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Thread: Which trainer to choose--small-time or big-time?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Obabikon's Avatar
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    Default Which trainer to choose--small-time or big-time?

    My wife and I are going on vacation next month, and will be out of town for about 10 days. As I've said before on this forum, we'd like to leave our dog with a trainer during that time rather than a plain old boarder.

    Here's my dilemma: I have two main options for trainers, and they're on completely different ends of the spectrum.

    One is an unlicensed, small-time guy who comes highly recommended by two trusted co-workers who are very particular about how their dogs are trained and cared for. At their advice, my wife and I met with him recently to check out his place, get a feel for him, have him meet the dog, etc. We found out that he's an extremely nice guy, and seems to care deeply about his client's dogs and doing a good job. It's also obvious that he's a talented trainer, and that he'd spend a lot more time working with our dog than would a larger-scale trainer.

    On the other hand, he and his "facility" are a little rough around the edges. The place is a working farm, with all the typical farm junk lying all over the place. A litter of 10-week old puppies were roaming around unattended when we pulled in the drive (they were his personal dogs, but still...), and the kennels were kind of rickety cobbled together things in one half of a damp, dirty pole shed--the other side of the shed was filled with junk of various kinds.... And as we toured the place he let one of his clients dogs out of its kennel and it wandered around out of his sight while we talked. All red flags for me, but maybe I'm being too sensitive.....

    The other place is a more "commercial" training/boarding operation. Lots of kennels, lots of dogs, etc. From what I know of it, the place is very clean, very professional, and it's been recommended to me by someone on RTF.

    On the other hand, I'm quite sure that my dog will receive much less actual training, excersize and attention while there, and I'll pay a lot more for it. Plus, I worry that he'll be exposed to all that barking from all those dogs while there and that he'll pick up that bad habit.

    What are your thoughts, advice, personal experience with similar situations??

    Thanks!

    Ryan
    Last edited by Obabikon; 08-28-2009 at 09:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lady Duck Hunter's Avatar
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    He's only going to be there for 10 days....you can't consider that training time, even if he does get some training in.

    If it were me, I'd definately go with the cleaner, more professional, more secure place. No question.
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    Senior Member Lisa Van Loo's Avatar
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    Sounds like the smaller kennel needs to upgrade things a little.

    Number of dogs should not be an issue, as long as they can all be managed by the number of staff. Just because there are more dogs does not mean there will be less time spent. To train a dog, you do not need to spend hours and hours on each one. Training is best accomplished in short bursts. It is not the quantity of time spent, but rather the quality of that time spent which makes the difference.

    I also would not worry about the number of barking dogs. This is not something that will carry over into your home life. If it does, it is easy to "remind" your dog what the home rules are.

    So my answer to you would be, what is your real plan, what do you hope to accomplish, and then decide from there.

    Lisa
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    Senior Member Obabikon's Avatar
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    Yeah, I realize he's not going to come back as a finished dog or anything, but I thought leaving him with a trainer was a better route than just a plain ol' pet boarder. Would you disagree? Because if he's going to come back at the same level either way, I'm still tempted to save about $200 and leave him with the boarder, not the trainer.
    Last edited by Obabikon; 08-28-2009 at 10:02 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gmhr1's Avatar
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    I wouldnt worry about trainer vs boarding kennels I would look for the place that will give the best care.
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    Senior Member Obabikon's Avatar
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    Well, this might sounds naive of me to say, but the small-timer assured me that he'd spend several hours a day with my dog, broken up into lots of short training sessions. I have a hard time believing the larger operation would do the same.

    And because I told the small timer specific things to work on, he guaranteed results by the time we picked him up. In fact, he said something to the effect of "if he doesn't learn, you don't pay."

    Those seem like more red flags.

    On the other hand, I'm a pretty tough judge of people. I don't trust easily, but I believed this guy...

    Despite all that, my gut is still siding with you guys......the bigger operation seems like the best choice.

  7. #7
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    If you view this as a one time situation and do not plan on leaving your dog with a pro on a longer term basis or forming a relationship where you continue training with the pro on a day basis, save your $200. The adjustment time for you dog is likely to take most of the 10 days and there is minimal real training that is likely to be done. If you are willing to spend the $200 extra to give your pup an environment where he will receive more attention and exercise than is providedd in a boarding kennel, and you are considering the possibility of forming a longer term training relationship, go with the person that has the better grounds, cleaner facility, and more professional operation. They will be a better resource for the future and it sounds like they provide a better boarding arrangement as well.

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    Senior Member i_willie12's Avatar
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    Do you not have a friend or hunting buddy you can leave your dog with???

    10 days really isnt going to do much nor is the trainor really going to try and teach the dog anything. MOre than likely will just let the dog out to run, probably throw some marks and maybe some OB nothing special he knows its only going to be there for 10 days!!!
    "Some people pride themselves on how far they can shoot ducks, others pride themselves on how close they can get them. I'm an other!!! "
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Hoosier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    If you view this as a one time situation and do not plan on leaving your dog with a pro on a longer term basis or forming a relationship where you continue training with the pro on a day basis, save your $200. The adjustment time for you dog is likely to take most of the 10 days and there is minimal real training that is likely to be done. If you are willing to spend the $200 extra to give your pup an environment where he will receive more attention and exercise than is providedd in a boarding kennel, and you are considering the possibility of forming a longer term training relationship, go with the person that has the better grounds, cleaner facility, and more professional operation. They will be a better resource for the future and it sounds like they provide a better boarding arrangement as well.
    Read Jeffs post a couple of times. I think he hit the nail on the head.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 1st retriever's Avatar
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    He would be fine at a boarding facility. When I worked at one here we offered walks, exercise areas, and play times. As many a day as you want. We had a couple dogs come in that got 3 walks a day, 2 exercise areas, and 3 play times. It isn't hunt training but he will still get a lot of attention.
    Steph

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