As the owner of Ridgeside K9 Central FL, we get asked every question in the book about our board and train programs. Here is a short list of some questions to ask a potential company or trainer. Up front, there are many dog training companies that do “board and train” training packages. Most do a great job – others are complete frauds. Do your homework. Look for reviews. Facebook business pages are a great place to go to check real-time reviews, up-to-date content, and page engagement from past clients. You can view the Ridgeside K9’s Facebook page – we have hundreds of 5-star reviews and counting.
Question 1 – is the business established or is it brand new? Not saying a brand new business is a bad thing, everyone had to start somewhere, but proceed with caution. Established dog training businesses should have hundreds of prior clients that you can research, communicate with and verify their experience. If the business is new – find out where the trainer came from, how long they have been training etc. Remember – any 18-year-old kid can start a dog business tomorrow and gladly take your money. There really is no such thing as a natural when it comes to training dogs – it takes time and hands-on training of hundreds of dogs and even then there is still more to learn.
Questions 2 – what is the methodology? There should be no “secret sauce” or “magic wand” training methods, everything should be out in the open. If a trainer tells you “I like to keep my methods a secret – they are proprietary”, turn around and leave. Nothing in the dog training world is “new”. There may be a new catchphrase or approach – but nothing is truly new. Your trainer and or the company should be more than willing and able to explain everything to you in detail and in a way you understand. Remember, the second you take the dog home you become the trainer. You have to know what is happening.
Question 3 – where is my dog staying and who is training the dog? Simple questions that you should have answered. If the company or trainer refuses to tell you where the dog will be housed and or who will be training the dog day to day – turn around and leave. Accountability becomes difficult in the face of an emergency if you have no idea where the dog was even kenneled.
Question 4 – is the business licensed and insured? Seems like a no-brainer – but anyone can make a Facebook business page or website. That does not mean they are legit.
Question 5 – based on the dog’s issues, does the trainer have experience dealing with the said issue? Teaching a basic obedience command like “sit” is a world different from dealing with a dog trying to bite everyone. Simply ask to talk with the trainer and rather bluntly ask them “have you ever trained this breed and dealt with this issue”. It doesn’t mean it’s a deal breaker if they haven’t – it’s just something else to consider.