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Virtual Behavior Modification & Training | Does it work?



I frequently get push back when I explain to pet parents that we will be working together remotely. So I thought it was worth explaining some of the cool and unique advantages to working with a trainer virtually.


For this article I want to point out that there are of course benefits to attending local and in person classes with your dog for the social aspect and opportunity to work around distractions in a controlled environment. In-person classes can be a beautiful thing for puppy socialization groups in clean and safe facilities. Outside of these experiences you and your dog gain by physically showing up to class, virtual behavior modification takes the cake when it comes to building lasting behavior change.


We are beginning to see more and more virtual trainers in the industry. However, the majority are Separation Anxiety (SA) experts because particularly for SA cases it does no good to have someone come to your home just so you can all leave again. If you want to be working on lengthening the dogs alone time it would be totally pointless to have the trainer in person trying to spy on your dog through a window. With today's technology and everyone having access to a video device it just makes sense to work with your trainer through video.


Okay, but what about my crazy hyper dog that jumps on guests. Wouldn't it be helpful if the trainer came over and taught them not to jump?


Yes, and no. Your trainer can come over to your house or work in class with you on how to teach your dog not to jump on them . Then what happens when someone new enters the picture? Likely, your dog will resort to jumping on the new person again?


Why? --Well this is the thing about behavior, and particularly dogs. They're not good at generalizing. What they learn in one location or with one individual will not apply to the next situation. Animals are very keen on picking up clues in their environment, when you change the environment the behavior is at risk of deteriorating.


In comes virtual training with KAS. Through daily communication, training assignments, and weekly video consultations you are given the tools to actually change the dogs response to greeting new people in your real life environment (or achieving what ever goal you have in mind). The protocol is custom designed to suit you, your animal, and your unique environment.


Another way to think about it is that your end goal isn't to teach your dog to not jump on the trainer or even more specifically not jump on the trainer at the training facility. Your goal is likely to teach the dog to not jump on people who come over to your house in general. (This is just one example.)


The secret to lasting behavior change is in the environment. Virtual training happens in the real life environment where the animal spends most of their time. Additionally, you and members of the family are the ones the animal learns to listen and respond to.


So again, as the trainer I could come over to your house spend an hour training you and spend time working directly with your animal but when I leave you will have the same problem you had before I got there. Of course I would do my best to teach you what to do to make progress but how much of that will you absorb and turn into action once I'm gone? I found through my years of teaching in-person classes that accountability of training the dog at home was low. Through remote consulting I'm in contact with pet parents almost daily. Helping to keep you the pet parent accountable for your animal's success.


For years I worked under this in-person model offering privates in people's homes to group classes at my own training facility. But time and time again clients came up short and failed to get the the final results they where hoping to achieve.


Fast forward to now. I can now help anyone around the world with methods that actually lead to successful resolutions for behaviors previously labeled too challenging or too difficult to resolve. Behaviors that cause many animals to be re-homed or neglected because the pet parents give up after trying "all the things".


This brings me to another reason for moving to virtual offerings. That is behavior help is now accessible to so many more people. Those that live in rural areas or don't have a local animal trainer they approve of, can access the same amazing services as those locally to me.


Here is my promise to you: "I will make the commitment to you and your pet, if you will make it too." If you sign up for the virtual behavior modification packages and things don't go to plan and you still want to meet in person. If I agree that in person could be useful for your particular case I we can discuss setting up an in person consultation.


I hope this article has helped you understand the value to virtual training, consulting and behavior modification. If you have any question on the topic or you are still not convinced a virtual program will work for your case please reach out to heytrainer@kindanimalservices.com.


Every case is unique and one size most definitely will not fit all.


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