Ideally, you are the leader in your relationship with your dog and he follows your commands. In reality, that's not always the case. If your dog dominates you with issues resulting from that upside-down hierarchy, he may require professional training. Spending time at a doggie boot camp teaches your dog that he must become subordinate, while instructing you on how to become the leader of your particular pack.
While you might bring your dog to basic obedience classes once a week, working on exercises in the meantime, boot camp is far more intensive. Usually consisting of between one and two weeks of straight sessions, many canine boot camps require that the dog boards at the facility for that period. During part of that time, your presence is usually required. After your dog completes boot camp, some facilities recommend a series of private training sessions to reinforce and enhance your dog's education.
While all dog training boot camps provide basic training, most address specific behavioral problems in individual animals. These issues include aggression, destructive behavior, nuisance barking and housebreaking. Some canine boot camps offer sessions for training dogs in certain disciplines, such as hunting or guarding, rather than correcting canine problems. For example, if you own a bird dog, you might send him to a boot camp that works on retrieving training and conditions him to gunfire.
While canine boot camp schedules vary according to the facility, keeping to a strict schedule is part of doggie discipline. Typically, dogs receive at least two 20-minute training sessions daily, which includes exposing them to a variety of other canines. They also receive ample time for exercise, consisting of three or four workout opportunities of at least 20 minutes each. It's important that dogs receive plenty of mental and physical exercise as part of their routine.
Becoming the Alpha
All the training in the world isn't going to help your dog if you don't learn how to become the alpha, or pack leader. A professional dog trainer observes your interaction with your pet, determining how your behavior affects your dog's actions. In some camps, dogs spend the first week in retraining with the professional, while the second week consists of the professional training you and your dog together. In the best facilities, it's dog and owner training boot camp.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.