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Why Board and Train Programs Aren't Ideal for Dogs with Separation Anxiety.

Updated: 6 days ago

Black and white dog barking.
Dogs in an anxious state are not physically learning state.

Board and train programs have gained popularity as an effective way to train dogs. However, when it comes to dogs with separation anxiety, this approach may not be the most suitable solution. In this article, we will explore the reasons why board and train programs may not be the best fit for dogs struggling with separation anxiety.

1. Lack of Familiar Environment:

One of the fundamental aspects of addressing separation anxiety in dogs is helping them feel comfortable in their own environment. Board and train programs typically involve sending your dog to a trainer's facility, which can be an unfamiliar and potentially stressful environment for a dog already dealing with anxiety. This change in surroundings can exacerbate their anxiety rather than alleviate it.

2. Inconsistent Training Environment:

Dogs thrive on consistency, especially those with separation anxiety. Board and train programs expose dogs to different trainers, routines, and environments. This lack of consistency can confuse and stress the dog, making it harder for them to overcome their anxiety.

3. Reinforcement of Abandonment Fears:

For dogs with separation anxiety, being separated from their owner is a source of distress. Sending them away for a board and train program can reinforce their fears of abandonment. This can lead to more severe separation anxiety issues when they return home, as they may now associate being away with feelings of abandonment and anxiety.

4. Potential for Traumatic Experiences:

In some cases, board and train programs may use aversive training methods that can be harmful to dogs, especially those with anxiety. Such methods can lead to traumatic experiences that exacerbate the dog's anxiety issues.

Did you find a board and train program that does e-collar training? E-collar training on low-level or high-level shocking or 'stimulus' is emotional suppression where the dog is shocked for vocalizing in their crate. This is the equivalent of being smacked in the face every time you cry so that you shut up and stop crying. It does not change the emotion or cause of the behaviour. It is cruel and will have after-effects that may not be reversible. It is not dog training and should not be labelled as such.

While board and train programs can be effective for many dogs, they may not be the best choice for those dealing with separation anxiety. Instead, a more personalized and home-based training approach, ideally with the guidance of a professional dog trainer who specializes in separation anxiety, in conjunction with your veterinarian and or Veterinary behaviourist-recommended behaviour medication is often a more suitable solution. Remember, every dog is unique, and addressing separation anxiety requires patience, understanding, and a tailored approach that takes the dog's emotional well-being into account.


Malena DeMartini

Ness Jones

At this time dogs with separation anxiety are not accepted into the #CareyTrainsMe board and train or boarding-only programs. We highly recommend working with a trainer who specializes in separation anxiety.

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