Due to the COVID-19 situation, we have expanded our online offerings. Even while social distancing, we can help.
Most of our services are now available online. If the idea of online dog training is new to you, this page will answer your questions about which option is best for you and your dog. You can also watch sample video training sessions or sit in on a class session for free. All of the pictures on this page are from recent online lessons and classes! (See what the Associated Press says about online dog training around the country.)
Now more than ever, we need the love and joy our dogs can bring to our lives.
Online training with At Your Service Dog Training brings results!
Karen and Jon contacted us for training with their two miniature poodles, Ziggy and Marley. Soon after we started, their daughter’s puppy, Luna, also joined the family. Due to COVID-19, all of our sessions, from the behavior consult through all the lessons, were online. Here’s an email update from Karen.
Ziggy has responded beautifully to the tighter training off leash with Marley and has not had a single episode of lunging and barking ferociously at her since we started this new off leash method.
Ziggy is also doing much better since we have Luna and him separated except for training when we reward him for looking her way or late at night when they are all cuddled into one of us. He seems to enjoy looking at her for the most part now. Marley is getting along great with Luna and is a peach.
Ziggy does especially well with his thunder shirt and seems a lot calmer. I have ordered the composure and its arriving today. We understand this will take time for Ziggy to adjust to all these changes and we are trying to take it slowly for him and Luna.
We are so grateful for our work with you and our dogs. The positive changes in their behavior are remarkable. Thanks for everything you have done to help with this transition. You do wonderful work. We could not have asked for more from any dog trainer. See you this Friday.
It’s a strange and stressful time. Many people are bringing new dogs into their lives. Others are looking to continue the training they were doing before it was interrupted by the virus pandemic. Still others are experiencing new training challenges due to being home with their dogs all the time. Online training is perfect for these situations.
Online training offers…
- A break from stress, work, home-schooling, etc., to enjoy your dog with fun training games
- A safe, effective way to address training issues so that your dog truly is a respite — and not contributing to the difficulties of life
- Expert guidance in service dog training
We are happy to be able to offer this easy, effective training option. Due to the COVID-19 situation, we have expanded our online offerings:
- Online individual training lessons
- Online service dog consultations
- Online pre-adoption consulting and dog search support
Whether you want to train polite leash walking, impulse control, public access, or service dog tasks; teach your dog to settle while you work and the kids do distance learning; socialize your puppy; or get your newly adopted dog settled into their new family, we can help!
What are online training services?
Online services are live, in person, hands-on sessions with a trainer — just like you’re used to with traditional lessons. The only difference is that instead of meeting in your home or a training facility, we meet via video chat (Zoom).
Just as in traditional training sessions, we answer your questions, provide instruction, demonstrate techniques, and coach you while you train your dog. It’s fun and effective!
There are numerous benefits to online sessions:
- Safety and convenience. No matter where you are or what the current public health situation, you can get help training your dog. We offer flexible scheduling and you don’t have to go anywhere!
- Free video recording of your class or lesson. In traditional classes, you may have found it challenging to keep an eye on your dog, train your dog, follow instructions, and remember instructions — all at once. Online lessons are recorded so you can watch them again any time. We’ve heard from our clients how helpful it is to review the video. They glean lots of details that they would have forgotten otherwise.
- It’s easier — in almost every way! You don’t have to get the dog in the car. You can train off leash, unencumbered. You don’t have to worry that your dog is pestering another team. No worries about masks or hand sanitizer. You can train in your pajamas or sweat pants!
- Easier to focus and remember. Many people have remarked upon being able to take in demonstrations and absorb instructions more easily without all the distraction of keeping a hold on their dog or worrying about other people, etc.
- Clear demonstrations with our demo dogs. With online lessons, your trainer can demonstrate all of the training techniques (as well as equipment and props) with our demo dogs and gear. Not only will we break down how to train your dog today, but we can show you what the finished behavior will look like so you’ll be ready for next steps.
- Get strong foundations without distraction. Your dog will train faster and have more reliable behaviors if she starts out in a low-distraction setting. Online lessons offer this golden opportunity to build strong foundations to enable your dog to succeed with bigger challenges
- Less stress for fearful, reactive, or aggressive dogs. An enormous benefit of online consulting and beginning behavior modification is helping your dog learn the basics before introducing people or dogs that will stress him out before he is ready
- Access to experts in dog training and behavior, and service dog training. Our trainers use veterinarian-recommended humane, positive, science-based methods. They are experienced with the training issues you need help with. Sharon Wachsler is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed and a graduate with distinction from Karen Pryor Academy – Certified Training Partner. Alex has been teaching group classes — in manners, tricks, Canine Good Citizen, and therapy and service dog skills — since 2015.
- Sharon is nationally recognized as a specialist in owner-training service dogs and can work with service dog teams from anywhere in the US. Sharon has been training service dogs since 1998. She is sought-after as a speaker, trainer, and consultant on service dog training for other trainers, as well as by people who are training their own service dogs. With online lessons, anyone with an internet connection can benefit from her expertise.
- Shorter, more frequent sessions — and other additional support, such as video review. Due to the flexibility of training online, we are able to offer 30-minute sessions. Most people (and dogs!) learn better in short, frequent training or teaching sessions. We are able to offer short sessions two, three, or four times a week — depending on what your dog needs — so that you get all the support you need and your dog’s behavior improves quickly.
- More advanced training teams will benefit from video review sessions. You take video of your dog’s training with you between sessions, and we watch and discuss it together in a short online session, helping you to advance your training skills as well as your dog’s learning.
- Additional support and extras. All our clients, whether online or on-site, receive additional support between lessons. You’ll receive life-long access to our Client Portal with over 100 tip sheets and dozens of videos. Our tip sheets cover every dog training or service dog issue you can think of. New videos are added all the time. Clients may also join our private At Your Service Clients group on Facebook, where we frequently post videos of dogs we’re training with, so everyone can learn. If your dog is exhibiting behavior that is confusing or concerning you, use the Client group to share a video, and we can let you know what we see.
Feedback from Clients
Several of our clients had to switch from in-home to online lessons when the pandemic hit. Here’s what three of them said after their first online lesson:
This online process works wonderfully. I didn’t think it would work this well! I’m very pleased. I don’t think Finn or I would have gotten more out of seeing you in person. (Although of course it is nice to see you in person!)Carol Riordan and “Finn” (read the rest of Carol’s comments)
I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I didn’t think it would be that effective, but I thought it went great! Having the video to watch as a playback is great to watch and see the correction Sharon is giving in detail afterwards. So for the future I don’t do the same thing and need to be corrected on that piece. As so much of dog training is also truly owners training. I really enjoyed it.Katie Chappell and “Greyson” (read the rest of Katie’s comments)
I’m surprised it has worked as well as it did! In a way, I think it may even be better than when you came here. I pay more attention to you and your instructions. I’m not so distracted looking at the dog.Diana Coccoluto and “Phoebe” (read the rest of Diana’s comments)
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Online Training
What equipment do I need?
All you need to meet with us online is
- A device — either a tablet (such as an iPad) or smart phone — OR a computer that has a camera
- High-speed internet OR unlimited cell data
What if I am not good with technology?
That’s fine. You don’t need to be. We have done online lessons with people with very little experience with computers or other technology, including people who have never used a video chat, and the overwhelming response has been surprise at how easy it is. (Note: If you have ever talked to your children or grandchildren on Skype or Facetime, you already know how to do it!) Also, if you do have any questions, we will be happy to walk you through the process ahead of time as well as at the beginning of your lesson.
How can you possibly train my dog if you are not here to train her?
You want to know a big fluffy secret? Except for day school or board-and-train, where we are working one-on-one with the dog when you’re not present, most of dog training is not actually about training the dog! It is about instructing the owner in how to train your dog. If you’ve ever taken a group class or private lesson, you might have thought, “I need more training than my dog.” Well, this is actually true. The art of dog training is in how to communicate what you want the dog to do. Trainers are like bilingual instructors, helping you to learn how to “speak dog.” To get the best results, we focus on teaching humans. Online lessons are great for this.
What is an online lesson like? How do they work?
We’ll schedule your lesson at a time that’s convenient for you (morning, afternoon, and evening times are all available). Before we meet, your trainer will send you information on how to prepare to make the lesson as useful as possible (a lot of treats is always important!). We’ll give you a link to the online Zoom classroom — and if you have trouble, we’ll help you get onto the call.
Classes are an hour. Lessons are typically half an hour, but we may decide on a longer lesson if that’s what you and your dog need. We usually start by going over updates — how homework has been going or any questions that have arisen since our last lesson. Then we usually train the dog on about three or four skills. This involves discussion, instruction, demonstrating the technique with one of our own dogs, and then coaching you as you train your dog. At the end of the lesson, we discuss homework or scheduling.
Can I see what an online class or lesson is like before I commit?
Absolutely! We’re happy to show you how fun and helpful online lessons and classes are. An easy, convenient way to check out an online lesson is to watch a video segment of an online lesson. If you’d like to see what a virtual lesson is like, below are some unedited excerpts from recent lessons. (Thanks so much to Katie and Carol for letting us share Greyson’s and Finn’s lessons.)
If you’re interested in one of our upcoming group classes, but are not sure if it would be right for your dog, please get in touch to ask to attend the first class meeting for free. You can also see an example of a Tricks class below. (Note that in a real class, everyone can see everyone else training their dog. In the recordings afterward, you’ll only see the teacher and the student that is currently speaking.)