It’s not surprising that online dog training has become a big deal in recent years. Given how hard it can be to find a good dog trainer and to make training work with a busy schedule, there’s always been a need for good training that is available on demand. The biggest problem with online dog training isn’t that it’s hard to find, though, but rather that there’s so much of it available that it’s hard to separate the good from the bad.
If you’re looking to learn how to train your dog at home, you’ll definitely want to start with free videos. Finding the right one can be tough, at least if you don’t have a good guide. Fortunately, there are a handful of sites on which you can count to help you to train your dog properly.
Best Online Dog Training
Dunbar’s Dog Behavior and Training
Dr. Dunbar brings some fantastic qualifications to the world of online dog training, both as a vet and as an animal behaviorist. He’s probably the most qualified online dog trainers out there, and his videos definitely show off what he knows in a way that the average dog owner can understand.
One of the great things about this site is that there is a ton of material for all kinds of users. Not only is there great video content, but there are also free e-books and even a podcast for those who are audio learners. Those who want to spend a bit more can also make use of the subscription Top Dog Academy service, which gives users access to everything from online webinars to a private Facebook group, with new material added on a regular basis.
This site tends to be a good fit for anyone who is working on training a puppy, but it’s also worthwhile for just about any dog training problems. It’s hard to find a group that’s not going to benefit from Dr. Dunbar’s level of knowledge.
Howcast: How To Train Your Dog with JoAnne Basinger
While JoAnne Basinger doesn’t have Doctor Dunbar’s qualifications, she is an incredibly experienced dog trainer with plenty of her own credentials. Her site is a real winner because it’s full of short, informative dog training videos. There’s no extraneous fluff here – just expert knowledge presented clearly.
The only downside to this site is that there is a very limited amount of information. With just twenty-four videos, you’re either going to find what you need quickly or you won’t find it at all. This makes the site ideal for dealing with a number of very common dog training issues, but it is not quite as useful for those who are looking for more advanced training.
Kikopup features Emily Larlham, who might not have any official training credentials but who seems like a very confident expert. Her spin on training focuses on building trust with dogs and using scientifically proven training methods, which can be a great fit for many dog owners.
Like Howcast, Kikopup is excellent because it features short videos that give viewers a great deal of information quickly. Kikopup stands out, though, because it is one of the few sites that will teach you how to train multiple dogs at the same time. This makes the site a really good fit for building relationships with a new pup or dealing with basic behavior issues, but the lack of in-depth content does make it harder to find solutions to more serious behavior issues.
Journey Dog Training
This channel is run by Kayla Fratt, a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. This means that she’s not only educated in how to deal with basic dog behaviors but she’s spent a significant amount of time training dogs in the real world.
The big benefit of this site is getting access to live dog training. Fratt broadcasts on Facebook Live every Tuesday, which allows users to see how the lessons work in real-time and to ask questions while the show is going on. This is definitely a unique twist on the usual online training format and one that works well for many dog owners.
The downside to using this site is that it’s a bit amateurish compared to the big sites. That means that the video quality isn’t great and there are some production issues, which can make it difficult to watch for many. A bigger issue is that the videos are long, so you’re going to have to commit some serious time to get the information you need.
In short, Journey Dog Training tends to be a better fit for those who want an interactive training experience and those who have very specific questions. It’s not a good fit for those who want a more professional training experience, though, and it’s certainly not a recommended place to go to teach your dog tricks or to work on sports and games.
Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution
Zak George may be a celebrity dog trainer, but he’s also a celebrity trainer who tends to follow the same basic rules as most professional dog trainers. What this means, of course, is both that you’re getting good information and that you’re really getting the same information that you could get from dozens of other sources.
What makes this training series stand out is Zak George’s personality. He’s very positive and upbeat, and all of his videos center around positive reinforcement. The videos are also very short and easy to understand, so they’re perfect for those looking for a quick bit of information while in the middle of training a pet.
The downside here is that Zak George does fall short in a few categories. He’s a great fit for someone who is looking for simple puppy training or who wants to do some basic behavior modification, but he doesn’t seem to know how to handle aggressive dogs or how to use proper safety precautions in some cases. In fact, you might want to put him on the list of ‘do as I say, not as I do in terms of specific types of dog training.
Training Positive with Tab Shamsi
The last site on the list is run by Tab Shamsi, who doesn’t seem to have any specific qualifications for training dogs. Like Zak George, though, he makes use of solid dog training practices and he’s definitely not going to lead you astray by practicing anything that dozens of other dog trainers wouldn’t do.
Shamsi’s videos are generally a better fit for those who think that George’s videos are a little too high-energy. It’s solid training that’s done well, of course, but sometimes it’s just nice to see the training done in a calm and simple style. This makes his training site a great fit for those who want simple information, but not so much for those who are looking to be entertained at the same time.
Pros and Cons of Using a Dog Training Site
While it’s nice to know that there are some great online training sites out there, it’s also good to figure out whether you can really get anything from doing training online at all. It isn’t for everyone, after all, and it’s largely beneficial to sit down and think about the pros and cons of using one of these sites.
The big benefit of using an online training program is usually the cost. All of the sites discussed above are free, but there are also many great sites that you can use for a fraction of the cost of going to in-person training. These sites are also accessible at any time of day or night, which makes them a great choice for anyone who works an odd schedule or who just isn’t able to get out to a traditional dog training class.
For many, though, the benefits come down to location. Not only can you take an online training course no matter where you are, but you’re guaranteed to be able to find an expert in your particular training issues without having to drive hours to find a specific dog trainer. This might not be as big a deal for those who live in major cities, but it is incredibly useful for those who live in small towns and who might not have many options when it comes to finding good dog trainers.
There are, of course, also some very real downsides to doing your training online. One of the biggest problems is that there is no one there to give you feedback on what you are doing. It’s very easy to get a few minor things wrong early on and to use those as the foundations for what comes next, leaving you with major problems as you get to the more complex parts of training a dog. These are almost always problems that could be easily solved if you had a dog trainer there with you, but there’s nothing you can really do if there isn’t.
Likewise, it’s really hard to get specific help if you are stuck on part of a training video or if you don’t get what an author is saying in an e-book. Some dog trainers have online forums where you can ask questions, but you can’t get the kind of instant feedback that you would get from a real-world trainer. This can be frustrating and it even leads many dog owners to quit trying to work through their training problems out of frustration.
Other problems are a bit less obvious. One of the biggest issues is that there are no real rules governing who can offer dog training advice online. While the sites that have been highlighted here are all run by experts or at least by people who use techniques that are backed up by experts, that’s not always the case online. It’s very easy to get bad advice from someone who sounds confident and has flashy graphics, something that can trap many dog owners in a cycle of bad training techniques.
In fact, it’s easier to get trapped than you might think because there are a lot of bad actors out there. There are many so-called dog trainers who are just looking for clicks rather than to help dogs, and all of their training videos focus on whatever they think is going to drive the most traffic to them. When this is the case, it’s the dogs who end up suffering.
At the end of the day, only you know if online training is right for you and your dogs. It certainly works well for many, but it’s not for everyone. If you find the right site, though, you should be able to get information that you can use to help better train your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best online dog training course?
There are many good online dog training courses. The best course is not just the one with the best presentation or the most clicks, but rather the course that offers the kind of information that you can best use to help your dog.
2. Does virtual dog training work?
Virtual dog training is basically training by video. Instead of going to a class, you’ll watch online videos about how to train your dog, usually starting with foundational skills and then building on them until you get to more complex areas of training.
3. How can I train my dog at home for free?
Training your dog at home for free is easier if you use online dog training sites. You can use videos to learn basic training methods and then read up on more complex topics as you start to master the basics.
4. How much does online puppy training cost?
Online puppy training can vary in cost considerably. Some sites charge hundreds of dollars for full training kits, while other sites will allow you to access training videos for free. As you can imagine, there are also plenty of price points in between those two.