Beware Searching for “Dog Training and Boarding Near Me”

I have been involved in the dog training industry for almost 20 years. I have seen a lot in my time, and I have done things that other people would probably love to do (like work with Cheetahs, and highly advanced service dog training work for the disabled).

This is one of those “Tips” I have learned over the years:

Be very careful of someone who says they can “fix” all your dog’s obedience problems if the dog lives with them, or in their kennel, or comes to their boot camp for a specific period of time!

Please understand that there are a lot of GREAT professional dog trainers out there!

But my experience with this kind of “send them off to boot camp” dog training program (even from a dog trainer’s perspective) is not good.

Why This is Not Good…

German Shepherd training

Usually this type of dog obedience training is very expensive, and usually it is “guaranteed.”

I could charge you $1000 for a couple weeks of “guaranteed” obedience training sessions and promise to fix any problem. But one of the problems is that the dog will work for ME.

I CAN get animals to do just about boarders are not dog trainers

I am gooood! The sky is the limit with dog training for me. I can control aggression (I believe most aggression cannot be cured) and I can fix any obedience problem in a very short period of time!

If I came to your house and you gave me your dog for a few minutes you would be amazed to watch the transformation before your eyes.

I know what I am looking for, I can recognize the signs of aggression BEFORE your dog shows it, and I can train specific behaviors or fix simple behavior problems very quickly.

I have never met a dog that I couldn’t work.


That doesn’t mean YOU will have all these attributes when your dog comes home.

YOU will not recognize the signs of aggression before your dog shows them, you will not have the years of experience to know how to get your dog to perform a set of skills like I can, and, ultimately, your dog is going to live with YOU – not me!

This is Never the Way!


How often do you think your dog will come out of his crate or kennel?

Most often, it is only once (maybe twice) per day for 15 minutes to an hour, if he is lucky.

The rest of the time these board-and-train programs will have them rotting in a kennel.

Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of this in my career.

Remember how I said I only need a few minutes to work obedience miracles with your dog? Even if he was living with me that is all I would need. Many dog trainers are busy trying to make a living so those that choose this type of training generally have a kennel full of dogs to train.

The odds of interaction are not in your dog’s favor!!!

Even if your trainer swears the dog will live with him, be leery!


Compulsion is Faster

Beware! Compulsion, prong collars, choke chains, and shock collars are faster and the dog trainers don’t have to deal with the repercussions later in the training process. And we’ll show you how to make it FUN for your dog!

I Have Been There, and I Have Done This Kind of Training

Not everyone who does this type of obedience training sessions are bad or has bad intentions. Some people have integrity no matter what and these are the ones you would need to find.

But I only did it for people who were at the end of their “leash”, as it were, and were considering taking their dog to a shelter.

And, in those cases, the dogs did live with me in my home. I didn’t have a kennel, nor did I take more than one dog at a time, but I always wondered if this kind of obedience training (since the dog was learning to work for me) even worked.

I usually figured within a short amount of time the dog would regress to his former behavior.

But people are often too ashamed to admit they haven’t kept up on the training, so I rarely heard from any of the owners of the dogs I took in.

I could assume “I am AWESOME” but chances are higher that they were just afraid to contact me.

In Order for Your Dog to Change…

YOU need to be involved in your dog’s basic obedience.

And all it really takes is for you to do 5-minute, fun training sessions with your dog, three times per day (which we’ll cover more later in this article).

Here at, we have created 3 different categories of basic obedience games that we believe every dog lover should play with their dog themselves, instead of outsourcing to some random trainer.

Basic Obedience Category #1: Impulse Control Games

Impulse Control games are a crucial part of your dog’s basic obedience foundation and must be done by YOU: the dog’s owner.


These basic impulses include:

Food Impulses

Chase Impulses

Freedom Impulses

Barking Impulses

Jumping Up Impulses

Dog to Dog Impulses

Charging Ahead Impulses

Again, these are not impulses that you can do a google search for “local dog trainers near me” and find. These need to be issues handled by you.

Even if you never taught any other basic obedience commands, you’d still have a remarkably calm and pleasant dog by just playing these Impulse Control games with your dog.

To check out our full library of Impulse Control Games Click Here.

Basic Obedience Category #2: Learning to Listen to Commands

The next type of basic obedience focuses on you learning how to be the type of leader that your dog wants to listen to.

A classic example of this is the schoolteacher.

We’ve all had a teacher in school that we knew we had to show up and work for or there would be consequences, and, in contrast, we’ve all had the teacher who we knew would let us get away with anything.

Dog training is the same way.

Often when we send our dogs off to boot camp trainers, the training works because the dog is taught that the trainer won’t let him get away with bad behavior. But when they come back to us, if we are a trainer that they CAN get away with stuff on, then the dog’s training will be ruined.  Most dog owners actually cause their dog’s behavior problems without even knowing it.

That’s why we’ve designed a fun program that dog owners can use to teach their dog they actually mean what they say when they give commands. It’s full of games, tricks and strategies for getting dogs to want to listen to you when it comes to teaching them their basic obedience skills.

It’s called Hands Off Dog Training and you can check it out here.


When to Use a Local Dog Boarding and Training Facility

I do want to point out that local dog boarders, and dog walking services, can and SHOULD play a huge role in helping your dog turn into the best dog he can be, specifically when it comes to socializing your dog to other dogs.

Few things are more annoying or embarrassing than owning a dog who loses his mind whenever he happens to see another dog.

This is where reputable dog boarders, doggy day cares and dog walkers can really help you.

A Deeper Look into How Dogs Should be Socialized

A common myth that has been spread around the internet is that in order to properly socialize your dog, you should get him around other dogs.

This is only HALF true.

You see, one of the things I’d like to make sure you engrave in your brain is this truth:

The quickest way to raise a poorly socialized dog is to let him spend time with other poorly socialized dogs.

This is why you should NEVER take your dog to the dog park to get socialization. Because what kind of dog owner takes their dog to a dog park to get socialized? People who have dogs who aren’t socialized right?

Sure, there are a few good dogs there, but local dog parks are a $&*# show when it comes to the percentage of bad dogs that all come together to hang out. If you regularly take your dog to parks like that for interaction, your dog will come away from the experience with the belief that most dogs are bad.

What Your Dog Really Needs to Become Socialized

The thing pet owners need to understand is that the difference between a well socialized dog and a poorly socialized dog comes down to how confident the dog is, and how good he is at reading body language signals from other dogs.

For example, did you know that there are 9 types of tail wags, each type sending a different CLEAR signal to other dogs about how they feel?

Here’s a chart as an example:


Now here’s the bummer.

While every dog wags his tail in these patterns, and every dog is unintentionally sending off these signals to other dogs about how they feel….

not every dog knows how to read these tail wags. Especially a young puppy!

Take a second and put yourself in the dog’s shoes.

If you were flipping somebody off (not that you would ever do that 😉) and the person who you were flipping off had no idea that being flipped off was bad, and proceeded to run up and try to hug you….

How would that go?

Maybe not so well?

Well that’s what happens to dogs!

Poorly socialized dogs have no idea how to read each other, so they push the social envelope and end up bubble invading other dogs. It is critical, especially for a young puppy, to start to learn how to read the body language of other dogs at a young age.

This is where good dog boarding, walking or day care services can be a LIFESAVER, but only if you know how to spot them

The solution rests with PACK interactions

The best way to get a dog to learn what all the different body language cues mean is to put him into a pack of dogs about his same size, who’ve all been proven to be well behaved dogs.

I just did this with my own Golden Retriever who had developed some social anxieties around other dogs after being attacked twice while out on a walk as a puppy, and who had been attacked by another dog when he didn’t recognize the other dog didn’t want to play. My dog missed this message completely, proceeded to wrestle my niece’s dog, and it resulted in the other dog pinning him to the ground by the neck!

Suffice it to say my puppy was lacking in social skills, and I had noticed him constantly pushing other dogs too far who didn’t want to play.  So it was time for some socialization work.

So here’s the beauty of exposing poorly socialized dogs like mine to a pack.

When my dog was first put into the group play pen with thirty other dogs, he was nervous and hung away from the other dogs. But eventually a happy, social, dog decided to approach him to see if he wanted to play.

Dogs who want to play often do what’s called a play bow, as a signal that they want to engage in “bite free” wrestling. That’s what the new dog did to my dog, which he obliged, and they had a little fun playing.

Then as I continued to watch I noticed the true power that a pack of dogs plays in teaching social skills.

My dog, wanting to play, approached three other dogs and attempted to play bow to the dog in the middle. The dog did NOT reciprocate (because he didn’t want to play). However, one of the dogs off to the right DID, so what happened? My dog just decided to play with the dog that wanted to play, and not the one who didn’t.

dog play and positive reinforcementThis pack scenario allows dogs to experiment with how they greet other dogs and learn to recognize the different ways that other dogs respond.

After a few days of this, my dog was able to see what dogs wanted to be played with, and which ones didn’t! If my dog was put in a kennel with just one other dog that wouldn’t want to play, it wouldn’t have provided the same social signal learning that a group of dogs can provide.

SIDE NOTE: Many pet owners who wish for their dogs to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test, where their dogs need to be 100% calm around other dogs, would do themselves a HUGE favor by giving their pups exposure to a well behaved pack of similarly sized dogs on a weekly basis, especially during the first two years of their life.

Pack Play is a CRUCIAL Part of Your Dog’s Socialization! Require it From EVERY Pet Care Provider, Service or Facility!


Here are 7 other things I’d recommend looking for in a dog boarding or training facility:


—  Does your local veterinarian recommend them? Guess who knows more about who the best and worst local dog boarding facilities are in your community? That’s right, your local Veterinarian! If there’s a facility near you that has caused        a lot of dogs to need a VET, your Veterinarian can warn you about them. I would specifically ask them who they recommend and why. Your pet’s safety should come first, and the Vet is the one who would know best.

—  How does the boarding facility handle poorly socialized dogs? Does the facility have professional dog trainers on staff to help train dogs to have the level of obedience required to be allowed into the facility? Or, do they have training options from their services menu that you can sign up for so your dog can be on a customized training program to more quickly adjust to their facility? If, when answering this question, the facility says they use dog trainers who use a negative reinforcement based training approach, they’re likely one to steer clear of. There has been so much research published about how negative reinforcement based dog training increases the likelihood of a dog developing aggressive behaviors that it’s simply not worth the risk. Steer clear of any facility who uses negative based training.Instead look for services like the one offered by Debbie Bauer’s facility [barknbarrel]. Debbie used to work for me, and I hired her because of her wonderful process for using positive reinforcement based training sessions to properly socialize shy dogs before she’d introduce them to her packs. She uses these sessions on her client’s dogs to get them ready for social interaction; as well as teach them the skills for loose leash walking, where without this type of training many of her client’s dogs would never make enough social progress to be allowed in a pack. If you’d like to learn more about how you can do this type of training to teach your dog social skills yourself, (if your local facility doesn’t) then click HERE to learn more about our Socialization Secrets program.

—  What type of exercise is provided for NON-social dogs? Not all dogs are capable of being socialized with other dogs. A good facility should realize this, and they should have some sort of a person on staff who exercises the dogs individually who don’t interact well with others.

—  Will they give you a tour? Never let your dog stay somewhere that won’t let you have a tour. If they let you take a tour, what do the facilities look like? Is it clean or does it smell like feces and urine? Is there enough shade? Are there wading pools where dogs can cool off? Boarding facilities that are dirty are a breeding ground for disease, so avoid them at all costs.

—  How does the staff treat the dogs? As you’re going on the tour, how does the facility handle the barking of dogs? Is there a lot of yelling, is anyone swatting the dogs? Or do they use positive reinforcement based methods for getting dogs to have good manners? Higher quality facilities will mix in lots of training sessions with their dogs, like staying before eating or before going out to play. It doesn’t seem like much, but if you can find a facility that adds this into how they operate on a day-to-day basis, you’ve got a winner on your hands who you know CARES, vs. a facility that just yells at their dogs. The way a facility’s staff treats its dogs can really be a telling sign… Watch as the receptionist greets new dogs, are they happy to greet them, do they seem to have a genuine love towards dogs?

—  Are dogs allowed to wear collars?


One of the most common, known, causes of death in a boarding kennel is two dog’s collars getting tangled with each other and causing a strangulation. If while touring a local dog boarding or training facility you see dogs wearing collars, we strongly advise that you steer clear and take your dog elsewhere.


—  Does the facility offer premier dog food, or cheap brand X? While there is still a great debate about what type of dog food is actually best for dogs, one of the quickest ways to tell how much a boarding facility cares about your dog is by looking at the quality of the food they will be feeding during your pup’s stay. Ask them to let you know what type of food it is, and then do your research on that brand. There are several dog food quality calculators out there to help you learn more about which premier brands are good for your dog, and which ones are full of low-quality filler ingredients. The answers you find should give you a clearer picture on the facility’s priorities.


What to do if Your Dog has Separation Anxiety


If your dog has separation anxiety, you should probably consider not using a local dog boarding service, and instead look for a local pet sitter, who can give your dog more attention. Dogs with separation anxiety usually show less stress related symptoms when being pet sat, than when being boarded.

Just make sure that when looking for a pet sitter you ask for references, and actually do the follow-up interviews. Just like with a dog boarding facility, ask your Vet if they know of a reputable pet sitter.

Don’t forget Facebook posts either and ask your friends if they know of a pet sitter they had a good experience with. Referrals from a trusted source are usually a great place to start.

A Few Other Suggestions:

Stress is a part of every dog’s life. Doing your due diligence to find the least stressful place to board your dog while you are away on vacation or out of town on business is the first step, but it won’t reduce all the stress that your dog will feel while you away.

Chet Writes: That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to use a program like my Hands Off Dog Training course to learn how to control your dog, instead of relying on someone else.

It doesn’t matter whether you need help potty training, loose leash training, or working on aggression; YOU are the one that needs to learn how to work your dog and what your dog looks like if he is showing signs of aggression.

Beware of anything that seems too good to be true!! It probably is!!






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  1. Gabrielle Gagnon says:

    Hello, no I never left my dog in boarder. The only thing I am having trouble with, is that she chews to much and digs holes underneath the outside stairs. Besides the chewing and digging she is a great dog to love. Thanks, gabrielle


  2. larry young says:

    we have boarded our dogs many times (at our vets) and its great, the dogs have a very large boarding area plus another very large outdoor play area, they get a lot of attention, there is someone there 24/7 and they provide pillows, blankets and we can bring toys and treats from home. they are fed their regular food (we do provide that) and they have high school students to play with the animals. They are bathed the morning that they are due to return home and we can call as often as we wish to check on them. I never worry when they are there, we know they are safe and well cared for. It isn’t inexpensive, but not outrageous either and well worth every cent. Its the Animal Clinic in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
    I highly recommend them. we have been clients for twenty years and wouldn’t consider another place……….
    Larry Young


    Minette Reply:

    There are good places and a lot of just “boarding’ kennels are because they treat your dog like he is on vacation.

    Its the training kennels I worry more about because they are telling you they will “train” your dog and often use force.


  3. Patricia says:

    I have 4 doberman,and I took them to training, and it helped a bit,but it happened just what you said.Even the trainers were afraid of them.Two of them are agressive with other dogs and people,and I dont have the experience nor the time to get them to perform the skills that they are supposed to be taught.I dont have much problem because i practically leave alone with them,and i am almost sure they wouldnt hurt other people ,but I wouldnt like to find out the hard way.Would you help me with some tips.Thank U.


    Marty Reply:

    I’m going to say this as nicely as I possibly can… If you don’t have the time or patience to train your dogs then you really shouldn’t have them. It is not fair to the dogs to be left alone all the time. “Almost sure they wouldn’t hurt other people…” is not good. Please find these dogs a home where they can be cared for, trained, and socialized properly.


  4. Christine says:

    Hi Minette Just to say that I cannot agree with you more, sad to say I sent my two dogs to ‘training’ they were supposed to be there for a week and I should have been warned when they rang to say that the trainer had left and my dogs would have another in a day or two – one week later they were assigned a trainer – so-called – for after another week, I went to pick them up and could see no difference!!!!!! which cost me £1,600 The stress this caused my dogs and me knew no bounds and since then have never been out of my sight!!!!!!!!
    Thanks so much for highlighting this (I was sure this only happened in UK) for I feel sure in whichever country they must all be tarred with the same brush…………If only the people responsible were treated in the same way!!


  5. Jennifer Lynn says:

    Yes, I have boarded my dog. I left him at Pestmart. I don’t know that I would say it was fantastic, but he seemed safe and was taken care of. I didn’t have any other option.
    He also had been to 3 different day cares a couple of times. I wasn’t excited with that either. But again I didn’t have any other option.

    Do you know of a trainer in my area that would be willing to come to my house and work with my dog,(and Me) so that he won’t be afraid/aggressive anymore?
    What do you think of Behaviorists?

    Jennifer Lynn


    Minette Reply:

    You would have to call around and talk to trainers.

    Look for one with good experience, and don’t LEAVE your dog with anyone. Get the benefit of learning from the trainer!


  6. Mary says:

    I totally agree Minette. I have met some dogs that were trained by someone else and every one would not perform for their owners.

    Two of the dogs that come to mind had no issues but were taken by a “professional” trainer, trained in obedience and conformation behaviors and shown to titles.

    Both dogs were sent home after receiving the titles and lived in crates because the owners had no clue what to do with them.

    It is by far better to hire someone to train the owner and help the owner train the dog.

    How often does one hear from the spouse of someone you are working with, “s/he won’t do anything for me but does everything for my spouse”?

    I am of the opinion the dog belongs to the person who does the actual training.


  7. Angi says:

    I have had two experiences over the years. The first was a last ditch attempt to keep my Border Collie who was being aggressive.I sent him off to a dog trainer for intensive training, this was 20 years ago and cost £400 then. We went to collect the dog. A few days after getting him home I picked up a broom to sweep the yard and the dog flew for me, I believe he had been hit with a broom stick at the “training centre”
    My second bad experience was off a good boarding kennel, I put my beautiful golden retriever into one whilst we went on holiday. When I returned to collect him the kennel owner said: “You should have warned us your dog was vicious.” I laughed, thinking she was joking. My dog was soppy soft and would not say boo to any creature. But she told a tale of how my dog would bark and snarl at anyone who went near him, tried to attack other dogs etc. He was so traumatised by the whole experience. And he was never quite the same dog again once home, something about the whole experience altered him forever.


  8. Marjorie Wallace says:

    I wanted to touch on using a Kennel for a no dog air trip to family across the United States.

    This happened with our previous dog, Paxton who passed away this April, going on 16 years of love. Paxton was a well trained and well behaved dog who had tripped with us many times on vacations or just weekends away–with overnight and weekly stays in hotels. Everyone loved and respected Paxton and he was never a barker.

    After a short, I think it was a 4 day stay in a well-known, well respected kennel, he came home aggitated and barking at every dog bark in the neighborhood. He would get excited when company came, feeding times and if someone suggested playing.

    Remember he was well trained and knew what was acceptable behavior before this and never jumped inappropriately, or ever barked at anything–just to bark. We had to re-condition him, which took days, if not weeks. Needless to say, we never used that kennel again.

    We did find a wonderful dog home away from home that knew how to work with and understood Austraian Shephards! We never left Paxton anywhere else. When we moved to the West Coast, Paxton always went with us on our vactions and if left at home, we were fortunate to have family here that cared for him if it was more then a 1/2 day away. We were very fortunate to be able to do this for him.

    Our new family member, Stanley Lightfoot, is a Shephard/Corgie mix and a rescue dog. He was 7 months old when we got him and somewhat shy. As he adjusted to our home and family we had a very energetic pup with a smattering of beginning training but full grown puppy behavior in the mix. we were thankful for him being house trained and he had been taught to sit and that was about it. He had no idea about coming and staying and was into jumping, loud barking at everything and anything and did I mention he was teething. He would and will chew up anything that hits the floor or ground!!

    With your help, I have now helped Stanley to learn about coming-most of the time, he now stays, he doesn’t bark inappropriately, and we are still working on his being a good greeter of people on our daily walks. He love animals, but people are a challenge for him. He was very aggitated when a bike, skateboard, or car (vehicle) went by and he is now doing much bettr. Your loose leash training has been a blessing to stop pulling. It worked for us in just a few outtings. We are working now, on consistancy, with training him to walk behind us, until he feels that we are capable of protecting our selves and he doesn’t have to protect us. I love this approach, it makes so much sense to our whole family and it takes so much pressure off of Stanley.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful program. I know that Stanley will be that dog that everyone wants when we complete this challenge. He is well on his way already.


  9. Ulla says:

    We have never left our dogs in such a kennel but years ago we had a border collie who decided he was tha Alpha Male when my husband was deployed. He became very agreesive to the point he broke the chrystal in my watch. I tried numerous methods and schools of thought to learn that aggression breeds aggression – that I needed to do positive training. I was a day away from putting this dog down when I called a trainer who had me do a simple down with a tug on the collar. My dog went down no problem. He declared that the dog was trainable and HE CAME TO MY HOUSE weekly for the next 2 months. He trained my daughter and I on how to train the dog. He was there to coach and NOT to do. It worked and we had a marvellous dog until he died at 14 years. I am in total agreement with you Minette – don’t send the dogs away for training. What they need is you and your time and POSITIVE training.

    Thanks for all your emails they certainly help in the training of our dog.



  10. Cynthia Stevenson says:

    The best way to teach/train a dog is to teach the person responsible (owner) how to get the dog to behave. I was told by a dog trainer (30+yrs experience) that “there are no bad dogs only owners who don’t know how a dog’s mind works and are too self absorbed to learn”. He also said “good owners have good dogs”. I think he meant if you are willing to work with your dog to get the desired behavior established you are a good owner…


    Minette Reply:

    Whereas I mostly agree…

    There are aggressive dogs that good people get that are hard to handle. don’t always blame the owner! some owners are truly trying to do the best they can by their dogs!


  11. Paul R Palazzo Jr says:

    I took my first dog, which has now passed at 16 yrs of age to a supposedly not violent training course, teaching the dog with love.BS They were cruel with my dog and I immediately took him out. I read books and gave my dog the love he deserved and viola the dog turned out pretty darn good on my own. He was the sweetest dog I have ever met. Kindness and love does work but this training class I took my dog to did not do what they advertised and got a 2nd dog 3 months after the first one and treated the dog with respect, love and kindness and got the same results. From my experience I do not trust anyone with my dogs. I recently got a miniature long haired dachshund a year ago and treated her the same way and my results were good. I admit I havent trained her like the other ones because I moved back home with my elderly parents and the dog was confinded to the heated back porch which made it difficult to potty train and teach her, all that did was give her pent up energy. I am now in the process of buying my own home again and I am sure once I give her the freedome she needs the results will be good again.SO thats what I have to say.


  12. Vangie says:

    I wish i had known this a couple years ago. I sent my great dane puppy to a 3 week training school in Greer SC. We picked her up on the weekends and took her back on Mondays. She has been a skiddish dog ever since. Yes she will sit and lay down on command. However, she is very afraid of most men and really afraid of light headed men. The trainer was a light headed young man. She will find the nearest place to run hide when certain men come up to try to pet her. Before this training school, she did not meet a stranger. She seemed to love everybody. She is a little over two years old now, and the problem has still not resolved. She is very sweet, but very afraid and skiddish. Those people hurt my puppy, and i gave them $500 dollars to do it. I will never make this mistake again!


  13. Marie says:

    I am a tour director and have to leave 7-10 times a year. I have 1Welsh Terrier puppy and an older wire haired Dachshund. They go into the kennel for 12-14 days and are perfectly happy to go but also to go home. I can call myself lucky.


  14. Kay Casterline says:

    I have had 3 dobermans and one standard manchester that I sent to my doberman breeder for training.My dogs have been and now are the most well behaved dogs. I have also boarded them every year for a month while I am out of the country. My dogs all loved going to their trainers and playing with the other dogs. All in all it has been a 22year wonderful experience for me and my dogs.


    Minette Reply:

    There are good trainers out there and good trainers that board and train.

    Just a month ago I offered to board and train a dog that the owner was threatening to take to the pound. I just wanted to help her and the dog would have been trained and spoiled like a member of my pack while she was here.

    Part of the reason you were so successful was using their breeder…of course their breeder loved them!!

    But there are some bad places that abuse and neglect dogs and people should be very careful!!


  15. Kathleen says:

    i so agree do not take your dog to a kennel to be trained. I woked for one cleaning up and feeding. made $8hr. while the trainner took the dog out for 10min a day and was mean, i felt any way. Made a $lk or more. i would not like some one to treat my dog like that. i now have my own buiness now. i do basic trainng. i beleive in tranning the people to understand there dog, to make them become one. Love is the only way in my book. some time Tough love, but always kind. if you go on vacation and cant take your dog. find some one that would care for them in there home and is willing to work with your dog. one on one with there family pets. so every one is working on good behavior. dogs watch one other and learn really quick if they want to be feed. Positive training is the only way, and lots of love. they are a blessing to us.


  16. pat says:

    This fore mentioned is very true. Pet owners it is best that you learn to train your pet. I too train and hold classes,have worked in a boarding training kennels. I feel it a waste of money to do that in school training. You must do it yourself. Now I will only charge if owners do the work (sessions) themselves and are successful. I’m not out to get rich being a trainer just help you and your pets be happy with harmony.
    Master the behavior and training is much easier even for a newbie.


  17. mbarr says:

    I wish I had this information sooner. I left my hyper-active Wheaton with a dog trainer for 2 weeks which cost me a fortune. I didn’t see any difference in her when she came home, therefore, I assumed the problem was with me. Never again will I send her to a trainer.


  18. Beverly Mills says:

    No, I have never boarded my dog at a kennel and I would never send my dog away to be trained.
    If I have to be gone a few days, I have family who will take her. She loves to go there and play with my grandchildren.


  19. Delores Pettigrew says:

    I agree I sent my minature Schnauser when he was a puppy to a trainer for basic training sit,heel stay etc and to be social with other dogs. when she brought him to my house she ran thru all the basics.. I don’t know if I didn’t follow thu with practice but he is not social and he is not good on the leash but he will do sit and ssome times com ad stay. I have trained other dogs same breed and have had better resultss. He is now 14 years old and still runs like a puppy but his hearing is bad,


  20. Bev says:

    I’d never even heard of such a place–but, once when Buttercup was little, we ran into a “Trainer” who said she would come over and my Mother (94) and I could leave the house for the day and, she would train the Dog–all the while she was wandering through the woods giving her dogs Whole Hot Dogs from a huge pack (You know–like Sam’s Club–no offense)
    Now–Whether it was–displace a little old lady, invite a stranger into our home–and, leave her there–or not know what she was doing to my dog–her card went into the next trash bin.
    I did, once, when BC was little, leave her at a kennel overnight while we went up to the Family Reunion–When I picked her up–Now, this is a little Golden who potty trained herself in the first 24 hours–She waits until Grandma goes in to change clothes–walked directly in front of me in the living room and Pee’d on the carpet–I was Shocked–but, also, saw it as humerous–I got her message and she’s never been kenneled again–She goes everywhere with me. Not the best trainer in the world–not even close–but, she’s really well behaved other than that one time.


  21. jan dundis says:

    We have boarded our dogs when we went on vacation. When we picked them up they were clean, fed and looked well. Of course they were glad to see us but were not in a hurry to go home, kept looking at the keeper, she fell in love with them. Was happy with the experience knowing they were being cared for while we were gone.


  22. Kasey Combs says:

    Would not even consider this for my precious pet!!(( I will do it myself, with LOVE & all the tools & reading I can find……


  23. Edward says:

    I will never kennel or board the dog I have now. I will work with her to help her be less aggressive. The reason I will never board or kennel her is that I strongly believe that would only distance her farther away from me. Then I would have more problems to work with. She is getting better. I just have to stick with her and keep loving her!


  24. Carol says:

    We used a private trainer and went to doggie school with our critters. That was a good experience. I used a boarding kennel when I traveled for work. The kennel refused to board my two together as I urged them to do, and they apparently cried all night. I switched to a private dog sitter when my eldest became too old for the “professionals. I really didn’t like the sitter experience. Fortunately, I was able to get family to sit for my baby who just turned 25!


    Minette Reply:

    wow 25!! I am proud that my dog is 12!


    Ulla Reply:

    I agree with Minette – WOW 25. I am curious what kind of dog this is?


  25. Lynn Carroll says:

    Though it wasn’t for training, we left our dog at a kennel for a week when we went on vacation and when we returned for the dog, he looked like he hadn’t eaten for the whole week. His sad eyes told us all we had to know about how he was treated. Plus, they had lost his leash and refused to reimburse us for it. He shed hair for two weeks after his stay. We were on such a guilt trip that he has never left our side since.


  26. Pamoja says:

    I’m having a hard time training my 8 week pit bull. I may have to give her away.



    All dogs at 8 weeks old are a handfull. If you can’t handle it, give her away now before you ruin her for someone else, and don’t get another puppy. What you need is a dog that is a couple of years old that has already been trained and is well mannered.


  27. Marsha says:

    You and the dog have to be a team that means you are trained as a team


  28. Paula says:

    My son and daughter-in-law live in New Jersey and purchased a white german shepherd puppy. After a few weeks they told us that they sent the puppy to live with a trainer for a few weeks. A few weeks turned in to 8 weeks!! I could not understand how this was going to help them handle their dog if the dog learned to obey someone else and also wondered about bonding issues…isn’t this a critical time for a puppy to bond with their owner, not a random trainer they will never see again? Long story short, when we met the dog after it returned home the dog was out of control. He chewed everything in sight (they ended up crating her all day while at work), and you could not even pet her she was so bouncy, jumpy and just wild. They ended up giving the dog to a good home when they learned they were going to have a child because the dog was so out of control they were concerned about a baby. So exactly what did this trainer accomplish? Nothing that I could see. I didn’t even ask what they paid the trainer – I didn’t want to know!!


  29. Louise Johnson says:

    I had a wonderful experience at a boarding kennel. My collie puppy (Beamer-6 m0) was taken to this kennel for a week. next time we needed to board we found a closer one. Used it for 4 yrs until it closed Went back to the original one who when making the reservation asked had he been there before , I said once when 6 mo old. they remebered him and he loved going when we had Judging assignments and couldn’t take him with us. they loved him and loved going there.In Feb this year he left for the rainbow bridge at 11 1/2 years young.
    we now have a replacement and he is driving me crazy, He gets excited and wants to play rough and nips and bites. I have tried your method but it doesnt seem to work as he gets over ezcited. he’s 4 months now and and I’m wearing a lot of band aids. I have raised collies since 1943 , many liters,several champions and never come across a situation like this. Any suggestions? LJ


    Minette Reply:

    I wasn’t talking boarding in general, boarding and training was what I was referring to.


  30. julie roberts says:

    I am an amateur dog trainer, having raised and trained dogs for over 50 years. In my experience, it is usually the master who needs training more than the dog. So, I agree that sending the dog away to be trained will probably not be very affective, unless the master is also shown how to follow up.

    I don’t board my dogs at kennels, I have been fortunate to find people who would come to my home to care for my pets, when I am away from home.


  31. Anne says:

    Our dear dog has epilepsy, so we must have a person who could handle a seizure if necessary. We have a great guy, but he cannot sit long term (2-3 weeks). So we have to board. We called our breeder and got a good reference. We visited the facility. It was clean, dogs were walked 5 times a day, they had a vet on premises 24-7. They had an indoor playroom. The head person has a sibling of our dog. So instead of sitting in a cage all day he goes into her office and follows her and litter mate around all day. He loves her. He has always been well cared for but it is very expensive. When we have to board it takes us at least an hour out of our way. We bring his own food and blankets. I think Kennel boarding can work but owners MUS BE VERY CAREFUL. AVOID KENNEL BOARDING IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.


    Minette Reply:

    Boarding kennels can be fine, since your dog is only vacationing…

    It is when you pay someone to “train” your dog that it can be a problem because force can be used without your knowledge and the dog spends most of the day in a kennel.


  32. jeanne plante says:

    I do not personally ever allow my pets to stay at a kennel. I have people come and stay in my home, or take them to a relatives home they are familiar with, if I ever have to leave them. However, I have a close friend who travels often, leaves her pet at a kennel for “training” while she is gone, and pays extreme amounts of money for this service. Her dog acts wonderfully for the trainer, and doesn’t listen to her at all after she returns. I have stopped to see her dog on occassion in the kennel, as they have a pet related store on site, and the dog is always locked up, dying to get out of the cage. Regardless of the time of day, they always tell me he was worked just shortly before I arrived. Definately turns me off towards kennels.

    Did send a horse away for training for 60 days, cost a fortune, and when trainer brought him back, trainer tried to show me how good he was doing, and in the process got himself kicked due to not having actually really worked him as much as I was told. Of course no refund was offered for lack of work.

    Appreciate all of the logical, necessary information made available.


  33. Geoff says:

    Hi Minette,

    I’ve had dogs for over fifty years and I’ve never heard of such an arrangement here in Australia. Here training is generally conducted at paid for dog classes which both dog and owner attend. Kennels are generally only for boarding dogs during an owner’s absence. However, even these are frequently places to avoid like the plague.
    Several years ago I went overseas for a period of three months and I left my two dogs with a local boarding kennel which I had heard by word of mouth was quite good. Nevertheless I still asked the kennel to produce testimonials – which was done. I also inspected the dog accommodation arrangements, and I was shown well built pens with concreted floors and warm, windproof and well constructed kennels
    The arrangement I asked for was for my two dogs to occupy adjacent pens, be exercised together and to be fed on dry food. This was agreed to and I had my dogs immunizations updated by a vet. All should have been well. I reiterated these arrangements when I dropped my dogs off and paid in advance as was the normal procedure and thus expected.
    Upon my return I was taken to a draughty tin shed with an earthern floor which had a common enclosure for scores of dogs. My two had been housed there, apparently for the entire three months. Both had healing scratches from fighting, long nails from a lack of exercise on a hard surface, fleas, diarrohea from watered down moist food, and had lost weght and condition badly. The older dog had contracted some kind of kennel cough – which despite treatment and rest – persisted permanently.
    Naturally I protested vigorously and I did get some of my payment refunded – but that was not the point. It was a thoroughly horrid experience for both me and my dogs.
    I quite agree with your assessment of the dubious worth of training in an establishment such as you describe. I would sound a further warning though – you cannot really guarantee how well or otherwise your dog will be accommodated and treated. Crowding of dogs,a lack of checking of immunization certificates, shared eating or drinking vessels, shock collars etc can all pose significant health risks.


    Minette Reply:

    I could not agree more! Unless you are there you have no idea what goes on with your dog.

    I don’t allow anyone to handle my dogs without me being present.

    If I need to leave, I get a friend or a family member to watch them.


  34. Joy says:

    My daughter-in-law sent a dog to a boarding school that was recommended by a rescue group. She just wanted the dog to walk well on a leash. A week later she got a call from the trainer stating that the dog was sick and he would keep her for another week so she didn’t infect the other dogs at home. When I heard that I told her to get the dog back. I had heard a rumor that this trainer had broken a dog’s leg by doing the ‘helicopter move’, swinging the dog in a circle when it wouldn’t obey. When we got the dog back she had bloody paws and was limp and unresponsive like she wasn’t all there mentally. When she heard my daughter-in-law’s voice she perked up and jumped in her arms. The trainer acted like it was normal when he told us what he had done. He tied her to another dog and dragged her on the concrete until her paws bled! There were other signs of abuse, too. This was 6 years ago and I’m still upset. There is a warrant for his arrest in the state of Texas. Last I heard he was hiding out in Iowa. I know there are good boarding trainers out there. If you do this just check them out and get lots of references!


    Minette Reply:

    Sometimes all the references in the world doesn’t mean you truly know what is going on behind closed doors.

    I bet even that trainer had people that would give him a good reference because they didn’t know what was going on!


  35. June Pound says:

    Just a few comments on dog training. We have had German shepherds now for over 40 years and I agree that it is the owner who needs training!
    Like most people I have tried various forms of training and I think that different methods probably work with different dogs. Eg. a women with a big male shepherd needs a correction collar! You do not have to use it as long as they know if they misbehave it is there.
    My latest dog, still really a puppy at 2 and a half, is a gem. She loves people, other dogs and life. She will work well with me around the house with just a happy voice. Fun, fun, quick short sessions and a lot of playing. No lead necessary. However, that said, she is a dreadful tease and not by any means ready yet for the obedience ring! If I let her off lead out with a lot of other dogs, she would decide that she would rather play with all the other dogs and would disrupt the whole class! We are still working through this.
    We have left our dogs in a boarding kennel whilst we have been away and, for all except one of our dogs, they regarded that as a holiday and looked forward to it. It needs to be a good kennel with long runs!


    Minette Reply:

    I am not talking about just “boarding” boarding for some people is essential.

    I am talking about paying someone else to take and train your dog.

    And I totally disagree with the correction collar, if done right only positive reinforcement needs to be used no matter the size of the dog.


  36. Jill says:

    I had my dog in kennels for 3 days when I was unavoidably away from home. She came back with kennel cough. Since then, when I am on holiday or away from home, my dog is home boarded with holidays 4 dogs. The dogs live in as if in their own home. I think this is much the best arrangement as your dog gets the same attention as at home, and the person doing the boarding can carry on your training methods with your dog.


  37. Jim Dwyer says:

    I agree with every thing you say, I used Dog training uk which has training places all over England mine was based in Lancashire, they claimed to use reward based, guaranteed training, when I went to collect my dog it was wearing a choke chain and came home very distressed, He showed lots of anxiety problems that had not been there before.It could perform the tasks with the trainer but apart from sit and down which it could already do, in its own environment with distractions it was worse than when it went. It cost £640.00, I complained and went back, but the trainer was very hostile and blamed for not performing the training properly, it was a complete wast of money and has taken months to resettle my dog back into his home routine.


  38. Joy says:

    NEVER EVER let someone train your dog without you being present. Unfortunately, I have had experience with a dog trainer that has broken a dog’s leg, dragged a dog on concrete until its paws bled, ‘lost’ a dog never to be found again, etc. There is a warrant for this trainer’s arrest in Texas. Last I heard he was hiding out in Iowa.


  39. Lois says:

    I have never kenneled my dogs for training. I agree that the owners/family have to do the training and they themselves need to be trained.
    But I have had to kennel my dogs in the past while away from home. I have had both good and bad experiences. The Perfect Pet Resort in Maryland was excellent. But others go from ok to not so good. I now use a sitter in my home which is much less stressful on them and the cost is cheaper than boarding 2-3 dogs. Plus my guys love their sitter!


  40. Jenna says:

    I offer this service but I let people know that it is NOT guaranteed and that they will have to follow through for the behaviors to stick. I use clicker training and positive reinforcement. The dog basically lives with me for a few weeks. It is a TON of work. I’ve been lucky that I have had success with this so far.. but it is an intense experience. It can be done but it is no guarantee. Thank you for sharing and informing what ‘Boot Camp’ is usually all about.


  41. Teresa says:

    We have left Rusty a few times when we went out of town. The first place was good to him but the person took a full time job outside of home and left him in a kennel all day. The Pet Inn treat animals very well and let you do all the things Lois writes about; however, Rusty got really stressed at being in the unfamiliar environment. He chewed his kennel which we took there because he slept in the kennel/crate then. We no longer board him but it has limited our extended time away from home. He is a very good dog and the only problem he has is his owners are not educated enough to train him correctly. He is very intelligent and loving.


  42. Good good! Have read your article I broaden the horizons, so I learned a lot, produced a lot of inspiration to write another article. I also wrote many articles, I like it very much! I really like your job. Thank you.


  43. Joe S says:

    I took my Springer spaniel to a training kennel when she was a puppy (now 9 years old), and it was a very positive experience. When I picked her up from there, she was very well behaved and followed my commands correctly, and continues to do so to this day. It worked alot better than the so-called training they get at PetSmart. That’s for sure. So, I disagree with your information.


  44. Brenda says:

    At a trainer’s behest I used a prong collar on a lab I had, Mac, for way too long. I will not use them again. He did and does use the yank and crank method. I use the Hands Off for my collies and it works just fine. Dogs can and do read body language (the ancient Greeks used to think they were psychic).
    After training and the prong collar was gone, my lab listened to me fairly well. His best trick was the potty training which I did without a trainer and a prong collar and without a Gizmo in the house.
    Fast forward to May, I went away for the weekend. I decided against the kennel that the dogs’ (these will be my 2 collies and still old Gizmo) groomer works out of. She warned me that on the weekends no one cleans up after the dogs and no one is basically there even though someone lives in the house right on the property.
    That said, I decided to have the groomer come to them and that seemed to work. She lives nearby. There were no emotional problems. About 15 minutes after I got back, they all 3 of them acted as if I had just gone shopping for the day.
    I took that as a good sign that their groomer who they know well, did a good job. I feel better if someone will come to my home rather than trust someone I don’t know to board my dogs.


  45. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for this article. I was considering boarding training but your argument makes a lot of sense. I’m the one she needs to listen to so I’m the one who needs to train her. I read your article about puppy biting, as my girl just turned 10 weeks. She was separated too young from her mother/littermates. I think she was separated from mom at 6 weeks (her and her brother) and I got her at 7 weeks. Either I took her or someone else would. I didn’t ask for her to be separated. I am determined to overcome this handicap though. I will get a local trainer and do individual training. She’s already in puppy class. I’ll try Bitter Apple and see if that works. Making the “yelp” sound isn’t helpful. She gets more excited. I’ve been playing tug with her so I’ll stop that. Leaving the room is helpful. The problem is that she’ll chase my feet and bite them as I’m leaving the room. Once I’ve gone into the bathroom and shut the door, then come out, she is calmer. She started puppy classes and seems to be a quick learner so I am hopeful. I’m open to any other suggestions. Thanks.


  46. pat says:

    I worked for a boarding/training facility for 10 years. Loved working and teaching dogs. But it is best for the owners to learn themselves. My saying is that you only get from your dogs what you what you teach them. If you learn dog behavior and correct behovior you will have a happier dog. You the owner live with your dog so you must learn and teach your dog for satisfaction and peace. Happy Training Everyone


  47. Tom says:

    Yes my wife and I boarded our sweet little Jack Russell, ‘Grace’ once while we went to Vegas. We felt terrible! Our entire vacation was spent regretting leaving our precious puppy at that kennel. The hard cement floor, the cage and all those barking dogs. The best part was when we returned to pick her up. Grace was soooo excited and happy that we came back. We love our little girl. I don’t think we could leave her like that again.


  48. Joyce says:

    I have thought about taking our dogs to a kennel while we are on vacation, but always leary of them.
    I have a co-worker who took her lab to a board and train facility for 2 wks. The dog obeyed the trainer wonderfully, but didn’t listen to his owner well at all. The trainer would not come to her house to train after the 2-week “boot camp” period was up, but said she had to come to his place. Of couse the dog will behave there. Dog came back more aggressive then before. My co-worker is very disappointed in that “training”. I had an appt. to send my GSP there, but cancelled it before she got her dog back. So, so glad I did.
    If you want your dog to obey you, you need to do the training yourself if at all possible.


  49. amanda says:

    I was looking for a website to send my french mastiff for training so i am so glad that i found this first and have now decided to train my dog at home , does anybody know if a dog can be controlled of people and dog aggression .


    Minette Reply:

    Controlled yes but you will be doing most of the controlling.

    Cured, usually no.

    Although it may seem after months of work that you have changed the behavior, it usually means you have just changed the behavior under certain terms and with you but not with everyone.

    With severe aggression I would call a veterinary behaviorist so they can see the behavior and put you both on a behavior modification program!!


  50. Erika says:

    I have a one yr old lab mix. She has never shown aggression other than just being a guard dog and barking when she hears strange noises. I’m curious if yu could give me some examples of signs of aggressive behavior. Her hackles go up when she sees other dogs unless she is familiar with them. She usually submits to other dogs and then once they are usd to each other she will not leave them alone as in she just want to be with them and sniffs their face and licks them and follows them everywhere.


  51. Kathy says:

    I have a question. I go to a yearly event that is down the block from a dog breeder that has been long established (40+yrs) and respected. I have seen them there that long so I know it is true. Last year we were in need of a puppy and couldn’t find the right one. (ComplicAted story ) We stopped there and found the happiest social mellow golden 6 month old puppy who came home with us and is our Sunshine. He seemed to come pre socialized, no problems with dogs of any size, people of any size. Some commands he seemed to know already, thank God, cause he started running when gate was open and he sat when we yelled stop. Yes he learned jackpot then.
    So the event is coming up again. Do we kennel him there (most convenient and most $) or at another boarding kennel hr was at and came home happy?
    Don’t want him to feel he was being “returned” but he could see mom and dad and they have more play space. Opinions?


    Minette Reply:

    I don’t think dogs have that “deep” of a thinking process.

    He may be upset to be left in general but he has no concept of being “returned” unless he has been to a shelter a few times (I do think those dogs know).

    I would take him where he will be most happy and cared for best, always!


  52. Kayleen Cucugliello says:

    What type of programs do you have?
    We are looking to sen dour 2 year old Maltese to a week or 2 training session, straight.
    He needs to learn how to listen!


    Minette Reply:


  53. LEE STEVENS says:

    We have an 18 month old purebred 20# male miniature poodle who will not come when called and will not stop barking in our backyard. He loves to be outside all the time whether it is just sitting in the grass or constantly barking at the squirrels who tease him. We live on 1/3 of an acre and cannot catch him at all. We are considering a citronella collar or taking him to boarding/training since we are having no luck; he is too smart and catches on to our tricking him in an instant. With all I have learned about boarding/training from this site, we are now fearful of having his stubbornness cruelly treated. There is no dog treat that entices him enough to come in or his favorite toy; we have tried everything. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  54. I rescued a 6 mo. Old black shepherd 4 mos. Ago. Evidentally he had been badly traumatized by a male. He still will not let a man near him. He and I are bonded so that I can’t leave him alone or destroys pillows, shoes, area rugs, etc. Who would be best to work through his issues?


    Minette Reply:

    crate training


  55. Kayla Gonzales says:

    My dog is a 3 yr old German Shepherd husky chow. He’s not friendly with other dogs or people. I was thinking about dog training for boarding but I find it scary because he has never been anywhere else but with me. He know some commands but just aggressive.


  56. shannon meehan says:

    What do you mean that most aggression can not be fixed?If I have a fear aggressive dog does that mean we have no chance of getting him better? Thank you


    Minette Reply:

    Controlled, yes. But you won’t purely fix aggression.


  57. Jessica Oliver says:

    I have a jack russel mix. He’s a rescue dog and he wasn’t socialized. We got him when he was 5 months old. We’ve tried introducing him to other people/dogs and it takes a very long time for him to get any type of comfort ability. He’s a year old now and we decided to send him to a board/train facility for one week. They did use a pinch collar, which I wasn’t to thrilled about. But now that my dog is home, he just doesn’t seem like my dog anymore. He seems to be afraid of just about everything. He has no interest in playing with toys. He spends 85% of his time in his crate. He’s gotten a tinge of kennel cough. I’m just not sure what the heck happened. Any input?


  58. Debbie says:

    My daughter has a Rottweiler that has become aggressive after having surgery to remove a needle from her abdomen. She has even gotten aggressive with her daughter whom this dog loves. Can this aggression be reversed with training, she has been told no, that the dog will probably need to be put down. She is heartbroken she loves this dog so much.


  59. Steven Leak says:

    Are those 2 week board and train of off leash k9 which sometimes work into 5 weeks worth the trouble?


    Minette Reply:

    Why train the dog to listen to someone else? The dog should be learning with you


  60. Savannah Brickner says:

    I have 2 pups under 6mths old and have to be gone for nearly 2wks and thought if i took them somewhere where they would not only be staying but also do some basic lessons and house breaking would be better then just a boarder? Figured the training would keep them from getting board and sitting in their kennels?


    Minette Reply:

    Many trainers who do boarding and training use barbaric methods. If I decided to go that route, which I personally never would, I would find someone that trains live in camera so you can watch their interaction and the dogs in boarding.

    I personally prefer a pet sitter for people who go on vacation it is much less stressful for everyone.


  61. Lindsey says:

    I have done board and train twice already and with a very experienced and renowned trainer. The transition from trainer to handler was very positive and after the first time I maintained the schedule, commands and kept up with the training daily. I believe board and trains are effective but handler has to be trained as well to maintain the effectiveness of training. I chose this route bc both dogs i have are highdrive


  62. Kathleen Schultz says:

    I have had two professional trainers come to the house and consulted an outside trainer to help me to get my dog (5 1/2 month old German Shepherd) to stop chasing my cats. I’m worried she might hurt them plus running in the House isn’t acceptable. I have tried prong collar and shock collar—she still chases. Everyone in the house is getting frustrated. Any suggestions other than to get rid of the cats?


    Minette Reply:

    keep the dog on leash and teach her manners with the cat


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