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How Does Puppy Board and Train Work?

Written by Kate LaSala

September 9, 2020

If you’ve been on any of my recent Facebook Lives, you know I’ve been offering board and train (B&T) as a premier service for puppy clients in/around Greenwich CT.  So I thought I’d document a bit about what B&T looks like and what to expect if this is a service you’re interested in.  This service is available only to puppies under the age of 16 weeks at the start of the stay.  The process begins with puppy phone consult to review lots of puppy basics and to discuss the owner’s priorities and to ensure the dog is a candidate for a B&T, as not all dogs are.

My current B&T, a 10 week old Sharpei named Bruno is here for 2 weeks and is doing great.  Puppies who board & train are a member of our family for the duration of their stay.  If we go on an outing with our dogs, your puppy comes too. This is one distinction between a B&T like mine and a boot camp, which I’ve written about in the past.  I also only take one puppy client for B&T at a time.  This ensures your dog gets at least an hour of dedicated training per day, an hour of enrichment and socialization, an hour of exercise and lots of opportunistic training, snuggles and adventures throughout the day, as a side effect of living with a dog trainer.   Every day I send daily videos of the skills your dog is working on learning and create a YouTube playlist that you can share with friends and family.  See Bruno’s playlist here to see all the skills he’s learning so far. And at the end of the stay, there is a one hour transfer session with the family that is included to show you how to keep going with what I’ve started.  Remember, dogs aren’t computers that just get programmed and then we use them.  We have to keep practicing and reinforcing behaviors we want more of and during the transfer session I will show you how to do that and answer any questions you have.

So what skills does the dog learn?  Well, since I only take puppies less than 16 weeks old, there is a heavy focus on socialization as a primary task, since socialization is time sensitive.  So we do field trips into town, to dog-friendly stores, to the park and if possible, I try to set up play dates. Of course I work on lots of other basic skills as well but at such a young age, socialization is critical.  Obedience skills can be taught at any age, but I certainly start off the process and lay a good foundation for lots of basic skills while your dog is here. I put together a list of 37 tasks that we might work on, depending on the length of your dog’s stay,

  1. Touch
  2. Sit from stand
  3. Down from sit
  4. Sit from down
  5. Stand from sit
  6. Down from stand
  7. Stand from down
  8. Recall
  9. Down-stay
  10. Go to mat
  11. Crate Training (including go to crate on verbal)
  12. Sit-stay
  13. Sit for vet-exam
  14. Wait at doorway
  15. Wait inside car (door open)
  16. Stay at open front doorway
  17. Anti-Jump
  18. Polite Greeting at doorway
  19. Leave It
  20. Loose leash walking
  21. Heeling/Following (let’s go & this way!)
  22. Auto-sit on walks
  23. Novelty socialization (unsteady surfaces, agility equipment, exploration)
  24. Socialization (dogs, people, places, noises)
  25. Body Handling (paws, ears, skin flaps, mouth, picking up, collar grabs, wheelbarrow)
  26. Resource guarding prevention
  27. Food bowl guarding prevention
  28. Take it/drop it
  29. Lateral Recumbency
  30. Chin rest
  31. I Heart (dog’s name) – dog sticks snout into your heart shaped hands like this!
  32. Potty Bells
  33. Paw/Shake
  34. Roll Over
  35. Spin/Turn
  36. House Training, if needed
  37. Acquired Bite Inhibition (puppy biting/time outs for inappropriate biting)

Of course, not every dog will learn everything on this list but these are lots of the things we may decide to focus on and this will be discussed during your initial consult.  If you are interested in this premier service, please schedule your puppy phone consult today!

Happy training!

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