Dog trainers offer different types of services. The two most popular services are board and train and in-home training. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In this article we share some with you.
Board and train
In this model a trainer takes the dog from the owner for a certain length of time. The training period can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. Training is done without the owner. Instead, the dog lives with the trainer and learns from them in a very structured environment.
Advantages of Board and Train
This is a great option for someone who don’t have time to train their own dog. The trainer teaches the dog and then generalizes the behavior. By the time the training ends, the dog knows the commands and the behavior is modified. The owners just need to keep up with the training.
Board and Train is a big money maker for trainers. Trainers charge thousands of dollars for these programs.
Disadvantages of Board and Train
The disadvantages of board and train is that the owner is not involved in the training. That can lead to future failure if the client does not keep up what the trainer has achieved. To help with this issue, trainers offer a few in-home lessons to teach owners what the dog has learned. Then the owner is expected to continue the rules and structure during the board and train.
In our area, where rent is so high, a disadvantage for trainers is that you need a facility. If you cannot afford to rent one, then you must be willing to keep your client dogs in your home for the duration of their training. That means living with the dogs 24/7.
Additional tips for Board and Train
Before signing a lease for a facility, make sure dogs are permitted to stay overnight. Not all areas are zoned to allow animals to stay overnight.
When it comes to housing dogs in a facility there are a few things to consider.
- Will the dogs be left unattended outside of business hours or will you hire staff to stay with them overnight?
- Do you have security cameras to watch the dogs in your absence?
- Will offer clients the option to view daytime camera footage so they can watch their dogs while you train them?
- Is your fire alarm system up-to-date and in good working condition?
- Is the alarm system connected to your local fire and police departments? You need to be sure the premises is fully connected so emergency departments can be notified immediately, should a fire or break in happen.
In this model, trainers go to client homes to work with the owners and the dogs together. This type of training is more focused on teaching the client how to train their own dog.
Advantages of In-home Training
The advantage of in-home training is that the responsibility is on the owner to make the desired changes. Since clients are so involved in training, they learn everything from the start.
Trainers who offer board and train spend time teaching only the dog, therefore expectations are much higher for them to return a perfectly behaved dog. That is a lot of pressure put on the trainer.
In-home training is also a less-costly model, whereas, you don’t need a facility. Therefore, you don’t need a ton of money to start an in-home training business.
Disadvantages of In-home dog training
Disadvantages of in-home training is that you rely on the client to follow through with the training. The process is much slower than the board and train model. Especially when your client struggles to train their own dog effectively.
It can be frustrating working with clients who don’t follow through and are not getting good results. Subsequently, the outcome from one client to the next will vary.
Additional Tips for In-home Training
When doing in-home lessons, be sure to keep your service area small enough so you are not spending more time traveling than training dogs. We take 30 minutes in between appointments for travel, bathroom breaks, meals, etc.
Some trainers offer one program while others offer both options. When starting your business, or when deciding to add both options, consider the advantages and disadvantages for each. Taking time to research different training programs before jumping into it, will help you succeed.
Coming soon is a brand new course offered by ISCDT on starting your own business.
Written by Jessica Freedman