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I have a new German shepherd puppy (about 10 weeks) and I'm researching training opportunities in Richmond, VA. A lot of the trainers with excellent reviews have you send your dog away to doggy boot camp for 2 weeks or more. Has anyone done this?? Im interested in the pros and cons to this method! It seems strange to me to give my puppy away to someone for that long! I was also under the impression it's better to do training WITH your dog. My pup is extremely smart but I've never trained a dog. I just want him to be well mannered. Thanks for any input!


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I have a new German shepherd puppy (about 10 weeks) and I'm researching training opportunities in Richmond, VA. A lot of the trainers with excellent reviews have you send your dog away to doggy boot camp for 2 weeks or more. Has anyone done this?? Im interested in the pros and cons to this method! It seems strange to me to give my puppy away to someone for that long! I was also under the impression it's better to do training WITH your dog. My pup is extremely smart but I've never trained a dog. I just want him to be well mannered. Thanks for any input!


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I rather train with my pup, create bond. I would not send away unless we had serious problems. Zeus is 10 weeks as well, no previous experience for me in training dogs, my first dog actually and we have all basic commands covered with ease. Puppy school for us next week just for fun and to socialize. =)
 

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Most people will not agree with this method. To many of us, training is a journey not a destination. You'll meet plenty of people that train their dogs in obedience all the way through their lives and take them to training class every week.

Sending your dog away gets results...but who knows how? No one knows what those trainers do to your dog to get them to listen. Then there is a period of your dog learned to listen to someone else, now why would they listen to you?

This is something that is done when people don't have the time to deal with a growing dog. Or they're too busy with something else to concentrate on their new puppy. It's why HOT (handler, owner, trained) is becoming a much more popular thing to put after your dog's name. It says a lot about a person that has trained their own dog and been able to get through the ups and downs of dog training themselves.

Find a club, Schutzhund, obedience, GSD, anything...that trains. There are kennel clubs all over the place that will teach YOU how to train a dog and usually for a very low fee and some volunteer hours.
 

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I would wait until the dog is at least a year old before even considering a board and train. The basic training has to be done by you, I think a board and train would be good for refining what you have already started.
In addition I would be very careful regarding where you send your dog. You don't want to send him somewhere where he would be ruined by a less than honest or capable trainer.
 

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Probably as others have suggested, would not send a puppy away for training. If you were going to spend money on training, then by all means find a good trainer or club and learn how to do all the basics and create that bond! You will possibly struggle a little as you learn but a good trainer will help to give you the basic skills that you will be able to build on.
 

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Personally, I would NEVER send my dog away.

First reason is... I love the bond. Training is one of the best ways to get that strong bond with your dog. Especially puppies... that young stage is where it's all developed. Why have them bond with someone else?

Second.... Just because your dog is "trained", doesn't mean they will listen and respect YOU. For example: I have 3 GSDs and I am their trainer.... my SO loves them and plays with them, feeds them when I'm not home, etc... But he does not train with them, he doesn't work them, he doesn't really ask them to do much of anything, he's not the big dog person here. My dogs listen to me very very well, I have a lot of respect from them..... my SO... Not at all. They turn their tails up at him. They are all well trained... but they wont listen to him. You have to earn that respect, it just doesn't go from one person to the next in an instant.

Third.... You never know what that "trainer" is doing with them. Unless you know the trainer very very very well and have been involved with their program for a while and witnessed their dogs work and them train others to the levels they wanted them at..... I wouldn't. I've heard a lot of stories of dogs being killed, harmed, or just left to rot while in a "trainers" program. We recently had a show dog owner come to our training class (she's an old friend of my trainers)... she had to drive up to get her dog that she left for training at this guys place in GA after he would not take her calls, or call her back, or respond to her emails and texts about her dogs progress. No pictures, no updates... nothing. She went up to get him, the trainer wouldn't get him for her. She had to get police involved. The dog was skin and bones, hair was matted, he was sick, and he had a few sores on him... The dog was terribly mannered too. He got into some bad habits. Absolutely terrible sight.

And lastly.... why would you want to get a dog, just to hand it over to a trainer? The fun in owning a dog, is bonding, training, going through all those puppy days and learning about your dog. Train at home, or at a nearby club or personal training, enjoy the dog and gain that bond. Then the dog will want to work with you, want to protect you, want to be around you and love you. That's the true dog ownership. Most often, dogs that are sent to be trained come back with fake titles and half done training anyways. It's not worth the money. If you REALLY don't want to do the training, or just don't want to go through the puppy stage.... buy an adult from a reputable breeder. They've done the training up to that point, and the dog is older. It'll be a healthy dog, and a properly trained dog. Win win situation.
 

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"Doggy Boot Camp" is a phrase that scares me. I'd never send my dog out for someone else to train. At best, you have a well trained dog who you have to retrain to listen to you. At worst, you could bring home a horribly abused dog that a "trainer" beat into listening to them. Training is such a treat; it builds the relationship between you and your dog. The small victories you have such as the pup sitting for the first time on command with no lure overshadows the last month of trial and error. It is something that I wouldn't trade for anything on the planet.
 

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I don't understand the concept of "boot-camp" for a puppy - pup's have such short attention spans, there is only so much a trainer can do with a 10 week old pup in two weeks. A few minutes of training two or three times a day - then what is the pup doing the rest of the time? Waiting in a crate? How much are the trainers charging for a few minutes of training per day?

Much better to do the training yourself, and have the puppy with you to go on and about your day and get socialized instead of being in a boarding situation, with limited interaction with people.

Regular puppy classes will teach you a TON of stuff, and you learn life-long skills that you can use with any dog. It is not hard to do. I too at one point didn't know how to train a dog, so I started classes with my out-of-control rescue, (had a dog before, but never took classes).

Well, I had a boat-load of fun, my rescue and I really bonded and she was turned on to working with me. We were the star of our classes, and I went on to do Schutzhund training with her. People see 'professionals' and their well-trained dogs, and feel that they could never achieve that level of control, but it really isn't hard if you work together, step-by-step.

It will be cheaper and more rewarding for both of you to find a positive, reward-based training class and sign up, and have fun!
 

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I would never send my dogs away but am doing this for other people. I've been approached several times about offering training, but the thing is I work in customer support and just can't deal with *owners* after a 9 hour day at work! So instead I'll do in-home puppy preschool. A lot of people just don't want to deal with a puppy. I'm talking serious sport people that don't start training a dog until 10+ months anyway, either because that's their training philosophy, or the type of sport they are into requires a more physically mature dog. It can actually be cheaper to board/train a puppy than buy a really nice green dog. It's really geared more towards sport folks that just aren't interested in raising puppies, where as I LOVE working with little sponges. I also offer it as a week-long boarding option if someone is going on vacation and wants more than just sticking their pup in a dog run for a week. But I'm kind of a hypocrite, I'll train other people's dogs all day long but won't ever send mine away!! I'm getting an 8 week old sport prospect in two weeks and later I'm doing a flyball bootcamp with one of my previous foster dogs while her owners are on a trip.
 

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I don't understand why you want to miss, and even pay for it, these precious times with a new pup. Do you really think they teach and handle your pup 24/7? He most likely will sit in a kennel and taken out a few times a day for some obedience. Do you think they will take this puppy out to experience the would like you would like him to? And then hoping he will not go through some traumatic experiences that will always make you wonder what in the world happened there.
I had a neighbor offer to take WD as a pup for a few nights "to teach him not to bond too much to me". She plays aggressive games with her dogs. No way do I trust anyone with my pup besides his breeder. After all, he is the one "creating" this great dog.
So enjoy your puppy and be proud of his accomplishments, it's priceless.
 

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I would not, could not send a pup away for training. To me, it is the best time and goes by way too quickly. And really, it isn't a big deal to give a young pup a strong foundation, regardless of the venue the pup will be training in.
Building confidence, and bonding time~I'd gladly be a 'puppy-raiser' for free!

I know of someone that helps out a couple of her breeder friends to grow out some pups, give them more time before placing(usually non-GSD)
She is a *puppy whisperer* and whoever gets one of these older pups(12-14 week) should thank their lucky stars. I wouldn't consider it a board and train, because the pup is still owned by the breeder.
 

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Training boot camp can be very beneficial,but you want to make sure that the trainer is going to take some time for you to learn how to train the dog. It does no good if the dog works perfectly for the trainer,but doesn't for you.Yes,there are less than reputable trainers out there,but every one of them isn't that way.
 

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And really, it isn't a big deal to give a young pup a strong foundation, regardless of the venue the pup will be training in.
Depends on the sport and the owners. The puppy I'm getting back in June really needs help because she is lacking a proper foundation and it is really holding her back. Her owners are great but this is their first dog and they need help getting over some hurdles. It is easier for me to do since I already know the dog and I have all the equipment. I've tried having them over for lessons and lending them equipment but it's just not as effective and they cannot reproduce it unless I am always there with them. Their dog has insane potential but right now everyone is frustrated (them, the dog, the rest of the team...) so we all feel it is best if I take care of a few things my way so they can progress. It's not fun if you don't progress. If the foundation isn't done right the dog can be set back years. We've got a few team dogs this way, they were just "put up" until maturity and now are really struggling to get started, even with very experienced owners/handlers. There are several aspects of the training that when done at a certain age makes things a LOT easier in the long run, but I'm talking about sports that involve utter chaos. With stuff like obedience and SchH it does not matter as much since you have a ring to yourself or an entire field, very little distraction. Also since it's a team sport I put a lot of thought and effort into every dog, not just my own. The better each individual dog can be, the better our results as a team, and the more fun we have in practice because we don't have to worry about dogs struggling all the time or dogs that are not under control. With my own dogs going forward, I'd rather do the work with a puppy and then find out later the dog doesn't like it and do something else than not work the dog as a puppy and then struggle later on because the dogs loves it and has potential but doesn't know how to focus in that environment.
 

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But the key word in my post was YOUNG....you are talking about an older 'pup' not a baby pup that needs some housebreaking/manners/ and confidence shaping.
Big difference when you are doing specialized work with a dog that needs certain exercises within a certain sport proofed.
The OP posted a 10 week old pup, not one that is already working in a sport and needs tweaking.
 

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Actually it would have been much better off if we'd done what we are doing now at 10 weeks. I started the dog myself at 6 months (which was when I got her) and she was doing really well but the owners have kind of hit a wall. What I will be doing with this dog I will be doing with the other dog I'm training starting at 8 weeks and with my own up coming puppy. I/we start them all the same way whether it's 8 weeks or 8 years but it's so much easier with a baby. My team mate has a puppy now 13 weeks and is already more "advanced" than the 1 year old dog. They also need to learn to travel and be at events which is a lot easier to build up with a baby than have a 1+ year old dog travel for the first time and lose their mind.
 

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I still believe it is in the puppies best interest to have the owner trained right along with the puppy, even if the 'trainer' hates working with people. It is only fair that the handler is educated so they can be better for the pups future.

If someone in sport buys an already trained dog to trial, that says something about the handler.

And if the dog disappoints? Is the trainer held accountable?

I remember one instance where a young female couldn't get titled in the owners allotted board/train time-frame. She was in heat during the trial and really didn't have the genetics to do the protection phase. So she failed.
The owner blamed the trainer publicly and it was a bit of a fiasco. When in reality, that dog wasn't really worthy of titling at that time(she was immature as well). But she was bred anyway....and the trainer was bashed unfairly.
I can also see it from the owners point, spend more, spend more because the dog isn't yet ready, and the trainer profits monthly because the dog clearly is not mature enough to do what is asked.
So then they pay out thousands and still don't get a title or a title that can't be repeated due to a shaky foundation.
It just never seems to have a good outcome
 
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