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  • Writer's pictureAmy Siracusa

Online Dog Training Classes, say what?

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

All the answers to your questions about training your dog without actually traveling to see your trainer. A few colleagues have made pictures about how training online can be beneficial to both you an your pet. I am decided to write about it and answer some of the most common questions I have received since the release of the classes. Although I am still making some modifications and adjustments to curriculum, so far things are going well and online classes will be here to stay once this pandemic passes.

Below you will see some of the highlights of training online (other than literally being able to attend class in your pajamas!). Many people feel they will not receive the same expert advise as they would in person, I am here to tell you that is wrong! Even via video chat or simply from watching a video, you will still be able to get guided, real time guidance and feedback for you sessions.

Now I made a pajamas joke -- well it's true! I want you to be comfortable during our sessions, and if you feel you want to wear your pajamas and have a glass of wine while you are training your dog then by all means -- go for it! Same as if I am traveling to you, I do not care what you are wearing as long as it does not distract you from training your dog. Now with that being said, via video sessions -- chances are I am seeing more of your pup on the screen than I am you, so why not? Travel time is eliminated for online sessions so I can be more flexible with scheduling and even allow for more time slots to be available!

Usually when I am attending lessons, clients will ask me a question about (or describe) a problem behavior, however when we are at the home (or online!) you can show me the behavior occurring in real time. Does your dog like to bark at the neighbors? Do you have a guess as to when the neighbors are home? Let chat then! Just pick the time for your session that it is most likely to occur! Whenever I am with clients I remind them, I only see about 10% of your world, so you can pick times where the behaviors occur. This also takes out the 'well they only are doing it because you're here' statement out of the mix. Your dog is doing 'x' because you are there now! How wonderful is that?! We can always personalize sessions so let's personalize sessions even more!

Safety is always a number one priority. Right now it is the safety from communicable diseases. But this can translate to other things as well. Safety to others, safety for you, safety to the community. If we are working though aggression with your dog or even anxiety, then we can get you started without adding additional stress to the environment.

You will be successful! Just as successful if not more than if we were in person! Contrary to popular belief, my job is more about training you than it is about training your dog. I get asked "What is the hardest dog you have ever trained?" a lot and my answer is always the same "people." This is my response because my profession is about teaching you how to interact with your companion, not just to 'fix' your dog. Let me guide you on your journey, so you can grow and succeed. 💕

Alright, you're convinced...

Here are some tips for training at home:

Setting up for class: Select your spaces in your house that you wish to use for training, make these designates spots that are permanently set up for training sessions. I don't expect you to set up a designated training room but even if you just have a jar of treats in a corner with your dog's crate and mat, it is better than having everything spread out all over the house.

Make your own space(s): Want to work on recalls in the backyard? Leave a long-line leash or cookies by the backyard. Want to work on body handling and awareness? Leave your uneven surfaces our in the basement or your 'training' room. Make multiple training rooms! You can have more than one room where training occurs. This way you can work on a different exercise in each room! Settling behaviors in the dining room an kitchen, body handling in the office, play in the living room, walking in the basement, recalls in the backyard....

Keep your supplies handy: Once if the hardest things to set up for training is to remember where you put your plans and supplies. If you have everything in one spot it will be easier to set up and easier to for you find. Don't have something? Improvise! If you have everything set up to practice that settling behavior when the guest comes to the door, it is less of a hassle to practice than it would have been otherwise.

Remember, you don't need a ton of space, you just need to remember to use what you have!

Make a schedule: it's easy to forget about training in daily life, but if everything is out and you have a schedule that includes training (even if its a 2 minute insert to your daily life) it will be easier to follow through.

Here's a picture of my training room/ office, for some ideas!

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