Frequently Asked Questions for Intensive Courses
Why choose Adolescent Dogs?
Adolescent Dogs is a family run company who are passionate about providing top quality training to pet owners across the UK. They have a variety of trainers on their team, each with varying levels of experience and expertise, so there is always a trainer to suit your dog's personality, learning style and training needs. The whole team is passionate about using reward based training methods and keep up to date with the science of dog training and behaviour.
Most importantly, your dog is treated as part of the family, with your dog's health and welfare taking top priority. If your dog is boarding with us, then they will live with their trainer inside their family home. All of our trainers are fully insured and home checked for your peace of mind
What training methods are used?
The Adolescent Dogs team use positive, reward based training methods. Food is one of our primary reinforcers, which means we can utilise your dog's daily food ration as well as high value food rewards as an initial motivator for learning (We do not restrict your dog's food intake). Once your dog understands the cues well, we can introduce other motivators such as toys, play, praise, touch and the environment to reinforce your dog's good choices. Building a good relationship with your dog and having fun during training is the key to your dog's learning and success
What are the Intensive Courses? How does it work?
The Intensive Courses are a kind of boarding school for your dog. Your dog gets to spend time with one of our professional trainers everyday for around 2 to 6 weeks to receive intensive, focused training. The training is completely customised to your exact needs, so everything is tailored specifically for you and your dog. We then train you after to translate the training to you.
Your dog will receive 24hr care, and will share their days with the trainers own dogs and 1 or 2 other dogs here for training too. So a wonderful opportunity for socialisation and training around distractions, with maximum one on one time for each dog.
Intensive Board & Train
This is where your dog comes to live with one of our trainers in their home 7 days a week. Your dog will live in their trainers home as part of the family.
Intensive Collect & Train
This is where your trainer will collect your dog each day from your home for training and then return them each day Monday to Friday. A good option if you are worried about how your dog may settle in someone elses home or if you'll simply miss your dog too much! Be warned though, you'll need to practise with your dog at the weekends if you don't want your dog's training to regress each week! And because we only have your dog with us for 5 days instead of 7, it can take a little longer to see the same results at our 7 day a week board and train.
Board & Train trainers are in Surrey, Hampshire, West Sussex, Southampton, Dorset , Warwick and Worcester
Collect & Train trainers are in Guildford, Southampton, Warwick and Littleport, nr Ely.
Don't I need to train my dog myself?
It is a myth that owners need to train their dog's themselves into order to have a trained dog!
Let's face it, we all lead busy lives and there isn't always time to put the time into training that we'd like. And not every dog is the same! Some dogs are really quite challenging and can be tricky for even the most experienced of dog trainers to get results with. So for an owner like yourself, training a challenging dog on your own is near enough impossible!
Most owners don't have the access to controlled distractions, the skills or the knowledge needed to get their dog's training to the reliable level that they need. And some owners want to make sure they're getting their puppy's training right from the start, and to have expert guidance throughout their puppy's life
Our job is to help owners like you to be able to enjoy your dog's more, to have stress free walks and to feel confident with taking your dog with you anywhere, so that your dog and dogs like yours don't end up in rescue centres
If you have a new puppy, then an Intensive Course is the perfect way to ensure that your puppy is getting the best start to their training and socialisation, and that you are getting the best knowledge and skills to raise a well mannered puppy into adulthood
Intensive training is the fastest and most reliable way to put a great deal of training in place in a short space of time. This is similar to the way guide dogs are trained, in that the training is put in place by an expert, and then the owner only needs to be trained in how to maintain the training rather than learning how to be a dog trainer!
If you have children, it's likely that your children learn specific skills such as Swimming, Gymnastics, Spanish, Geography etc with a qualified teacher, and this is no different.
50% of the training we do here is training with your dog and putting the foundation training and skills in place. The other 50% is training you, the owner. This is just as important as training your dog. Without training you, the training will simply regress back to how it was before your dog arrived.
What about training for me?
Training you, the owner, forms a huge part of our training programme. However, it is far easier to first train your dog and put the foundation skills in place, and then simply train you on how to maintain the training from a much more manageable level.
As part of each customised course, you receive 2 handover lessons with your trainer. These are designed to transfer your dog's training from the trainer to you and your family so that your dog learns to respond to you too. Once your dog understands the cues we have taught, it is simply a matter of building up successful, positive repetitions with you so that your dog understands to respond to you too.
You'll also receive up to 6 weeks of free follow up lessons should you need them. So if at any point you find that your dog isn't responding as well as you'd hoped, you can easily meet up with your trainer for additional lessons at no extra cost
As a bonus, you also receive free access to our full library of video tutorials and a training guidebook, so you can maintain and continue to advance your dog's training
Where does the training take place?
Your dog is trained out on location, exactly where you need it to work the most.
Initially, training new skills starts indoors or in quiet locations to ensure your dog has the optimum learning environment. Once your dog understands these new skills reliably (usually after 2 weeks), we can begin proofing the training to lots of different environments and with different distractions.
Your trainer will aim to replicate the locations that you need the training to work the most. Our trainers can take dogs to busy parks, commons, the beach, the town centre, pubs and cafes, in the home and more.
Will my dog find it stressful away from home?
We've been offering our Intensive Courses for many years and 99% of dogs settle with their trainers within a day or so. Many dogs find it comforting to stay with their trainer in their family home with all the usual home comforts.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, then our Collect & Train or One to One intensives may be a better suited option for you
Many dogs enjoy the day to day learning, mental stimulation and walks that they receive, and they most certainly remember their owners when they return home! So you don't need to worry that your dog will forget you!
Your trainer will setup a Whatsapp chat and send updates and photos throughout the stay so that you can see how your dog is getting on
You are welcome to organise to meet with your chosen trainer before committing to a booking, so that you and your dog can meet the trainer first and so you can ask questions.
What age is best to start training?
If you have a new puppy, then the optimum age for training is between 12 weeks and 5 months of age. It is far easier to get the training right from the start, than it is to wait for problem behaviours to develop or get worse and then try to fix them later.
If you have an older dog, it's never too late to train, it just takes a little longer depending on the severity of the training problem and how long your dog has been practising the unwanted behaviour for. The sooner we can begin working with your dog, the easier it will be for us to work on the problem behaviours.
What will my dog's daily routine look like?
Every trainer will have a different routine, but typically your dog will receive up to 4 hours of active learning everyday, which will include walks, training sessions, play, enrichment, confidence building, in home training, and socialisation.
When your dog isn't actively training, your dog will be having scheduled rest time to ensure their brain gets a break! Resting forms an important part of every dogs daily routine, even once home, as it allows your dog's brain to retain the learning, and reset ready for the next lesson.
Many of our trainers strongly believe in not sticking to a rigid routine, as routines create expectations, and expectations create excitement and anxiety, which can manifest in problem behaviours such as barking. So your dogs' daily 'routine' will be different everyday.
What training is covered?
Each training course is bespoke and fully customised to suit your training needs.
We can build a training programme specifically for you and your dog.
Our courses can teach your dog
Basic to advanced obedience cues
Build focus and control out on walks
To come when called
Walk on a lead without pulling
Emergency stop cue
Greet people without jumping up or biting
Walk past dogs on a lead without barking or lunging
Toilet outside rather than inside
Respond to cues around distractions
Settle in the home environment
Settle in pubs, cafes or in the office
Cope with walking through the busy town centre
Go to shops with you
Travel on public transport such as trains or buses
Have good manners at doorways and at the car door
To leave food or stolen items
Boost confidence around people, dogs or novel environments
Build social skills with dogs and people
Learn to behave calmly around children, cats, livestock
To walk by busy roads without chasing or barking at cars
Share stolen items rather than resource guard
Sleep in a crate overnight
To reduce reactivity towards dogs and people
To reduce barking for attention, at noises, at other dogs, at visitors
To have better manners with visitors coming into the home
Learn fun tricks or service dog tasks
What should I expect when my dog returns home?
You will receive your 2 handover lessons, up to 6 weeks of free lessons, as well as full lifetime access to our online video tutorials and a training guidebook. All of these will help you to maintain your dog's training once home.
It is normal for your dog's training to initially regress once home, as your dog may have strong associations with their previously reinforced, unwanted behaviour in your home and on your local walks. You will need to be consistent with following through with the training and carefully managing your dog's day to day choices so that you can guide your dog to make good choices everyday. Your dog may initially try harder to be reinforced for unwanted behaviours, so your dog's behaviour may deteroriate at first.
As long as you are consistent with re-directing unwanted behaviour, and reinforcing the behaviours that you do like, your dog will soon respond to the training with you in the same way they did with their trainer here and the unwanted behaviours will become less and eventually disappear.
With some dogs, it can take up to 4 weeks for the training to successfully translate to you and your family. Your trainer will be committed to supporting you through these 4 weeks and offering advice, feedback and practical training to guide you and your dog to success.
It is important that you understand that you play a key role in your dog's training, and that you must actively maintain your dog's training everyday, and attend lessons with your trainer. Intensive training is an excellent way to put foundations in place and establish new skills and behaviours, but is not a quick fix and there is no such thing as a robot dog.
What if my dog has behavioural issues?
If your dog needs help with behavioural issues such as reactivity towards dogs or people, resource guarding, fear and nervousness etc, then we can still help you, but changing your dog's behaviour may take longer.
In cases where your dog has poor social skills or confidence issues with other dogs or people, training can help to teach new skills to increase focus and control so that walks are more enoyable and more manageable, and we can build on yoru dog's confidence to reduce the intensity and frequency of the reactivity, but we can't make your dog want to socialise with other dogs or people.
Often dogs with reactivity need lifetime management, so you will need to be prepared to use these new skills on your day to day walks. This may include calling your dog back to you when other dogs/people approach, maintaining focus as they pass, and moving away if your dog finds it too much. It will also include actively giving your dog choices in regards to meeting other dogs/people, so that your dog doesn't feel that the only way out of an interaction is through reactivity.
If your dog is nervous, then your dog will always be nervous. We can't change your dog's temperament and turn them into a happy go lucky dog who loves everyone. Training can help to boost their confidence a little so that they are less worried by dogs, people, children etc, and can help to change their emotional response to a more positive one, but it takes time, and ongoing commitment from you to continue with the process.
What will drop off look like?
We recommend meeting with your trainer near to their home on a local walk. this helps to ensure that there are no negative associations created with the trainers home and you leaving your dog, and thus reducing any stress.
We also like to assess your dog before we start any training, so that we can ensure we are clear on your training goals and can give a more accurate idea on progress. Your trainer will therefore go for a walk with you to see the problem behaviours and to see how your dog responds to you out on walks. Your trainer will also have the opportunity to discuss your dog's training needs in more detail, for you to ask questions yourself and for you and your dog to get to know your trainer a bit more.
Photos of the trainers home can be sent on request, or in some cases, you will be able to go and see where your dog will be staying. Please note that not all of our trainers are able to offer home visits, as your dog stays with them in their family home and not on a 'premises or kennel' that's open for public access. Many of the trainers family members can find this intrusive, so please do ask us if you'd like to be able to see your trainers home before booking.
How many weeks does my dog need?
The length of stay your dog needs is determined by your training goals, your dogs age, breed and temperament.
As a rough guide, we recommend our 2 week stays to put the foundation skills in place and build a reliable response to commands in a low level distraction environment. 2 weeks is perfect if you just want a push in the direction.
We recommend 3 to 4 weeks if you'd like your dog to respond to these new skills more reliably when in busy high distraction environments and when around other dogs/people and off the lead. 3 to 4 weeks is best if you are struggling to control your dog around distractions.
We recommend 4 to 6 weeks if your dog has behavioural issues such as reactivity.
If you can only commit to a 2 to 3 week stay, but need help with distractions, you can book top up stays at a later date to further advance your dog's training, or come along to our weekend workshops or one to one intensives.
What other training options are there?
If an Intensive Course doesn't suit you or your dog, we have lots of wonderful alternatives:
Workshops - We run workshops on Saturday mornings in Ewhurst, Surrey. These workshops are typically 2 hours each and cover specific topics such as scentwork, lead pulling, recall, social skills, impulse control, confidence building, reactivity etc
One to One Intensives - Come and learn with your dog, either weekly, monthly or a few days in a row. Fully customised to your dog's training needs
Online Courses - watch our online video tutorials from anywhere in the world