As lockdown 3.0 is bedding in and we are all changing things again. I wanted to write something about online dog training and behaviour, recently I have had a few cancel their online consults and classes in favour of an in-person consult after lockdown 9which we have no idea when this may be). As a qualified behaviourist there are huge concerns over this and I hope this explains the what’s and whys:
- Training and socialisation are best done at a young age- they can start to learn so much and open up those neural pathways (I am not a neuroscientist but the evidence is there).
- You have a small window of opportunity with your puppies this 6-week lockdown will likely cut into a large part of that and this will then be very hard to overcome and we cannot rewind.
- Dogs that are trained are less likely to develop behavioural issues later on in life- there have been multiple studies to suggest just this. Most good dog trainers will base training around life skills and these skills can be developed over time we trainers teach less of the sits and downs these days and more how we can help dogs cope in our lives.
- Online training actually gets better results- this is because in order to train a dog something its best to do this when they are calm and have little distractions when you are at home this is the best place for them to start! It is also best to have some training by a professional than lots of googling and trying to get it right yourself.
- Socialisation isn’t about meeting loads of other dogs etc, it’s a lifelong task that should be conducted at your dog’s pace and at a distance- lockdown is the best time for this as everyone is giving everyone so much space- this can be done during your walks each day!!! But this is best done with guidance from a professional trainer too- another plus for those online classes and training slots.
- Those that have behaviour problems I have been working online pre-covid times consulting and the success rate is exactly the same as in-person- the only thing that differs slightly is that practical application- but don’t worry I still get practical training in the consults as will many others- we can all adapt a little!
- Behaviour problems will not get better if they are left, actually, they get worse instead so leaving them will only make the matter worse, which impacts the welfare of the animal and the stress levels for all involved. It will also make it harder to change once you can get that professional in.
- If you have a fearful or frustrated dog that may be unpredictable and are locked down with kids at home, this causes serious concern for safety-I would recommend getting a professional in as quickly as possible to prevent any behaviour escalation (a massive percentage of dog bites are on kids that live in the household with the dog), so there really is no time to waste with things like this and online consults are great for these types of cases – all the family can join in the call too!
This post isn’t about me getting more work- I am busier than ever with work due to COVID and a higher rate of aggression cases coming through at the minute (which is very sad to see), but I wanted to try and reach out offer my expertise and experience to everyone in the local area and wider and to all the professional in the industry that needs help with an explanation of why training is important no matter how it is conducted!- However dogs in the local area to me are my top priority- this is where I am very biased- my children and my own dogs will undoubtedly be affected by dogs that have not been trained and haven’t been helped by behaviour experts whether online or not, and therefore I would like for everyone close to me to consider and understand the points above before brushing online training and behaviour consults under the carpet. I want dogs of the future to be the best they can be!