Dog boarding school

(110 Posts)
houselikeashed Wed 22-Jan-20 20:33:42

Our dog is about to go to boarding training school. Has anyone done this? And was it successful? I'm imagining we'll miss him terribly, as will our other dog. He is out of control though so we need to do something. I know it's our fault we didn't train him enough when he was younger, but we've never had a Spaniel before and just weren't thorough enough.

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Helenluvsrob Wed 22-Jan-20 20:35:48

How old ?
The main downside I guess is he learns to behave for someone who isn’t you

Good luck

Veterinari Wed 22-Jan-20 20:43:39

The main downside is that you've created the problem and unless you address your own lack of time/commitment/knowledge, the chances are that you're throwing your money away as he'll regress after he returns to you.
You need to invest time in your dog and work alongside a trainer if you need guidance.

Also what training methods do they use?

fivedogstofeed Wed 22-Jan-20 20:50:09

But surely you need the training as much as the dog? Unless you are going as well, I don't honestly see the point sad

FATEdestiny Wed 22-Jan-20 20:59:01

Training is all about your behaviour, moreso than the dogs.

I cannot see how this will make much difference since you won't be learning how your behaviour needs to modify. You'll learn that your dog can behave well - just not for you. How will that help integrate him back into your family?

How old is the spaniel?

My cocker spaniel was a nightmare from ages 9 months yo about 2 years old. I didn't like her much at all through those months. It took until she was 2 (and with effort made to consistently train in desired behaviour) before we started bonding and I started loving her.

Bigmango Wed 22-Jan-20 21:10:40

I mean it’s a lovely idea (and I have watched their marketing videos in the pits of puppy hell) but having put a lot of time and effort into reading about and applying training to our dog, I cannot see how it works. As other posters said, it’s not about the dog it’s about you, or at the very least your relationship. I wouldn’t have thought any accredited behaviourists working in the uk today would endorse them.

houselikeashed Wed 22-Jan-20 21:11:12

He's a Sprocker from working parentage and just turned 2. We had an introductory training session which he responded really well to last week and we've been practicing every day with a huge improvement.
We did work with a local trainer last year but we just didn't seem to gain any control over him. They weren't a specific gun dog trainer though. The place he's going to specialises in gun dogs. We get some handing over sessions at the end of his 4 week stay, and regular top up sessions afterwards to make sure all is still ok when we've got him home.

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zelbazinnamon Wed 22-Jan-20 21:12:13

How much is it? I didn’t realize this was actually a thing but totally love the idea 🙈

houselikeashed Wed 22-Jan-20 21:15:50

It's not cheap. Around £30 per day I think.
They offer 2 week stays, 4 week stays (for Spaniels) and 6 weeks for full gun dog training.

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twoheaped Wed 22-Jan-20 21:15:56

I have a customer who does dog boarding training. She does some amazing stuff with the dogs in her care.
I have seen/cared for 4 dogs after they have been through her training and they were beautifully mannered, both for the owners and us (boarding kennels).
If I had a delinquent dog, I wouldn't think twice to send them to her.

houselikeashed Wed 22-Jan-20 21:17:49

That's good to hear. Thank you.
Where (ish) are you based?

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Nojeansplease Wed 22-Jan-20 23:18:01

£30 a day isn’t bad!! It’s £25 just for day care around here plus more if you need them picked up/ dropped off
And that’s only 8 hours and you need to provide food etc for them whilst they’re there. AND mine seems to learn more bad behaviours than good!!
£30 per day seems like a bargain!

dogcrazy Thu 23-Jan-20 00:16:42

I think it’s a weird idea. Training is about you learning and teaching the dog, and about bonding. What sort of training is he having and what issues has he got that make him out on control?

BiteyShark Thu 23-Jan-20 04:59:20

Whilst I can see the attraction of sending your dog off and they come back well trained with little effort I do think you might still be in the exact place next year unless you do the work to train the dog. I have a working cocker and I don't understand why you aren't doing the training with a gun dog trainer as a 1-1 rather sending them away.

Dogs do behave very differently to other people so I am a bit sceptical of a dog coming back trained and you only having to do the occasional bit and them behaving for you if the reason they aren't trained in the first place is because you haven't done the work up to now.

BiteyShark Thu 23-Jan-20 05:06:07

Btw I have done gun dog training with mine even though he is a pet. What is the rationale behind sending him away? What are they going to do in those 4 weeks and why do they need to do it without you?

I would have thought the hardest thing is reading the dog, understanding their behaviour, getting your commands and voice correct, getting the reward correct etc which is about you learning this rather than the dog.

twoheaped Thu 23-Jan-20 05:22:21

houselikeashed I am in the North West.

Scarsthelot Thu 23-Jan-20 07:56:04

I feel a bit mixed about this

Alot of time, gun dog training is taken over by someone else. Assuming the dog is actually going to work. The owners, will be working.

But, on the flip side, you need to know what they are doing with the dog to continue at home.

It seems an odd thing to do if he isnt going to be a working dog. And how do the owners keep up the techniques and learn?

A trained gun dog can easily slip into bad habits again.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 23-Jan-20 08:01:20

You are being sensible in owning up to an issue you have caused and doing something about it.

Since you will be having hand-over and top-up sessions, you should be able to learn how to handle the dog and the dog should also learn that you are now in charge. A lot of training is teaching a dog what a command means and then ingraining reactions to those commands (recall for example) and if you are using a whistle it shouldn't matter too much who gives them.

Boarding gundogs for training is not particularly unusual and means that the dog can be given time and consistency that might not be feasible at home, with easy access to training grounds which again aren't always available where the dog lives. Gundog training is much more reward based now than it was - I know a guy who boards and trains spaniels and his methods are reward based. His own dogs live the life of Riley: I would have no hesitation in sending one of my dogs to him.

Booboostwo Thu 23-Jan-20 08:13:08

This kind of thing used to be really popular in the 80s, I remember my mum sending our GSDs to dog training school. There is also a very good reason why almost no one does it doesn’t work.

Dog training is primarily about teaching the owner how to train the dog and relies on the commitment of the owner to keep the training up at home. Depending on the dog’s character it takes about a year of training to get basic behaviors reliably in all situations and two years if you are training something specific. Most people grossly underestimate this and think that a 10 week course is sufficient...then again they are happy to work around whatever training gaps their dog has, so that’s fine.

I would be quite worried about the stress you will be putting your dog under by effectively rehoming him, as he won’t know what is happening. Will he be kept in kennels or a home environment? Kennels would be a complete deal breaker for me. You also don’t say what training techniques the trainer will use. Gun dog training explains the purpose of the training, what behaviours the dog will learn, not the type of technique used to do the training. While some gun dog trainers use positive reinforcement techniques, many still rely on dominance and compulsion techniques which again should be a deal breaker. Finally you may find that the transition between handlers is problematic, especially for a dog that has associated you already with a specific kind of, unwanted, behavior.

Veterinari Thu 23-Jan-20 09:16:09

A lot of gun/working dog training is still quite traditional, aversive and punishment based. Gundogs don't need 'different' training to any other dogs. They need consistency and someone who applies learning theory correctly.

I'd be very concerned that this training could be detrimental to your dogs welfare, and ineffective once he returns to you, unless fear or pain is used.

Basically the only ways to train are 1. regular long term work to build a cooperative relationship with your dog and an understanding of positive reinforcement, 2. Significant punishment causing fear, pain and distress - this is remembered over a long period and is often used by 'boarding' trainers as the dogs will continue to avoid the unwanted behaviours because of chronic fear response. It is terrible for dog welfare and can create behavioural side effects.

How much exercise does your dog get OP? What are the behaviours you're having problems with?

Scarsthelot Thu 23-Jan-20 09:52:15

A lot of gun/working dog training is still quite traditional, aversive and punishment based. Gundogs don't need 'different' training to any other dogs. They need consistency and someone who applies learning theory correctly.

In 20 years, I have owned several spaniels and fostered more. Mine have done gun dog training, so have some of the fosters when they have found their forever home.

Non have been trained with punishment. I would hope OP has ensured that's not the sort of training used

fivedogstofeed Thu 23-Jan-20 10:13:19

That's also my fear with this. There are many amazing modern gundog trainers but many more who treat dogs very harshly - I've seen this first hand and would not let any of these guys within a mile of my dogs.

houselikeashed Thu 23-Jan-20 17:33:16

Thanks everyone. I'll try and explain some more.
The trainers promise me they do not use force / fear type training. Firm and repetitive yes, but not pain/fear. I have to trust them. I have researched the trainers extensively and I'm happy with them.
The problem we have is that we let him run off and hunt for himself from a puppy. Now, as soon as he gets out the house all he wants to do is hunt and he gets so excited he becomes deaf and single minded. Our local gamekeepers have been very patient up to now but we really need to be able to let him off lead to run around but be able to control him.
At the trainers, he will be trained within a contained area with their own pheasants and rabbits etc.
We have already tried working with a trainer 1-2-1 but with little success.
Within 1 session with the boarding trainer my dog can now walk across a field keeping to heal with the lead dragging on the floor.
I know it is our fault, and I understand the concepts of training your dog, but we just feel out of control with him. If he can learn how to concentrate then I feel we might stand a chance.

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Scarsthelot Thu 23-Jan-20 17:52:38

What do they put in place, to ensure the dog responds to you when he returns?

Theres every chance you could sink £1200 (£30 a Day for 6 weeks) and the dog reverts to his old behaviour with you.

That would be a huge concern for me.

BiteyShark Thu 23-Jan-20 18:10:41

OP I had a nightmare with my cocker for months off hunting on his own. I worked everyday with his recall and it was when I made myself more exciting than deer and rabbits did he then stick to my side. I walk in the countryside through cattle and all sorts so I know that pain but it will come down to whether your dog thinks you are more exciting than running after wildlife. If he still sees you as boring at the end then I fear you will have wasted your money.

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