9 Min Read
How To Train Your Dog Online
Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch
Prescriptions delivered free to you
Fast access to Licensed Vets over video
Unlimited video visits and follow-ups
Dog training is an essential part of being a pet parent. Training provides dogs with mental stimulation and builds their confidence in social situations. Additionally, it can keep them safe and prevent them from running out the door or jumping on others.
Unfortunately, many pet parents don't have the time to go to training classes with their dogs. Training your dog online and at home might be a good solution if you're looking for comprehensive obedience training or teaching basic commands like sit or stay.
However, while online dog training can provide you with a training foundation, it lacks the socialization component necessary for all puppies to build confidence in new environments and around people and other pets. Still, it can be a good solution for most dogs and pet parents who want the convenience of learning at home.
- How Does Online Dog Training Work?
- Online Dog Training Pros & Cons
- How To Find An Online Dog Training Course
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
How Does Online Dog Training Work?
Online dog training works similarly to in-person training classes. However, you'll take online courses instead of taking your dog to a training facility or having a trainer come to your home. There are several types of online dog training courses available.
For example, you can choose one with virtual appointments with a certified dog trainer or take self-guided courses with videos to show you the steps for training your dog. Additionally, you can find a course for a particular type of training, such as house training, basic commands, obedience, and training for anxious dogs.
The equipment you need for online dog training varies by program. However, we recommend rewards-based dog training programs as they are scientifically proven to be most effective, in which case you'll need the following:
- Collar and/or harness
Online Dog Training Pros & Cons
Online dog training is ideal for dogs and pet parents who are comfortable with online learning and looking for a flexible training program. If you've never trained a dog before, a combination of virtual training, videos, and instructions can provide the information you need to train your dog on basic commands like sit, stay, and roll over. However, online dog training isn't right for every dog or pet parent. Ultimately, it only works if you can commit to it, and there are several disadvantages of online training versus in-person instruction and classes.
Online dog training can help supplement any training you're doing at home or in class, offering the following benefits:
- Flexible schedule: Dog training online allows pet parents to train their dogs when they have time. Since you can schedule virtual training and access on-demand content whenever you want, it may be a more convenient option for busy pet parents.
- Can supplement in-person training: Training your dog online can provide additional tips and tricks to help your dog learn before heading back to class. However, it shouldn't replace in-person obedience training and socialization opportunities that give puppies confidence in new environments. Note: socialization training is essential during your dog’s first 3-12 weeks of life.
- Cost-effective: Learning how to train your dog online can be more affordable than hiring a trainer to come to your home. However, one-on-one virtual training is often comparable to in-person training rates. We recommend doing your research and comparing the costs of each option since online dog training isn't always the more affordable option.
- Train with your supplies and in the comfort of your home: Some dogs aren't ready for classes or in-person instructor training. For example, those with extreme fear and reactivity towards humans and other pets may be better suited for online classes. With dog training, you can establish a "working spot" to record your dog and send it to the instructor for feedback.1 However, some online courses don't allow direct feedback from a trainer; instead, you'll follow video instructions with the option to book appointments if you need additional help.
- Dogs with anxiety or older may be better suited for online training: Training an older dog isn't impossible, although getting them to class can be. Since older dogs are more prone to illnesses and pain, in-person classes might not be right for them. Instead, they may feel more comfortable in their homes. Additionally, dogs with severe anxiety may benefit from online dog training because they won't have to come into contact with other people or pets.
- Specialized training: Lastly, online dog training courses can increase access to highly skilled or specialized trainers that may not be available in your locale.
While online training can provide pet parents an avenue to train their dogs from the comfort of their homes, it's not ideal for all pets. A few disadvantages of online dog training include the following:
- Missing the socialization component: Many puppies benefit from the socialization aspect of in-person training sessions, allowing them to meet new people and dogs to build confidence in new environments. Unfortunately, online dog training doesn't allow your dog to meet other pets. If you're not investing in socialization training outside of these courses, your puppy may not gain the social skills they need to feel confident in public.
- May be more difficult for dogs to pay attention: When dogs are in their own homes, they'd rather do what they want to do, such as sleeping, playing, or enjoying some time alone. There are plenty of distractions at home that can prevent your dog from paying attention to their online course exercises. However, this can be mitigated by ensuring that additional pets, family members, or other guests are not present so that your dog is not distracted during their training session.
- Trouble with consistency: To succeed at an online dog training course, you must hold yourself accountable. Self-guided programs with videos instead of instructor meetings allow you to access on-demand content whenever you want. However, this can make you feel like you have all the time in the world to train your dog. If you don't hold yourself accountable and make a training schedule, you and your dog may not meet your training objectives.
How To Find An Online Dog Training Course
Finding the best dog training online can be challenging with so many options available. For example, the best free online dog training options may include videos, but if your dog struggles, you won't have access to an online trainer to help you.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best online dog training schools for you and your dog:
1. Weigh the pros and cons
First, you must weigh the pros and cons to determine if online training is right for your dog. Every dog is different, and so is every pet parent. If you can't guarantee that you can hold yourself accountable to work through the material with your dog, a self-guided course may not be right for you.
Online dog training is ideal for obedience training and teaching your dog new tricks. However, since there's no socialization component, you'll have to find a way to socialize your puppy at home or find an in-person course. Additionally, online training may not help with issues like fear or aggression because they avoid the trigger altogether by keeping your dog isolated in the home. However, it can teach pet parents the basics of behavior modification and provide exercises to help dogs become less fearful.
2. Talk to your vet
Most vets aren't vet behaviorists. However, they're part of a network of animal industry professionals and can help you find the right option for your pet by recommending training resources and helping you determine whether online or in-person training is better for your dog based on their needs and behavior. For example, a puppy may benefit from in-person classes for socialization, while a senior reactive dog may benefit from online courses or a highly skilled trainer who can remotely work with you one-on-one.
Looking for anxiety treatment or need help dealing with destructive behaviors? Talk to a Dutch vet about the best treatment options, including training for your pet.
3. Do your research
Online dog trainers have the same experience as in-person trainers, and many often create courses while working with some dogs in person. Therefore, it is crucial to find a reputable trainer who has completed their education and experience as required by an accredited dog training course online or off.
To ensure your pet receives the safest and most effective training, watch for red flags such as trainers that use punishment based tools or techniques, or those that promote a “pack” theory. Ultimately, you want to look for trainers that use positive reinforcement and are certified or accredited by reputable agencies.
You can find a trainer on professional sites or by doing a Google search for online dog training courses. However, you should keep in mind that dog training is an unlicensed profession, therefore, it’s best to get a recommendation from your vet or a local veterinary behaviorist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is online dog training effective?
Online dog training can be an effective way to teach yourself how to train your dog at home. It can be helpful with obedience training and helping your dog learn new tricks. However, because it lacks the socialization component of in-person training, you should only use online training to supplement your dog's learning experience; it should not replace in-person socialization.
What age is too late to train a dog?
Believe it or not, an old dog can learn new tricks. It's never too late to train your dog, even if they've already reached their golden years.
What breed of dog is hardest to train?
Even though a dog might be intelligent, it doesn't make them easy to train. For example, Rottweilers are considered one of the smartest breeds, but they can still be difficult to train. Additionally, while some breeds are known to be more high-energy and stubborn than others, a dog's ability to be trained depends on the owner's willingness to put in the hard work. Training a dog is challenging and takes time and patience.
Online dog training can effectively supplement home or in-person training with a certified dog trainer. However, there are many forms of online training, some of which may include one-on-one instructor training via video conferencing and/or video instruction. Before you choose a trainer or course, determine what's best for you and your dog.
"Online Dog Training Courses: How to Train a Dog at Home." American Kennel Club, 27 Apr. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/online-training-a-new-resource-for-dog-owners/.