Cheri Spaulding and her dog, Geo. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO
The Covid pandemic brought us the necessity of interactive platforms like video conference meetings to continue our daily lives.
Many of us use these to work from home. How can you use it to train your dog? Very effectively, in my opinion.
Dog trainers have quickly embraced this interactive technology because of the favorable effect it has on the dogs. We want dogs to be at ease to aid with learning. In general, a relaxed dog is much easier to train.
A dog with human aggression or one who is shy will benefit greatly from this format. Even dogs who get queasy during car rides will appreciate staying home while their human speaks to the trainer by video monitor.
During a computer dog training session, the dog can relax in its own environment without the presence of the trainer while the owners do all the work, or most of it, online. In dog training, really 90% of it is teaching the human half of the team.
People with health issues or family responsibility may find going to a class away from home difficult. With videoconference, they suddenly have learning access for their pup through a zoom meeting.
There are a couple of things you will have to set up to have a successful training session through an interactive platform, the environment and technology.
You want to have the learning space cleared of extra dog beds, dog toys, and especially other pets. Learning is easiest for everyone, human and dog, if there are no distractions. The trainer will guide you before your lesson on what supplies you will need to have present. I recommend having a leash available. Some dogs need that connection to focus on learning something new. Have treats ready your dog considers high value available, cut up in small pieces. Large enough for ease of handling but small enough your dog only has to swallow it. I suggest pinky nail-sized. Have a water bowl nearby. Learning is thirsty work.
The location you chose in your house might be dictated by where your computer or smartphone can be set up so your trainer can see you and your dog working together. You might use a tripod or a bar height counter. I’ve twisted up wire to fashion a tripod for my smartphone for videoing or zoom meetings. I suggest doing a trial run to figure out if the camera covers the training location and if there is enough lighting to see you and your dog.
I had one California client effectively train her dog good manners through zoom meeting. She put her other dog in another room with a stuffed Kong to entertain him. She used her office so her laptop only needed to be turned a bit for me to see her and her dog throughout the exercises. I was able to demonstrate the trickier parts of the exercises with my dog, Geo. She was very happy with this format.
I hope these pointers give you another choice for training your dog. You and your dog don’t have to go anywhere. Your trainer can record your session so you can review it. Video dog training a good alternative to private or group lessons.
Cheri Spaulding is the owner of Rock Nest Pet Training, and a licenses trainer. You can reach her at 541-895-3162.