• Pet Gazette

YAHOO for the Virtual Dog

Updated: Aug 24

By Kathryn R. Gubista



Are your pup’s poor manners driving you crazy? Do you dream of fun walks with your dog, but your reality is stressful tug-of-war episodes as you get dragged down the street? Is your dog’s separation anxiety a major worry of yours, especially in the age of COVID-19?

Seeking the help of a professional trainer is often the fastest, most effective way to solve your dog’s issues. However, social distancing restrictions to mitigate COVID-19 have placed huge obstacles on dog training classes. For example, in-person private sessions and group classes have become limited resources and may remain limited for some time to come. So, are there viable options to dog training that do not require in-person sessions?

You Always Have Other Options

Of course! YAHOO! You always have other options! And, some of these other options may be better alternatives to traditional, in-person classes. In the “digital age” of human history, virtual/online training is not only a logical alternative, but may be the wave of the future because it allows you to learn from the convenience and safety of your home.

The Main Disadvantage

Virtual dog training does have a few disadvantages, however, our biggest obstacle is our inability to touch your dog. This is particularly significant because our training approach relies heavily on physical petting and verbal praise as our main reward. However, this gives us the opportunity to teach you how to be your dog's handler, which encourages you to pet your dog even more than you do now!

All the Advantages

The advantages of virtual dog training far outweigh the disadvantages and include ease and convenience of training from home and around your schedule. We also have an opportunity to record your training sessions for future review. In addition, our favorite advantage is the dog's inability to "sense" (i.e., smell) the trainer's presence, which eliminates distractions and allows the trainer to become the proverbial "fly on the wall." This allows the trainer to observe your dog’s behavior in their natural, unobstructed environment.

How Online Training Works

Online dog training is quite simple. If you have an Internet connection on your computer and/or cell phone, you are all set! You don’t need any fancy equipment! Your trainer will provide the meeting platform (e.g., Zoom, Go to Meeting) that they prefer to use and luckily, if you learn one online meeting platform, you will quickly learn they are all very similar. Once you login, you will be face-to-face with your trainer. Private online training sessions are basically the same as in-person sessions. You chat directly with the trainer and practice training skills with your dog while the trainer observes. As trainers, we typically demonstrate skills with one of our dogs, so that you will develop a mental image of your training goals. And, to continue training after we logout of our online sessions, we record all training sessions for later review.

The Virtual Dog

Our online training program is The Virtual Dog. Along with private sessions, our online program includes monthly group sessions, which allows you to meet other clients and learn from their training experiences. In addition, our online clients have access to our online training library that provides a treasure trove of dog training videos. We are adding new training videos constantly, so you will always have new learning resources!

Beyond Virtual

At Lucky Dog Training Asheville, you always have other options to achieve your desired training results. Along with our online program, we also offer our board and train (B&T) program, which includes all the features of The Virtual Dog program. During B&T, we are able to quickly remedy manners, obedience, behavioral and socialization issues as your dog trains with our Muttley Crew. The major advantage of our B&T option is that we quickly solve your dog’s issues, which makes your life much easier. When your dog returns home, we continue to support your training at home through our virtual options. Either way, we can help you with your dog training needs. YAHOO!

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.

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