching for the dog and the owner. This extra owner involvement does require a greater time investment but delivers the most on the knowledge and skills. This is a major private lesson advantage. Highly competent trainers and dedicated owners can cover just as much, if not more, ground as the board and train. It’s also has the added benefit of being less costly, since it requires less of the trainer’s time overall.

How do I decide between the two?

It comes down to time and cost. Can you work in a four to six, hour/hour and a half, training sessions over the course of the next month or so? Can you commit to 15 minutes of daily training, a daily walk, and a bit more consistency throughout the day? If so, private lessons are for you, and you’ll save money and get a real dog training education in the process. Now, you might be completely dedicated and ready to pay for some training, but you are simply low on time – well then, a board and train program is your best bet. You’ll still need to learn the basics at a go home session and you’ll still to be consistent, but the dog will have done his part with the trainer.

Chill Out Dog Training offers private, at-home/in-field, lessons & and is prepared for both new dog owners, and challenging behavioral issues.