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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

I am sending my 2 year old pit bull to board in train in another state this coming weekend for two weeks. The focus is on her bad jumping habit (we've had 3 trainers try different methods and none were a success), and leash pulling.

I just want to know how many people have had success with board and train?

I know it's only effective if you implement and continue the training they have started with the dog. So it will fall onto me :) Just want to hear other's experiences!
 

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I would be skeptical of its long-term effectiveness unless there's a study period where you are present and handle the dog to help you learn how to use the trainer's methods properly and maintain progress, as I know several dogs that came professionally trained that eventually became nightmares due to lack of understanding on the owner's part. And I would be very critical of the trainer's methods beforehand as there are trainers I'm fine working with as long as I'm there that I wouldn't leave my dog with because of concern that they'd be too harsh left to their own devices.

I'm considering board and train for my dog for a week this September while I'm on vacation. It's not so much about the training itself as it is about making sure it's an engaging "vacation" for him too, though.
 

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I wouldn't do it. I recently read of someone's experience with an out-of-state board and train; it was a nightmare. You are much better off to do the work yourself; contact a local trainer and have them come and train you and your dog daily for a week or two - it would probably be cheaper and more effective than a board and train. Just make sure the trainer uses positive methods.

If you really think board and train is the route you want to go, try to find someone locally so you can check out their methods and results in person.
 

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Not a fan. I haven't come across any Positive Reinforcement board and trains, which means you're sending your dog off to get punished to whatever degree someone feels like when no one's watching.

We had a member who sent her dog off to a board and train that boasted of being "balanced" and her dog was destroyed when she got him back. He left happy, confident and poorly trained and came back a traumatized, fearful shut down wreck. She deeply regretted it, but the damage was already done.

Jumping is very easy to handle yourself. This is a great video on jumping.
 

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A little more background:

When I come to pick up my dog in two weeks she gives me a 2 hour overview. Showing the steps and methods she has used to train my dog. From there she has me perform them as well. There is also an option to spend $300 and get a customized dog training video. It will have my dog in it, with the trainer showing the steps she used and the results she gain when training my dog. I am contemplating purchasing that.

As for in state trainers. I have tried 3. For the jumping 1 said: "Keep her on a leash when people enter the door." If I enter the door I can't run and get a leash and tell her no. She is also very strong a leash isn't enough.

Trainer #2 said "Growl at her and spray her with a water bottle." I am not growling at my dog because that is weird, and I did try it and I just end up laughing. And my dog likes water and jumps up more to get the water bottle! So that backfired.

Trainer #3 said "give her a treat when someone comes in, distract her with the treat". It works to an extent. I can't have a treat on me at all times. Plus guests or people I am not expecting walk in the door I can't quickly run and grab a treat. Plus I HATE pumping my dogs full of treats just to distract them. I want a more permanent method than them expecting treats every single time.

I did research and specifically picked this trainer out of everyone in my state. She has two pit bulls of her own and has dealt with correcting the jumping issues many times. She also offers free pit bull obedience training twice a month to the locals which is awesome. I wanted someone who specialized in pit bull and bully breed training. Her reviews are great and people seem to have a lot of success with her. We've emailed back and forth for two months, so I am very confident in her abilities.

I was just hoping to hear others and their experience with sending their dogs and if it was successful since this is my first time. :)
 

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I would be very, very hesitant to send my dog to a board and train facility for the reasons mentioned above.

It really sounds as though you haven't found any good trainers. Here are resources for Finding a Trainer, Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist

Amaryllis shared a good video; here's another from Kikopup. Also, see Polite Greetings with people and dogs! and Impulse Control and Calmness and "Loose Leash" walking

Keep in mind that time, patience, and consistency are keys to effective training. Your dog isn't going to stop jumping after just a few training sessions and is likely to regress when she's excited (e.g., someone new comes to the door). You'll need to manage situations and prevent her from practicing undesired behaviors. You may even need to enlist the help of friends (who can follow directions) during the training process.

Trainers 1 and 3 were on the right track with management and (sounds like they were maybe getting to) reinforcing desired behavior. Here's more reading for you:
Thoughts on training with food
4 quadrants of operant conditioning
 

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A little more background:

When I come to pick up my dog in two weeks she gives me a 2 hour overview. Showing the steps and methods she has used to train my dog.
Do you know what the methods are?

From there she has me perform them as well. There is also an option to spend $300 and get a customized dog training video. It will have my dog in it, with the trainer showing the steps she used and the results she gain when training my dog. I am contemplating purchasing that.
This is good, but two hours isn't very long to learn/practice new techniques. In my opinion, having someone come to you, over a longer period of time while you do the training of yourself and your dog in between visits is more effective. In my opinion, you will be more effective, and you'll have better skills to continue training your dog.

As for in state trainers. I have tried 3. For the jumping 1 said: "Keep her on a leash when people enter the door." If I enter the door I can't run and get a leash and tell her no. She is also very strong a leash isn't enough.
You would need two people for this exercise, one to manage the dog and one to come to the door and in. If you can afford an out-of-state trainer, I'm thinking you can afford an in-state trainer to come and help you with this.

Trainer #2 said "Growl at her and spray her with a water bottle." I am not growling at my dog because that is weird, and I did try it and I just end up laughing. And my dog likes water and jumps up more to get the water bottle! So that backfired.
Good for you for recognizing bad training advice! :D

Trainer #3 said "give her a treat when someone comes in, distract her with the treat". It works to an extent. I can't have a treat on me at all times. Plus guests or people I am not expecting walk in the door I can't quickly run and grab a treat.
Again, two people to employ this method. You use the treat to teach her what you want, then you gradually eliminate the treat.

Plus I HATE pumping my dogs full of treats just to distract them. I want a more permanent method than them expecting treats every single time.
Treats and other positive reinforcers lead to 'more permanent' behavior changes. The thing is that it takes time/patience/consistency.

I did research and specifically picked this trainer out of everyone in my state. She has two pit bulls of her own and has dealt with correcting the jumping issues many times. She also offers free pit bull obedience training twice a month to the locals which is awesome. I wanted someone who specialized in pit bull and bully breed training. Her reviews are great and people seem to have a lot of success with her. We've emailed back and forth for two months, so I am very confident in her abilities.
She sounds like an awesome person, but I still don't see any info on the methods she employs to teach the dogs, which is more important than which breed of dog she specializes in or whether or not she provides free training sessions.

I was just hoping to hear others and their experience with sending their dogs and if it was successful since this is my first time. :)
I'm sure people have had great success with board and train programs, and I hope you do as well, if you go through with it. :)
 

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I was just hoping to hear others and their experience with sending their dogs and if it was successful since this is my first time. :)
I've done board and train once before with the trainer I'm considering sending my dog to while I'm gone next month, and direct experience-wise, it was fine. Not great, but fine. Did they make a lot of progress while he was there? Not really. Do I think being worked with held some recidivism at bay that would have been an issue had I left him with someone that wasn't going to keep up with his training? Yep.

Of course, that trainer is a trainer I have worked with outside of a board and train scenario, and while we haven't always agreed on how we would first try to go about teaching things, she had always been very respectful of my decisions. I do think that face-to-face experience was invaluable in establishing the level of trust I have in her.

I also know a handful of people that have had success with board and train, but the training was for herding, which is a specialized skill set that requires the dog to use its own mind and intuition significantly, meaning that any experience the dog can get with a handler knowledgeable enough not to get in their way is going to enhance their ability.

To be honest, the training methods your in-state trainers have tried are far enough from taking up the whole tool box that I don't think an out of state trainer is necessarily your only remaining option. I would look at some of the resources being shared here and try them at home, and possibly look for trainers in your area offering alternative methodologies, before making a decision personally. In your shoes I might also try contacting some people whose dogs she has trained or who have actually done in-person lessons, etc. with her to ask them about the experience as well, assuming you can find any reasonable way to do so.

But... if you're really reassured that the trainer's methods are humane and within your comfort zone and you still find that you want to try it, don't let the idea that teaching a dog not to jump up should have been easy deter you from doing it. Behaviors that some dogs learn easily can be a lifelong struggle for the owners of others, and sure enough the sooner you curb it the better off the dog and you will both be, as long as what's done works and isn't harmful to the dog.
 

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I'm going to be a little blunt here--jumping and leash training aren't very reasonable excuses to send a dog off to another state away from their owners to be trained.

IMO, board and trains should be more aimed towards dogs who may need an extended period of time to observe and try to find a behavior modification technique tailored to that dog, mainly dogs with aggression problems or seemingly "untrainable" dogs, not for your typical puppy/young dog problems, which are, despite what you may have observed from these "trainers" questionable methods, easy fixes.

Please watch the videos and read the links that people have sent you. These are "easy fixes", but that doesn't mean it's "easy", if that makes sense. It'll take time and patience, but your dog will learn. There's no need to send them out of state for something as normal as jumping and pulling on a leash.
 

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Good reviews don't mean much as most trainers don't advertise their bad reviews.

Ask this trainer a question. What happens if my dog gets it right and what happens if my dog gets it wrong? I can slap a shock collar on a dog and get it to stop jumping up in less than two days. I used to use shock collars but learned that I didn't have to shock a dog to train it and I can feel good while doing the training. Handing your dog over to a stranger is taking a big gamble.

This article below might be of interest. Oh and pit bulls learn the exact same way every other breed or mixed breed dog learns. Anyone who claims they specialize in a specific breed raises questions in my mind.

https://pawsforpraise.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/finding-the-right-dog-trainer-harder-than-you-think/
 

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As has been said jumping is a relatively easy behavior problem and should not take sending the dog to a board and train facility. Before even considering sending my dog to one I'd want to spend a couple days at the place observing just how they handle the dogs, what training methods they employ, and what happens when the dog is having a hard time learning the desired behavior. If they told me I could not come and observe I would not be sending my dog. If it was so far away that I could not spend days observing I'd not use them. If they employed methods that I did not like I'd not send my dog.

For jumping you teach the dog that an alternate behavior get them what they want, in your dogs case attention from visitors, while making sure that jumping does not get rewarded. I once had a lab come running full speed at me, I braced for impact but that dog stopped at my feet, sat down, and offered me his paw. Someone had taken the time to teach him an alternate behavior. They had taught him that jumping got him nothing, but sitting and offering a paw got him lots of attention. That is what you want to do with your boy. You need to teach him that going to his mat, sitting, or just keeping 4 on the floor, gets him the attention he wants. Yes you need treats in the beginning to teach it, but once he learns you wean away the treats and only use them every now and then to reinforce the behavior. You need a few helpers to help teach him. You need people to knock on the door and then patiently wait while you slowly try to open it. What you'd be doing is get him to do the desired behavior, sit, mat, or just calmly stand and wait, while you open the door, as soon as he breaks it you close the door and try again. Over and over, till you open the door, and give him his treat, while he's doing the right behavior. Then the person tries to come in, if he breaks the position you can either remove him from the room for a couple seconds, or send the person back outside.. Your not using treats to distract him, you're not keeping him on leash (although one does help in the beginning to keep him under control), and your not growling at him.
 

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Obviously the OP is not able to train her dog. I don't think sending the dog off to a professional is necessarily a bad idea.

Depends on the methods the place uses, and the temperament of the dog. I've known some to simply slap e collars on the dog, others use incredibly harsh punishments that would turn my dog into a quivering, shutdown, shell of a dog. Anyone can call their self a trainer here in the U.S., it's an unregulated profession.
 
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As has been said jumping is a relatively easy behavior problem and should not take sending the dog to a board and train facility.
Maybe for you and your dog, or me and my dog or any other combination but in the specific case of the OP and her dog it is apparently NOT an easy behavior to modify.

She says she's tried 3 local trainers without success. We shouldn't minimize her efforts nor the abilities of people who dedicate their careers to training dogs.

As most of us know, training is constant. Every moment you're with the dog you're training and to be successful you need to be consistent. Going to a training class for a couple of hours once a week where the dog learns from an expert and then has a week to unlearn it at home, can't compare to a 2 week immersion with someone who knows how to train.

Obviously you should be careful who is going to be handling your dog. Ask around for opinions, don't just take the reviews that they themselves proffer up.
 

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Sometimes a person has to try six different trainers. The descriptions given of the trainers and methods suggest to me she got three duds.

I know there are good board and train places. Most good ones will not give a definite time line up front. They need time to evaluate the dog, the dog needs time to adjust to the new surroundings and then the training starts. I know from personal experience as a board and train trainer that this process has to be on a flexible timeline.

No one is minimizing the OPs efforts. As for minimizing the abilities of people who dedicate their lives to training dogs, no one is doing that here either. All it takes to call yourself a dog trainer is simply claiming to be one. The many I've seen who are train wrecks far outweigh the good ones dedicated to learning and ethically training dogs and owners.

Here's something to think about when choosing a trainer from the great Bob Bailey.

"So what distinguishes a great trainer from a good trainer or a so-so trainer? A great trainer knows how to get the behavior as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible with the least chances of extinction. The best trainers focus on building behaviors, building the desired habits, not suppressing the behaviors that we don’t want. When we reinforce behaviors, the variability diminishes. The animal is less likely to do other behaviors than the ones that lead to a positive outcome. When our focus is on stopping unwanted behavior, the consequence is more variability. Telling an animal what not to do is not teaching it what to do. Punishment also has the pitfall of generalizing very quickly, which can result in more problems down the road. For Bailey, the best results are only achievable through scientific applications of learning principles and positive reinforcement."

The entire article for anyone interested.
Bob Bailey : Don’t settle for ‘good enough’ - Smart Animal Training Systems...
 
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