Advanced search

Residential training?

(35 Posts)
Redyoyo Wed 20-Jan-21 19:39:10

Has anyone used a residential trainer for their dog? Was it worth it?
We have a 6 month old springer and he has hit his teens early and decided he can't be bothered with all the training we have put in with him and now just wants to chase the birds.
We have spoken to a breeder/trainer who will take him for a few weeks and spend a few hours a day with him, at the moment I just can't spend that time training him with home schooling and work.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Wed 20-Jan-21 19:52:23

I have a WCS who at 6 months of age started to hit the adolescent stage but it continued for many months afterwards hitting the peak at 8-9 months of age.

Honestly I could have quite happily paid someone to take him during his worst time. So yes I can understand how you feel but I know mine reacted differently to different people so even if you get someone else to 'train' him it doesn't necessarily mean he will be 'trained' with you.

BiteyShark Wed 20-Jan-21 19:57:47

Is the trainer a gun dog trainer? The chasing birds is a natural instinct and really you need to understand why and how to direct that instinct to your advantage. I did gun dog training with mine and even though he won't ever be worked it did get me to realise what drives him and how to get him to focus on me rather than hunt after birds/deer/etc

Who is going to provide that training to you if you aren't involved in his training?

raspberrysundaes Wed 20-Jan-21 20:04:59

Residential training is generally not advisable unless you can go as well and be taught alongside your dog. Training a dog is one thing, but 99% of the time you need to train the owner as well. That's not going to happen if you're not there.

Do you know 100% that they will train your dog in a way you agree with? Remember, aversive devices like sound collars, prong collars and choke chains are all legal - you need to be totally sure that they're not going to use those techniques on your dog.

As an example, I walk dogs who walk/behave very differently with me than they do their owners, because I use different techniques. I walk dogs at heel that pull their owners down the street - because the owners haven't been trained to do what I do.

Basically, you can't effectively train a dog without also training the owner as well.

Redyoyo Wed 20-Jan-21 20:16:12

The trainer is a gundog trainer and breeder and has a half day session with the whole family on handover. He's not that bad to be honest he just need a bit of refining.

OP’s posts: |
raspberrysundaes Wed 20-Jan-21 20:24:47


The trainer is a gundog trainer and breeder and has a half day session with the whole family on handover. He's not that bad to be honest he just need a bit of refining.

Half a day isn't long enough - I'm really sorry, but it's not.

You need to learn alongside your dog. They'll be getting several weeks of training and you'll get, what, three hours?

BachelorDog Wed 20-Jan-21 20:49:31

Training is not a once and done kinda thing. Unless correctly reinforced throughout the dog's life, the training fades and behaviour will alter to match the environment the dog lives in.

So you'll pay several hundreds of pounds and be back where you started, unless you then put the effort in to learn how training works and apply the correct opportunities and refresher learning throughout the dog's life.

"A bit of refining" will honesty be lost within weeks of the dog being back home - unless someone at home carries on with the training.

Dogs are a bit rubbish at generalisation (taking the learning in one type of environment and applying it in another), so you also risk the dog barely following the training at all when you get him home.

It's just not the kind of thing that is realistically outsourced with minimum input from the owners.

Redyoyo Wed 20-Jan-21 21:03:59

Thanks for your answers, i hope we don't come across as lazy owners we have been doing our best with him but are obviously not professional dog trainers, and due to lockdown we can't get any other training classes at the moment other than zoom or residential. We probably best just doing what we are doing until lockdown is over.

OP’s posts: |
raspberrysundaes Wed 20-Jan-21 21:29:53

All dogs go through a difficult phase at that age - you just need to be persistent.

No amount of training (residential or otherwise) will stop them being teenage idiots grin

BiteyShark Thu 21-Jan-21 04:55:16

Teenage phases lasts months. Mine started at 6 months of age and we finally turned the corner around 1 year. That was with gun dog training with a trainer and me every couple of weeks including some 1-1s and reinforcing recall on every single walk.

As others have stressed training with someone else and a few hours with you at a handover won't be the cure and in a short time you would be back to where you were but poorer for it.

Mrbay Thu 21-Jan-21 05:33:56

Not my dog, but our trainer (gundogs) takes a lot of our group in for training. He's turned one head strong cocker into a lovely well trained dog. The owner is also able to work the dog to the same standard as the trainer.

So yes, residential trainer does work and it done quite often with gun dogs.

However, your pup is still young and you say that due to lockdown you haven't had time to train, at his age it is only 5/10 mins per day of actual training so you need to decide if you are actually able to provide this post residential.

Springers have so much energy and you might find working his brain will make him a happier and easier dog to live with.

Whitepots Thu 21-Jan-21 07:29:47

I think it depends on the follow up. As others have said, one session is unlikely to be enough. If you can find a trainer that will work with you on an ongoing basis (once the pup comes home) to help with problems as and when they arise, then it may well be worth it.

We sent ours at about the same age and it was a fantastic experience. He learnt a huge amount, it's very much ingrained, and the training transferred to us really very smoothly. We have a great relationship with the trainer and she is always happy to advise, even now. He's peak teenager now, so some of his behaviour is 'patchy', but that's not a reflection on the training, just his hormones!

I think, with the right trainer and ongoing support, it can be a really good thing to do, but obviously working on it when you get home is essential too.

Crampon Thu 21-Jan-21 12:01:40

Agree with PPs - it needs to be with you. I would book in for half a day but not the residential bit. Our dogs respond differently to me that my family because I mainly train them ad family use different cues or aren't consistent.

Dogs are a bit rubbish at generalisation also, this! Our dogs are perfect in training sessions and have a ball, not so great when tested with distraction at home.

Dog teen years are the pits but hang in there!

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 21-Jan-21 14:05:34

Would the trainer do a few follow-up sessions with you for reassurance or if you hit a few issues after the residential period is over? That (as well as consistency) might be all you need to keep training on track. Residential training can absolutely work, but the owner does need to know what they're doing once they get the dog back.

If your dog is working line, it will really benefit from activities to keep its mind busy. First teach a simple retrieve, starting now - begin indoors and build up to more exciting places. Then when your dog is a bit older you can do things things like memory retrieves are great - drop an item that the dog sees, walk away with the dog, send the dog back. You can increase the distance (one of my dogs will go well over a hundred yards, and I could train her to go further). Teaching your dog to hunt up will probably be good for him too: when he can't see (is looking the other way, cover his eyes, out him a stay where he can't see you, whatever works) put a ball or something in deep grass or weeds near you and then get him to come and find it. Gradually increase how far away the item is as he gets the idea. When he finds it, he should bring it to you.

The dog twigs that you are the source of epic fun and will hang around you once it knows that this sort of thing is in the offing.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 21-Jan-21 14:06:24

Out him in a stay? Put!

Sitdowncupoftea Thu 21-Jan-21 14:51:42

You need to train him yourself. Try some short 5 to 10 minute sessions at home to start. I'm sure you could squeeze that in through the day. And making training short the dog does not get bored. Also when you take him for a walk practice on the walk too.

PollyRoulson Thu 21-Jan-21 16:38:47

Interesting comments above - have any of you used residential training or are your comments opinion?

I come from a working dog background and residential training is very common.

Think of assistance dogs they have loads of residential training, police dogs, scent dogs, security dogs, working sheep dogs, all have residential training and then are passed onto owners. (many with very little dog experience).

Residential training abroad is very popular. I spent a very happy year in Spain doing board and train with puppies so that they were house trained ready to live in apartments with their owners (and I got paid a dream job!)

Residential training for dogs with issues is really effective, it gets them out of the environement lets them decompress and then in a state ready to learn.

OP if you feel out of your depth (which tbh in this present climate is not surprising as life is not normal) then good residential training may help and take the pressure of you.

Do grill the trainer, look at their training methods with a toothcomb, speak to other owners who have done this method of training. Really important to ask how much advice and how much hand over there will be to you. I would expect more than one sesssion on hand over split over a period of week.

Asdf12345 Thu 21-Jan-21 16:43:19

Residential training can be brilliant. The people I know here who offer it though won’t take dogs under one year old and advise until one year old to leave them in the kennel bar the very basics.

Redyoyo Thu 21-Jan-21 16:47:10

We spend a lot of time with the dog, we play games, he has brain trainer games and gets at least an hours walk a day (he'll get longer as he gets older) this used to be off lead until about a week ago when his recall just went and he's pulling on the lead something terrible, when there is a bird about.
The trainer is a well respected gun dog breeder, and has been recommended to dh by fellow shooters, he usually sells trained gun dogs. I would imagine the hand over would be similar to what they do with those.
If he would do 1 2 1 training I would just jump at that but they are not doing them in lockdown.
We are just going to leave it I think, as i don't want people to think we can't be arsed as thats far from the truth. We'll wait until lockdowns over and get 1 2 1s.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Thu 21-Jan-21 16:52:33

Recall does go when they hit the teenage phase so it isn't anything you haven't done. I think if you accept that they become arseholes for a bit then it will help iykwim.

Some people use long lines. I just walked in different places and bought lots of wine for the stress.

1-1 training is brilliant and yes as soon as that can take place I would recommend it. I wonder if you looked further afield you might find a GD trainer as all the ones I know worked outside so surprised they aren't doing 1-1 but haven't looked at the rules on that.

raspberrysundaes Thu 21-Jan-21 16:56:59

Like Bitey said, recall going at this age is totally normal - it's not something you've done wrong.

Use a long-line to give him the chance to run about and just keep reinforcing it. Lots of treats/praise/toys - they do come out of the other side eventually grin

Delatron Thu 21-Jan-21 18:02:54

We’re looking in to this for our 2 year old lab. It doesn’t seem popular on here though.

I’ve spent hours and ££ trying to train my dog. I wonder if often he’s picking up on my stress so a neutral person would be better. He has dog reactive issues. The training place I was looking at can spend hours working with him with other suitable dogs to help him with this. I can’t. I can’t create a safe secure field with a trusted dog and manage this. They have huge experience in this area. I don’t. They understand dog language and can spot signs. I’m learning but I’m no expert.

I also wonder about people who take in failed guide dogs. Does all that training go out of the window just because they are with a new family? Not from what I’ve seen.

Of course you carry on the training at home. But those hours of training they can put in must help.

BiteyShark Thu 21-Jan-21 18:07:16

I do think residential training like guide dogs works because it's over a long period but at 6 months of age for a few weeks at a tricky time then a few hours handover it doesn't feel enough looking back at my dog who took months even with consistent regular training.

raspberrysundaes Thu 21-Jan-21 18:07:53

I’ve spent hours and ££ trying to train my dog. I wonder if often he’s picking up on my stress so a neutral person would be better

But as soon as he comes back home to you, won't he start picking up on your stress again?

raspberrysundaes Thu 21-Jan-21 18:08:22

I also wonder about people who take in failed guide dogs. Does all that training go out of the window just because they are with a new family? Not from what I’ve seen.

But that's not residential training - that's raising a dog for 18 months or so before rehoming it.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in