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Is virtual training effective for fear & aggression?

reactivity training online

Why choose online training when you could find someone in-person?

Reason #1: Efficacy It may feel like having someone with you in-person will be more effective, but for dogs who are fearful of or reactive toward strangers, it can actually be the opposite. Your dog will not learn if they are essentially having a panic attack, and you won’t learn if your attention is split between listening to the trainer and managing your dog. Often virtual, or even hybrid training can be a better way to get skills on board before you introduce real-life triggers (and it’s more humane for your dog as well, if they are struggling). Furthermore, if the problem is happening at home, having a visitor may change your dog’s behaviour and make it more difficult to assess your dog accurately (separation anxiety is a great example of this). Reason #2: Getting Qualified Support If you are limited to trainers who serve your neighbourhood, you have a much lower chance of finding the right trainer for the job. These days, trainers specialize in all kinds of different problems, breed types or training styles - and going online gives you access to someone who specializes in the area where you’re experiencing trouble. Reason #3: Convenience This goes without saying. With virtual training you don’t have to leave your house or have a visitor crash your space. This makes your environment as low-distraction as possible, which is ideal when teaching your dog new behaviours. With Zoom, email and messaging apps like WhatsApp, it’s easy to receive live coaching, send videos back and forth and ensure your trainer understands what exactly you need support with. Ready to receive support online?

Tess Morgan is a multicertified dog trainer and behaviour consultant. She works primarily with dogs experiencing reactivity, fear and separation anxiety, as well as with families who have young children and dogs. Tess sees clients in London, Ontario and online.

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