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What Is Virtual Dog Training?

COVID-19 has put a damper on many things, and getting your dog trained by a professional trainer is one of them. Lockdowns and restrictions in many countries have limited the opportunities for families to schedule sessions and bring their dogs to trainers. 

This has consequences beyond just obedient pups — the fact is that pooches rely on training to interact with other dogs, build up their arsenal of commands, and expend the excess energy they have from staying indoors. 

That’s where virtual dog training comes in. This novel way of teaching your dogs skills that will help them in everyday life is gaining traction, partially due to the pandemic and partly because it’s just so convenient. 

In this post, we’ll look into the process involved in most dog training classes, when your dog would need virtual dog training, its benefits, and how effective this method of dog training can be. In the end, you should be able to decide whether or not taking online training sessions for your dog is the best course of action. 

How Does a Virtual Dog Training Work?

Virtual dog training is precisely what it sounds like: It works just like traditional, in-person training. However, instead of the dog trainer teaching the dog, the trainer will show you how to teach your dog to learn new commands via video call.

Here’s how it works:

  • Enroll your dog and determine the goals you want to achieve for your dog with the sessions.
  • Schedule a virtual class with a dog trainer. You’ll need to have access to a stable internet connection, phone/computer, and camera.
  • Classes are conducted via Zoom or similar.
  • Training is a combination of trainer-led instruction and live coaching from the dog owner.
  • Receive a copy of the session recording and written training plan as a guide in between sessions.

Some training programs will require additional steps, but the process above is the standard among online dog trainers.

How to Know When My Dog Needs Virtual Training

Because virtual and in-person training are so similar, some pet owners may think that they’re synonymous. After all, it’s only a matter of a difference in format.

The truth is that some dogs thrive with virtual training — and that’s true even as dog training experts open up spots in their programs. You might consider virtual training over in-person classes if your dog exhibits any of these behaviors. 

Your Dog is Anxious or Has Difficulty Being Around Other Dogs

It’s not uncommon for a dog to experience anxiety. However, their shy or anxious personalities may make them the perfect candidates for virtual dog training. Being trained in a familiar environment might help them feel calm and confident instead.

The onset of anxiety in dogs looks like panting, hyperventilating, shaking, whining, hiding in corners, and growling, among other things. If your dog experiences these kinds of reactions when faced with others, virtual training may be the answer because your pet will be able to learn in a familiar environment.

Source: Canna-Pet

While there are different ways to handle these sorts of issues on the spot, a virtual trainer may be able to help your dog ease their separation anxiety. Sessions with virtual dog trainers focus on what the trainer deems beneficial for the client. Your time together will also be individualized because what works for one may not work for another. 

Furthermore, a virtual trainer will guide you on what to do with your dog and how best to make them comfortable by exposing them to various situations that help them learn what humans want from them.

Your Dog is Easily Distracted

Dogs can quickly lose focus, especially when they are in a new setting. Of course, certain breeds are even more distractible than others, and your dog’s age also plays a role.

If you take your dog out in public and they tend to get distracted by what’s around them rather than what’s being done, virtual dog training will work better. Virtual, at-home training means fewer novelties like other people and dogs to divert your puppy’s attention. 

Meanwhile, virtual trainers can guide owners on how to make their dogs focus. Their tools for distractions include bribery, agility exercises, and treats to help keep their attention trained on what they’re learning.

Your Dog is Aggressive

And, finally, virtual dog training can be a highly effective solution for pets who are aggressive towards people and other animals. 

Even docile dogs around their owner can get hostile if they’re uncomfortable, haven’t been properly socialized, or are too young. Virtual trainers will teach owners what could make their dogs turn aggressive and how to avoid it. Not only will virtual training help in controlling a dog’s aggression, but it also prevents these aggression triggers from recurring.

Benefits of Virtual Dog Training

Even if a dog is uncomfortable or doesn’t take instructions well in a public setting, this shouldn’t prevent you from teaching your dog new commands. It’s simply a matter of finding a method in which your beloved pet will respond positively.

Virtual dog training provides an avenue for dogs to learn particular skills and obedient behavior while remaining in their comfort zones. This way, you won’t have to worry about your dog not coping with its environment.

Just as virtual dog training benefits your pets, it can help you in various ways as well. Let’s take a look at why virtual training may be perfect for you, especially if you can commit to reinforcing virtual training at home. 

1) Save on Travel Time and Costs

Traveling to in-person dog training requires you to spend time traveling to and from the trainer’s location. This also means tackling traffic, changing weather, and the costs associated with driving back and forth. 

Virtual dog training eliminates all these issues. As long as you have a computer, laptop, or even a tablet with a camera and microphone, you’re ready to start training your dog.

You can start the session at the comfort of your home, and you don’t have to rush and worry whether you’ll be late or not. More importantly, you have exclusive sessions with the trainer to ask questions and learn the proper training techniques to help teach your dog the right way.

2) Flexibility of Booking Appointments

With in-person training, you’ll need to set and stick to a schedule of training sessions that you commit to attending. That’s because these are group sessions, so you’ll need to plan your schedule around when sessions are available.

However, virtual dog training programs are much more flexible. Availability depends on the trainer, but the sessions also work around your schedule.

The fact is that the pandemic has changed more than just technology’s role. It has also expanded how we move forward with our everyday lives. Virtual dog training is one opportunity that allows trainers their expertise and dog owners to take advantage of this.

3) You Build Stronger Relationship with Your Dog

Building a close and strong bond with your dog as you train them is arguably the greatest benefit of virtual dog training. Instead of the dog listening more to their trainer instead of yourself, virtual training encourages you to be as hands-on as possible.

You’ll learn what your dog is comfortable with and what things will help build a stronger relationship between you two.

Since you’re not a professional trainer, expect it to be difficult at first. Eventually, your dog will start responding positively to your commands, and you’ll have not only a well-behaved, obedient dog but also one that trusts you implicitly. 

After all, dogs are pack animals — and relying on virtual training will help them recognize you as “top dog.” 

Is Virtual Dog Training Effective?

Based on the experience of other dog owners who use online training, it’s clear that virtual dog training is not only viable but beneficial to both pets and owners.

Most dog owners who initially prefer face-to-face training for their dogs now enjoy the efficiency of the virtual training sessions.

Additionally, pet owners who use virtual training also enjoy the one-on-one attention from the trainer, which is usually harder to achieve with in-person training.

Most importantly, trainers provide creative ways for dogs to build social skills and help them behave properly while around other people.

As long as your dog trainer is an expert with experience handling virtual sessions and has a structured program in place, online training is both a legitimate and effective alternative to in-person classes.

While virtual training has become in vogue during the pandemic, it doesn’t mean things have to go back to the way it was before. If you found success with virtual dog training just like the people above did, there’s no reason why you should stop the sessions.


Virtual dog training is a smart way to get the training your dog needs without waiting for in-person sessions or worrying about availability, travel costs, and, in this day and age, the consequences of the evolving pandemic. What’s even more rewarding is how virtual dog training can help you and your dog build a stronger bond with each other. 

If you’re decided on enrolling your dog in online training, the Snowy Pines White Labs four-week and eight-week might be just right for you and your new pup.

Pet owners who join our programs will receive personalized and certified dog training sessions in a one-to-three trainer ratio. Our puppy package contains all the training tools necessary for the program, including weekly evaluations and reports based on the videos you’ll submit of your dog’s progress.

Learn more about our Wagology programs to help you decide the best online training program for your dog.

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About the Author


Tom Massey

Tom Massey has owned and operated Snowy Pines Labradors for over a decade. They have become the leaders in English Labradors in the US. He and his team serve customers all over the US and Europe. They house their "dog family" in a state of the art facility on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. With an obsession for genetics and temperament they raise and train dogs known across the globe for health and personality. Tom serves the pet industry in many forms campaigning for ethical breeding, training, and pet ownership.


Calm Tempered, AKC Purebred, and Certified Genetics.