Apples & Oranges Dog Training - Jim Burwell's Petiquette



The Choices of Dog Training Confuse Me



dog behavior Houston


The old aying of “it’s like apples and oranges” applies when choosing the best dog training for you and your dog.

You have an ill-mannered dog and you’re frustrated on how to choose the best way to approach getting this fixed.

Let’s Discuss 4 Ways to Get Dog Training

The first way is to train your dog yourself.

Before you and I look at ways to train it’s important to understand that the ideal sequence of obedience training is:

First teach your dog his basic commands in a comfortable place with no distractions.

There will be much less anxiety and frustration for you and your dog. This will allow him to learn much faster.

What’s the best optimal learning environment? Most would agree that this would be his home.

Once he learns his commands, you add relevant distractions:

  • your kids
  • their friends
  • your friends
  • manners at mealtime and
  • front door

Assuming you tried that but you’re still frustrated, we just have 3 ways.

  • Group classes
  • Board and train
  • Private lessons in your home

Let’s Take a Look at Each Approach to Training Your Dog

Group classes

A great thing about group classes is they are definitely the most economical way to get an understanding of how to train your dog.

Group class doesn’t provide a distraction-free environment for good lesson focus. You must learn the lesson in group class, then teach your dog on your own at home.

Also, group classes don’t provide the distractions you face every day with your dog.

Example: Did you practice having a sit down dinner as part of your dog’s distraction in class?

Example: Did you get to have your youngest running around the back yard as a distraction class?
Will you remember everything taught in class? Will you know exactly how to apply your lessons at home?

It can eventually work. If, you take what you learned in group and train your dog daily at your home around meaningful distractions. It will all depend on you.


Board and train

You may feel you don’t have the time or ability to train your dog.

I understand that frustration.

You may want to consider a board and train program for your dog, turning him over to a trainer at a training facility.

Here are some considerations:

Who’s training your dog?

Will they be kind and compassionate through the process?

If you choose this option, you owe it to your dog to know the trainer of your dog.

Here are some questions to ask your trainer in a pre-board and train interview.

  • Can I see where my dog will stay during his training?
  • How long have you been training?
  • Can I come and visit my dog during training?
  • What kind of training do you use? (positive reinforcement is best)
  • What kind of equipment will you be using with my dog?
  • How many times a day and how long each time does the trainer work with my dog?
  • How will you teach me what I need to know about my dog’s training?
  • Where will you teach me what I need to know?


Your dog is trained and ready to go home.
Most board and train programs have “transfer lessons” for you once your dog has completed the training.

This is the time the trainer of your dog uses to show you what your dog has learned and how you need to execute the commands.

Some trainers have the transfer lessons at their facility because of convenience. Others work with you in the home (ideal.)

Remember, the trainer has spent the last 2-4 weeks developing a consistent working relationship with your dog. You do not have this.

Your dog listens to the trainer because of this relationship and the repetitive work on commands you wanted him to do for you.

Your dog was trained at the training facility, not at your home around your kids, their friends, your friends, mealtimes and front door greetings.

From your dog’s perspective, life finally returns to normal (his normal) once home.


I’ve trained hundreds of dogs in board and train.


The biggest challenge was always getting the owner to be able to elicit the same response from their dog that I got over the last 2-4 weeks.

It’s impossible to transfer this working relationship in just a few basic command transfer lessons.

  • Giving your dog a command and expecting him to obey is one thing.
  • Giving your dog a command and knowing he will obey is special.
  • The difference is that working relationship developed over time.

Who has the relationship with your dog?

Private lessons in your home

Ultimately you and only you have the responsibility of teaching and training your dog to respond to you.
As a dedicated dog owner, understand that having a well-mannered dog begins with the relationship between you and your dog.

That relationship is built on trust and respect through training.
This relationship is the foundation to good manners and a connection you can achieve in no other way.
You are a special breed yourself.

Take the time to develop that relationship by training in your home. Training around relevant distractions:

  • your kids,
  • their friends,
  • your friends and
  • other distractions like manners at mealtime and more.

With private lessons in your home, a trainer “guides you” through that process at your own pace.

Most of my new clients say, “You’re really here to train me, right?”

If you know that, then you know your dog is the easy part of the relationship.

It’s you that is the challenge.

Who will your dog listen to? You decide.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.
I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back. We’ll work together at your speed and both you and your dog will have fun every step of the way.