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Using Boot Camps for Dog Obedience Training

Marian K Nov 30, 2018
Many owners seek obedience training at a boot camp for their dogs as a solution to behavior problems. As one glove does not fit all, these training programs may show results in only some dogs.
Dog training institutions and schools have intense training programs, called 'doggie boot camps'. These programs are for dogs that are difficult to train; many also promise to correct behavioral problems. Like any other boot camp, your dog will have to live at the school for the course duration.
However, some schools allow the dogs to go home for the night. The time frame could be between a week and a month. The fees for the course, its content and duration, vary from school to school.
Most boot camps for dogs will teach your pet the basic commands―sit down, stand, stay, walk on a loose leash, and come when called. The curriculum might include teaching of good manners such as not jumping on people, taking food/treats gently, etc. If your dog needs special attention, many schools offer the facility of creating a program to suit your dog.
The effectiveness of boot camps is a disputed subject, and there are a large number of dissidents. One of the reasons that many trainers do not approve this method is that several facilities use punishment-based techniques. Also, the intense and long training sessions aren't very effective.
The increasing popularity of boot camps is probably due to owners not having the time to spare to train their dogs, and finding these as an easy, quick fix. What people fail to understand is that their dog's bad behavior stems from their own lack of leadership and ineffective communication.
While professional obedience training can make a huge difference in your dog's behavior, know that you are perfectly equipped to train you pet yourself.
The ideal way to teach your dog anything is to employ the reward system rather than punishment. When the dog obeys a command, you can reward him with positive affirmation (good boy), or a treat or playtime with a favorite toy. This type of training strengthens the bond between dog and master.
The primary and most important point your dog needs to understand is that you are the leader of the pack. This understanding is a must, or all your efforts will be futile. This understanding will form the basis of all future training. There are a few ways to establish your position.
One way to do it is to give him a command to eat after putting the food into his bowl. If you leave food out in his bowl and put it down and disappear, your dog may fail to understand the source of the food.
However, if you make him first sit and then place the bowl down, he will understand that you control the food. The fact is that in dog society, the pack leader controls the food. It is only with his permission and consent that the next in hierarchy eats, and so on down the ranks.
Once he has to seek your permission, he will understand that you are the leader. Similarly, one should first make him sit before letting him go outside. Once you open the door, have him sit till you give him a command to go outside.
While taking your dog for a walk, always lead, for this allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Ensure that you are the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should keep pace beside or behind you during the walk. Control your pet's movement by using a short leash. Use the leash to communicate, guide, and correct your dog.
When training your dog, it is best to focus on one command at a time, till it is properly grasped, or confusion might set in. While training your dog to obey an order, indicate to him what you expect him to do, and constantly repeat the word you want him to respond to.
For example, while teaching him to sit, gently push down his rear while repeating the word 'sit', and reward him with a treat when he does comply.
However, if you feel that the only way to solve your dog's behavioral problems is by sending it to a boot camp, then find out in detail the methods being employed by the trainers for behavior modification. Also, find out if the trainers are qualified to conduct such training.
Better still, if you have the time, be present to watch the process. For good measure, also ask for a list of verifiable veterinarian references. From them, you can verify if the techniques employed by the school produce results.