Four Week Board and Train Program
(Please note, I will ultimately decide what training program will be best for you & your dog based on their needs and your goals)
Type of Training
The type of training that I do at Paige’s Pet Services, is called balanced training. The principles of balanced training involve positive rewards for behaviours that I want (focus, patience, impulse control etc.), and corrections for behaviours that I don’t want (jumping up, barking, counter-surfing etc.). I teach the dogs the behaviours that I want to see, so that they know their expectations. They learn to follow the rules just like we do!
Training Tools and Equipment
There are a few training tools that I utilize in my program, which help me and ultimately you as the owner, communicate with your dog. Below, I will provide a brief description of the tools I use and why I like them. If there are any that you are unsure about or have questions about, please reach out to me!
Herm Sprenger Prong Collar
During the training, I use a prong collar. I describe it to my clients as “training wheels”. For dogs that pull and jump, the prong collar is actually much safer than flat collars, choke chains and martingale collars. These collars can encourage the dog to pull, which can lead to tracheal damage. The prong collar that I use has a tracheal plate that is made specifically to protect the neck and trachea if the dog does pull. Additionally, prong collars are made to apply even pressure around the neck, compared to other types of collars put an excessive amount of pressure on the dogs neck if they decide to pull or lunge. The prong collar allows me to gently and safely guide them, so that I can teach them exactly what I want from them. This way, expectations are very clear and less corrections are needed! The reason that I use this specific type of prong collar, is because the tips of the prongs are intentionally rounded, so that they cannot not dig in or pierce the dogs skin. The prong collar is directional, which is why I teach with it first.
I use a low-level e collar from E Collar Technologies. It is a fantastic communication device, and ultimately provides a safety net for your pup! This is NOT a shock collar and is different from such. The e-collar is a muscle stimulus and is similar to the sensation of a TENS machine. I always let parents try it out first, before putting it on the dogs. The e-collar also has a vibrate function, which I use to teach recall. With this device, dogs can be trained off-leash, recall directly to you and much more!
Crate training is a really important part of dog training and is something that the dogs will be using while they are here. Dogs historical origins come from wolves. In the wild, these animals would seek out dens as a safe space. Essentially, the crate acts as a “den” for your dog. It significantly lowers stress and anxiety in dogs, when introduced properly. It also ensures their safety and the safety of your home, while you are gone. With the crate, there is no possibility of your dog getting into something harmful or dangerous.
“Place” is a command that I teach, so that your dog can learn to just exist with you. For this command, I use an elevated cot (I personally use and recommend the brand Veehoo). This is the perfect command for dogs that are constantly underfoot or begging for attention. The command involves having your dog lay down on the bed for a period of time, until released or given another command. Although it does not seem like much, dogs love being given a job to do. In this case, the dogs job is to sit calmly on his/her place until asked to do otherwise. This can be extremely useful when you are watching TV, preparing/eating dinner, vacuuming, opening the door/letting guests in, camping etc.
This is a can of pressurized air that lets out a “hissing” sound to automatically correct any unwanted behaviours. This can include silliness in the crate, barking, jumping, nipping etc. This tool works well to take your dog’s attention away from whatever could be causing the bad behaviour, or from the actual behaviour itself. (digging, eating socks etc.)
This is simply a rolled-up towel. Throw it at them or at the crate to quickly stop unwanted behaviour. I will teach you the proper techniques on how to use this method.
About the program
The four-week program is designed for dogs who have a fight or bite history on another dog, who exhibit severe leash reactivity/aggression, selective listening, lack of recall skills, major separation/stranger anxiety, crating issues, food guarding/aggressive etc.
What their days will look like
During their time here, they will be in a very structured environment. More structure means less opportunities for your dog to make their own decisions, thus limiting the number of bad decisions that will be made!
Each day, your dog will have two half hour training sessions, where we work on basic obedience skills (sit, down, place recall, out, kennel, heel, yes and no). They will get one 45-minute to an hour walk and one controlled playtime sessions with myself or other balanced dogs (once they are ready, of course). They will also receive bathroom breaks throughout the day and will be fed in the crate. The first week is primarily about the dog settling in, getting used to me, a new routine, a new environment, new rules and expectations. Goals for this week include practicing calm crating, working on obedience skills and starting a bathroom routine.
During their second week, your dog will be used to the crate and will know their basic commands. At this time, we start adding in small distractions to place work, walks, crating and commands, to tighten up their skills. Distractions can include people, other dogs, bikes, toys etc. They will start to learn their place in the world and understand that they may not have your attention all of the time.
Week three will be learning how to accept touch and affection in a healthy and calm state of mind. This means understanding that pets and attention is on our terms and not theirs. We work on people coming to the door and remaining calm while on “place”. They will be expected to calmly accept touch as well. I will take them on structured walks to many different public places, including store fronts, trails and parks. This is a great opportunity for real-world distractions. This week we will also focus on recall! Please keep in mind, that this is all dependent on COVID restrictions during the time of your dog’s board and train.
Week four is when we put all of your dog’s skills to the test and make sure all of their commands are solid. This a usually a really fun week for the dogs! They will be allowed more controlled free roam of the house, while still practicing their “place” command extended periods of time. We will be going on hikes and pack walks with other balanced dogs and a group of trusted people. I will also take your dog on short drives to get them used to being calm in the car.
I do not force socialization between dogs and people or with other dogs. There will, however, be more than one dog in the home during your dog’s board and train. I make sure the dogs are comfortable with one another and that proper socialization occurs between the dogs. It is important to remember that you need to advocate for your dog’s space when they are uncomfortable with something. It is okay for your dog to dislike people or dogs coming up to them. However, they should be okay with people and dogs walking by or walking up to you to talk on the street. I often bring in other balanced and structured dogs that I know are trained, to use as a distraction for your dog’s training, and to encourage development of proper social skills!
Your role in the training
All that you have to send with your pup is a collar, leash and their food. Halfway through the program, you will come and meet with me and your dog for a mid-session. The purpose of this visit is to go over what we have worked on so far, to get a feel for the equipment, and of course, to say hi! This is also a chance for you to ask any questions. At this meeting, I will send you home with a write-up of what your dog’s new routine will look like when they return home. You’ll also receive the e-collar training manual, so you can familiarize yourself with it, to ensure that you are comfortable using it.
COST: $3,700+HST (Training Equipment Included)