What to expect before and throughout your board and Train Program:
Prior to Training:
Below are a few things that you may want to consider prior to your board and train to help make the experience more productive and easier on your dog.
- Be prepared to make some changes! Remember you and your dog have a relationship together, and like all relationships in our lives, this one requires some give and take. Particularly when it comes to resolving problem behavior, virtually no change can be expected of the dog unless we are prepared to make some changes within ourselves and our lifestyle as well. Our dogs are living, breathing beings with rich emotional lives and they need to see that we are in this together.
- If your dog has not had much prior training, you may want to start occasionally feeding your dog their kibble by hand. We use a lot of food reinforcement early in the program and some dogs may not be comfortable taking food during training if they are only used to eating out of a bowl.
- To take this concept one step further, you can practice this hand feeding with your dog on their dog bed. This will begin the foundation for a “place” command.
- If your dog exhibits problem behavior around the home, it will be important for you to have some means of crating or confining your dog until the behaviors are fully resolved. Many behaviors that we humans consider to be problematic, our dogs actually find to be very enjoyable. This means that every time your dog does the behavior, it is being reinforced naturally and thus becomes stronger. Therefore, while we are working on eliminating these behaviors and creating new habits, it is important to have a means of preventing your dog from practicing the old behavior when you aren’t there to supervise. Using a crate is the easiest and safest way to accomplish this goal, and can make the difference between the successful resolution of your dog’s behavior or not.
If your dog has never been crated or confined, it would be a good idea to purchase crate and start getting them used to being in it. We recommend starting by feeding your dog in the crate with the door open. Eventually you can close the door and have your dog crated for short periods. Start with short periods while you are home, and eventually progress to longer periods while you are gone.
If your dog barks or whines while confined, do not let them out! This will only reinforce the barking and whining. Wait until they are quiet and then let them out to reward quiet behavior.
- If your dog displays aggressive behavior, a muzzle will be instrumental in the process of training and rehabilitation. We recommend the Baskerville Ultra Muzzles, which can be purchased at our training center, on Amazon and in some pet stores such as Petco.
- Getting your dog accustomed to the muzzle in advance will make your drop-off safre, less stressfull, and will also allow us to be more productive during the first few days of your dog’s training. Here is an instructional video to help you condition your dog to the experience of wearing a muzzle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5qsty9s9n0
During The Program:
- At the end of each week, we will be conducting a brief lesson with you, and your dog will return home with you for the weekend. These sessions are designed to teach you, the owner, specific skills and concepts. Because our focus during these sessions is you, you may notice that your trainer is not necessarily reviewing your high-priority behaviors. The reason for this is twofold, 1) we want you to have certain skills in place before tackling the more important behaviors, and 2) We often want to get the dog to a certain point in their training before having you take over.
- Because we are trickling skills to you, it is expected that you are not going see major changes in your dogs behavior until the end of the program when you have all the skills and knowledge needed to follow-through with your dog’s training. Your dog has habits in the home and until you have all the tools to intervene properly, your dog has no reason to change those habits while with you, even if they have stopped those behaviors at the training center. Do not be concerned if during the weekends at home your dog is “still jumping” or “not listening”, this it completely normal and everything will come together at the end of the program. Again, this why having a means to crate or confine your dog will be very important. Management and prevention are critical parts of any successful training program. Remember, at the training center, your dog is kenneled between training sessions. We do not let them run around the center un-supervised at all.
After The Program is Complete
- The end of the Board and Train program is when the real work begins. Although we have done all the repetitions necessary to ensure that your dog is capable of living in a balanced and well mannered way, it is now up to you to ensure that those new behaviors transition smoothly into your home and become a lasting change.
- No training is permanent! Remember, your dog’s behavior won’t change, unless you change yours as well. This may be as simple as being prepared to reward and correct behaviors in the moment, as they happen, or as tough as changing the way you interact with your dog and behave around them. We are here to guide and help you every step of the way, but you must be prepared to do the work once your dog returns home.
- The first two weeks back home are the toughest. Most dogs will want to test you the first two weeks. This is natural, many dogs tend to be opportunists and they will want to see how consistent you are going to be and what they can get away with. It is during these first weeks back home that you will want to be your most consistent and strict. This is also a time that it is valuable to crate/confine your dog when un-supervised to prevent them from practicing their old habits when you aren’t there to intervene.
- Remember, we are always here for support. You can call or email with any questions or concerns you have.
- Follow up training is often needed to help people and their dogs continue on their journey together. We offer both private lessons and day-training options, and your trainer can help you decide which will be best for you.