We get a lot of questions about our board & train program. We love that owners care enough to ask questions and get information! There are a lot of trainers who do a terrible job with board & train. We’ve heard horror stories! Finding a quality trainer who uses true balanced methods and will take good care of your dog in their training program is important! We are an open book and are always more than happy to answer questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding our board & train programs!

Where does my dog stay in the program? 

In our program, your dog lives with the trainer in her home. We’ve found this is the best way for dogs to get round-the-clock care and individual attention.

Can I come visit my dog?

Yes! Any programs longer than two weeks offer midway lessons. This is an opportunity for you to visit your dog, spend time with him and learn from the trainer. For programs shorter than two weeks, we do not offer midway lessons, but if you really need to see your dog we can make it happen!

Will I receive updates while my dog is in training?

Absolutely! We send emails, post to social media and, in some cases, we text photos and videos to our clients. We want you to always know how your dog is doing. That said, we do ask that you don’t ask for daily, detailed updates. We are busy training and want to use our time wisely. You can always ask for a quick update, but lengthy updates are usually sent weekly.

What happens if my dog gets sick or injured?

In the rare case that something happens to your dog, we take care of your dog like one of our own! We contact you so that you can take your dog to the vet, or we get your permission to take your dog to the vet ourselves. Since 2013, we’ve trained approximately 700 dogs in board & train, and we’ve had very few accidents ever happen. Because our numbers are so low, we keep a close eye on dogs. This is how we keep dogs safe and healthy! We always know where they are, what they’re doing, what their stool looks like, if they’re eating and drinking enough etc.

Will my dog lose weight? 

That depends! If your dog is overweight then yes, we will put your dog on a diet. If your dog is underweight then no, we will increase your dog’s food intake to help your dog gain weight. If your dog is a good weight, we will maintain your dog’s weight. Our in-home board & train is different from a stressful kennel atmosphere. Dogs aren’t surrounded by loud, barking dogs and overworked/underpaid kennel workers. They are part of our packs and have a great time visiting us for training!

How much will my dog be worked with? 

As much as he needs! We work with dogs often throughout the day. For example, a puppy might receive 15 short training sessions in one day plus a field trip and play time with other dogs! A rehab dog may do longer sessions to work through behavioral issues, but will still be worked with often throughout the day. On average, board & trains do 10-15 sessions per day for a total of 1.5 to 3 hours of training (sometimes more).

Will my dog only be training? Or will he get to have fun too? 

The way we train is fun for dogs, so in their minds their whole day is fun! Depending on the dog’s specific training goals and needs, we will do a combination of obedience, FitPAWS, agility, urban agility, sheep herding, treadmill training, clicker training and more. Many owners see how much fun their dog is having and wonder, “Will he want to come home?!”

Will my dog forget me? 

No. In all our years of training, no dog has ever forgotten his owners. They may not realize their owners are in the room right away, during midway lessons for example, but once they see/smell them they are always happy to see them.

Will my dog listen to me or just the trainer? 

Both. We generalize our training. That means, once we’ve taught the dog the commands he needs to learn, we have him work for multiple handlers in multiple locations around a myriad of distractions. Generalization is a key aspect to training that many other trainers don’t do. Our handover process is very smooth. We ensure that the training transfers so everyone is happy and the dog can be successful at home.

Do you ever come to my house?

Yes! We typically do graduation lessons in the client’s home for Good Dog, Custom and Rehab Board & Trains. (Doing an in-home lesson isn’t necessary for puppy training, but it’s always an option if the client wishes to do so.) This helps us to further generalize the dog’s training and allows us to answer specific questions clients have in regards to their home set-up and environment. In everything we do, we strive to set dogs and their owners up for success.

What about follow-up training?

Some other trainers seemingly disappear after the dog has gone home. They don’t return your calls or follow-up with you. We’re not them! We care about you and your dog. We put a lot of hard work into your dog’s training and want to make sure we’ve done and continue doing everything possible to help you succeed. Follow-up lessons are included in most of our board & train programs, and after that we are always available by phone or email to answer any questions you might have. Many of our clients continue sending us updates and happy stories months and years after their dog has graduated. We’re in this for the long haul and want you to know you can always count on us. We’re here for you!

Do you guarantee your training?

We guarantee we’ll do our job, and we guarantee your dog will be trained. But we can’t control you and we can’t make you follow-through once the dog is home. Ninety-nine percent of our clients do an amazing job with their dogs once their dogs are home. They follow-through, they ask questions if they have them, and they see great success. Every once in a while, we have clients who think their dog is a robot and will obey commands regardless of inconsistency or lack of follow-through on their part. Dogs aren’t robots and they aren’t perfect. We are doing the hard work. All we ask is that you maintain it. And we give you specific, customized, written and verbal instructions to help you do so! Listen to your trainer, and your dog will do great!

Can you accommodate my dog’s special diet?

Yes. We are happy to accommodate any special diet requests, raw food diets, medication needs etc. We even take special needs dogs like mega-esophagus dogs and are more than happy to use the bailey chair to ensure their feedings are successful!

What should I pack for my dog?

We will send you a handout after your reservation is confirmed. The handout has a detailed packing list. Owners are responsible for sending a crate, blankets or bed for the crate, food, a few bags of treats, bones for the dog to chew on in the crate, leash, collar with ID tags and any training equipment you’re currently using (which may or may not be used by trainer depending on the equipment itself). We also ask for a paper copy of your dog’s vaccination records.

What is the best age to do the Puppy Head Start program? 

The best age to do the training is between eight and 16 weeks of age, because that’s the puppy’s critical socialization window. It’s when puppies are super impressionable so socialization, exposure and confidence building are very important. That said, if you do early socialization yourself, then anytime in the two to six month age range is great. Puppy training makes a huge difference so the more you do, the better!

Do I need to make a reservation in advance? 

Reservations are usually made months in advance, unless we have someone cancel or reschedule at the last-minute. To make a reservation, please send an email to info@valork9academy.com.

Thank you!