I am often asked about the differences in Board and Training versus In-Home Training, which one do I think works better, and what do I prefer. The
answer, just as with most things animal related, is not always black and white but I have narrowed it down some.
In my experience with clients the boarding and training option has a better success rate than most in-home training or group classes. The key to
successful dog training is consistency. This is the most difficult part of in-home training programs. Once the trainer has been to your
home, collected their payment, instructed you on what to do - the ball is now in your court. You must commit to consistently correcting and redirecting
the unwanted behavior each and every time your dog performs the negative action. In addtion, many of our redirections involve obedience training so you need to carve out time to work on that consistently as well. It is not that it cannot be done but simply that life gets in the way. And
once that frustration sets in your dog will wonder who is in the driver's seat.
I do feel that combining boarding and training along with in-home lessons is a very successful way to go. The boarding and training time allows the
trainer the time and consistency to teach your dog all of the obedience tasks, work on addressing bad manners,
reinforcing good behaviors, and improve socialization techniques. Once your dog has completed their training yours should begin. Dog training
is about 40% training of the dog and 60% training of the owner. The good news is that it is not rocket science! Once you understand the
way your dog thinks, why he does some of the things he does, and can assess the situation he presents to you, fixing the issue is much easier than
you think. Many people ask "Shouldn't I be the one to train my dog?" and my reply is Yes! However, it is very difficult to teach and learn
at the same time. That is one of the challenges of in-home training. Not only are you learning what to do to correct and redirect your
dog but you are trying to teach him in the same step. Dogs are masters at reading body language and if you are uncertain of what you are doing
- they know it! The more confident you are when you are working with your dog the better results you will get.
In-home training can be beneficial for some clients as well. If your dog has a strong base in obedience and you simply have a few manners that you
need to deal with a private lesson or two could be very helpful and all that you need. In my opinion group classes are best reserved for puppies
who need to socialize with other dogs and learn in a positive environment. Once you get out of puppy training in a group setting it generally focuses more on obedience and less on manners. Dogs in the shelter are not usually there because they didn't
sit when they were told to. Many are there because they chewed up the sofa, knocked the baby down, or dug out of the fence and ran away.
Whichever training option you choose it should be based on your situation and your needs. I am not a fan of boarding and training programs that are
followed up with group lessons. Again, I believe you lose the individuality that is needed for each dog. At Hilton Butler's K-9 Bootcamp,
if I do not have a progarm that fits your needs, my team and I will work to help you find one that does. I have some great trainers that I refer
to for programs that I do not offer and they extend the same courtesy to me.
Consider all of the factors when choosing your training program:
What do I need to fix - obedience, behavior, socialization, or all three?
style of training do I need? (not want)
are your expectations? What can and cannot be accomplished based on your commitment and ability.
are the outside influencing factors in your training plans? Other dogs, children, work, etc.
much time, realistically, do you have to work with your dog in the training program?
Armed with this list you can begin your search. Choosing a dog trainer and a dog training program should be a personal experience not a one
size fits all plan. After all of the decisions that went into getting your dog this one should be just as important.