Friday, October 14, 2022

Changing October Theme

Since my October got changed rapidly with a planned surgery getting bumped up quickly, instead of writing new blogs while I'm recovering I'm going to post some sections from some of our virtual classrooms. Virtual dog training is a new thing thanks to the COVID shutdown and this leads many owners to uncertainty as it's hard to picture virtual training being successful. This post, hopefully will help you understand some of the benefits of virtual training.

Many dog professionals have come to learn that virtual training often leads to better and faster results then in-person sessions. Some professionals have gone to only virtual services, leaving in-person training to the wayside. They can see more clients and witness better results. 

I believe the difference between the way dog professionals and dog owners view virtual training all boils down to the perception of what happens during a training session. Most dog owners believe that one of 2 things will happen in a dog training session; it's either a group class where the trainer demonstrates a skill then everyone in class plays copycat OR it's a 1-on - 1 session where the owner expects the trainer to take the dog, teach the dog, then the dog will magically do the skill for the owner. Any good dog professional knows it's not about getting a dog to do a behavior during the session, but giving the owners the skills to use that behavior in real life situations. Basically owners believe the trainer is training the dog & trainers believe they are training the owners.

Virtual training can more easily tailor training to individual owner needs. If owners want to copycat training sessions, most trainers have a demo dog that they can use or videos to demonstrate the training steps. If owners want to understand training techniques, learn how to train more then just basic obedience or learn about the science behind the training these can be accomplished much easier in virtual training because there is less distractions and multitasking going on during the sessions. Scheduled times of sessions are often more convenient because external factors such as location booking and/or weather does not need to be considered.

Virtual dog training comes in a wide variety of formats. I have some classes that are work at your own pace, allowing owners to start at a time that is relevant for your dog. 

For example, the Positively Puppy Class is designed for owners with puppies from 2 to 6 months old. Puppies can be born pretty much all year, so this allows owners to start before they bring puppy home and continue as puppy grows. This class is also designed to teach the owner basic training techniques that can be used to teach most behaviors instead of teaching owners to train 1-5 behaviors.

Some virtual classes are geared more towards going through as a group. These classes are often geared towards a complex skill set or tackling a large trouble area such as reactivity, Service Dogs skills or developing handler/dog teamwork. The Building a Better Bond Workshop would fall into this category. This workshop runs from November thru March and is designed in format where you get to know the other attendees and see some variations to the teamwork skills everyone is working on each week. Classes like this offer a level of accountability because the more you participate the stronger your relationship with your dog will be one 

Private 1-on-1 sessions can often follow a format that meets your needs. My October Special revolves around planning with a longer session designed to develop a training plan and 2 shorter sessions to touch base to make any necessary changes to the plan. This type of session can be booked weekly, every two weeks, or even monthly. Many of my clients will message me with simple updates and questions then schedule a Zoom session for more complex issues. This special allows new clients to see if this format will work for them.

For the rest of October I'll be sharing a few excerpts from some of the virtual training opportunities that I'll have available and I'll be sharing some examples of training plans that have been created for the October Special.

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