Dog owners love their pets and want the best for them. Sometimes, a board and train program can be the solution to the behavioral problems that have been affecting the pet’s well-being. After completing the training, the dog may return home with good behavior and new obedience skills, but it’s important to continue the work that the dog trainer started. In this blog, we will discuss some tips on how to make your dog successful after a board and train program.
- Consistency is Key
After the board and train program, the dog has learned new behaviors, but the owners must be consistent in reinforcing those behaviors. The owners should follow the same routines and rules that the dog learned in the training program. Any deviation from the rules can confuse the dog and cause them to revert to old habits. It is important to use the prescribed training equipment for the long haul, to utilize the included follow up training sessions, and to begin “thinking like a dog trainer” to avoid mistakes and keep the skills sharp.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The dog’s training doesn’t stop after the board and train program. The owners must continue to practice the learned behaviors with their pets to maintain the progress. Regular practice sessions, even for a few minutes a day, can go a long way in reinforcing the dog’s training. It is important not to jump straight into heavy distractions; taking a dog to the farmers market or brewery the day after graduation is a sure way to overwhelm the dog and dog owner! Slow and steady wins the race here, and making sure you have mastered the skills in low distraction areas before going anywhere difficult is important.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training. After the board and train program, the owners must continue to use rewards to reinforce good behavior. The rewards can be in the form of treats, praise, or playtime, but they should always be given immediately after the desired behavior occurs. How long would you work without a paycheck? Rewards are for life, not just during “training”. Dogs can be pretty self-serving, and if they find you don’t have anything good to offer them, they’ll find their own rewards by chasing squirrels, jumping on guests, and stealing food off the counter!
A well-exercised dog is a happy dog. Exercise not only keeps the dog physically fit but also mentally stimulated. After the board and train program, the owners should continue to provide regular exercise for their pets. Walking, running, or playing fetch are great ways to keep the dog active and engaged. Using training skills on walks is a great way to keep the new obedience skills sharp while also utilizing the dog’s brain… and pairing physical exercise with mental exercise makes for a happy, well-rounded dog.
- Continued Education
Dog training is a journey, not a destination. Boarding and training programs should come with follow up lessons (and maybe even some group lessons) to keep the training on track. Dog owners won’t become dog trainers overnight. Continued work needs to be done so that the dog knows their owner can and will enforce things just like the dog trainer did. Keeping yourself on a training program after your dog returns home will help you have many pleasant years ahead of you!
Training programs can help train dogs quickly, but they require heavy owner commitment post-graduation to be successful. Following this guide will give you the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to maintaining your dogs new skills. If you are in the Denver area and are looking for training while boarding, Dog Dynamix offers comprehensive training programs designed to help improve your quality of life with your dog. Contact us for more information!