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You’ve considered or even tried group classes, but the environment for your dog is  overwhelming and incredibly distracting. You’ve done some research, and now you need to weigh the two remaining training options: a board and train program or private lessons. If that’s where you currently find yourself, you’re reading the right post.

To Board and Train or Private Lessons?

You know you need professional training if:

  1. Your best efforts to address behavior issues haven’t succeeded.
  2. Living with the current situation is unfair to YOU and/or your DOG.

What exactly is a board and train program?

In board and train programs the dog will stay at the training facility, or sometimes at the home of a trainer for the duration of the program which is usually three to five weeks. While they aren’t actively training, the dogs are  kenneled. Crate training is foundational to the training process and may actually provide a sense of security for your dog. A good trainer will make sure the dog is getting plenty of daily activity, so this shouldn’t be a major concern, but a crate-trained dog is almost always a prerequisite.

Also, training companies usually allow, but discourage visits until the end of the program. Most training companies require a board and train to address serious behavior issues (aggression, fear, biting, etc.). Finally, they normally include a couple hours of owner practice at the end of the program to help ensure the new behaviors and skills transfer back home.

What can I expect from private lessons?

Private lessons are exactly what they claim to be. They remove the dog from the group, or class, environment. This is often necessary for actual progress in the beginning stages of training due to the inherent distractions of the group. In some cases, a group environment can even be a safety and liability issue, so private lessons solve that problem.

Working one-on-one with a trainer, you’ll get to see the techniques and strategies used to teach new skills and modify behavior. A great trainer will transfer his or her expertise to you while the dog is being trained. This extra owner involvement requires greater time investment but delivers the most on knowledge and skills. This is a major private lesson advantage.

Highly competent trainers and dedicated owners can cover just as much, if not more, ground as the board and train. Private lessons also have the added benefit of being less costly since they require less of the trainer’s time and avoid facility costs.

Let's Break It Down

Board and Train Programs

  • Dog will stay at training facility/home of trainer
  • Kenneled when not actively training 
  • Last approximately 3-5 weeks
  • Usually allow but discourage visits
  • Required to address serious behavior issues
  • Include a couple hours of owner practice at the end of the program

Private Training

  • One-on-one training
  • Hands-on coaching with trainer and owner
  • Owner involvement requires time investment
  • Delivers the most on knowledge and skills
  • Less costly as they re quire less of the trainer’s time

How do I decide between the two?

It comes down to time and cost. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you low on time, but completely dedicated and ready to pay? 

Well then, a board and train program is your best bet. You’ll still need to be consistent and learn the basics at a go home session, but the dog will have done his part with the trainer.

  • Can you attend two to three 90-minute training sessions over the course of five weeks? 
  • Can you commit to 15 minutes of daily training, a daily walk, and a bit more consistency throughout the day? 

If so, private lessons are for you, and you’ll save money and get a real dog training education in the process. 

Chill Out Dog Training offers private, at-home/in-field lessons & and is prepared for both new dog owners and challenging behavioral issues.

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