The benefits of virtual training classes versus in-person training with your dog

Dog in training

With in-person training classes at reduced capacity, is it better to wait for an opening, or try the virtual option instead? The information below may help you with that decision.

Animal Humane Society offers a variety of training classes for you and your pooch. There are options for puppies who need to socialize, dogs of any age to brush up on basics or learn advanced skills, and even specialized sessions for unique behavioral needs. And right now, you can attend the class of your choice in-person or from the comfort of your living room. Whether you’re a home-body or a social butterfly, enrolling your dog in training not only makes for a well-mannered companion, it strengthens the bond between you and your best friend.

In-person training

Our expert training classes have been adapted to enforce our COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask requirements, health screenings, and physical distancing. Aside from these changes, which ensure the health and safety of trainees and trainers alike, our highly effective in-person training remains the same. If your dog does well in social settings, you may want to consider attending these classes.

The benefits of in-person training classes

  • Varied stimuli: In-person training means your dog will encounter a variety of new sights, sounds, and smells. Your dog can learn over time to tune out these distractions, including the presence of other people and dogs. This can help make your training more effective in day-to-day life.
  • Hands-on help: Having hands-on access to a trainer can decrease any confusion you may have about the skills your pooch is learning. The trainer may be able to more easily identify the challenges you and your dog are facing, and modify instructions for success.
  • A new environment: In-person training provides an opportunity for you and your pup to practice your techniques in a new location. Practicing training techniques in a variety of environments can help your pup master the skills he’s learning.
  • More class variety: We offer more in-person classes than virtual classes. We have two sites that offer a variety of different classes each day to fit your pup’s needs and skill level.
  • Room size: For some of us with smaller apartments and homes, practicing skills like “recall” can be quite difficult. Training in our facilities allows for a more substantially sized learning environment.
  • Socialization: Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for being in the same room with other dogs and people!

In-person classes may not be for everyone, especially dogs that are easily distracted or stressed by the presence of other dogs. So let’s weigh the benefits of practicing skills virtually!

Virtual training

Virtual training provides the same instruction and level of difficulty as in-person training, but through a video chat with you, your dog, the trainer, and others in the class.

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The benefits of virtual training classes

  • Minimal distractions: Maybe your dog has leash reactivity or gets excited around strangers and/or other dogs. Virtual training allows your dog to learn skills in a distraction-free training environment.
  • No commute: Short and sweet, you’ll save the trip to one of our training centers.
  • Comfortable: Train in your PJs. Enjoy a coffee. Schedule a class in between meetings. Your dog may also appreciate the ability to learn in a space that includes familiar sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Class size: Due to COVID-19, we currently limit the number of people who can be present with their dog in an in-person training session. However, with virtual training, your whole family can be engaged!
  • Non-weather dependent: If we’ve got a blizzard approaching, know that your class won’t be cancelled due to weather. The forecast is always in your favor when you’re training from home.
  • Join from anywhere: Taking a trip up north for the weekend? No worries. You can access training classes from anywhere.
  • Training tools on hand: Training from home means you’ll never forget your treats, clicker, mat, or other training tools.

The ultimate benefit of an AHS training pass is being able to switch between in-person and virtual classes. Maybe you want to expose your dog to other dogs some days, but prefer to work with your dog from your living room on others. Whether you’re going out or staying in, training has never been safer, easier, and more accessible to our community.

Learn more about the different training classes we offer at AHS, including our free, virtual seminar on puppy parenting.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline