Why Residential Training may not be the best approach:

By Thomas Magee
residential training

At WKD, most of our clients believe, especially when they first contact us, that a residential training course is the only viable option to get their dog’s issues resolved.

There are numerous reasons that they may feel this way and I’ve written this to look at each of them in detail and then explain why other routes may be a better option.

If you are considering residential training for your dog, I urge you to continue reading this to ensure you don’t make a costly mistake.

If after reading this, you still feel that residential training is the best way forward, we would be more than happy to have a detailed chat about you, your dog and the goals you have to ensure that you get the best experience from our residential training course.

Before we do that though, to give clarity, here are the main reasons an owner is likely to think that residential is the best/only way forwards for them and their dog.

Below, I’m going to go into more detail on each of them specifically and explain why residential is not always the right choice even when you have the above barriers to success.


For a variety of reasons, many owners think that transforming their dog’s behaviour will take a lot of time but, in most cases, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs are extremely clever animals who have survived 15,000 years working in partnership with humans. Generally, when approached in the right way, dogs learn very quickly, even if you are dealing with extreme behaviours.

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At WKD, when we take on a residential training job, we usually have the main issues resolved inside 60 minutes of total training. The rest of the dogs stay with us is spent simply maintaining what the dog learnt in those first sessions. 

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Maintaining behaviour isn’t hard work, in fact, once you’ve made the initial change, there are a number of ways to maintain your dog’s behaviour whilst spending no more time with your dog than you already do.

To further impress how quickly behaviour can be achieved, have a look at these;

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Another concern for us when an owner is motivated towards residential training due to a lack of time to do the training themselves is how well and/how committed they are going to be when it comes to maintaining their dogs level of training when he/she gets home after one of our comprehensive post-residential handovers.

Essentially, what I’m saying is, if you don’t have time to transform your dog’s behaviour inside a few short hours when following the correct and proven approach to training, how will you manage to maintain your dog’s new behaviour once we have trained it and you get him/her home again?

We want to ensure that anybody we work with has the time and ability to maintain their dogs’ behaviour once we have done the training. If you think you will have the time to maintain the training, chances are you have the time to do the training and save some money.

If you don’t have the time now, you won’t have it afterwards. Chances are if a lack of time is one of your motivations to look a residential training what you actually are saying is that it seems unachievable to change your dog’s behaviour in the time you have available rather than you don’t actually have the time. We can help you with that.

Past efforts

When an owner feels that residential training is the only route to success the underlying reason for their mindset will be that their past attempts at training have failed, they’ve lost money on training that didn’t work and they think they just don’t have what it takes anymore.

Typically as a struggling dog owner, it’s completely normal for you to hold two living beings responsible for your failure –  You and your dog.

It always amazes me how many owners completely forget to look at the ability of their previous trainers when scrutinising their failed attempts at training.

Let’s face it, nobody likes losing all the time.

 In fact, when we do something and keep on failing to see improvement, most people’s reaction is to give up trying.

 Why would you keep on trying if you aren’t getting anywhere? There’s no point right?

Well, to a certain point this is correct.

If something isn’t working then you should absolutely stop doing it but you shouldn’t completely give up. 

You should instead change your approach and continue looking for the one which will get the results you are looking for.

It may come as a surprise but almost all of our clients who we work with across our various training solutions have seen numerous trainers and spent vast amounts of time and money on failed attempts before they choose to work with us and get the results they have been longing for.

Whilst feeling that you should jump straight to a residential training course is a fairly natural reaction, it’s not necessarily the right one for you and your dog..

If I told you that I could 100% guarantee that your training efforts would work in a reasonable amount of time for much less than the investment for a residential training course and you’d be able to maintain the results then I have no doubt you would give it one last shot.

The problem is, you’ve lost your trust in dog trainers, your ability and your dog’s willingness to learn. 

I have no doubt that the issues you are having, in the main, are because you haven’t been doing the right things, in the right way, to get the changes in behaviour from your dog that you desire and I urge you, to give it one last shot with a different approach with WKD before you invest a large sum of money in our residential training courses.

It’s my belief here that you and your dog aren’t the problem. 

Most trainers simply aren’t good enough, at getting you and your dog good enough, for you to believe you can do it yourself!

Severity/number of issues

Commonly, the motivation behind enrolling your dog on a residential training course will be either, or a combination of;

You can’t see any other way out than jumping straight to residential training.

Before you do though, there are a few things that you should know about dogs and their training before you take the plunge..

  1. The severity of a problem and the difficulty of training your dog not to do it are two completely different things.

 We work with so many owners who have a huge and deeply ingrained issue but just a few short training sessions later are amazed at how easily they have changed their dogs’ behaviour and how their dog picked it up really quickly.

  1. I’ve already covered the common misconception that training takes lots of time to achieve but I feel it really needs another mention.

 Our aim, through our online training platform and face to face consultation sessions, has been to give people, just like you, the results that we see when we do it ourselves whilst asking you to spend no more time with your dog than you already do.

For example, if you are struggling with lead walking or on lead reactivity, we don’t ask you to spend more time training on top, we just change what you are doing in the time you already spend walking your dog.

Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of issues your dog has it’s very important for me to talk to you about how any approach to training must be simple in order for it to be effective.

I learnt many years ago that in order to have a well-behaved dog you only need to teach him or her a few simple things. For everything outside of the home, you just need to teach your dog to pay more attention to you than everything else. If you can do that, your walks will be problem-free.

Inside the home or other indoor public areas you just need to teach your dog to be calm. That is literally it.

If you’ve been messing around with trying to distract your dog, teaching it a ‘watch me command’ sit stays, recall, boundary games, brain training and food scattering etc then the reason you are struggling is because of the approach you are using rather than your dog’s number issues or severity of problems you are experiencing – I’m going to give you more information shortly, bear with me.

Last chance saloon

The final reason for people to want to jump straight into residential training is when they are at the last chance saloon. This, typically, is when their dog is behaving in such a way that means they are having to seriously consider finding him/her a new home, sedating, confining to the home and garden or putting them to sleep.

You’d be amazed if you knew how many dogs and owners we work with through our various services who believed they were at the last chance saloon when, in actual fact, their issues were very easily resolved with the right approach.

Again, this one often falls back to the lack of ability of most dog trainers to get the job done for you and also the unwillingness of many professionals to admit when they are out of their depth.

Instead of advising you to see somebody more experienced, they advise you to take a drastic and irreversible action to ‘save face’

I have very strong feelings towards such professionals and am working with owners who have fallen foul of them on a daily basis.

At this point, you are likely thinking “Why is Matt trying to talk me out of a service that he offers?”

Well, I’m not really trying to talk you out of it, I’m just asking for you to consider things properly before you jump into an expensive investment which may be completely avoided if you had the help and guidance you required. 

In fact, I’m so confident that we can get you to a different place very quickly with your dog that every single training solution we offer is backed by a full money-back guarantee – If it doesn’t work, you don’t pay! GUARANTEED!

So, what next?

Well, based on a vast amount of experience of working with owners just like you, I’d advise that we take a slightly different route with an aim to get your issues resolved very quickly but whilst reducing the financial investment as much as possible.

I want to reiterate though, you can absolutely jump straight to residential training with us and you will certainly get the results you are looking for but it wouldn’t be right for me not to explain the potentially quicker, easier and less expensive options first.

Ok, so, first things first, EVERY SINGLE TRAINING SERVICE provided by WKD comes with a FULL MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

We’ll happily share our terms around such a strong and industry-leading guarantee but let me wrap it up like this;

Regardless of the service, if you work with us, follow the process, make us aware if you are having issues and any of our training doesn’t work then you don’t pay.

We have Three training solutions on offer at WKD. 

WKD Online Training 

WKD One2One Consultations

WKD Residential Training

Now, before I start, I can imagine that you’ve already skipped straight over the online training – how can that work for you with the effort you’ve already put in, money and time invested and with your dogs level and a number of issues. 

Well, don’t discard it as an idea just yet. It isn’t at all what you think. Here’s a brief breakdown of all Three services and how, ideally, they intertwine to save you spending money you don’t need to and complement each other perfectly to get you the results you are looking for.

Seeing as you asked about residential training, I’m going to start with that service first.

WKD Residential Training – 14 and 28 Day packages

Following our well-storied success in solving major issues when it came to supplying an untrained person with a WKD Fully Trained Dog we became experts at teaching an owner how to maintain a high level of training once we had got a particular dog ready for handover. The natural progression was to begin offering residential training services.

WKD Residential training courses are uniquely designed to take away the hassle of training your dog yourself, get you a guaranteed result, built-in backup service to guarantee long term success and an Industry-leading money-back guarantee. If it doesn’t work, you don’t pay!

Based around either a 14 or 28 Day stay, your dog will be welcomed to WKD as if he/she was one of our own. Diligently trained, thoroughly exposed and handed over with a 6-month backup service and ongoing support included. 

Training your dog is the easy part, keeping you in a place where you maintain your dog’s new behaviour is another thing entirely, so, in addition to the 6 Month backup service and ongoing support we are now pleased to announce that you get lifetime access to WKD Online training included in your package completely free of charge so you can see exactly what we did and how we trained your dog and replicate it yourself at home to keep your dogs behaviour in top order.

WKD One2One Consultations

Following such success and the realisation that most residential dogs that came to WKD would have a complete transformation in just a few short sessions, our next mission became – How do we get you to do what we do, as quickly as us.

We have always wanted to be as accessible as possible and in order to do so, we had to offer a service that would justify driving all the way from Scotland, Cornwall or Ireland to see us. It had to work, it had to be quick and the results needed to last.

From humble beginnings, the now unrivalled WKD One2One consultation was born. 

Three short Hours to a guaranteed transformation regardless of the issue, no success no fee, free remedial training, ongoing support and check-ins and, to ensure you remember and apply what you learnt, in the way we explained it, Lifetime access to WKD Online Dog Training Included.

WKD Online Training

With the vast success of our WKD One2One consultations over a number of years, it wasn’t long before demand far outstripped our ability to supply. 

This huge demand on both my time and my trainers time combined with an overwhelming desire to improve the lives of dogs and owners around the World led me to finally look at introducing an Online training platform to replicate the very same success regardless of where the client and dog are living in the World.

WKD Online Training was born – a training platform like no other!

Our approach to training dogs and resolving issues focuses on the human first, if you don’t understand how your dog makes decisions, how to have great timing and how to maintain training over the long term with as little input as possible then you won’t get success regardless of you training residentially, one2one or online.

Once we have upskilled you in a very simple and easy to understand manner, we teach you, step by step, through short and simple videos exactly how to transform your dogs behaviour.

Think you need to see somebody weekly because you’ve got such an issue on your hands? 

Well, WKD Online gives you full trainer support whenever you require it and simple, easy to film (even on your own) video assignments to move through the platform to more advanced lessons.

It is literally like being with me every single step of the way.

What I’d suggest

Ok, so, let me reiterate again, every single training service from WKD comes with a money-back guarantee. If you do what’s asked, follow the process, tell us as soon as you are experiencing issues and it doesn’t work – you don’t pay.

Also, at WKD, we are on your side and want you to only invest what is needed in terms of money and time to get the results you are looking for.

Dog training, when done right, is simple, quick to work and easy to maintain!

Add to this the strength of our guarantees and whilst you certainly don’t have to, I’d advise everybody to start with the online training package. 

If it hasn’t worked inside 30 Days you can have a full refund or, if you wish, you could upgrade to a One2One or Residential and we would deduct any fees already paid.

If you start with online, realistically, in 14 days from now you are going to be making huge progress or you will need more help. If you are making great progress, you retain your lifetime trainer support through the platform and you’ve saved a chunk of money in the process.

If on the other hand, you are still struggling with the online platform then we should look to get you more involved help. In most cases, I would recommend a WKD One2One consultation next.

These consultations offer a guaranteed result bolstered by no success no fee payment terms Free remedial training, access to WKD Online Training and dedicated check-in emails to ensure you are staying on track following the consultation and beyond.

At this point, If you have already invested in WKD Online but are still struggling despite giving it a good go and subsequently book in to see myself for a consultation we will knock the online training fee you have already paid off your consultation fee so there is absolutely no risk in giving it a go but plenty of benefits of trying the online platform first.

Most clients we see for One2One consultations cannot believe how quickly their dog’s behaviour changes. Literally, we get owners with some of the UK’s most reactive dogs and transform their behaviour in their owners’ hands within just 30 minutes. 

The rest of the time is simply spent helping the owner become good enough and confident enough to handle all the situations that life may throw at them.

Getting the amazing results we show across our various platforms is one thing, keeping the results for you and your dog is another entirely. Not because the training doesn’t last but rather because, once your dog is well behaved, you will forget to stay on top of your dogs behaviour. It’s human nature, why would you take any route other than the easiest one?

This is where our unique backup support, supplied by a combination of lifetime access to WKD Online Training and emails which keep you on track and maintain your training over the long term comes into its own. 

Further bolstering our guarantee, if, following a consultation, you do your bit (a few simple videos from time to time) so we can keep you on track and your training starts to regress, we will see you for an unlimited remedial session, both at WKD and in the real World free of charge! 

That’s right, one fee, guaranteed results, free support and lifetime access to WKD Online Training included!

So what happens when a One2One consultation doesn’t go to plan?

Well, typically, there are three options. These next options are only required in less than 6% of cases. Usually, a client is in, trained and out again in just Three short hours.

Sometimes though, it doesn’t work that way. Usually because of a combination of your handling ability (or lack of) and your dogs level of sensitivity to the training.

Our consultations are hands off – What I mean by that is we don’t handle your dog but rather teach you how to handle him or her. It’s you that’s going to be in charge the day after so it’s completely pointless for us doing the work for you.

Anyway, from time to time, things just don’t go to plan so with you handling so, the first thing we will do is handle your dog and see what response we get.

In most cases, in skilled hands, your dog’s behaviour will immediately change. Whilst this can be disheartening, it’s great to see that your dog is capable of the behaviour you are looking for. We then just need to decide which route is best to get you long term results.

1 – Depending on how well your dog picked up certain parts of the training with you handling it can be worthwhile to split the session into two or three sessions, giving you time in between, via WKD Online and our trainer support to underpin your dog’s behaviour and knowledge to a certain point before pushing on again to the next step.

2- Leave and pay nothing – Our guarantee really is what it says on the tin. If you aren’t happy with the results, you don’t pay. For us this is never the ideal option, you came to us because you haven’t had success elsewhere, we have the skills and tools to help you but we need you on the side. Nevertheless, it’s an option available to you.

3 – Upgrade to residential training – With all other options exhausted and you now fully aware of what is required, it’s the first time I feel that Residential is the right route forwards. We’ve tried and failed at other approaches that work for most dogs and owners so now we need to up the game. During a residential stay, if I’m honest, we don’t do anything that you couldn’t learn to do with our help, the difference is, if you don’t have the time/inclination/ability to do it, we can help. With a dog that is struggling to learn there is a huge amount of value in being handled and exposed, day in, day out to the correct handling and distractions that you will encounter in the real World. 

When choosing to upgrade to residential training from online or One2One, we knock off any fee’s paid to date and in most cases will have availability for your dog to join us on the same day as the consultation.

There is another time when I would recommend somebody to jump straight to residential and that is when you need the result right now, need a break from your dog and simply no longer have the heart or inclination to do the work.

I’d always prefer for you to go through the steps outlined above however, I’d also prefer to throw everything I’ve already said out of the window if it was a choice for you between a residential course or unwanted drastic action such as rehoming, sedation or PTS.

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