Training your puppy or dog via Zoom: Here's how to get the most out of virtual dog training
Dog training is one of the most essential early activities you can do with a new canine companion. Whether you’ve acquired a new puppy or adopted an older dog, the process of basic obedience training can help build trust and collaboration between you and your pet. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has caused many dog training facilities to end in-person classes. Because of this, many courses have gone virtual, with trainers offering classes over video-conferencing software like Zoom. If you’re looking to connect with a dog trainer over Zoom, here’s how to get the most out of your virtual dog training sessions.
DISCUSS YOUR EXPECTATIONS WITH THE TRAINER AHEAD OF TIME
Many virtual dog training classes are more intimate than classic group sessions. This means that you can get individual attention from the course instructor to help correct bad habits. When you first connect with a dog trainer, tell them your goals for the glass. Does your dog pull on a leash or jump on guests? Your trainer can help you achieve your goals if you discuss them ahead of time.
PUT THE COMPUTER AT A COMFORTABLE HEIGHT
If you’re connecting with your dog trainer on a computer or smartphone, make sure it’s at a comfortable height. Some people will put their laptop on a table that works to show the trainer the exercises you’re doing with your dog, but it’s not an ideal height for video conferencing. Using a tripod to hold your smartphone or a laptop stand can help your training setup be more ergonomic and allows for full view of your dog’s actions and responses.
LIMIT DISTRACTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG
Before starting a training session, make sure that there aren’t too many distractions for you and your dog. One of the benefits of remote dog training is that there aren’t the distractions of being around other dogs, or in a foreign environment. However, when your dog is at home, they can be distracted by other pets, toys, or family members. If you train your dog in a room free of distractions, you and your dog can focus on getting the most out of your time with the trainer.
USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
One of the great things about video conferencing software like Zoom is that you can use it on a computer or a cell phone. Many people participating in remote training classes will use their smartphones to take their lessons out of the home and into the wild. If your dog pulls on a leash, take your trainer on a walk with you, so they can observe the behaviour in the moment. By seeing negative habits unfold, they can note triggers for your dog and give you feedback to redirect their behaviour.
DO THE HOMEWORK
If you’re taking weekly classes with a trainer, you’ll often have homework after class to do with your dog. This homework helps your dog understand how training skills apply in the real world and enables you to reinforce your relationship with your dog. Stay committed to completing this homework every week; if you do the work, you’ll see your dog learn and improve faster than you thought possible.
One assignment many dog trainers are assigning at the moment is socialization. Because training classes are remote, pups miss out on the mingling and gathering that comes from a group class environment. Prioritize socializing your dog whenever it is safe to do so to not miss out on an extremely essential and lifelong lesson.
Many pets and their parents benefit from remote training classes due to the personalized attention they get from instructors. Some people find this type of class more private and relaxing, as they don’t have to worry about their dog being distracted by other dogs. If your pup is fearful of or aggressive with other furry friends, it can be an excellent opportunity for them to learn how to behave in high-stress situations without the extra provocation.
Despite all these benefits, training your dog remotely is still a new experience for many pet owners and can cause a bit of anxiety or uncertainty about the quality of lessons. By implementing the five tips above, you’ll have more confidence, and you’ll be sure to get the most out of your virtual training sessions. Your pup will thank you for it.