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What is Virtual Dog Training?

During the pandemic, we all grew accustomed to doing certain things online, rather than in person. One of the most interesting developments to come out of this was the increase in virtual dog training. While dog training used to be almost entirely done in person, online dog training courses allow trainers to reach a wider audience and offer people the convenience of getting help with their dog’s behavior without ever leaving their home. There are different types of virtual dog training courses, and some trainers even offer service dog training online. Online service dog training is, of course, a very specialized type of training, and if that’s what you’re seeking, make sure your trainer is well-qualified and connected to a legal support team. Is online dog training the right option for you and your pooch? Read on to learn more.

A woman training her dog with virtual classes

How does virtual dog training work?

Typically, virtual dog training classes are something like a Zoom meeting for dogs. You will need a computer with a camera and a strong internet connection so that you can communicate with the trainer and he or she can see your dog in action. Before the training session, you will fill out a form with information about your goals and priorities for training your dog, so that your trainer can prepare a plan ahead of time and be prepared for your session. During training, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and make requests, and the trainer will assess your dog and make recommendations to help you with training. Sometimes, trainers will use their own dogs to demonstrate certain things, and your trainer will also guide you and your dog through the different steps of training, offering immediate feedback. After the session, you will receive a copy of the recording and a written training plan to help you in between sessions.

Is virtual dog training as effective as in-person training?

In some cases, yes. Some people really appreciate the flexibility of online training, and find that it works well to be able to train their dogs from their own homes. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of virtual dog training.

Pros of Virtual Dog Training

  • Online dog training is convenient. You can train your dog from the privacy of your own home, with no other dogs to distract your dog or disrupt the process. There is a bubble of just you, your dog, and the trainer. What’s more, you can train on your own schedule, without having to adhere to the limitations of in-person classes.
  • You can use online training anywhere. This makes it easy to vary your environment, taking your dog to another setting to practice different aspects of training, under the guidance of your online instructor.
  • Virtual training has the advantage of repetition on demand. If you miss something, you can go back and watch the recording of your session whenever you need to review.

Cons of Virtual Dog Training

  • When you’re in a one-dog bubble, there’s no interaction with other dogs. Interacting with other dogs is important for your dog’s social development, and the “peer pressure” inherent in a dog training class will help your dog learn. Seeing other dogs rewarded for good behavior will encourage your dog to obey commands.
  • Online dog training requires careful attention and patience. There is a lot of information to absorb, and if you are someone who has difficulty paying close attention during Zoom meetings, this may not be the right format for training your dog.
  • In-person trainers have equipment you may need to purchase if you’re training online. For things like agility training, which requires expensive equipment and safety precautions, you’re better off going to an in-person trainer. What’s more, for classes like puppy socialization class, the training can’t be accomplished from your home.
  • Virtual dog training may not provide everything your dog needs. If you have a reactive dog, for example, you’re not going to be able to adequately deal with this behavior in an environment with no other dogs or people.

Benefits of In-Person Training Over Virtual

Ultimately, while virtual dog training can be successful, it doesn’t have the same impact as in-person training. There is really no substitute for the face-to-face, physical interaction with a trainer that you’ll get in person. Online classes can reinforce lessons you’ve learned after training with a professional, but it can be a mistake to rely entirely on the use of virtual training. In-person, a trainer can work with the dog, identifying potential factors, including environmental factors, that may be an issue. Online, it’s much harder for a trainer to truly understand your particular dog.

What’s more, in-person dog training offers an opportunity for interaction not only with the trainer and other dogs but with other dog owners as well. This can be beneficial, as you learn from others’ experiences and benefit from their successes and mistakes. You might even make new friends, which can benefit both you and your dog.

We offer Dog Training and Boarding in Plano and Garland, TX

If you are looking for dog training or need someone to help care for your dog, trust the dedicated staff at K-9 University.  Founded and established by Chuck Bratt, a certified master trainer, our team of certified experts in dog behavior and training methods is passionate about providing comprehensive training, to help you reach your training goals. Whether you need boarding, grooming, doggy daycare, or dog training services, we offer individualized attention and professional pet services honed from time-proven practices. We’ve served families in North Texas for over 30 years, and our highly trained, knowledgeable staff is available at our two convenient locations in Garland and Plano to provide training and pet care solutions to meet your needs. Call for more information or contact us through our website.