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Training Classes, Private Lessons or Board and Train-Which is Best For Your Dog?



Congratulations! You just adopted a puppy or older dog and want to train them to be the best companion they can be.  There are so many options these days-in person, virtual, YouTube videos; training classes, private lessons or a board and train? It can be overwhelming.  A lot of it depends on what you and your dog are comfortable doing and where you are most comfortable learning.  This blog breaks down the pros and cons of dog training classes, private lessons, and board and trains.

 

Training Classes

These are usually held in a large area, maybe in a dog training facility or another large building.  Classes may also be held outside.

 

Pros

·        Classes usually group the learners by age or ability. 

·        They mainly follow a set curriculum so everyone learns the same set of skills at the same time.

·        Owners receive training on handling and managing their dog.  They can also observe other owners working with their dogs, helping them better understand cues, behavior, and dog body language.

·        People and dogs get to socialize with others.

·        The classes usually run for a set period of time-6 or 8 weeks, for example, and are often more affordable than private lessons or board and train programs.

 

Cons

·        Weather could affect the ability to hold an outside class; i. e. too hot, too cold, rainy, etc.

·        If the owner is sick, on vacation, or forgets the lesson, they’ve missed it.  The trainer isn’t going to go back and relay the information taught in that one lesson to the owner.

·        The trainer might not be able to focus as closely on each dog’s specific needs because they need to get through that day’s lesson.

·        Owners may get bored because time is being spent with others in the class.

·        Dogs may have different skill levels and progress faster or slower than other dogs in the class.

·        Classes can be stressful or distracting for some dogs.

·        Dogs with severe behavioral issues or aggression may not be suitable for group classes due to safety concerns.

·        A puppy may not be able to focus and just want to play with the other dogs during the lesson.

·        The owner may have to rush home from work to take the dog to class.

 

Private Lessons

Sometimes trainers with facilities with also offer private lessons but most private lessons are done in the owner’s home.  The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care offers private lessons exclusively in the owner’s home. For more information about our services, go to our website.

 

Pros

·        The trainer can customize a training plan to suit the specific needs and behaviors of each dog.

·        The trainer can spend their entire time and attention on that dog, allowing for faster progress.

·        Dogs are often more comfortable in their home making it easier to address specific behaviors that happen at home.

·        The owner and dog can take as much time as they need to develop a particular skill.

·        Training is one-on-one with one or all owners present.

·        The owner doesn’t have to rush the dog to class after a long day at work.

·        If the owner is sick or on vacation, the lesson rolls over to the next week.

·        The owner and trainer can travel to different locations for a “field trip” to work on various behaviors.

·        The owner can learn how to work with their dog without distractions and then add distractions in by intensity.

·        Private lessons are suitable for dogs with serious behavioral issues.

·        Owner can generally determine how many lessons they want/need.

 

Cons

·        Private lessons are usually more expensive than group classes due to the personalized attention given by the trainer.

·        Dogs don’t get to be around other people and dogs as much as they would during a class.

 

Board and Train

This is where the dog lives the trainer for several weeks or months to develop new skills.

 

Pros

·        The dog will be trained several times a day in a controlled environment

·        Intensive training may lead to quicker progress in a shorter period of time.

·        A dog suffering with severe behavioral issues that may need a structured and controlled environment may flourish with a board and train.

·        The dog is trained by the owner or employee of the facility using their experience and expertise.

 

Cons

·        Sending your dog to a board and train is the most expensive option because the dog will also be housed at the trainer’s facility and because of the intense work involved.

·        While some board and train trainers show the owner through videos or going home sessions what the dog learned during the programs, the owner might not learn the skills needed to maintain the dog’s behavior after the program ends.

·        The dog may find it difficult to adapt their new skills to the home environment.

·        Owners often don’t know or are unaware of what training tools the trainer used during the board and train to achieve a specific behavior. For instance, the trainer may use a prong or shock collar that’s not disclosed upfront to the owner.

Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider your dog's needs, your budget, and your own training capabilities before making a decision.


Aspect

Dog Training Classes

Private Lessons

Board and Train





Socialization

 Encourages interaction with other dogs

 Limited socialization

 Limited socialization

Structured Learning

 Follows a structured curriculum

 Tailored training program

 Intensive training

Cost-effective

 Typically more affordable

 Can be more expensive

 Most expensive option

Group Dynamic

 Dogs learn from peers

 Individual attention

 Limited owner involvement

Owner Education

 Owners learn handling skills

✔ Owners learn personalized techniques

 Limited owner education

Customized Approach

 Limited customization

✔ Training tailored to individual dog

 Intensive and personalized training

Focused Attention

 Less individual attention

 Trainer's full attention

 Intensive and focused training

Home Environment

 Training isn't at home

 Addresses home-specific challenges

 Limited exposure to home distractions

Intensive Training

 Not as intensive as other options

 Intensive, but not as much as board and train

✔ Intensive training period

Behavioral Rehabilitation

 Not suitable for severe issues

 Suitable for severe issues

 Specializes in severe behavioral issues

 

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