Boot camp training for dogs is an incredibly successful method to help teach basic obedience, restructure bad manners or fix behavioral problems. From puppies as young as 3 months to older dogs, the concept of sending them off to school can often be life-changing for both dogs and their owners.
If sending your dog away scares you, I suggest some important points for you to consider:
Visit the facility
Is it clean, are the employees professional, friendly and helpful? Take a tour and look at the condition of the dogs. Does it smell bad or look dirty? Is there appropriate ventilation, access to fresh water, do they make individual custom meals for each dog, do the dogs get to interact safely and do they have access to plenty of time outside?
Is the facility licensed, insured, and do they have security and safety practices?
Ask for references! Most often a good training facility is referred by veterinarians and very often by word of mouth through happy customers.
How is the employee to dog ratio and what do the dogs do throughout the weeks and weekends?
What is Boot Camp
At QK, we are dog experts. Our passion for tired, trained happy dogs is exuded in the pride we take in our facility, our care for the dogs and the standards for our training. We know how to interact with dogs because we don’t love dogs… We RESPECT dogs. With respect comes the knowledge and of understanding their needs. Dogs thrive on structure, rules, exercise and pack interaction.
Often first-time dog owners or even long-time owners just do not have the knowledge, time or capability to train a puppy. From the start the puppy learns bad habits, unruly manners and they are often coddled and handicapped since owners provide mostly affection rather than set a standard for rules and start good training. Soon the pup doesn’t even know how to learn because they were never held accountable. Owners think it is ‘mean’ to make a puppy do something. That pup grows into a teenager who then cannot process basic tasks such as walking on leash or even being respectful of humans. Just because they are cute, puppies get away with jumping, biting, and owners just do not know how to hold the pup accountable. In today’s society where every kid gets a ‘participation ribbon’ just for showing up, dogs are equally treated with more praise and coddling then with responsibility for their behavior. Cookie or treat-training and non-stop praise without clear correction for unwanted behavior give dogs the reins to take over. Most of the information out there today on dog training says, “ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior”. Well, this is absurd to me! So if a puppy bites you or jumps you are to turn away, ignore them or give them a toy to re-direct? While you are at it, why don’t you send them a text message telling them that you really do not like the way that they are acting, and you will take away their toys if they do not behave? Sorry, but this is not clear communication for dogs. Ever see a puppy annoy or disrespect an adult dog? That puppy gets a firm growl and often a scary quick attack bite more frightening than painful, and the puppy gets a CLEAR message… DON’T do that again!
When a puppy or dog comes to QK Boot Camp, they start right off with rules. From kennel runs or crates to supervised feeding and human interaction, every moment is about structure. What they may have previously gotten away with at home (barking, jumping, pulling on leash, being obnoxious with humans, etc.) now gets addressed and corrected. Furthermore, the entire staff is consistent, and the dogs are put into a teaching environment. This change in life literally ‘reboots’ the dog and they have a new start. This allows them to learn more quickly as things are very black and white. We use tremendous patience, persistence, and repetition to teach the dogs their leash skills, and we are quick to correct lack of effort, refusal or disrespectful behavior. Just as quick as we correct, we move on again to teach, we do not hold grudges, get angry, frustrated or annoyed. This method sends a clear message of leadership to the dog and they can process the lessons and learn very quickly.
Unfortunately, as soon as the owner returns, the dog can easily revert to their old ways. This is very common and once the owner is around, it is normal for the dog to go back to their old behavior. However once the owner sees the wonderful training and new behavior, the owner is most often more eager and willing to step up and be the dog’s leader. No matter how much training a dog has, if an owner is not willing to demonstrate the consistent leadership by enforcing obedience, rules, and structure, the dog will take over the relationship and the human becomes the follower.
In the grand scheme of things, 2 week or 4-week boot camp goes by in a blink! Call it 14 or 28 days and dogs are expected to learn a whole new lifestyle!? Well, it does happen, and we have tremendous success at QK with our boot camp programs. This time away from the dog’s home life and comfort zone is a relaunch for the dog. They get a fresh new start and progress quickly. The truth about boot camp is that training the dogs is the easy part! The dogs are eager, willing and happy to learn. The owners… well, that is and has always been the challenge. The dogs are a reflection of their home life and owner interaction. The dogs tell us a story and they do not lie. Whether they are fearful, overweight, aggressive, or unruly, their behavior clearly shows us what the owners did or did not do. In order to be successful with our training, we must clearly train the owners, explain how, why, when and where and we must be able to prove our words through the actions of the dogs. When we are able to train the owners as effectively as we can the dogs, the owners can successfully become the trainer! A knowledgeable, confident owner becomes the Leader and the dog willingly, eagerly and happily becomes the follower.