Virtual/Online Dog Training
By Kathryn R. Gubista
Now, more than ever, we are thankful for our lovable dogs as they help reduce our stress during this time of the coronavirus crisis. Avoiding social/physical contact with other humans is extremely challenging for everyone because we are social/physical creatures by nature. Thankfully, social distancing only applies to humans, so give your pup lots of physical contact. Pets and hugs benefit both you and your pups. In fact, we encourage everyone to snuggle your pups as much as possible, for your mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Same Responsibilities, New Approaches
As we navigate our way through the coronavirus crisis, we seek alternative solutions to everyday responsibilities. This includes how we work from home, school our children, shop for necessities and even train our dogs. Thankfully, all these tasks, including dog training, can be accomplished through new virtual/online methods.
Virtual/Online Dog Training
While the ideal scenario for dog training is a “hands on” endeavor with a professional trainer, currently this is not an option because of the need for social/physical distancing. However, we discovered that phone consultations, virtual private and group sessions, combined with our board and train program, are extremely beneficial options for both you and your pup. This hybrid approach to training presents both advantages and disadvantages, which are outlined below.
Advantages of our hybrid training approach are numerous, including the convenience of training from home, safety of social distancing, decreased distraction of a trainer, flexible scheduling and participation of multiple family members. The ability to observe your dog in their home environment, without sensing the trainer through olfaction (sense of smell), is an awesome advantage of virtual training. The trainer can be the proverbial “fly on the wall” and observe them without the dog’s knowledge. We also love the ability to record our virtual training sessions, so that you can revisit the sessions at your convenience, whenever you need a refresher.
The biggest disadvantage of virtual/online sessions is that the online dog trainer cannot get their hands on your dog, to pet their head and handle their leash. Physical petting and verbal praise are our primary training rewards. While a virtual dog trainer can provide verbal praise online, physical petting your dog is impossible for a virtual trainer. Fortunately, your dog has you to provide those physical connections.
Another disadvantage is the level of your fear, apprehension or inexperience with virtual training. However, this is easily remedied with practice and your continued internet access on a phone, tablet or computer.
Experienced Dog Trainer & Online Instructor
I think it is valuable for potential new clients to know that along with being a professional dog trainer, I am an experienced online instructor. For the better part of the last decade, I taught a variety of online biology courses for several colleges and universities. Although teaching biology courses online was fun and exciting, nothing compares to sharing dog training techniques virtually with all our clients.
Along with virtual/online private and group sessions, we are creating a variety of online dog training courses too. We are hurrying to get these out to you just as soon as possible, so please continue to check our website for updates.
Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @LuckyDogTrainingAVL and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.