All About Dog Boot Camps

dog boot camp

More than 70 million US households own at least one dog. Some have new puppies and some have older dogs, and every pet has its own unique personality. Some are amicable, friendly, and jovial right from the day they arrive at their owner’s home, but many are little terrors, chewing up anything and everything and making their owner’s life non-stop frustration. Others dogs are simply tough to train and need a professional to turn them into the well-behaved pet their owner dreams of (yes, you aren’t the only dog owner dreaming of having a well-behaved pet…). Your dog may be a little angel or a little disaster (or a big disaster), but all dogs can benefit from the intensive training that a dog boot camp offers.


Many people are simply too busy to train a dog themselves or aren’t sure of the right methods to use to get the best results. Also, many dog owners find it impossible to break their pet’s bad habits or to correct bad behavior. But there’s no need to tear your hair out with frustration anymore, because a dog boot camp aims to correct all dog behavior problems with one short but highly productive training course.

Also, if you’re going on a vacation or moving house, sending your pet on a boot camp training plan can save you the cost of canine boarding and kennels and also use the time productively to give your pet some expert training!


What a Dog Boot Camp Aims to Achieve

Most people’s pets have received at least some basic training, but a dog boarding program will offer a complete training course designed to make your dog the well-behaved best friend you’ve dreamt of.

These programs usually cover:

  • Potty training and crate training
  • Basic manners and etiquette
  • Teaching your dog self-control and discipline
  • How to walk politely on a leash
  • Basic commands, including SitDown, Come and Stay
  • How to politely wait for food
  • How to greet and behave around other dogs and people
  • How to wait for you to open a door (before running through)
  • Learning boundaries
  • How to travel safely and quietly in a vehicle and how to safely enter and exit a vehicle
  • Off-leash obedience (this is usually covered in more advanced training courses)

Trainers at a canine boot camp will also work to correct any bad habits your dog has acquired, such as stopping:

  • Your dog or puppy from jumping up at you or play biting
  • Your pet from barking at strangers
  • Begging and whining for food
  • Chasing cats, other animals or children
  • Tugging or snapping while on a leash
  • Anxious or aggressive behavior such as growling or snarling


Not all dogs will need the same amount or kind of training, and courses can be customized to fit your individual needs.

Most dogs can unlearn bad behaviors and learn new ones fairly quickly, which is why a boot camp is often the best way to resolve these issues. However, many of these bad habits can take longer to correct and may require some additional one-on-one work with an experienced dog trainer.

puppy training

Adjusting Behavior

If you aren’t having any luck curbing certain behaviors, then you can get them resolved with the help of a group of skilled trainers. These professionals can help you identify the root cause of issues and apply the right methods to correct the behavior problems. Common behavior problems that dog boarding plans aim to resolve include: chewing on furniture and clothing, excessive barking, bad manners around other pets and people, and not listening to owner’s commands.


Eliminating Anxiety

Some dogs can develop separation anxiety when separated from their owners, or can develop fears of harmless objects or events. Also, dogs may bite, lash out or try to hide as a fearful reaction to ordinary everyday events. With the help of a training camp, they can gain more confidence and change these habits entirely.



Reinforce Basic Commands

The basic commands are very important, including “sit”, “down”, “come”, and “stay”. If your pet isn’t responding to these consistently, then a boot camp will reinforce who the leader is in the “family pack”. Also, while practicing at home you’ll be able to reward your pet for excelling with toys and dog training treats, and then progress on to learning more difficult commands and tricks.


training a group of k9sEtiquette and Manners

All dogs need to be well-behaved at home and in public. Sometimes, the bad habits dogs acquire need only a small amount of correcting, and expert trainers can usually fix common problems quickly in the environment of a boarding facility.


Socializing with Other Dogs and People

In addition to the training routine, a boot camp will give your pet time to play outside and inside. By being in a boarding environment, dogs learn how to play and socialize in a polite and courteous way with other dogs and new people with trainers nearby to keep control. Additionally, boot camps typically include daily walking, running, games such as frisbee and possibly swimming.


Fun and Work at the Same Time!

Your pet will be having fun with other dogs and human trainers, and at the same time learning essential skills directly from experts. A boot camp will be mostly fun work, with daily disciplines and routines designed to make the most of the relatively short time and turning your four-legged family member into a dream dog.


Extended Stay Programs

dog obedience schoolSome dog boarding camps will offer longer-term packages. These can be useful if you have a new dog you want to put your dog through an intensive training period to make your pet’s life well-balanced right from the beginning. These programs can help to make your dog well-behaved in all situations and should give him or her the right education to be well-behaved at home and out in the big wide world. Also, these training systems can give you the right tools to prevent future behavior problems before they become serious.


Training the Human

As a dog owner, you have to be aware that a huge part of training dogs is actually training their humans how to behave around dogs, which includes all members of the family. Everyone needs to learn and understand how to behave in a consistent and firm-but-fair manner around dogs all the time. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take your whole family to some private lessons with a dog trainer after the boot camp is over. This will ensure that everyone in the household can help to keep the perfect pet perfect! Here you will learn the tools and techniques to keep control of your dog at home and ensure domestic harmony between human and canine.


What to Look For in a K9 Training Boot Camp Program

  • Price – Obviously, you don’t want a dog boot camp that costs an arm and a leg. Prices can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, but a more expensive program is not necessarily better than a cheaper one. The cost of a good boarding course is usually about $900-$1,100 per week.
  • Duration – A boot camp can be anywhere from a few days to several months, so depending on how much training your pet needs you can find a program that suits your needs.
  • Trainer Qualifications and Experience – All top trainers will have extensive experience training many different breeds of dogs, but not all of the best have formal qualifications. Experience and results are what matter.
  • Training Program and What it Aims to Accomplish – Some boot camps are just for basic training or puppy training, while others will be longer and go more in-depth into resolving behavior problems.
  • Safety and Security – You want your pet to be in a safe and secure learning environment, giving you the peace of mind that your dog is in excellent hands. In other words, you want to trust the training school and know that your furry friend is in a loving and respectful environment.
  • Health – Naturally, you want an environment that is healthy for your dog. Check to see what the kennels are like, what kind/brand of food is used and what resources are on site in the event of an emergency.
  • Dietary Needs – If your dog is on a special diet or has certain food allergies, make sure the training program can accommodate this. Call them in advance to make sure they can provide for your pet’s needs (you may need to provide your own dog food for the course).
  • Money Back – If you get your beloved pet back and his or her behavior hasn’t improved, you definitely want to approach the company and ask for a refund. To avoid any disputes, it’s a good idea to look for a training school that has a “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” policy.

my pet dog at a boarding camp


What to Look For in Dog Trainers

  • Experience – Obviously, you don’t want to be the guinea pig of an inexperienced trainer! Make sure that the trainers at a dog boot camp are full-time professional dog trainers and have many years of experience under their belt.
  • Previously Trained Dogs – The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Before paying good money to send your dog away “to school”, make sure you can see the results of the training program in other dogs. Look for videos on YouTube of the school’s dogs in action or ask other dog owners for recommendations (if you’re out and about and you see a very well-behaved dog, you can ask the owner who the trainer was).
  • Can Solve Your Problem(s) – If there’s a specific behavior problem or bad habit you want to resolve, make sure your trainer(s) can actually do this for you.
  • Treats All Animals Humanely – This should go without saying, but you want trainers who will get your dog to be polite and well-trained using humane and positive training methods.
  • Loves Their Work – If your trainer(s) love dogs and training them, and their passion is working with animals, the chances are the results will be much better than using a “this is just a day job” trainer.


Pawliday Inn Pet Resort 29 - By Adelaidasofia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Many of the best dog training centers will offer follow-up phone or skype chats to ensure that their “students” are excelling at home as well. Larger dog training schools usually also offer other services such as grooming, dog boarding and kennels at discounted rates for dogs they’ve trained.

If you want to transform your dog from stressful nightmare to the ideal pet, a dog boot camp is probably the best option and will save you a huge amount of time and energy.

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