Why we use positive training in our Board & Train Programs (and why it’s surprisingly hard to find).

Did you know that Lucky Paws offers Board & Train programs? Our program is different from most Board & Train programs in several ways, but one big way is that we use positive training 100_6494methods. Did you know that most Board & Train programs rely on tools like prong collars and shock collars as their first tools of choice? The truth is, there are some things that are faster to teach using punishment, and that’s why its challenging to find a program that uses positive training methods (we are under the gun to train your dog as much as possible as quickly as possible). For example, teaching a dog to walk nicely on a prong collar happens much more quickly than it does on a flat buckle collar or harness, but did you know that if you take that prong collar off, the dog won’t likely walk nicely for you? There is also potential fall out for using punishment in training (check out this link) and significant studies done showing a correlation between aggressive behavior and the amount of physical corrections used (here is the study).

Here are a few additional reasons why our first choice in training is never to use punishment based methods.

  1. We want your dog to enjoy listening to you as much as possible & not have you battling for his compliance.
  2. We want you to have a good relationship with your dog. Using punishment on a regular basis can be very damaging to your relationship with your dog.
  3. We love dogs and we want them to enjoy training and have a good time while they are here training with us.
  4. We want your dog to be behaviorally, emotionally and physically healthy.
  5. Because we use positive training methods, we can start your dog as young as 12 weeks (as young as 8 weeks is possible, but by 12 weeks dogs can focus for a bit longer & they are usually out of their “sleepy stage”).
Here is a little more about how we train. If you think positive = permissive, please read on!

Our training method of choice involves using a humane hierarchy. This means that we start with the most positive and fun training methods to teach new behaviors and curb old behaviors using reinforcement in the form of food, play, affection and other loved resources, and if for some reason that’s not working for a dog (every dog is different), then we consider other options. We have a large “toolbox” when it comes to training dogs of different temperaments and sizes and we adjust our methods according to what each dog needs. A submissive and gentle dog will likely need very different training from a dog who is bouncing off the walls with excitement.

Some readers may have had a negative experience with a positive trainer and think things like “my trainer told me to just ignore behavior I don’t like – so I should ignore my dog getting into the trash?” This is not our version of positive training! Positive does not mean permissive. Other Be a Great Leader!concerns include “I’m going to have to carry treats on me at all times?” The truth is with positive training, you need to be able to control your dogs environment in a way that all rewards (play, affection, food etc) come through you when the dog is offering polite behaviors. Will you need to carry treats on you? In some instances in the beginning stages of training the answer is yes, BUT once the dog has made the behavior a habit, the need for food rewards goes away. You can also use other things your dog enjoys such as play, time outside, affection etc as rewards. It all depends on what the dog sees as a reward in any given situation. Take a look at this article to read about common positive training mistakes that make training less effective.

Sometimes positive training isn’t the fastest way to achieve a result, but it is the best way to maintain the results. Don’t get me wrong, discipline is an important part of training, but what’s more important is how you go about providing that discipline.

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