Does Online Puppy Or Dog Training Work? A Professional Insight

June 9, 2021
June 9, 2021

Online Dog & Puppy Training is sprouting up pretty much everywhere – but does it actually work? 

Online services for training your dog and puppy have been popping up like daisies since lockdown. With all sorts of courses for you to take, with a world (literally) of different trainers. With a bunch of different methods. There are a lot of people that will claim it’s the best thing or the worst thing… So knowing where to start, who to trust, and what to do can be incredibly tough.

Once again, here I am to help you dispel your nervousness, to tell you a little but more about Online Puppy Training (or Dog Training) and show you that it does indeed work, and why it works.

Every Dog Is An Individual


Yet, a lot of problems come from the same root cause. Understanding that cause, relaying it to the pet parent, and guiding them through to a solution is what a dog trainer does. There is a lot of universal things that drive dogs, though it may require understanding for breed, character, or environment, but there is always a reason. it’s just about getting the formula right. Honestly, there’s more science in training than you think!

Many use different methods, but, how can a trainer teach you what to do with your dog, without seeing the problem?

golden retriever being silly whilst mum goes through online training
teenage golden retriever puppy being silly whilst mum goes through online puppy training

How Can You Train If You Can’t See The Puppy Or Dog?

This one is actually very dependant on the program you’re taking.

Some training is very hands off from the trainer, a prescribed course to take you from A to B, gaining C as a result. 

Then others, actually allow interaction with the trainer, they’re sort of a digital ‘class’ where you’ll come, learn on zoom or another platform how to do a certain thing – meaning you’ll likely have a short class followed by a lot of questions to help you achieve the best results.

” We’re sort of the family counsellor that specialises in the family member with a waggy tail.

Others sit in between this. They’ll offer a set class, followed by a consult, or they’ll advise you on a 1:1 basis throughout, and give you access to send them video clips, or messages to help you diagnose an issue, or pin point where something is going awry.

So, in some instances we can see the problem, we can even ask for more footage, more angles, more examples in order to get a comprehensive insight into what exactly is going wrong. 

The Biggest Lie All Dog Trainers Tell (Even me!)

We don’t train dogs. 

We train you to train your dog.

But that’s not really something we can put in a neat little title, is it? 

It’s a common myth that we perpetuate, but we are actually human trainers most of the time, not dog trainers. Usually, there is an adjustment of expectations of the parent, there is understanding to give the pet parent, then there’s training to give the parent, then there’s a little training of the dog, but as you can see? It’s more that we train people on how to effectively communicate their desires with their dog.

We’re sort of the family counsellor that specialises in the family member with a waggy tail.

So, that means that online options? Can be incredibly effective at allowing for distance learning, lower prices, and group options in a safe space that facilitates your learning.

All these programs need from you… Is dedication and a desire to learn. And you have that. Or you wouldn’t be here.

lady on a virtual puppy training one to one training session
lady on a virtual puppy training one to one training session

How Do I Know If My Online Puppy Trainer Is Good?

✅ Natural Problem Solver
✅ Great Listener
✅ Great With Dogs
✅ Great With People

✅ Demonstrates & shares knowledge
✅ Kind
✅ Scientific approach to training

Well, similarly to finding a perfect puppy class, a big thing to online training, the trainer is critical. Knowing that they’re a person with results is a start. 

Relating to their tone, voice and manner is also important – videos, social media and other content (like blogs!) are a great way to get to know someone before you get in touch with them. This is also a way that a trainer can convey that they are genuinely subject matter experts.

Lastly, you really want to make sure they’re using modern training methods (Positive reinforcement, fear free, force free, holistic, and r+ are all terms you can expect to see related to it) . They’re the way our industry should be going.

You will need someone who is sympathetic, who understands and wants to help, a born problem solver will help you fathom out your problem. 

Now. I will say something controversial here.

Balanced or Dominance based training will yield results and… they will likely be delivered quickly. 

However. They will not be done in a way that facilitates your dogs wellbeing. They will compromise your dogs wellbeing to do so (and this isn’t just physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing). This isn’t okay, and as a species? Humanity should have evolved enough to have more respect for our pets.

A quick solution is rarely the right solution. Hard work, invested time, and a gained understanding will almost always yield better results (for you and your dog emotionally, and physically) and more reliable results.

Science has afforded us better ways of doing things. Honestly. Have a read of Train Your Puppy Like A Tiger, and Debunking Alpha Theory.

So, in essence? A good trainer, with a good program, and you’ll be setting yourself and your pup up for success! 

When Does Online Puppy Training Work?

There are a few ways to tell if online training will work for you

✅ When you know what the problem is
✅ When you’re hitting a wall in your training
✅ You’re in need of assistance 
✅ When your knowledge is limiting your progress

✅ When you have a great trainer
✅ When you get the necessary support
✅ When the learning is accessible
✅ You’re a Self Starter
✅ You want to learn

None of these things are the only reason, oftentimes it’s a combo of these that will make a course succeed or fail, like a good trainer with bad material or who isn’t happy on camera trying to do lives and such, isn’t going to work – but a confident trainer who loves being live can really engage you. 

poor puppy is getting tired - another benefit of online training! You can take advantage of now and when your dog is at their best!
poor puppy is getting tired – another benefit of online training! You can take advantage of now and when your dog is at their best!

When Does Online Puppy Training Not Work?

Well, there are a few reasons it won’t work, and it may not be your fault…

❌ The course isn’t appropriate for your problem
❌ You’re not doing the required homework
❌ It’s a medical issue, not behavioural.
❌ You’re time poor

❌ The trainer isn’t in your lane
❌ The course is poorly constructed
❌ You need more support
❌ The course is too advanced (or too basic)

How do you mitigate those problems? Well, you do it by researching the program. You do it by knowing what your dogs issue is in the first place (this may be something you want to check with a professional, because sometimes situations can blur lines and make it hard to tell). You may want to even book in a discovery call with the trainer who offers this training and double check the course is for you. 

Discuss the package in question and see if it will work. If not, the trainer may have something more appropriate — and this could be online 1:1 sessions done online — they’ll be just as effective as a prescribed course – if not more so! (though they will be more expensive).

So let’s circle back around to: 

Does Online Puppy Or Dog Training Work? 


Simply put, yes it does. We trainers mainly train you to train your dog – not (mainly) to train your dog. 

You’re often given the same or better levels of access to the trainer, and whilst the face to face aspect is limited? You’re often given better access overall. You can re-watch videos, you can do it at your best time, not when suits a trainer, and above that? You can actually do it now. 

I mean. How handy is that?

So when you’re exhausted because your puppy is misbehaving? You can have an email in your inbox, or a class opened up to you, straight away that tells you what to do. It gives you your answer! Hooray! 

What more could you want? Start training with your guidebook in hand.

There are a lot of benefits, and if you need help picking an online puppy training (or dog training) course, why not check out those that made our shortlist of 2021’s Best Online Dog Training Programmes


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