When we begin with a new dog's training at the camp, we always want to take the approach of being their best friend. The first day they arrive at the kennel can be a very emotional day. Mom and Dad are nervous and unsure what to expect, all the other dogs are barking and who knows what they are saying to each other. The last thing we want to do is add to that already very stressful situation. We start out by walking the dog around the property giving him or her a good approach to all external stress-rs that may be affecting them. Each dog reacts differently as some could care less and some are very timid in nature. After the dog is walking erect and tail wagging we approach the kennel and spend a great deal of time outside of the kennel in our airing yards running and playing. We will often introduce other younger dogs so that they feel like they are not alone and gives their mind something to stay occupied by as the family leaves. Running and playing chase often follows and the dog is much more comfortable. This makes the approach to the kennel much easier and a willingness to enter versus being drug into the kennel. We want the dog to do things on their own so that we can reward those behaviors.

Over the next week we spend a great deal of time teaching that dog how to go out and come back into their kennel, that when they approach us we praise them and reward them often with a treat, marking that behavior. We will begin walking the dog around our training yard and encouraging them to climb on our place boards rewarding them all the while. As they walk ahead of us on lead we will simply divert direction and give the dog a audible command rewarding him on the approach to heel. We minimalism any and all hard corrections during this period as we are ensuring the dog is comfortable being coached into all the commands we are going to teach them over the remaining 6 weeks.

Once the pet has shown us that they are capable of exhibiting all command functions through luring, we then begin to add our hard corrections. As we approach the place board the pet is wagging its tail and begins to pick up speed to get on the board in expectation of a treat. At this time we remove the reward so the expectation is not there and replace it with command only. Often times the animal will then get off the board which allows us to give our correction and then we redirect the pet to the board and follow through with the reward on the secondary approach. Drills like this begin to teach the animal that there is not ALWAYS a food reward when we perform commands. This is very critical because you will want to ensure that the dog is listening to your commands and not just going through motions to get a reward. This process repeats itself daily for the course of the next 6 weeks and as the animal does this each session he or she is creating what we call muscle memory. When we say PLACE the dog knows he must get on the board and wait. We will then introduce external distractions such as children, bikes and other dogs to encourage that pet to move off of the board. It is very crucial that distractions be applied because this will be normal everyday life for most of these pets. We have to ensure that from a distance if we ask the dog to stay on the board that he doesn't get off the board regardless the teaser. When the dog can no longer resist it and moves off of the board, we are able to get a hard correction in and create a memory in that dog that he associates with something he or she does not want to do again. As we progress we can watch the dog begin making decisions and weighing their options prior to exhibiting movements. Its drills like this that engage a dog to think about what is the best route to take when exhibiting commands and allows them to be in charge of their own rewards and corrections.

Extended in-board training programs are very successful because they are able to basically mimic the US Military's "boot camp" method for young soldiers. Its not that the work is any worse away, but the ability to remove that dog from its environment where the majority of the bad behaviors are happening (likely because they have been conditioned to do what they are doing by owners reactions) and reformat that dog by adding a structured learning curve to their EVERY DAY life. This reset period allows dogs to understand that those behaviors are no longer tolerated. Group and private sessions can also be helpful for dogs without much issues but the reason they are likely not as successful as in-board programs is because at the end of the session the animal is taken back home where it is likely allowed to continue to do the same behaviors in which started the conversation about dog training to start with and creates a two steps forward, one step back approach with inconsistent corrections.

Training dogs is a learned skill through experience and leash time. There are several trainers who take online courses and have the concepts in their mind but its not until you have leashed hundreds of breeds and thousands of personalities that you can best understand what all it takes to understand dog behavior. All dog behaviors are not conducive to all training methods and for best results, ensuring that you have selected a trainer that has a variety of methods and even a variety of trainers of both male and female sex can help as some dogs will respond to males and females differently. At the end of the day its about building and designing a program for each individual dog for the same or similar out come which would be a well behaved, structured animal that understands his place in the family and can be enjoyed as a member of the family and not just a "dog".

If your looking for a dog trainer or knows someone who is, we encourage you to reach out to us. We would love to help guide you in the best direction we can suited for your pets needs. We have a relationship with trainers all over the country and if its not something we are comfortable helping you with we can surly find you someone who is and always remember to #GETOUTOFTHEDOGHOUSE!


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