Dog Training: Should You Send Your Dog to Dog Camp?
Do you live in one of the over 43 million households in the US that include the family dog? In a 9-month span in 2017, there were almost 600 adoptions of dogs in Chicago. That’s a lot of dogs!
Dogs are the most popular pet that Americans own, and if you have one, you already know exactly why. Dogs, in general, are perhaps the most loyal, loving creatures on the planet.
You may have heard about board and train programs, or dog camp. Is this a viable option for your pup?
Let’s take a look.
What Is Dog Camp?
Sending your dog to dog camp is kind of like sending your kid to summer camp. Except instead of spending their days canoeing and taking archery classes, your dog will be learning to behave (and having fun!)
However, not all dogs are saints. Some need a little help in the “behaving themselves” department. What do you do if you don’t have time (or don’t know how) to train your dog well?
Some dog camps offer basic courses. Your dog will learn to sit, come, not to jump on people, not pull on the leash, not to counter-surf, etc.
Other camps are more intense and are designed for more specialized training. For example, if your dog is anxious or overprotective this type of dog camp can help.
For some families, the mere idea of sending Fido away for a few weeks is unbearable. After all, you’d be without a beloved member of the family for that time. If that’s your family, doggie day camp may be a better option for you.
For other families, this may sound like an attractive method of getting a well-behaved dog. In today’s world, many people are simply too busy to spend the time necessary to properly train the family dog.
However, there are various things you should take into consideration before sending Fido away. Let’s look at some of them.
One of the most obvious benefits of sending your dog to dog camp is that your dog will get to work with professional trainers. Well-run facilities offer excellent training services for your dog.
While they are at camp, they will be exercised, stimulated, and socialized with other people and animals. The dog that comes back to you from a few weeks at dog camp could be a completely different animal than the one you sent.
You Aren’t “Trained”
The advantage that you don’t have to do the training is also a disadvantage. Dogs have a hard time generalizing so they may have difficulty applying what they learned at dog camp to home life.
Also, unless you know how to properly treat the dog and reinforce what the trainer did, your dog’s behavior may revert once he gets back home.
It’s easy to avoid this problem, however. The best way to do this is to visit your dog a few times at camp. The trainer will bring you in on the training session and show you how to work with the dog.
This also teaches your dog that you are in charge in the same way that the trainer is. When you return home, you simply have to enforce the same rules so that your dog understands that what he learned at dog camp is the behavior that you now expect.
However, the big benefit is that reinforcement takes far less time than having to do all the training yourself. Plus, every dog is unique and has their own learning style. You may not be an expert dog trainer but professionals will know the right ways to communicate with your dog regardless of their learning style.
In addition, sometimes being around other well-behaved dogs is exactly what Fido needs to learn more quickly, which is what he’ll get at dog camp!
Length of Time at Camp
How long your dog may spend at dog camp is determined by several factors. A mild-mannered, easygoing dog will learn much quicker than a more stubborn dog and require less time at camp. Plus, how much training your dog already has is a factor.
On average, most dogs can learn to behave within a few weeks. At K9 University we offer packages of up to 4 weeks. You’ll receive regular updates on how Fido is doing so you can rest easy.
Finances are also a consideration. If full-on doggie boot camp is a little out of your price range, you may want to consider doggie day camp. This option offers the same benefits of training with the added perk that you still get to see Fido in the evenings.
Aside from quality and professional trainers, the facilities of dog camp are also an extremely important piece of the puzzle. You want Fido to be happy during his stay at dog camp.
The facility you choose should ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and time to play each day. Socialization with other dogs is also important. Like a kid at summer camp, your dog should be having so much fun at dog camp that he won’t want to go home!
We offer climate-controlled facilities where your dog will be safe and comfortable. Our accommodations are so large and luxurious we even like to refer to them as “condo kennels”!
How to Choose the Right Dog Camp
If you decide to send your dog to a dog camp, you’ll need to carefully choose the facility. Be sure to choose a reputable company. You want your fluffy friend to be happy and well taken care of during his time at dog camp. Talk to past customers and check out reviews.
Always visit the premises first. Pay close attention to how the current resident dogs are behaving. Do they seem happy and well adjusted? How do the ones who have been there a while behave?
From the instant you step on the grounds, it should be readily apparent to you that the dogs are happy and in good hands. The last thing you want to do is put your dog in a place that doesn’t offer proper care.
Is Dog Camp for You?
For most families, the benefits of dog camp are well worth it. Your dog will come home happy, well-adjusted, and, most importantly, a more well-behaved version of himself.
Doggie day camp and overnight boot camp are both great options and which one you choose is totally up to you. Pro tip: if you’re going on vacation and need to board Fido anyway, that’s a perfect opportunity to sign up for boot camp!
Have more questions? Feel free to contact us today!