This article started off as a Board-In introduction and FAQ, but as I was writing it, I felt the need to talk about things we commonly find ourselves explaining in hopes to have something as a written referral.
Understanding Your Dog + Board-In FAQ
Many people worry about sending their beloved friend for 2 or more often than not 3 Weeks at a time.
Will he be mad at me?
No, he wont. Dogs are complex emotional feeling creatures, but they do not realize that their family "left" them- all he will know is he's here and it's fun! But the fun stuff comes with boundaries and structure.
What will she learn?
Anything you want that is reasonable, really. Sit, Down, Leash Manners, Come When Called, 'Stay', and all of this Off-Leash and around distraction/in public. This encompasses basic manners, no jumping, no darting out the door, crating and crate manners, etc.
Do you offer a guarantee?
No. Dog Training has too many variables after the dog has left our hands and is transferred to yours. We have no control of any situation. Dogs are thinking, living, breathing individuals, and the world around us can be frantic and hectic. It is up to us to set our dogs up for success and be in control of what happens to them, even form outside forces.
What if the training regresses?
Most of the time that's failure to communicate between you and your dog. Yes, there are some environmental and genetic factors when it comes to dogs, but once you how to properly speak with your pup, you should be fine setting boundaries and reinforcing them at home. After all, with Board-In we get the consistency and repetitions in to teach them what we want.
Genetic vs Environmental? What?
We use these terms a lot and it is important to go over them with their families.
GENETIC is something that does not change, it is hard wired into the dog and is traits from breeding practices poor or reputable. How do we tell if the issue is genetic? It does not change under any circumstances- there is no improvement to the behavior. This can come with fear, aggression, submission, shyness, hyperactivity, or true steadiness!
ENVIRONMENTAL is something that is learned, or lack of learning. Environmental and Critical Socialization can run hand-in-hand. Environmental issues can improve over time with proper handling, training, and consistency.
What is Critical Socialization?
From ages 6-16 weeks you have a very important window of socializing your puppy. Yes, many people get puppies at 8 weeks (which later like 12 weeks is more preferred from a dog-social aspect) - however many people are afraid of disease and the large world to take their baby out and give them the start they truly need.
-Socializing does not mean walking your puppy into a dog park or Petco & turning them on every dog.
-Socializing does not mean forcing your puppy to let people pet/hold them, or letting strangers offer your impressionable puppy treats for approaching them.
Critical Socialization is letting your puppy see people and friendly dogs from a safe distance, only interacting if it is a happy, positive interaction. It is letting your dog smell things, be in the company of a busy store while being carried. Hearing loud noises, seeing strange animals. Like I said above you want these all to be super happy, yet informal greetings. Puppies do go through Fear Periods and can be impacted negatively by socialization, making it look genetic. If a puppy has a negative experience, in or out of a Fear Period, it will stick with them for life.
What is a Fear Period?
Puppies go through fear periods about two times going through Critical Socialization, where things that would normally not phase them are suddenly scary. The most common ages are 9 weeks and 13 weeks, but it is not decidedly so in every puppy. My advice for a puppy in this time is keep them home and keep it very happy for the few days to a week they are uncertain.
We do offer a crash-course in puppy rearing as a private session!
I got my dog at 6 months, can we social her now that she's a year and a half? She is scared of people and dogs.
No, socialization has long passed. However, we can desensitized her and build her in situations she needs help, and correct the negative. At this point it becomes Behavior Modification Training, which is no extra cost to regular Board-In, but we will update on you and what you should expect. This will take EXTRA time on your end at home to make sure she has the consistency needed to excel!
I hope this helps with the most common questions we receive in regards to dogs and our Board-In Programs.
Do not fret if your dog has an environmental, genetic, or socialization issue. Majority of dogs can be trained nonetheless. Just love your dog, reward them when good and give consequence when they are not.
As always, everyday is an adventure!
Amanda (and Boden pictured)