In group classes, training your dog is really fun and rewarding. It's also an excellent way to build a relationship with your dog (i.e., "all good things come through you"). However, it's so much easier to practice commands (sit, down, stay, etc.) your dog already knows instead of teaching those commands from scratch. Teaching the fundamentals takes patients and a fair amount of skill. Let our trainers get you through the basics, so you can focus on building that relationship and reinforcing commands your dog already knows. It's a much better use of your time. Since we work with your dog one-on-one, we can customize the training to adjust to their skill level, spending more time on their weaknesses and less time on their strengths.
Our Training Approach
We do our boot camp training through positive reinforcement, mostly through "shaping" the behavior. The video shows a great example of how shaping is used and how effective it can be when done by a professional. Shaping is a positive reward method where the trainer waits for the dog to perform the desired behavior (i.e., called "offering a behavior") or elements of the behavior. In this example, we're teaching the dog to "place" or lay down in a dog bed. For now, a towel is used as the bed since it is easier to teach. As you can see, the trainer doesn’t lure them, only stands still and faces the towel, rewarding him for simply standing or sitting on the towel. After some time, the dog realizes that he must be on the towel to get the treat. Once he discovers this and does it consistently, the trainer will increase the criteria to include sitting on the towel for the treat, and finally laying down on the towel. This approach not only teaches the dog the command but builds their ability to learn other commands much faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I just got my puppy and want to start boot camp as soon as possible. Does my puppy have to be a certain age to start?
A: No, your dog can start as long as s/he's got all the necessary shots. These shots are usually given on their first visit to the vet when you have them.
Q: How long does the boot camp last?
A: You get 8 visits that are scheduled on very specific days (see "sign-up" button below to view the schedule), and we'll train your dog from 8am to noon (i.e. 4 hours). it's just like any other group class; we've set aside a block of time to train a group of dogs. however, unlike most of our group classes, you (i.e., the human) will not attend. We'll work on the commands with the group of dogs (3-6 maximum) that have joined the bootcamp class.
Q: What is the earliest I can drop my dog off in the morning and what is the latest I can pick them up.
A: Drop-off is at 8am, but we can arrange a slightly earlier time if needed. Pick-up is 12pm, but if needed, we can arrange a slightly later pick-up time. You can drop-off your dog anytime between 8am and 12pm, but keep in mind, you're dog is loosing training time!
Q: What commands do you train?
A: We train the basics which include train sit, down, stay, come, heel, loose leash walking, etc.
Q: We have a rescue that's a few years old, would you take an older dog for boot camp?
A: Yes, we can work any age dog through the boot camp, but keep in mind, we're only training the basics in this bootcamp. If you're have trouble with very specific issues (e.g., nipping, growling, food aggression, etc.), you'll want to schedule a private lesson instead.
Q: My dog has been showing signs of aggression, i.e., attempting to attack other other dogs and people. Will the boot camp help with that?
A: No. The boot camp is designed to teach your dog the fundamentals (sit, down, stay, etc.). However, I would encourage you to set-up a private obedience lesson with our trainer. Sometimes, what owners interpret as aggression isn't actually true aggression. Dog's sometimes "play nip" or barking "menacingly" at other dogs, but they wouldn't actually hurt anyone. play nipping is normal behavior, and we can work with that.
Q: Will my dog be 100% trained after the boot camp? S/he will walk off-leash, sit when I ask, come when I call them, etc.
A: That all depends on you. The boot camp will make training your dog much easier, but you'll be asked to practice those commands at home. You should practice those commands both indoors, outside, and in as many different places as you can. You do not need to spend hours each day practicing. setting aside 10-15 minutes each day to practice what we have taught your dog will make a huge difference. You'll also have the opportunity each time you pick your dog up to review any challenges you had that week or ask questions.
Q: Do you use any negative reinforcement?
A: As you can see from the videos, we always start with a positive approach. It's the best place to start and builds a better relationship with your dog (i.e., all good things come from you). We aren't apposed to subversive devises (e.g., prong collar, etc.), but we don't do anything without your permission, and it's merely a suggestion based on our observation. For example, an 90 lbs dog that pulls on the leash like a freight train is owned by a 110 lbs woman. If we are having trouble through a positive approach to prevent him from pulling on the leash, and we feel this woman could get hurt (i.e., not able to control her dog in dangerous situations), we'd suggest a prone collar and show her how to use it correctly. It would be up to her to take our suggestion, but we would feel obligated to offer that as an option to ensure her and her dog's safety.
before you sign-up
You might want to consider a private lesson before you sign-up for a training boot camp. Why? Our trainer may find that your dog is just too nervous to work in a strange place without you or that your dog has an issue that we aren't comfortable handling (i.e., extremely dangerous aggression, etc). It's also a good practice so you know you're comfortable bringing your dog to our facility. You may also find that working directly with the trainer in a private lesson is just more fun! Either way, we highly recommend you start with this small step before you go into a boot camp.
Are you ready?
To get your in our day training boot camp, click on the sign-up button below to view the next schedule 8 week bootcamp, select either puppy or basic obedience bootcamp, make sure you can bring your dog on the schedule days, and sign-up. Next, you'll hear from us on the details, but you would drop your dog off at 8am and pick your dog up by 12pm. During pick-up, the trainer would go over what was learned that day and you'd get some things to practice until their next visit. you can ask the trainer questions and discuss any challenges at that time as well.