Monday, April 26, 2021

Digital Dog Training

One thing we have discovered, over the course of lockdown, is how bloody fantastically dog behaviour cases respond to virtual help.

The dog doesn't have to be faced with a new trainer, or place in order to get started with their training. This is massive for fearful dogs.

Puppies can learn in a more suitable environment than the local village hall, or a class where they are rammed in with 5 other puppies all teaching each other exactly how not to behave. Granted - some puppy classes are very good at not allowing the puppies to have a free for all, where they learn the exact opposite of appropriate behaviour, but even then, the distraction during the lesson from the other families, the other puppies and dogs, is massive. Where would you learn better? In a cosy place at home where you can relax and concentrate, or in the local nightclub with noise pounding and lots of other people dancing and jumping around? It is the same for dogs. 

Dog-dog socialisation is much more carefully managed, so when done right leads to much less reactivity. If each dog your puppy meets is one that you know will provide a healthy and happy experience for your dog, and they are then not forced to spend an hour in each other's company with a pile of other dogs in a training class, then your puppy will have a more healthy and happy attitude towards other dogs in general.

The dog with separation anxiety can't be helped so effectively if their human and a trainer are still in the room, or even the house once you get to a certain stage in their recovery - but if they have their own zoom meeting camera, the human, the trainer can all assess remotely how the dogs are doing and this in turn helps the dogs to become desensitised to being alone as it takes the guess work out of what is going on in their human's absence.

The humans can have recordings of all of their lessons as well as all the links to resources that they need - so training can be watched at leisure, and rewatched some more.

Training can be from specialist trainers all over the world - no longer does the local trainer need to be a jack of all trades when it comes to training your dog. You can now find niche trainers who specialise in your dog's exact problems at the click of a button. Going digital, and finding a worldwide market has given trainers the opportunity to find aspects of training that they are excellent at, and they can then pass this knowledge on to you. 

Locke's Dogs for example, has a real affinity for humans or dogs with anxiety, and we have now set up our business to have an arm specialising in this area, so that anxiety prone dog/human partnerships can access specialist help with both of their struggles.

You can train, any time, in any place as your trainer will always be there with you, on your phone screen or any other device - so no need to miss classes ever - and if you do, you can easily catch up again by watching playback of lessons.

It is also better for the environment as there is no need to be driving cars around to sessions, or printing off reams of literature, 

There is also none of the "he does it perfectly for the trainer" scenario, where the trainer has their mechanics just right, has the dog doing exactly what is being asked of them, and then when the trainer disappears the dog behaves as usual for their human - their human IS the trainer now!!

There are so many advantages to digital and virtual training. The big schools that teach other trainers as well as dogs, like absoluteDOGS or The ISCP have been teaching online for years. There is a reason for that! 

Covid-19 rules mean we are very limited in how we can interact physically with the dogs in the sessions anyway - so it makes no real difference if we are there in person, apart from serving as a distraction to the dog.

Locke's Dogs has even started their own online school, Fun Not Fear®, as a result of realising how much we love digital training. We still do 121 in person, but we limit this now to a ten mile radius of Newmarket as we really don't think that there are any advantages to in person training any more.

Slowly the clients are also catching on and realising that digital is best for them and their dogs too!

See you on a zoom call!!

Freya x