In the busy rush of our daily lives, I am sure many of us have asked this very question. “Who has time to train the dog?!” In between our chaotic morning getting the kids off to school and ourselves to work on time, the after school rush, dinner, bath time, bedtime, our best friends are often forgotten, or guiltily remembered. Even for stay at home moms, the chaos of school extra-murals etc makes our time with our pets limited. The last thing we want to do on our precious weekend is try to teach Rover some manners, because it doesn’t seem that a once a week lesson helps anyhow.
Well, the fact is that trying to train your dog once a week is a sure way to get frustrated, because he is unlikely to learn anything! Your dog needs multiple, short training sessions a day to learn effectively. You need to be consistent with him, not allowing any incorrect behaviours to occur. Not likely to happen in the scenarios detailed above!
What, then, is the solution?
In Board Training, sometimes referred to as Boot Camp, is a program where you board your dog for a period of time at a training facility. While your dog is there, he is trained as per the program you have signed him up for. When you get your dog back, he should be a shining star and a pleasure to have around.
Various programs exist, offering courses from basic obedience to advanced obedience, to protection work.
Who should consider In Board Training?
• People who are traveling. Most likely you would have boarded your dog anyway. By enrolling in a training program, the dog is getting more stimulation that he would otherwise normally get, and the bonus is that when you get back from holiday, you have a well behaved pet waiting for you!
• Those who are moving house or renovating. Dogs find this sort of thing very stressful and so it is a good idea to get them out of the house during this time.
• The pressed for time. Perhaps you are just too busy with work and family commitments. That 15 minutes a day just doesn’t seem to happen and you just can’t get your dog to listen to you. Competent trainers are able to achieve results much faster than the average pet owner due to their experience and expertise, as well as the time they have available to dedicate to training your dog.
• Owners of dogs with behavioural issues. Often these issues are inadvertently caused by the family of the dog. Removing the dog from this environment usually helps defuse the situation and allows alternate, good patterns of behaviour to develop.
• Those who have particular requirements for their dogs. Included in this would be protection training, service training, advanced obedience and show training.
Having decided to give In Board Training a try, what should you look for?
• A clean, well run facility. Ask to check out the accommodations for the dogs. Ask about feeding schedules, health protocols, cleaning routines.
• Well trained, knowledgeable trainers. Ask questions about how the dogs are trained, what methods are used etc.
• References. A reputable training center will have no problem giving you names and numbers of people who have used their services before.
• Handover and follow up. A good training center will ensure that the dog’s training will transfer to the owner.
One of the common issues raised in opposition to In Board Training is whether the dog will listen to the owner after the training period is over. A handover session should be completed with you, where the trainer demonstrates what your dog has learnt, and teaches you how to maintain the training. Remember, the trainer has worked with your dog for a number of weeks, so don’t expect your attempts to be as perfect as theirs. Also expect to have follow up sessions, where you can work on areas of confusion or weakness with the trainer.
Another concern of many people is whether their dog will still remember them after the training period. Rest assured that even though your dog will have bonded with his trainer, he will still remember you and be over the moon to see you!
It must be noted that there is an element of risk involved. Kennels see lots of dogs come in and out and there is always a risk of infection, the most common being Kennel Cough (Tracheitis) – basically the common cold. Minimise this risk by ensuring your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. A good training facility will keep you up to date on your dog’s progress and advise you of any problems that occur.
Overall, In Board Training is an excellent way for the modern, busy pet parent to ensure a good relationship with their canine offspring, as long as the appropriate safeguards are set in place.
Superdogs Training Centre, based at Ralun Kennels in Kloof, offers a full spectrum of In Board Training Services. We train basic obedience, advanced obedience, protection and are able to modify our program to meet your individual needs. Phone Debs 073 5071 6071