29 Oct What is Board and Train (and does it work)?
If you’re worn out from trying to train a dog with bad manners, high anxiety or aggression, Board and Train for dogs can be an effective, transformative solution. Here’s why.
Dogs—like most creatures—need consistency in order to form habits and learn behaviors. Yet as busy humans, consistency is something that doesn’t always come easily to their owners. And even if owners are diligent… their canine pals may have instincts that resist all best efforts!
After all, dogs have arrived into the world with their own personalities (and sometimes into our homes with their own histories and, yes, emotional baggage), that have nothing to do with you. The gap between what your dog views as the right way to operate in the world may be 180-degrees from yours.
Board and Train (also known as Lodge and Train), is often the ideal solution, relieving stress for you AND your dog.
What IS Board and Train for dogs?
Board and Train is a specialized, intensive residence program designed to transform your four-footed friend into the well-mannered family member you dream of. It starts with a several week stay away from home, and it generally extends to months of less-intensive distraction and related training through remote or in-person sessions with the owner.
- At White Mountain College for Pets, we offer two Lodge and Train “DOGrees”: Associates, perfect for building good manners and obedience—even with all sorts of distractions—in your family pet. And Masters, best suited for dogs requiring more attention, like those showing signs of anxiety or aggression.
During a Board and Train program, dogs are helped with socialization, and taught all most critical obedience skills (and tested against more and varied tempting distractions). For instance, they’ll typically learn:
- Sit/Stay and Down/Stay—including for progressively longer periods
- Heel (and no more pulling on the leash)
- Waiting for your instructions (e.g., for food, entering/exiting a car)
How do I know if Board and Train is right for my dog?
While any dog is likely to respond well to a Board and Train program, those who benefit most tend to be families that are having trouble getting the results they want, and those whose dogs are, in a nutshell, too much.
Some situations that may signal a good candidate for a boarding program:
- You don’t have much time for regular training practice at home.
- You’re feeling worn down by the training process and both of you are frustrated.
- Your puppy has grown into a pulling and jumping machine you can’t handle.
- You’re going on vacation and would love to return home to a well-mannered dog.
- There’s too much chewing, digging, scraping, and it’s disturbing your home and life.
- Your dog won’t come when called—and even thinks it’s a game to run off.
- Your efforts to train your dog against excessive barking are getting nowhere.
- There’s trembling, peeing, and/or signs of high anxiety you can’t seem to soothe.
- Your dog is aggressive or snapping at family members and/or while out on walks.
Does Board and Train really work?
Yes—and maybe. The maybe comes because owners will still need to commit to maintaining the commands and actions their dogs have learned. And, while most dogs do well, there will always be a very few that don’t; close communication with trainers can help monitor progress.
But if you’ve been around dogs and trainers, you’ve no doubt admired how easy it seems to be, for both: the dogs are relaxed and behaved; the owners often don’t even need to speak a word to achieve these magical results!
One of the reasons they’re able to have such success is that they were able to provide consistent, clear, instruction over a key time block. Similarly, Board and Train programs are effective because, over the course of 3-5 weeks, dogs are:
- given plenty of opportunities to learn and practice,
- they’re tested by many more distractions than they’ll typically face at home,
- they’re coached into correct behaviors with consistent, yet loving, discipline and attention.
Not having kids to manage, chores to complete, lunches to pack and long days at the computer/zoom/office, trainers are able to focus their attention on the needs of the student: your precious pet! When they get home, your job is maintenance (and usually 6-12 months’ support from your school helps groove those good habits even more.)
Many Board and Train graduates’ families report not just better-behaved dogs, but calmer dogs too. If better obedience and temperament would be helpful for your family, Board and Train might be right for you!