As a trainer, I get calls daily from people looking for help training their dogs. I offer different venues to train. A lot of calls are regarding board and train. It sounds so great to drop off your dog and three weeks later you have a perfect dog. The reality is, you have a trained dog and now you need to work with the dog so it will listen to you and not revert to previous bad behaviors. I try to talk people out of it all the time, because training your dog is an incredible experience. It creates a bond between you and your dog that you just can’t forge any other way.
When you and your dog are learning and working together you become very close—you learn how to communicate clearly with each other during the course of obedience training. The regular rewarding of your dog’s good behavior leads to a joyful connection with you, and your dog will soon learn to repeat rewarded behavior. It’s also a positive way to encourage your dog to not repeat behavior that is not rewarded—and with a little patience, your dog will learn the difference. A dog that knows what his owner expects will be calmer and less frustrated in general. Not hearing “No!” shouted on a regular basis will help your dog stay relaxed and free of anxiety.
Outside of formal training, you can make practicing fun by playing training games, like hide and go seek/come game, trick training, and teaching your dog to stay still while grooming. Agility training reinforces strong communication between the two of you and challenges your dog both mentally and physically. Over time, you and your dog will start moving together, in sync, like a beautiful dance.
Each of these training types build trust, security, and love with each session—all the things we and our dogs need to create a bond. My dogs work with me daily, and the relationship we have is so rewarding and strong. They make everything better—the beach, mountains, swimming, and just hanging out with family.
Training improves the overall quality of your dog’s life, because the better behaved they are, the more likely you will be to include them in your activities. And the more likely you’ll be to plan activities specifically for the two of you! Having a dog in your life is proven to have physical health benefits, as well as mental health benefits. So don’t send your dog away for training—find a trainer who will work with you and your dog together. Training together, the two of you will learn to communicate with and rely on each other, solidifying your bond. And there’s nothing more satisfying for a dog owner than that.