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Discussion Starter #1
I am going out of town for several weeks and need to board the dog. I am debating sending her to a 'dog training camp' where she is worked with by trainers for the duration. It's obviously more expensive than just the boarding, but given we'll be spending a chunk of the cost regardless, I was thinking it might make sense to just have her trained for the 2 weeks rather than kenneled.

Have people ever sent their dog away for that? Is it scammy or actually beneficial? What are people's thoughts of them?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
As a quick follow up, we have two choices:

1) The kennel we use locally is run by a professional trainer and our dog likes it there. We can straight kennel or pay extra for the training. The issue is, as he up front states, our dog doesn't have any significant behavioral issues - she is obedient whenever she's there so he's not sure the value it would bring. He seems to be more attuned to 'fixing' serious problems. He trains the local police department's K-9 unit, is more the Cesar Millan style, and has worked with our dog before. We are worried, however, that because she's already obedient around him, the benefit wouldn't be as great and he won't work on better recall, extended down, etc.

2) We could go through the 'Sit Means Sit' camp that is on a neighboring island. It is more expensive, and requires her to fly solo, but seems to be more of an all encompassing training school (better recall, extended down, etc.).

Any thoughts? Our dog doesn't have anything truly serious behaviorally, but of course can stand to be polished and a few issues do provide challenges (some leash reactivity). We don't know if these types of camps are worth the cost and which would be the better option.
 

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Anyone who describes themselves with a "Cesar Milan Training Style" is not one I would want training my dog, period. Or even boarding them there.

As for training camps, I don't think much of them. The value is limited. Sure, your dog might learn some stuff, but because dogs don't generalize well, they might not realize that what they learned at camp is supposed to mean the same thing at home. And sometimes dogs forget cues when they come from a different person. Also, they're not going to go to a training camp and magically come back with an awesome recall and an extended down. It's something that you're going to have to continue to reinforce.

Personally, I would save that money from training camp and put it toward a course that teaches you how to become a more effective trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Lillith. To be clear, he doesn't describe himself as a Cesar Millan style - he simply calls himself a trainer - but that's my description based on watching him train our dog.

We don't see the camps as a quick fix as we know it takes continued training and consistency. It's just we saw the results from a friend who went this route and it gave us the idea it could be helpful, especially since the cost is the main hurdle and we'll be paying 70% of it already just by boarding. We were curious what people thought of them and I appreciate your input as we're going back and forth on it. Thanks.
 

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I would focus on safest and most comfortable boarding/kenneling set-up first, as even with daily training or activities the dog will spend the majority of the time kennelled and of course no training is worth it or matters if the set-up is not secure. I'd want things like double entry gates, perimeter fencing, good staff ratio, video feeds overnight if no one is on attending in person, solid barriers between kennels to prevent fence fighting/barrier aggression.

After that, I'd prefer just casual play interaction or yard time/walks a few times per day over formal training. Even a good trainer is going to train different than you, is going to have slightly different timing and hand gestures etc, and over all dog trainers are there to train the human owners how to do the work with their dog in the long term.

But a bad trainer, well, a LOT of damage can be done behind closed doors. A trainer that already has a tendency towards Milan style training when in view of the dog's owners can very easily cross into taking short cuts using punishment and punishment at an escalating rate when no owner is there. It's the "natural" extension of that style of training and it also works fast. It works badly in the long run with many risks, but it superficially can show improvement for when the owner comes back to get the dog; especially if an owner (not saying you, just generic owner) is likely to misunderstand a shut-down dog for an obedient dog.

I'd also be very hesitant to fly a dog when it is not required, like if you were moving to a new location or such. Not for a few weeks stay.
 

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I, personally, think neither would be your 'better' option. #1 - anyone that operates on a Cesar Milan type training style is NOT someone I would leave my dog with unattended. You simply don't know what they are doing when your back is turned.

#2 - 'Sit means Sit' is a known 'shock collar' training franchise. I wouldn't allow them to board my dogs, much less "train" them. I'd hate to find out what damage I had to undo upon returning.

Yes your friend is right - P+ methods & 'boot camps' yield "results". Are they helpful? Long term, I have to say absolutely not.

I will say that there are certain trainers that do 'board & train' that I would recommend. I am personal friends with two such people & I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their methods are completely force-free & positive reinforcement based programs. Other than that? Nope. No how, no way!
 

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1. I would never let a 'Caesar Millan' style trainer touch my dog. I know you said the trainer didn't explicitly market themselves as such. But I can gather what methods you are observing and I would not want to subject my dog to that.

2. Sit means Sit will indiscriminately put a corrective tool on your dog. No personal experience, but my friend tried to use them and after one consultation their dog was hiding in the bath tub and their problem was not helped in the slightest.


Also, I am in no way saying all board and trains are bad... But there have been a number of abuse cases reported from acclaimed board and train facilities. Good reviews don't mean much in the training world. And you never know what goes on when you can't see what folks are/aren't doing to your dog.

You already mentioned your dog doesn't have any huge problems. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Especially with questionable trainers/methods.
 

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#2 - 'Sit means Sit' is a known 'shock collar' training franchise. I wouldn't allow them to board my dogs, much less "train" them. I'd hate to find out what damage I had to undo upon returning.
Yikes, I skimmed over the name of the second option without it registering in my brain. Horrible training methods and a business model that is built on quickly "training the trainers" and selling the shock collars and such. So not just scary training for the dogs but one that puts profit above the well being of dogs and the dogs' relationship with their owners.

From their own website (bold highlight is mine):

Dog Trainer Revenue Streams
As you evaluate this franchise opportunity, it’s likely you will create a spreadsheet to forecast expenses and revenues for your Sit Means Sit franchise.

On the revenue side, you have three streams of income to forecast:

Obedience training fees from consumers
1) for those locations that are zoned appropriately, board and train packages are a steady staple of income.
2) Sit Means Sit collar sales
3) Product sales (inventory from our online store) SMS owners buy all products at wholesale prices, allowing significant profit from resale (see local tax officials to see if you need a sales tax license for such sales).
A price sheet will be included in your new owner packet.

In addition to the above revenue streams, Sit Means Sit is continually working to expand your income potential through partnerships with like-minded companies. The affiliate program offered through Sit Means Sit allows for supplemental income through passive income streams. Your bottom line is increased through minimal effort on your part.

[...]
Our secret to our success is the complete combination package. Our safe, time tested and proven training regime, along with our specifically designed packages, and lifetime guaranteed, Sit Means Sit training collar. Those who become certified dog trainers will learn and master all techniques described above.

----
End quotes from website.


Shock collar training is a quick way to make a change in a dog. Because it is a strong physical deterrent. It hurts! Are there very limited circumstances with skilled trainers that an electronic collar may have an appropriate use? Yes (snake avoidance for example) but that's very so much NOT what people sending pet dogs to a board and train are in need of. It is used as a quick fix by trainers with often limited skills in their toolbox and a devotion to the way of the collar (Sit Means Sit actually says "We call it the ‘language of the collar.’) and it is far far too easy to ramp up to high and more frequent levels of jolts to shut down behaviors without teaching the dog anything in terms of the appropriate action or building a dog's confidence to make good choices etc.

It wasn't a Sit Means Sit franchise, but a trainer that used very similar methods that I saw use mostly positive reinforcement in group classes with owners (with a few leash corrections that weren't extreme) use the shock collar on board-and-train dogs to the point that one was starving from stress to skin and bones in just 3 weeks of boarding and another was so shut down that his dog aggression had supposedly been cured but when he went home, attacked a small dog (because he was cured, no precautions needed, right? /s) and ended up put to sleep because a human was injured in trying to protect the small dog.
 

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I use an E Collar. However, there is a technique to it. Thinking you can teach people in masses ("Sit Means Sit") is simply naive. That is bout selling merchandise, not effectively training dogs. I am not a fan of Ceasar either.

I have no issue with Board and Train facilities but they need to have references from repeat customers. I have no need to use such facility but do not "diss" them for others.

If anyone here recalls WVasko he made his living with Board and Train. He sent me videos of his work. He was an excellent dog trainer. After the board and train he gave each owner a lesson and a video of the dog working for their reference.
 
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