By Lisa Sutton & Shannon Erickson, PetSmart Accredited Dog Trainers
Virtual Dog Training is an innovative new online service we offer to help you and your pet get the training you need. We understand that not every dog or pet parent is comfortable or able to learn in one of our stores. Virtual Dog Training lets us help you and your pet enjoy training at home with sessions that can help with everything from problem behaviors to basic manners, advanced obedience cues and adorable tricks.
What is Virtual Dog Training?
Virtual Dog Training is an online one-on-one session between you and an Accredited PetSmart trainer. In addition to being able to schedule at your convenience, it allows you to focus on what you and your dog want to work on. And it’s designed to help address behaviors as they occur, all from the comfort of your home, out on a walk or in social settings. This allows both you and your trainer to identify and solve behavior problems in real time.
Who is Virtual Dog Training Good For?
- Pet parents who need online training to pinpoint behavior issues that happen at home
- Pet parents with challenging schedules or limitations that make group class participation difficult
- Pet parents with puppies who may be too young for group classes
- Pet parents who have dogs that are not well socialized or are easily distracted
What Dogs Can Benefit from Virtual Dog Training?
Every dog can gain important skills through online one-on-one training classes with a PetSmart Accredited Dog Trainer. For some dogs, virtual training may be the best solution if they are not ready or able for in-store classes. This includes:
- Dogs younger than 10 weeks
- Dogs who do not have current vaccinations or are unable to be vaccinated
- Dogs who do not like to travel or get carsick
Online sessions with our Virtual Dog Training program are especially good for dogs who are shy, fearful or reactive and may not mix well with other dogs in group classes. This unique solution can be your go-to for professional guidance on behavioral issues, obedience training or even learning new tricks without leaving your home.
How Can I Use Virtual Dog Training for My Dog’s Problem Behaviors?
At PetSmart your Accredited Trainer will be able to utilize the whole of our scientifically proven curriculum to give you the very best tools to live life to the fullest with your best friend. Check out just some of the behaviors we can help address with Virtual Dog Training:
- Loose-Leash Walking – If your dog takes you for a walk—pulling you wherever their nose leads them—imagine feeling comfortable and confident walking with your dog on a relaxed leash around your neighborhood.
- Dog-to-Dog Interactions – Regardless of whether your dog prefers the company of other canines, he can still mind his manners and remain calm in the presence of others. No lunging, barking or straining on the leash.
- Greeting other dogs – For dogs who seek out other dogs, you can teach them there is a time, a place and a way to interact with other dogs.
- Dog-to-Other-Animal Interactions – Learn techniques to help keep peace in your household and when out and about in the world. No more chasing the cat or tearing after wildlife.
- Handling Stress & Fear – Learn positive solutions to help your dog cope with fear. This could be dealing with visits to the vet, fear of loud noises or even stress due to new visitors in the household or when you are away from home for extended periods.
- Nuisance Barking – While all dogs will bark sometimes, this doesn’t need to be a non-stop occurrence. Imagine enjoying an evening on your patio with your dog not barking at the neighbors.
- Door Dashing - If you have an “escape artist” who won’t come back when you call them, learn to prevent that mad dash out the door and teach your dog to return to you when you call.
- Counter Surfing/Trash Raiding – If your dog likes to steal tasty morsels, unroll toilet paper or fish around in the garbage can, we can show you how to enhance your dog’s impulse control and how to “Drop It” on cue.
- Begging – Perhaps your dog hasn’t learned to steal things from the counter but stares incessantly while you are cooking or having a meal. Or puts their chin on your knee when you’re eating. Your Virtual Dog Trainer can show you how to prevent this behavior while giving you the right tools for learning a good behavior in its place.
How Can I Use Virtual Dog Training to Teach My Dog Basic Cues?
One-on-one online dog training isn’t only for solving problem behaviors. It’s great for dogs of all walks of life, regardless of skill level. Maybe you have overcome undesirable behaviors but want to teach your old dog new tricks or introduce more advanced cues. With Virtual Dog Training, your PetSmart Accredited Trainer can help you accomplish these goals as well:
- Place – This versatile cue teaches your dog to go to a specific place and remain there until you say so. This is ideal for everyday situations like bringing in groceries or when guests arrive.
- Leave It – Perfect for keeping your dog out of harm’s way when encountering a hazard like broken glass, dropped medicine or dangerous plants, insects or animals.
- Sitting Politely – This behavior, which is used to let dogs enjoy petting, is a gateway to giving your dog more freedom to meet new people and is also a requirement for Therapy dogs.
- Spin – A fantastic trick for any dog! Not only is this behavior cute, it may also help keep your dog flexible at any age.
- Heel – The next step after Loose-Leash Walking keeps your dog close to you while navigating busy places like the farmers market or crowded trails.
- Object Recognition – Enter the world of canine cognition! Teach your dog to identify their toys by name, then by combining cues like “Take It” and “Drop It,” your dog could learn to put away their own toys.
Is Virtual Dog Training Affordable?
Our Virtual Dog Training allows you to step outside the boundaries of a store and achieve the dreams you have for your dog, whether it’s inside the walls of your own home or venturing out into the world. At $35 per session, the cost is comparable to in-store dog training at PetSmart. And while the 30-minute sessions are half as long, they are focused completely on you and your dog. Sessions may be purchased individually or as a four-pack. Together with your trainer you can decide what package is best for you. Virtual Dog Training allows for maximum flexibility regardless of your schedule or location.