Board and train programs may seem like a perfect way to train a new dog or puppy, but many dogs and puppies leave the facility obeying basic commands, but may have other, more difficult issues after the experience.
Puppies have compromised immune systems until they have received all of their vaccinations. Usually a veterinarian will suggest a series of vaccinations that will continue through the age of 4 months. Some veterinarians will suggest receiving some vaccinations like the rabies vaccine at 6 months. Some vaccinations only prevent certain strains of viruses. A disease common to boarding, Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough) is caused by the Bordatella bacteria. Puppies have weak immune systems and are more at risk to the disease. While it is impossible eliminate the risk of contracting disease, boarding a puppy could be very high in risk. By the age your dog receives all of the puppy vaccinations, your dog could have participated in and succeeded in a Private, In-Home puppy training program.
2. Environmental control
Training involves controlling the puppy’s environment so that the puppy is unlikely to make mistakes and is rewarded for good behavior. Most kennels or boarding facilities do not allow the freedom that most owners allow. So the training conditions do not look like real life at home. The puppy spends much of the time in the kennel, with only a small percent of the day on leash or playing. Even if a dog trainer provides board and train at his or her house, it is not very likely that their home looks like your home and the schedule for training and play will not look like your schedule. Once you get your pup home, you will have to institute the same environmental controls that I assign my private clients.
3. Understanding behavior to mold good behavior throughout life
As a responsible dog owner, your success will be dependent on your understanding of dog behavior and motivation. Most dog owners will not need to have an understanding of the theories of Pavlov and Skinner and Premack, but they do need to have a grasp of what is normal behavior, how to prevent undesirable behavior, and how to reward good behavior. Most board and train programs do not successfully prepare the owner with these skills.
4. Puppies are delicate and fragile at this stage
The word “fragile” does not come to the mind of most puppy owners as the puppy is working his way up and down the owner’s legs with those razor sharp teeth. Understand this: being separated from Mom and the litter mates is very stressful. If you got your puppy from a good breeder, the puppy was probably about 10 weeks old when the puppy transitioned from the litter to your house. That’s a huge change. Your puppy lost his Mom and all his friends. He has to learn how to self soothe and be alone. During the puppy phase there are 2 fear periods where single event learning takes place. Single event learning scenarios involve your puppy being exposed to something (like another dog, or a crate) that causes him fear. During this fragile period, a bad exposure may cause your dog to always be fearful of those items. You have no control over what happens at a boarding facility. Just one bad experience can ruin your puppy’s socialization. In addition, many board and train facilities use force, fear, and pain (in addition to treats) to train dogs. This is very dangerous to a puppy’s emotional well being. Qualified trainers will help you with safe socialization exercises so single event learning can be avoided and the health and safety of the dog is maintained. Humane trainers do not use force, fear, or pain in their training methods.
After leaving the litter, this is an important time in a puppy’s life to bond with his new family. This is the time to provide a safe place with love and to establish heathy routines. This is the time for a puppy to learn the rules of the new family home and be a family member. This is the best time to provide safe socialization and make wonderful associations with all of the things he will confront in life. Taking a puppy from the litter to your house is pretty traumatic. Taking the puppy from the litter, to your house, to boarding, and then back to your house is extremely traumatic.
For a fraction of the cost of a board and train, new puppy owners can work with a qualified trainer to achieve all of their goals. A good trainer will also make owners aware of how to prevent difficult behaviors like aggression, resource guarding, and separation anxiety. Without owner follow through after a board and train program, the results achieved at boarding may be temporary. Why not just start on day one when the puppy arrives with a qualified private trainer? The earlier training is introduced, the easier it is for the owner and the puppy to succeed. Providing a safe home environment, following the advice of a dog trainer, will not only give your puppy the best chance of success, it is the best way to provide emotional stability for the new puppy.
Looking for a top notch dog trainer in Greater Fort Lauderdale? Please call Oh Behave Dog Training at 954-587-2711 now for a phone consultation.