You may have heard about doggie "boot camp", where Marley is sent off to learn better manners. As appealing as it may be to drop off a totally disobedient fellow, and later pick up a totally different dog, you need to be aware of several pros and cons derived from sending your pooch to a boarding and training facility. Knowledge is ultimately power when making an informed decision for your dog.
If you're going on vacation, a boarding school may offer the advantage of allowing your dog to be trained while he's being boarded. If you're dealing with a reputable boarding and training facility, this means Marley will be getting oodles of training, exercise, and mental stimulation; the perfect recipe for a well-behaved dog. If you're too busy to train your dog, this solution may be ideal as it will fit into your schedule with no big time commitments.
Truth is, if you want to have good results, you'll need to play a part in Marley's training by continuing what the trainer was doing once home. This is the biggest disadvantage with this type of training. While Marley may be close to a saint the first couple of days home, expect him to revert to his old, bad habits especially if you fail to follow along with what was set forth by the trainer. A good trainer should provide you with special guidelines to follow upon picking up your dog.
Not all boarding and training facilities are created equal. It's a good idea to conduct some research before being impressed by a website with dozens of flashy testimonials and guarantees. Dishonest dog trainers may keep Marley cooped up in a kennel for several weeks or days only to pull her out the last few days for a quick training.
In some cases, trainers rely on aversive-based training methods to train your dog fast. This often entails pain, intimidation and the use of tools such as choke chains, prong or shock collars that may "fix" the problem temporarily or even aggravate it. If you're considering sending your dog off to a boarding school, look for a reputable one using "dog friendly" methods. Whether Marley is misbehaving or simply needs a basic refresher course, you ultimately owe it to your pal to make sure he's in caring, trusted hands during your absence.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.