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Residential dog training

(19 Posts)
goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 09:48:55

Has anyone tried residential dog training for their 'untrainable' dog? I'm just wondering if it's worth the £600+ it's going to cost. Obviously if it works then it will be worth every penny, but if not then that's a lot of money down the pan.

hercules1 Fri 01-Aug-08 09:54:01

Is it where you are trained in how to train or just the dog goes?

supastar Fri 01-Aug-08 09:55:08

Personally i wouldn't reccomend it (presume you mean the dog is residential, not you?). For starters you really have no idea of how the dog will be treated when you are not there, but equally importantly YOU really need to build a relationship with the dog and fully understand how to train it yourself, so that it will do things for you (not just the trainers at the centre), otherwise you could find that you've spent a lot of money only for things to still be the same. A good local training class or a behaviourist (APBC or APDT)would be a better bet.

Backgammon Fri 01-Aug-08 10:02:54

I'm with supastar - I wouldn't want someone else training my dog without me there.

BUT - if it's what you really want to do, my friend recently sent her dog here and says she came back a different dog.

Her dog had fairly serious issues - aggression towards other dogs and also people I think. My friend said the dog came back and was perfectly happy about their being 5 other dogs in the house, seemed like a complete personality transplant.

I don't trust anyone with my dogs though [precious] so there is no way I would let someone take them away and do something to them that I couldn't see.

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:08:06

My dogs only problem is recall. But it is spoiling every single day with him. He is a very active spaniel and just can't get the exercise he needs without being offlead. He never runs far from me until he spots another dog or person and then he becomes deaf to me. Recall with no distractions is probably about 80% but by no means reliable. I thought that if a residential training school trained him to come back by whistle it would be worth doing.

Sonnet Fri 01-Aug-08 10:10:31

My SIL sent her Lab for residential trainning and he goes back for a refresher course each year. He is a lovely dog but just a bit "robotic" of me - he seems to have no personality

Backgammon Fri 01-Aug-08 10:10:47

You could talk to them, but to be honest you might just be better getting a trainer to come to your home.

Recall is about making yourself as attractive and exciting as possible to make the dog want to come back - I'm not sure it would work with someone else doing it bbecause you need to learn as much as the dog does.

I'd definitely try a local trainer first -
have you tried the long line thing with your dog?

hercules1 Fri 01-Aug-08 10:10:52

You need to be there yourself imo and be trained to in how to train. We have a spaniel too and he took a long time to train to come back but he does now. He also seemed to grow out of having to say hello to everyone. I would say £600 would be a waste of money if that's your only problem. I assume you've done the whole treat thing?

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:11:38

Hercules1 it's where the dog goes to stay without me for around three weeks.

To be honest I don't really care what methods they use to teach him so long as he isn't beaten. I just can't imagine another 15 years of keeping him onlead. Whatever they do, if it works and I can do it while walking him it will change our lives.

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:12:31

ooops, crossposts there, children chatting to me while I am trying to think and type!

hercules1 Fri 01-Aug-08 10:13:01

WHat have you done yourself to train him to recall? I wouldnt send a dog away for 3 weeks.

Backgammon Fri 01-Aug-08 10:14:09

IMO anything that offers a "quick fix" for a lot of money is generally a complete waste of time.

I learned that the hard way by falling for a really crappy training school.

There generally isn't a quick fix when it comes to dog training - dogs need repetition and routine to learn things.

Recall is something that you need to be trained to learn as well, I would get a local trainer and accept that it's going to take some time.

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:16:52

hercules1 I don't think there is a treat in the world that could persuade him away from trying to have a play with another dog. I feel so bad for him being on a lead as he is so desperate to play and say hello to everyone.

I do have a long-lead, but bought it and now not really sure what to do with it iykwim. I have tried finding a 1-2-1 dog trainer to give us sessions at home but none will do it as we are in the middle of a block of group training sessions with someone else.

I'm ready to give up on the group training as he is just manic there. He pulls dreadfully there because he wants to play with the other dogs. I leave and my hands are red raw and me and teh dog are both very frustrated.

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:19:12

Thanks hercules and BG. I suspected as much really which is why I asked.

I suppose I was looking at a quick answer but throwing money at things doesn't always make them better.

He can recall perfectly in teh garden/house so it isn't like he doesn't know what to do, it's just he chooses not to when something better is on offer.

Right now he is under the surgeons knife being castrated, but I don't for one minute think it will help this problem.

hercules1 Fri 01-Aug-08 10:19:18

What does the dog trainer do when he's doing that at the classes? Tbh I think it is too extreme to send a spaniel away for 3 weeks when you have no idea what will happen to him just because he wont recall.
You need to work on it yourself at home. WHat sort of a spaniel is he?

goingslowlymad Fri 01-Aug-08 10:21:09

He is a working-type Cocker.

The trainer just says to persevere and she thinks he will improve, but he is so bad I dread going.

It's such a shame, as in the house he is sedate, calm, affectionate and the perfect dog.

Backgammon Fri 01-Aug-08 10:21:22

With the long line it's really simple - you just let him run around on it then call him back. If he comes straight away he gets a treat (make it something high value that he really likes).

Start somewhere small where there are few distractions then gradually build up to being able to call him back even if he is in the middle of sniffing something interesting or whatever. Do it somewhere where there are no distractions to begin with, otherwise you'll set him up for failure.

If he's not food obsessed (mine are) take another high value item that he will come back for, like a toy. The key to it is your tone and level of excitement when you call him - it has to be in a fun, excited tone. Often recall fails because the owner starts shouting the name in a telling off way and obviously that doesn't make the dog want to come back.

Why not just not tell the other trainers about the group training?

hercules1 Fri 01-Aug-08 10:24:28

WOrking cockers have masses of energy and are well, working cockers. THey need masses of stimulation or will find it themselves. As other poster said you need to make yourself more interesting.
Dogs are hard work and need a lot of input from you as an owner.

I would highly recommend this website to you for excellent advice on cockers.


Alambil Sat 02-Aug-08 01:49:01

Added to backgammon's description - if he DOESN'T come back, yank the line (not a retractable; they are EASILY broken and you'll lose your pooch! Get a 12ft rope from a trainer).

Shout "NO!" in a "omg dc is about to run in the road" voice and then "come" in a really, REALLY happy voice.

How old is the dog? It takes a good 2 years to get a dog 99% trustworthy; there's always room for movement though so never 100%!

I suggest talking to your trainer about it - my mum's a trainer and she's more than happy for people to hang back after the lessons.

It takes repetition, determination and starting on-lead (until practically failsafe) to get a good recall. It can be done with puppies in 10 weeks - if you do it properly IME (our puppy courses are 10 weeks; most dogs are coming back after that but it's not entirely reliable if you have a nosey dog or bad habits instilled like ignoring lol)

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