Owners often have no idea why their dogs are becoming more and more stubborn and out-of-control. This page gives an overview of issues often stemming from previous training or no prior training.

The rest of this site gives a detailed overview, through explanation, pictures and videos, of what Alpha Boarding School For Dogs can achieve with methods that are actually relevant to controlling your dog, when necessary, and how to modify or rehabilitate problem behaviour. This information here will give you some understanding as to why food rewards are problematic in obedience training and behavioural rehabilitation and why your dog has become naughtier as it has gotten older.

We are helping owners with their dogs virtually every day of the year and have done so for over 25 years. Over that time we have gathered hands-on experience and an understanding of what owners want/need from their dogs in their daily real-life, but just as importantly, what dogs need from their owners.  For the most part we can marry these wants and needs together, but there are few scenarios that may be a little more difficult than others.  We take the time to discuss with you your specific needs and the problems you may be experiencing with your dog and in some cases, more issues might come to light with the more things we talk about. We will do our best to help you understand what to realistically expect from the course and what to expect after the course.

IMG_3495 Large

The trainers here are working boarding school dogs within close proximity to their own dogs who are all in off lead drop stay. These boarding school dogs all began their courses with different behaviours issues & goals. Ranging from fear based aggression, anxiety around new people and dogs, aggressive behaviour towards other dogs on lead, to over excitement and uncontrollable behaviour when there was something more interesting to do than listen to their owners. 

The problems associated with previous training with food rewards. These problems can be more serious than most people understand.

The vast majority of owners we talk to have already tried unsuccessfully to train their dogs with food rewards and have watched their maturing dog spiral out of control. This is basically because food reward methods don’t actually teach dogs to listen to their owners and behave under distraction.

Training or rehabilitating your dog is about embarking on an exciting journey full of various learning and behavioural challenges, but also many positive milestones of continued improvement and genuine understanding between the owners and their dogs along the way. Through the consistency of positive, practical and relevant methods an owner can guide their dog, showing them how to behave in our human world by actively and clearly teaching them the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavioural choices or reactions, particularly overreactions.

The vast majority of current-day, supposedly-positive (food reward) training methods are fundamentally flawed and are unable to clearly teach a puppy or dog how to listen and behave, when required, or when under competing and very common distractions.  As a result of this tens-of-thousands of owners have told us over the years that despite previous professional advice using these impractical, supposedly-positive training methods, their puppies and dogs have spiralled out of control and developed serious behavioural problems. Instead of teaching owners how to achieve much needed positive control over their puppies and dogs in real-life situations, these food reward methods actively promote learned irrelevance instead – and I’ll give you the heads up, the owner is the irrelevant part of that learning equation.

Regardless of which training approach you take, attending weekly classes, attending a short course, private tuition or sending your dog to boarding school, there are no shortcuts to a well trained and behaved dog. Dog training and behavioural rehabilitation require time, effort and understanding, but most importantly, day-to-day life-learning experiences starting in the home, in order to have a genuine and positive impact on your dog’s overall behaviour. Only through consistent, ongoing guidance and consistent application of methods that actually work in reality and under distraction, can real behavioural change occur!

Untrained is unknown, and a poorly trained or partially trained dog is really no better, particularly in situations where we actually require some genuine control. So, if a dog has been taught various obedience commands, but will only listen if food bribes are on offer, or when there are no distractions competing for its attention (distracting away from you or the food bribe), then these commands are only partially or poorly taught. This allows the dog to ignore their owner often and, in many cases… as much as an untrained dog in the same distracting situations.  Puppies and dogs learn from their life experiences, which include ignoring the deliberate training of obedience commands and general good manners, but also from their behavioural responses and reactions to daily social interactions and situations. If trained properly with methods that are relevant to real-life situations, owners can capitalise on these important, but random events that help to define consistent and productive learning precedents of both language and leadership.


In our purpose built manners room – learning to wait for an invitation though a doorway


Side gate boundary

IMG_4825 Medium

Car boundary

“Every interaction with your dog is important so the methods used to teach them must be practical, positive and relevant to all real-life scenarios”.

Learning to listen to their owners when distracted, misbehaving or over-reacting is one of the biggest challenges affecting a dog’s social and behavioural development. Then will only learn to listen by actually not listening and then having their owner correcting and resetting the situation in a manner that allows clear learning of a more appropriate response or behaviour to take place.  Through consistent application of Leadership Obedience Training and Canine Good Behaviour Shaping (manners) under distraction an owner can turn most situations where their dog makes mistakes or shows resistance into positive and productive learning precedents. The relevance to canine social and behavioural development comes from being able to either interrupt, correct and reward, or to positively reinforce and reward a dog’s behavioural choices and reactions in a manner that consistently guides them to more positive and acceptable training or behavioural alternatives. Every interaction with your dog is important so the methods used to teach them must be practical, positive and relevant to all real-life scenarios.

So, training your dog is not just about how you do it and what you teach, it’s actually about the relevance of the methods and applying it all in real-life, working through immediate, short, mid and long term challenges that teach genuine and lasting learning precedents and consistency.  If the methods are not relevant to the real-life needs of the owner and their dog then they are going to cause behavioural and socialisation problems, not prevent or solve them!

When you call Alpha Boarding School For Dogs we will explain our methods and service and answer any questions you have.  Our methods and strategies are relevant to the real life needs of dog owners and we are happy to explain how and why what we teach you and your dog actually works!

These dogs are waiting to be invited through the gate. Once individually invited they come through on command. 

We train your dogs to be responsive and reliable under realistic distraction and then demonstrate their new skills and good behaviour in your scheduled three hour handback session!

All training is practical and effective and you will learn to train your dog using relevant methods that actually work, hands-on and in real-time.

We will teach you practical skillsets that we will clearly demonstrate to be relevant to any behavioural issues affecting your dog. It is these skills that will allow you to teach your dog to learn to learn and to learn to listen to you at home, not to just us here at the training kennels.


This dog is working on her off lead manners and obedience in our  manners room – under the distraction of one of our resident Kitty Cats Jensen.

These dogs live in an apartment so their owner is using boundary training to assist with safely traveling in the elevator. 


This dog is learning self control & overall manners around food on a coffee table.


Dogs of all ages can learn not to barge out an open gate – in this picture the Beagle is 3 months old, the Kelpie is 1 year old and the Rottweiler at 10 years old. 


The trainers dogs are waiting at the gate for their turn to be invited through. They help the trainers throughout the day teach the other dogs to listen under distraction. 

Rebuilding the new relationship

The vast majority of dogs will perform extremely well back in the home environment, making some expected and honest mistakes, or generally experimenting with their previous behaviours.  We actually want them to try you out and to show some resistance, so you can work through these challenges to achieve positive learning outcomes. There’s a ‘familiarity breeds content’ issue that sometimes triggers an immediate stubborn response that arises as a result of previous attitudes from within your relationship with your dog.

The previous relationship that your dog remembers before he/she attended an Alpha Boarding School For Dogs course will definitely have an impact on how it listens to you and responds at home. Prior to the commencement of the course, when a dog has been generally trained only to basic levels or has had no real training at all and has been behaving as it pleases without any demands through reliable obedience or manners, let alone targeted rehabilitation strategies, the sudden change can be a bit of a shock to their previous reality. The level or intensity of resistance is sometimes a surprise, but it is what it is and it shows the owners where some of their dog’s previous problems have come from.

Again, the vast majority of dogs, even those with previous, serious and unacceptable behavioural patterns, show little resistance to the new training and manners and improve on a daily basis. 

IT TAKES TIME – teaching the dog is one part of the process, the next is assimilating the new training and manners at home. From there the most important part of the overall leadership-building process is living it, actually making the communication a part of your daily life so you and your dog can make mistakes and wok through them.  This sets positive learning precedents that can then be generalised into the processes of resolving more difficult behavioural issues. With the right methods and a realistic dedication to improving your dog’s behaviour, amazing outcomes can be achieved. Alpha Boarding School For Dogs is your starting point!

IMG_2743 Large

This dog is demonstrating calm controlled behaviour and manners under high distraction of both the cat wandering past and the child having a meal nearby. 

IMG_2715 Medium

She is also demonstrating a calm wait for permission to enter the lounge area (internal house boundary) without the need for a commonly used “baby gate” room divider. 

IMG_2715 Medium

This dog is also demonstrating calm controlled behaviour inside the home whilst the baby is playing nearby.