Service dogs are an important part of many people's lives. They can provide assistance with a wide range of tasks, from alerting their handlers to medical issues to helping with mobility and balance. However, training a service dog can be a time-consuming and challenging process. That's where board and train programs come in. In this post, we'll provide the ultimate guide to board and train service dogs, including what they are, how they work, and what to look for in a program.
What is a board and train service dog program?
A board and train service dog program is a type of training program in which your dog is sent to a professional trainer's facility for a period of several weeks or months. During this time, the trainer works with your dog to teach them the skills they need to become a service dog. These programs are designed to provide intensive training and socialization in a controlled environment, and can be a good option for people who don't have the time or expertise to train their dog themselves.
How does a board and train service dog program work?
A board and train service dog program typically begins with an evaluation of your dog's temperament and skills. The trainer will then work with you to determine what tasks you need your service dog to perform, and what skills they need to learn in order to do so. Once the training plan is in place, your dog will be sent to the trainer's facility for the duration of the program.
During the program, your dog will receive intensive training and socialization, including exposure to a variety of people, places, and situations. The trainer will work with your dog on a one-on-one basis, as well as in group settings with other dogs. The length of the program can vary depending on the trainer and the needs of your dog, but typically lasts several weeks to a few months.
After the program is complete, your dog will be returned to you and the trainer will work with you to ensure a smooth transition. You will be given instructions on how to reinforce your dog's training at home, and may be required to attend follow-up training sessions with the trainer.
What should I look for in a board and train service dog program?
When choosing a board and train service dog program, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are some things to look for:
Experience and qualifications: Look for a trainer who has experience working with service dogs, and who has the qualifications to provide this type of training. Some trainers may have certifications from organizations such as the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
Training methods: It's important to find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement-based training methods. Avoid trainers who use punishment or aversive techniques, as these can be harmful to your dog and can negatively impact their training.
Facilities: Make sure the trainer has a clean, safe, and well-maintained facility where your dog will be staying. The facility should provide adequate space for your dog to exercise and play, as well as a comfortable and clean living environment.
Follow-up support: Look for a trainer who provides follow-up support after the program is complete. This can include phone or email support, as well as in-person follow-up training sessions.
Cost: Board and train service dog programs can be expensive, so be sure to consider the cost when choosing a program. Keep in mind that the cost will vary depending on the length of the program, the qualifications and experience of the trainer, and the facilities provided.
If you're considering a board and train service dog program for your dog, it's important to know what to expect. These programs can be highly effective in training your dog to become a service dog, but they can also be a significant investment of time and money. Here are some things to expect from a board and train service dog program:
Intensive Training: One of the main benefits of a board and train program is the intensive training your dog will receive. During the program, your dog will work with a professional trainer on a one-on-one basis, as well as in group settings with other dogs. The trainer will work with your dog to teach them the skills they need to become a service dog, and will provide socialization and exposure to a variety of people, places, and situations.
Length of Program: The length of a board and train program can vary depending on the needs of your dog and the trainer you choose. Most programs last several weeks to a few months. During this time, your dog will live at the trainer's facility and receive daily training sessions.
Owner Training: While the board and train program will provide your dog with intensive training, it's important to remember that you will also need to undergo training. You will need to learn how to reinforce your dog's training at home, as well as learn how to work with your service dog in public.
In conclusion, board and train service dog programs can be a good option for people who need assistance in training their service dog. It is important to do your research and find a program that meets your needs. Be sure to consider the facility, follow-up support, and cost before making your decision. With the right program, you can have a well-trained service dog that will be a faithful companion for many years to come.