Online Learning

The many Benefits of Online Learning related to Dog Training

There are many benefits to online learning and I have taken a variety of online classes over the years.

Let’s start with the Advantages (vs. in-person classes)

Time: maybe you can’t commit to a regularly scheduled class due to shift work or other circumstances

Location: maybe there are no classes offered within a reasonable driving distance

Dog: for some dogs, classes are not the best option at the time. This could be due to reactivity or lack of confidence. These struggles can be improved by working in your own environment first!

People: some people are not comfortable in a class setting because of different learning styles, social anxiety or such. Training at home takes off the pressure to perform in front of others while still benefiting from the learning.

Access to instructors who are not located near you, maybe even from different countries

As I mentioned at the beginning, I have participated in a variety of online classes. While I was a bit skeptical at first, I have come to enjoy them very much and have learned a lot! There are different types of classes and of course endless topics for learning. I’m going describe some of the types of classes that I have personally participated in and point out their advantages. In all of these options, I was able to watch submissions from my classmates and learn from the feedback they received.

Running contacts: I have taken part in several online classes, with different instructors from Europe. The classes were run in a private part of a website or in a private FB group. We received lessons and all the students were able to post their homework videos for feedback. For this topic it’s important to have regular access to the contact equipment. I use a camera or smartphone on a tripod and edit the homework submissions on my computer to meet the requirements (length not exceeding xx minutes, editing out irrelevant parts, such as reward play, etc).

Agility Handling: these were some of my favorite online classes where each student would set up their own course and video their sessions. The instructor provided course maps and sample videos. What I loved was the extremely detailed feedback in video format, directly commenting on my homework submissions. Instructors can watch and re-watch your videos in slow motion, which is a distinct advantage over in-person classes!

Zoom classes: they have become popular since the world has changed and I have come to embrace and appreciate this format! There can be direct communication between the instructor and the students with added feedback on homework videos in a private FB group. Another huge benefit is the possibility of downloading the group lesson recording to watch it again or watch it later, if you have to miss a class. Time zones become a non-issue for this type of classes if you don’t mind missing the live session.

Jump grid classes: these were run in private FB groups, with lessons posted weekly and students uploading their homework videos for feedback from the instructor. Usually there is a time limit on how long the material is available so it helps to copy and paste the feedback for your own lessons. Homework videos had to be a certain length, so editing tools are required but being able to watch parts in slow motion was very educational!

Self-study: A great example for a self-study course is the “Sexier Than A Squirrel Challenge“. Lessons are revealed daily: watch the video => play the games with your dog! Simple enough! This includes joining a world-wide community on FB, access to previous FB lives and, if you sign up through me, personalized feedback and support in a private FB group.

Subscription: This works kind of like Netflix: for a monthly fee you get access to a library of teachings, learn as you go, plus membership in a dedicated FB group and regular FB lives. There is tremendous support from like-minded people across the world and it’s called the absoluteDogs Training Academy

1on1 Sessions: During Covid restrictions, in-person sessions were not possible so I ventured into offering behavior transformation sessions online, via Zoom. This allowed the owners of dogs who don’t travel well or struggle with reactivity or are nervous around strangers to start their training plan = “prescription of games”, at home. I do provide notes afterwards and recordings to download for any of the online teachings, another bonus which wouldn’t be available for in-person meetings!

Conclusions:

There are numerous advantages for online learning which make them absolutely worth considering. Some of these courses have life-time access (like the “Sexier Than A Squirrel Challenge”), others require some creativity in order to retain the teaching material once the class is finished and FB groups are archived. Many Zoom classes include a download of the recording!

This blog is not meant to cover every possible option of online learning as it is based on my own personal experiences over the last couple of years. I have to say that each of the described options were very useful for me and my dogs and I learned a lot about a variety of topics that I wouldn’t have been able to, had I depended on in-person learning alone!

How to get the most out of your dog training class / seminar?

Whether you’ve have just signed up for your first or 2nd or 10th dog training class or seminar, here are a few tips that will help you get the most for your time and money spent: In no particular order…. Be on time… this means: Be there early. If you’re going to a new location,… Continue Reading →

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