Boot camp

I am on alot of dog groups both breed and behavior or training and the topic of late seems to be the effects or non effect of sending your dog off to boot camp. What I call boot camp are the in kennel type training facilities that you send your dog to. Many of them will keep your dog for several weeks and return to you a trained dog, at least this is the premise of these type facilities.

Personally I have had to retrain or rehabilitate several dogs that were sent to places like this. The dogs that I had to rework were mistreated and the owners were themselves bullied into leaving their dog at the facility. Now, I know not all are bad and there are some very experienced and knowledgable trainers out there that do a great job but my problem with in kennel facilities is that someone else is training your dog.

To have a dog that will listen to you and do as you ask you must work with your dog yourself. You must invest the time and depending on your dog it may be alot of time. I am a positive trainer, I do not believe in choke, pinch/prong or electric collars. And basically when I train a dog I am training the guardian to train their dog. I will do a demonstration but it is my job to make sure that the owner "gets it." If the owner "get's it," the dog will get it. I work them through their problems until they both get it right and understand completely.

The tough part of training is teaching the guardians, many of my clients have said "Sherri you make it look easy." It is easy for me to train a dog but if the owner can't work with their dog there is a problem. I don't live with your dogs you do, so you must be able to understand how your dog thinks and how to work with them as a team.

Take for example a couple where the wife trains and works with the dog on a regular basis. Often I hear from the husband that the dog won't listen to a thing he says. That is because the husband does not work with the dogs and once he starts working with the dogs then they will listen to him. If you have someone else train your dog you are going to be in the same siutation, you are still going to have to learn it all and work with your dog alot. So why send your dog off to a place where they are left alone with strangers to do the initial work?

I am admittedly an overprotective Mom which encompasses my children and my dogs. There is no way I would leave my dogs in the hands of people that I do not know. Especially a puppy, you are missing out on all of that bonding time that would otherwise be spent on your relationship building. By training your dog yourself you will learn how your dog thinks and how to best respond to their needs. If there is a problem you will find out how to deal with it. I always try to teach my guardians how to look at behaviors the same way their dog looks at something. This allows them to figure out problems once I am out of the picture.

I have often been asked to live with a family until their dog is all trained. That just makes it very clear that my job is to make sure that the owner feels very empowered about teaching their dog what they need to know in this human world. Once the guardian understands they can then teach their dog and you can too.

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