There are many different training options available to you as a dog owner. The three most popular are Group Classes, Private In-Home training and the last is boarding your dog and having them trained, this is sometimes referred to as a Boot Camp or Board and Train. Picking a training route for your dog should be based on four variables; Your budget, your goals, your schedule, and what is best for your dog. In this article we will explore the different options, the costs and the advantages/disadvantages of each option.
Classes are a great way to either fully train your dog or advance some obedience skills that your dog already has. For young dogs, class is a great option to work on socialization as your pup will be around new dogs, people and places. Obedience classes are generally the least expensive dog training option. The cost of the trainer’s time is spread out over multiple clients. This also leads us to some of the drawbacks of classes. In class settings the trainer's time is divided amongst all the clients and their dogs, if your dog needs special attention or you are struggling it might be hard to get the advice you need. Another drawback of group classes is scheduling. Group classes are usually set at the same time each week at a specific location and are not flexible. If you have a busy schedule it might be difficult to get to the class and you might miss out on important training advice.
Doggie Boot Camp/Board and Train
Dog boot camp is generally the most expensive dog training option. This is mainly because you are paying for the care of your dog or a boarding fee in addition to paying for training. A board and train is best for owners that are extremely busy or happen to be going on a trip and will need to board their dog anyway. This will help defer some of the costs as you would have needed to pay for boarding anyway. During a board and train most trainers will teach your dog all of your obedience commands and work on other things that you request, this makes it great for just about any dog. You should know that most trainers/kennels have a minimum age for taking dogs, so plan accordingly if you have a young pup. A board and train will also help with socialization as your dog will be around other dogs and people in a very public setting. Board and Trains differ in terms of length and it is important to talk with your trainer about what is reasonable to accomplish given the length of your program. The largest drawback to a board and train is that you are not present for the training. To ensure the training that has been done is transferred over to you, make sure that your board and train comes with follow up from the trainer.
Private In-Home Lessons
Private lessons that take place in your home are a great option to get you involved in the training, keep costs moderate, and have the one on one attention you require. Private lessons cost more than classes, but significantly less than a board and train program. One lesson usually costs less than a six week group class and you get the sole attention of your dog trainer. Private lessons allow the trainer to give you direct guidance for your dog in the place that you want them trained; your home! The largest drawback of private lessons involves a lack of socialization as a direct part of the training. To ensure proper socialization ensure you work with your trainer to develop a plan to get your dog around as many dogs, places and people as possible.
As you can see, each training option has it's advantages and disadvantages. While making the choice might seem difficult, know that any training that you do will be beneficial for your pup! The ideal solution for you might even be combining multiple options.