How do online dog training classes work?

Online dog training is not a thing of the future, it is here! Maybe you’re wondering, how this can work, don’t you have to be there in person? Thanks to the technology of today, you don’t! In this post, I’ll go over what online dog training looks like and what to look for and a few recommendations!

There are generally two formats available for online dog training. On-demand and scheduled. On-demand online dog training is hosted on a variety of platforms, including online course platforms. These classes typically involve a number of modules which may have videos, text, downloadable exercises, and, like everything in dog training, a variety of trainer credentials from zero to several.

Scheduled online dog training courses come in topic specific formats such as puppy classes, agility, reactivity and more. These classes are led by dog trainers on a weekly basis, typically live on a video platform like zoom. Some will record videos weekly and send them along, others will provide you with written instructions week by week. These courses typically offer some interaction with the trainer so that you can ask questions. You may also be allowed to submit your own training videos and get feedback directly to you.

So why go online? With either format, there is more flexibility! You don’t have to have a trainer locally who can offer the classes (a real gift during the pandemic), you can practice in your own home without an audience and submit videos privately to the trainer, and you can keep your dog in a home environment if they are easily stressed and overwhelmed.

This week, I’m launching my own scheduled virtual classes and also happy to share that an on-demand class I worked on is now live! I’ll go over each so that you can see what some options are.

My scheduled classes will be hosted by me, weekly. The format of these classes includes learning the important key pieces of behavioural sciences so that you can understand how your dog learns, how to best teach them, and how to communicate with them. They are also jam packed with lots of skills to put into practice. Every week, those that pick the full-class option get to participate live, discuss issues they may be having and also ask their own dog questions at the end. They can also submit videos every week to get feedback on their technique and work through any struggles they have as well as ask more questions via email. Audit level participants will get the recording of each class, the written homework, but no additional implementation support. Each class is recorded, so even those choosing the option to participate live will get the recording if they can’t make it.

One important note I want to point out. For online puppy classes, we’re obviously missing a big benefit of playtime with other puppies. In my virtual puppy class, and hopefully in any you may join, the trainer should absolutely go over how you will fill this socialization need including how to manage playtimes safely, how to find puppy play partners for your pup and more. Do not sign up for a virtual puppy class that doesn’t include this!

The on-demand course I worked on with Sniffdog is for puppy’s and their new guardians. This course is incredibly comprehensive. It covers far more than I could cover in a 5-6 week course and it does it through fun, instructional videos with minimal need to read. Perfect for sipping wine! You also get access to a course community and live Q&A’s with Annika McDade! It’s a great format for those who can’t commit to a weekly schedule and want to learn a LOT about puppies – I’m talking nose to tail knowledge.

I’m not here to tell you to buy an online dog training course from me or Sniffdog. But I am here to tell you not to be afraid of online dog training. Online dog training offers so many advantages. Just make sure that you purchase classes with a credentialed professional behind them and science-backed methods! You won’t be disappointed!

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