Training question

Posted by Marvin
Jun 15, 2009
Hi everybody, I have a question regarding training. I have a 4 month German Shepherd and he is currently in puppy school and will be graduating this week. We were thinking about putting him in boarding school for 2 weeks where he will be trained properly by a professional trainer. We have some second thoughts about it, do you think would be better for us to do the training by just enrolling in training classes or just do the boarding school? We wont be able to see him for 2 weeks...Would he think we abandoned him or something? How would he feel when he will be back home? We had a bad experience with a previous dog before, wonderful dog and everything but then he turned on us and became aggressive and vicious (he was the Alpha Dog), so now we want to do everything right. Can someone plese advice us if we are doing the right thing? The training school was rated N.1 in our city...We are just worried that maybe it will be cruel to just leave him for 2 weeks and how it will affect our relationship with him later.
thank you for your help
Posted by catecate
Jun 16, 2009
Hi Marvin.

This is only my personal opinion but I would not be doing the boarding training at that age. No way.

Puppies go through a critical period (also called a fear period) very loosely based from around 12 to 16 weeks (so could be weeks either side of that depending on individual pup). It is an extra important time to make sure your pup only has good experiences and personally I would not entrust that to a stranger.

Also, training is just as important for us as it helps stregnthen the bond between us and our dog and you might be surprised how much you will learn yourself and how satisfying it is to train your own dog.

You can still always do the boarding thing down the track but why not join a good training club and do some research and reading on the subject and give it a go. You need to be your dogs advocate and leader and this is a great way to start.

Best wishes.
Posted by kjd
Jun 16, 2009
Another worry I would have is: how will my puppy be treated? If you don't see the actual training, the school could use methods you personally would find extremely offensive (hanging the dog, for example). Personally, I don't mind someone else handling my dog, but only if I can watch.
Posted by Marvin
Jun 16, 2009
No, the dog already goes to that school, so we are familiar to what kind of training they are going to use, plus they only take dogs for boarding school after they reach 6 months, not before that. Before that there is only puppy classes to socialize the dogs and to teach them basic training. Thank you for your replies and suggestions.
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 19, 2009
Hi Marvin and thanks for your post.
Regardless of the training and boarding facility I would highly recommend training classes over boarding. This is because training classes educate both you and your dog and teach you how to work well together. They also help instate you as alpha dog which is important in preventing aggression problems later. Also your dog is still young and at this point it is very important that your dog is out and about getting used to all the sites and sounds of the human world and your house in particular. Taking him out of this environment for 2 weeks at this critical time he will be at risk of being less adjusted to his place in your home and in the world in general and may be at an increased risk for phobias of things such as loud noises and other things he would normally be subjected to at this young age.

As far as classes go I would recommend enrolling in a good school (the one you are currently using may be fine), that promotes positive reinforcement rather than punishment. The class should also be small so that you get plenty of tuition but not one on one as the socialization with other dogs during class is an important part.

I hope this helps and if you have any further questions or concerns don't hesitate to ask.
Posted by K9-One
Jun 21, 2009
A few things to consider when taking a dog to a facility of this type. If you want a pet most of the training done is based on bonding. Getting a dog to do what you want it to do really depends on the dog wanting to do it for you. You really take a chance that the dog will not respond as well to your commands as it did for the trainer.
If you are looking for a protection dog or a dog that will need to work in some capacity, than this can be an avenue to pursue.
I find that the whole point of getting a puppy is the challenge of me training my dog to do the things that I want it to do. If you made it through puppy school than any advanced training you need to do will be a snap. Ask your puppy instructor for an advanced class that you are involved in. Take an agility class or tracking class that makes you and your dog a team. And most of all have fun with training. If you think of training as a chore, than it will be a chore.

K9 One
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jun 27, 2009
Hi Marvin,

I totally agree with everybody's recommendation of training your puppy yourself rather than sending him to a bording school.

The main reasons are:

1) Training classes are to train YOU how to train your dog. YOU are the one who needs to keep training your dog all through his life. There is no end to it as long as he lives so it is very essential for YOU to learn the techniques.

2) You and your dog will build a mutual trust and bonding through participating those classes together (you might have already experienced this through the puppy classes) and again this is a life time on-going thing. Your dog's behaviors are based on the relationship between you and your dog and this is a great opportunity to build it in a somewhat structured environment.

3) You will need to be living with him to learn about his real personality and your dog will learn his/your routine by living in your household. This includes the rules and boundaries that are specific in your household. He will be living with you for the rest of his life so it is very important that your dog becomes a member of your family. Every owner has a different expectation about his life with his dog so you will need to tailor your dog in the way you want him to behave. There is no almighty way.

4) Why are you giving up the precious moments with your beloved dog? It is your dog, your buddy, I would not give up any moment, especially it is such a critical time for you and him.

Don't count on somebody else. Observe your dog very closely everyday and proact on any unfavorable behaviors of his instead of waiting too long. It is a challenge to train dogs but it is also very rewarding responsibilities.

Good luck