While most dogs are agreeable to learning basic rules of obedience if started at a young age, every once in a while a dog and a master just won’t be able to come together to find a successful training routine. This can be extremely frustrating for both parties involved. Fortunately, there are many outside sources that can help with this.
The most popular are “doggie daycare” or “doggie boot camps”, pet care programs very similar to child daycares. At a dog daycare, dogs are paired with trainers for an hour or two each day and taught basic obedience; sit, come, don’t bite the nice salesman. Once the dogs have mastered that, more advanced training is often available. The focus here is not entirely on training, however. Day cares for dogs are intended to provide a safe, happy place for a dog to go while their owner is at work, and they allow the animals plenty of play time, often complete with canine playground, as well as an in-depth grooming regimen daily; they will clip the dog’s nails, clean their ears and eyes, bathe them and trim their coats when it is needed. More in-depth grooming options may be available; however, this varies by facility.
Doggie boot camp is becoming increasingly popular as a way to deal with animals that have simply refused to be trained. A group of professional trainers will work with your dog daily, for several hours a day, teaching them to obey basic commands. Each facility’s methods of doing this are different; some use punishment based techniques, while others use rewards and positive reinforcement. This may be a boarding program, where your dog goes to a separate facility for a length of time, sleeping there, or it may be done as a day school, where the owner drops the dog off in the morning and picks them up in the afternoon. Some programs work with the owners as well; you and your dog will have a session with the trainer in which they will teach you to teach your dog to listen, and how to work together without being frustrated.
Canine boot camp can seem like a gift from the heavens, but owners should be careful. Beware of programs that claim to give you a perfectly trained animal within a matter of days; while a dog may be able to learn a trick or two in that time, it is unlikely the training will stick with them once they have returned home. Observation of their training techniques is important as well; while results are important, excessive force should not be used.
Regardless of which program you decide to use, investigate the facility and the staff carefully. Confirm the credentials of the staff, and that they have been trained to handle any emergencies that may arise while your dog is in their care. Be sure that the facility is clean, of adequate size and does not possess any features which may be hazardous to the dogs. Each dog should have its separate space, with plenty of time allotted for feeding and rest, and an isolation area should be available for any animal who becomes uncontrollable.
Information on these programs can be obtained online, through your veterinarian, and through the SPCA.
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