Board and Train is one of those services that deserves it’s own master card commercial. Cost of boarding/training = $X/day x # of days, benefit of an improved dog priceless. Watson the golden retriever, just over 5 months old, is a charmer. With his blond good looks and his sporty attitude about life, it’s easy to forget about his increasingly rude behavior within the normal expectations of a dog within a home. But with a 3 day board and train, that’s all about to change.
Day 1 is about adjusting. A board and train dog (always a private or group dog client) gets to meet & greet the menagerie and learn the rules. There are many, but all have a purpose. If appropriate, and it usually is, the B&T dog also gets to play in the yard, go for a walk, chew on some bully sticks (for Watson this included a specially prepared-in-advance dinner kongsicle), get massaged. New to the environment, a B&T dog is not left unsupervised until they learn the lay of the land and prove there is some trust (and a reliable recall). There is not a whole lot of expectation at first, but constant supervision ensures no trouble. I call this adjustment phase, Explain, and if necessary, Redirect and Reward. Repeatedly!
Watson passed Day with with Flying Colors. At night I tethered him on a chain to the radiator next to my bed with a soft bed to lie on. He whimpered for a few minutes and then settled down and slept peacefully through the night. Phew!
As I write this now, on the morning of his first full day at Camp A Better Pet, he is howling mournfully from a crate downstairs. My dogs and I are holed up upstairs listening to the story of woe he is trying to express. My dogs are unimpressed.
Why, you might ask, is he being locked away? Because he didn’t want to listen. All I asked him to do was to lie down and stay. He wouldn’t do it. So I turned around and left him. Eventually he’ll stop the moaning, it can’t go on forever. To most owners, hearing the dirge of lament is akin to torture. To me it is fascinating to hear the layers of angst and annoyance be communicates in his howling, yipping, barking and groaning. He is safe. He has been let out and already peed and had a bowel movement. He has been fed. He is not bleeding from any body part. He is just frustrated and annoyed that he is locked up down there and no one is near him and he knows we are here.
When he stops carrying on. I will return to him and put him through some paces. Long down stays, recalls, playing and the comfort of being near me. I dare say he’ll start to get it when the consequence of defiance is some time to think on his own. Aha! He’s quieted down. Only took 45 minutes. Off to tend to him! Stay tuned!
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