I know people are craving human interaction and often say they would prefer in-person sessions, but this isn’t based on evidence of effectiveness or even for the benefit of their dogs. It is quite simply just a preference, which in all likelihood will not help your dog.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, my clients worried about continuing their training and behaviour work. The good news is that I am a complete tech head (for those who don’t know, I LOVE technology), so I quickly shifted our services online, created a new online learning environment, and coached 300+ other trainers and behaviourists to do the same. I didn’t plan to reassess the way I had worked for the previous 13 years. It came as a big shock. In fact, I would go as far as saying it was like a slap in the face or a bucket of cold water being thrown over me to wake me up. It became quickly apparent that the dogs (of all ages and temperaments) were learning quicker and more effectively than ever before. Their humans were practising more frequently and with more confidence, and I had to ask myself why? What had changed? Put simply, the way I was delivering the information was made more accessible overnight. Having videos, documents, and recordings of live sessions available meant clients could watch the information back, refer to the supporting documents or videos, and make the best use of our live sessions together. Here are my top 3 reasons why working remotely is better for you and your dog.
Number One: Our time spent together is focused on the task at hand
When you meet a trainer or behaviourist in person, whether in the park or at your home, your dog has to get used to this stranger in a very short space of time. Even if you have a happy young puppy, it doesn’t help set them up to be in a good place to learn. The other end of the spectrum is a fearful dog. If your dog is scared of people and you want help to change this, having a stranger turn up on your doorstep will not put your dog is an excellent place to learn. In fact, all that will happen is they will practice the unwanted behaviour again on the new person. Even if they are a trainer or behaviourist, this isn’t helpful. Starting your training online enables you to learn what to do, how to do it and when, without the distraction of a stranger present. Your dog learns the behaviours first before being asked to perform them around distractions. It is a win-win situation.
Number Two: You don’t have to remember everything
We are unique in our approach and pride ourselves on having a great learning system for our group classes and one-to-one sessions. All sessions are recorded, so you don’t have to remember everything or read through a 30+ page behaviour report to try and decipher what you should do when. Instead, you can watch the recording look at demonstration videos and supporting step by step guides so that everyone’s learning styles are catered for. Don’t forget that not all trainers or behaviourists are the same. You may have tried working with a person online previously, but they will not have the same resources, teaching style, or systems in place.
Number Three: More economical
Time and money spent online go a lot further than in-person. Historically you would have needed much longer to reach the goals you wish to achieve with your trainer or behaviourist, solely because of the time spent calming or settling your dog to a state suitable for learning. Now you can achieve much more in a shorter space of time. This means progressing with more distractions, more complex training, or simply achieving your goals in a shorter length of time. This means it costs you far less overall too.