Humane Board and Train

This link will bring you to a playlist of training sessions from this week’s board and train student, Piper.

You might be familiar with old fashioned “board and train,” where you ship a dog out of state, someone applies shock/prong/choke and sends the dog back to you, “broken,” a shadow of their former self. These gigs used to be sold in blocks of about ten days, for $2000, and it included the shock collar. If you’ve done this, I’d love to read your comments about what it cost and how it worked out, how your dog made out over the long haul. Usually these “board and train” lessons aren’t videotaped and it’s a sad mystery what transpires, but maybe you can imagine.

It might be harder to imagine how humane “board and training” works, so I thought I’d show you my videotapes of what I am doing this week to help an awesome, super intelligent collie who has been trying SO HARD to figure out how the world operates.

This doggie belongs to a Whole Dog Camp member, who will train with us forever I hope, but at least for the coming year. Training takes time, but even just one week of Whole Dog Camp style “board and training” offers learning opportunities that aren’t possible in hour long lessons, dog parks, kennels or daycares. Dogs are social creatures, and they benefit from having a training plan, in a habitat designed to facilitate safe socialization(gates, fields, and 24/7 social meat and potatoes).

A central feature of Piper’s plan was to help him learn to play. I enlisted the help of M’Ocean, nicknamed Dogzilla, who I hoped could put up with (and help discourage) Piper’s relentless herding. 100 pounds M’Ocean was muzzled during this process to ensure that no matter how annoying Piper’s herding behavior might sometimes be, M’Ocean wouldn’t puncture him for it.

I employed mat games and other strategies to help prevent practices of reactivity (screaming/barking) while still encouraging Piper to go on adventures. By Day 7, and Piper and M’Ocean both have earned the playmate of their dreams. Piper has also been exposed to 12 year old Bee and Piper is being super good about not bothering her at all. I just walked Piper through LLBean’s packed holiday celebrations, kids, dogs, crowds, and Piper was relaxed and didn’t make a peep! The next time he comes we will see how we can expand his social circle.

So no, we don’t use prong, choke, shock because that creates more anxious, stressed dogs. But Whole Dog Camp’s board and train is effective! The results of this sort of training cultivates a calmer, happier, more trusting and understanding canine companion.

Published by

Jenny Ruth Yasi

author, sailor, animal trainer,rally, agility and freestyle competitor, owner/proprietor Whole Dog Camp, now located in Freeport, Maine. For 31 years we lived on Peaks Island Maine. Now we are sailing with our 2 dogs in the Bahamas, and will return to Maine in 2017

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