In the last few years online learning has become increasingly popular.

It has become a good solution for people who can’t get to regular educational lessons. Let’s not mention 2020 and its series of unfortunate events that led up to this too. 

Online dog training has been quick to follow suit and many trainers have now offered some great apps (ahem – Zigzag – ahem) and online courses. 

What can you learn through online puppy training?

Well, anything. 

To be truly honest, online training can be as, if not more, effective than in person training! 

Yep. Let’s break it down for you

Online training offers pretty much anything you could do in person, including: 

  • Puppy Life Skills
  • Puppy Socialisation and Obedience Classes
  • Adult Life Skills Classes
  • Agility Training
  • Rally Obedience Training
  • Competitive Obedience Training
  • Gundog or Working Trials Training
  • Scentwork or Nose work Training
  • Separation Anxiety Training

Here’s the good bit you’re looking for though; the pros for puppy training:

Train your dog at home: No matter what nonsense happens in the world, you puppy will still be able to get everything they need to become confident and wise. As for you, you’ll have access to all the magic spells and learning materials from professional and certified trainers to help you work together. 

Work with trainers anywhere in the world: This way, you’re not restricted to the two trainers who happen to be in your area. Although we do love local trainers!

Start early: You’ll be able to start training your puppy before they have had their vaccinations. In the case of puppies, the earlier they start learning, the better!

Less stress: No room full of barking puppies when training online!

Better for rescue or nervous dogs: They’ll have a much better time working in an environment that feels safe to them. Reactive dogs can also feel happy to be joining ‘group’ classes without actually being around other dogs. Works out brilliantly.

Slot training in when you need it: You can book classes with real trainers behind the screen at whatever time is most convenient to you. 

Instant support: You’ll have support from your trainer as soon as you need them – this is great for when you literally can’t stop your puppy mauling at the mailman. 

More training for cheaper: Since you’ll learn how to do the training yourself, you’ll find it far more effective and easy on your wallet. 

Train in your pyjamas: Speaks for itself.  

The 2021 Best Places for Online Puppy Training

How can I train my puppy online?

There are three main ways of training your puppy online:

  • Puppy Training Apps
  • Live Classes over Zoom, Skype or Teams.
  • Pre-recorded Self Study courses you do at your own pace

But which should you choose?

Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best training for you and your puppy. 

Live Online Classes

Live Group Classes give you the ‘in person‘ group class experience without actually being face to face. 

They’re usually run like a regular puppy class: 

  • First, the trainer demonstrates with their own dog or shows you videos of the exercise (it’s lovely to see your trainer training their own dog!).
  • Then, you follow and practice with your puppy. The trainer will be looking, and coaching you as you go along, with help and feedback.
  • After the practice, the group will come together, and talk over how it went. This is where you’ll have time to ask the trainer any questions or concerns – perfect. 
  • The trainer should then send you a recording of the lesson, as well as video recaps of the exercises they taught in short clips. Gotta say that these are great to keep up the good work outside of class.

Benefits of Live Online Classes

  • You get access to a live dog trainer for your class.
  • The trainer will usually demo with their own dog or show you videos of the exercises you’re going to learn.
  • You can discuss things with other students.
  • Your puppy gets to learn and practice their lessons where they’ll need them the most – in their own home.
  • Your puppy is more relaxed and focused – in person classes can be stressful for many puppies. Too much of everything!
  • Your puppy can take more breaks when they need to.
  • You can start training before your puppy has had their vaccinations.
  • Cheaper than in person classes – in both time and money. 
  • Pyjama Training – yay!

Drawbacks of Live Online Classes

  • You won’t get to meet other puppies in person.
  • You’ll need to work more on distractions outside of class – one day they’ll have to leave the house!
  • Your puppy might be having an off night when the class is on. Yes, puppies can have tantrums too.
  • Your puppy might be asleep when the class is on – and yes, can’t disturb a sleeping puppy! Lottie, my Great Dane student, can vouch for that. Simply decided her lesson time would be nap time.  
  • More costly than apps.
  • More costly than self-study programmes.
  • Generally, a fixed time of the week for lessons.
  • Less flexible than apps or self-study courses.
  • Trainer will have a number of students to focus on at once.
  • Can be a large class size, which isn’t ideal.
  • Zoom fatigue is real for owners!
  • Need to have enough space to film your dog during the class.
  • Reliant on you having reliable internet connection. Don’t get me started on the struggle for this one.

Self-Study Online Puppy Training

A self-study online puppy training course is one where the trainer has pre-recorded lessons for you to follow at your own pace.

They usually have a set curriculum to work through with your puppy – they tend to go like Week 1, Week 2, and so on. 

Here’s the nitty gritty on self-study online puppy training:

Benefits of Self Study Online Puppy Training

  • You can do the lessons at your own pace, and more importantly, at your puppy’s pace.
  • You can watch short video clips whenever it’s convenient to you. 
  • More budget-friendly than Live Online Classes.
  • Access to a library of learning materials. Yes, it does feel like a whole library.
  • You may have access to a Facebook group or other online forum to ask questions…and make potential puppy owner friends? Yes, please.

Drawbacks of Self Study Online Puppy Training

  • You’ll have to keep yourself motivated to continue with the training. Won’t lie, this can be a tricky one.
  • No live support or coaching from a trainer. Sad times.
  • Inability to ask questions in real time – it can take time to access support.
  • Generally, these are browser based so you have to have a good-ish internet connection.
  • Doesn’t allow for individual dog differences –  one-size-fits-all sadly doesn’t work for puppies. Or humans for that matter…  one-size-fits-all leggings will never be a thing.
  • More expensive than dog training apps.
  • None or limited access to other dog owners – this means you’ll have a harder time making friends.

App Based Online Puppy Training

There are many puppy training apps on the market now which create a convenient always on solution for new puppy owners.

Some apps are personalised for your puppy and their breed, while others are more general. Some apps have access to trainers or support, but they are not always dog trainers! Decisions, decisions. 

But not gonna lie, good app based online puppy training is my favourite kind. Not at all biased. 

Benefits of App based puppy training apps

  • Convenient in-your-pocket solution.
  • Takes you through training step by step, and week by week.
  • Some apps give you daily reminders to train, as well as nuggets of info you’ll find useful for your puppy.
  • Offers great flexibility, so you and your puppy progress at your own pace.
  • Some are tailored to your breed of dog. 
  • Some will follow your puppy all through their developmental stages.
  • Some will offer live support from qualified trainers who will hold your hand through your puppy training process. Not literally, don’t worry. No one’s touching anyone’s sweaty palms. 
  • Some offer socialisation guides or interesting articles.
  • Less stress for fearful or anxious puppies.
  • Many offer positive reinforcement-based training – super advocates for this!
  • The whole family can be involved – rather than having to relay messages the ‘trainer told them at class’. 

Drawbacks of App based puppy training apps.

  • Some apps don’t provide any support to owners.
  • Some apps don’t personalise and instead offer a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Can have old fashioned styles of training or talk about dominance…yuck, we don’t do that anymore.
  • Some require an active internet connection to use.
  • Requires owners to stay motivated to train.

Online Puppy Training at a glance comparison

Type of TrainingPuppy Training AppsLive Online ClassesSelf-Study Classes
CostLowHighMedium
Biggest ProsAlways in your pocket – can take training ‘on the road’. Or off road. Whatever you’re familiar with. Real time coachingDo at your own speed
Biggest ConsSome offer limited/no support from trainerFixed times per weekOne-size-fits-all 
Best forPuppy TrainingGetting Live FeedbackPeople who like to work on their own
Not so good forAggression IssuesPeople with busy schedulesPeople who get bored easily

FAQ:

How effective is online puppy training?

Very. 

Online Puppy Training is very effective; especially in these times when we’re staying at home, or when we can’t make a physical in person puppy training class. 

All you really need is to stay motivated, patient, and give your puppy all the love they need. 

What is the best free online puppy training resource?

We love videos by Kikopup – Emily Larlham is a great, engaging trainer and has a lot of free content on her channel. Check her out here!

What kind of puppy training can I do online?

Don’t get us started – there’s so many: 

– Puppy Life Skills Training
– Puppy Socialisation Training
– Junior Dog Training
– Adult Dog Training
– Rescue Dog Training
– Scentwork or Nosework Training
– Rally Obedience Training
– Gundog and Working Trials Training
– One to One Online Dog Training
– Separation Anxiety Training

What techniques should I use for online puppy training?

100% Positive reinforcement; no question about it. Not only is it the most effective way of training, but it’s the one that’s going to keep everyone feeling happy. 

How do I find an online dog trainer?

With many dog trainers now offering online services – we have an article explaining how you can find a qualified dog trainer here, make sure to take a look!

How can I socialise my puppy when all of the training is online?

Let’s be honest – socialisation is very limited even at in-person puppy training classes. You’re only there for an hour per week, so you’ll have to do most of the work outside of the lesson anyway.

But a good online puppy trainer or training app will give you all the information about how to socialise your puppy outside of the class. They do a good job. 

Not sure what socialisation is in the first place? You can also read more about it on our nice article here.

How do I find a good quality puppy training app?

Sure we’re biased – but it’s with good reason! Our ZigZag app is truly the bee’s knees of app based puppy training. Our hips don’t lie.