Thanks to the pandemic, everything is moving to cyberspace. Workers, shoppers, and learners are all doing their thing safely from home via the internet. Pet services have also gone online. Professionals like vets and pet trainers consult via telephone, video chat, and online conferencing tools. You can learn about your pet’s behaviors and attend virtual pet training online.
As it is with anything new, there are benefits and challenges. We have compiled some pros and cons and experts’ opinions on virtual pet training.
But first, here’s a description of online pet training.
What is virtual pet training?
As the name suggests, virtual pet training is conducted via the internet. Trainers provide interactive pet training classes and learning activities in cyberspace. It’s not just videos and demonstrations. During live sessions, parents connect with trainers and interact with fellow pet parents concerning particular issues. It could be a private session or a group class.
For parents with pups, online pet training is revolutionary. Programs like the Virtual Home Manners by the American Kennel Club have been marketed as effective and safe. Of course, online pet training has several benefits. But it also presents some challenges. And here is your opportunity to learn about both sides of the coin before you take the plunge.
For pet parents with cats, virtual training or even watching YouTube videos or reading informative training articles should be enough.
Virtual pet training for dogs benefits
It is an effective option in the face of the pandemic
Although lockdowns and social distance keep us apart, life must continue. Virtual puppy training enables pet parents to get back on track with puppy training and meet their goals. Several dog experts have said it is effective and a much better alternative than no training at all.
It is easier to manage your schedule
For busy pup parents, virtual pet training is a perfect solution. No longer will you have to sacrifice puppy training because you are busy at work or with family. The flexibility allows you to train your pup at home and progress at the dog’s pace.
Pups are less distracted
Virtual pet training allows pet parents to focus on their pups and vice versa. You don’t have to deal with the presence of many other puppies, pet parents, and other attention stealers in the new environment. Even if you are having in-person at-home sessions, as one expert puts it, your pup will not have the stress of dealing with a stranger – the trainer. It could also result in faster learning for your dog.
A pup parent can replay
If a pup parent has not understood a particular instruction or how to execute it, one can replay a recorded live session and go over a drill or training steps once more.
Virtual pet training is more empowering to the pup parent
Pet training is not just about getting a puppy to adopt a new behavior or follow instructions. It is also about empowering the puppy owner. During virtual sessions, the trainer can only give instructions to the pet parent and wait for feedback. This back and forth continues until the pup parent can pick up the cues and effectively teach new behaviors and responses. Since there is no “expert trainer” to intervene, the pet parent learns to take control and is empowered.
Virtual pet training challenges
It is limited
According to an expert puppy trainer, virtual puppy training is excellent for brushing up on basic skills and complementing ongoing in-person training. However, it is hard to use the method when addressing specific puppy behavior issues. An untrained person (the pup parent) may fail to see the root cause of a behavior problem or notice some cues. It could lead to a misdiagnosis, and any subsequent training could be flawed.
It assumes the parent and trainer are on the same page
During in-person training sessions, a dog trainer often notices what the pet parent does not see and brings these cues to the attention of the pet parent. The pet parent, on the other hand, becomes more observant. But that’s not always the case with virtual puppy training. The trainer depends on feedback from the parent. They also assume that the parent can discern other cues and communicate. However, a pet parent could be lost or miss crucial cues. The pet parent could send a wrong message or fail to inform the trainer. Thus the training could be half-baked.
At home, there are fewer distractions. However, the pup misses the opportunity to interact with new environments, strangers, and other dogs — a significant part of any puppy training curriculum. Pup parents who opt for online pet training must take up other options to socialize their fur babies.
Bottom line: Virtual pet training
Virtual pet training offers exciting possibilities for training puppies, and the benefits are immense. But, like any new model, the challenges are significant. As you contemplate training your fur baby, consider a combined approach.