Videoconferencing goes to the dogs with virtual training classes and consults
(Courtesy of Shoshi Parks)

Videoconferencing goes to the dogs with virtual training classes and consults


The best thing about sheltering in place may be the chance to spend long, uninterrupted days with our pets. But as the weeks wear on, chances are that even your doggo is starting to feel a bit bored with the new routine.

While the quarantine has shut down in-person classes and consults, some professional dog trainers have shifted online to continue working with the dogs they love. The videoconferencing format is actually a surprisingly effective way to work on most skills. Whether your goal is to teach an energetic adolescent some basic manners, to address problem behaviors, or to get your canine athlete in top condition, these dog training options can help you reach it.

For dog training your furry friend will howl about, here are the best virtual classes and one-on-one behavior consultants in the Bay Area.

Teach your dog the basics.

If you've never enrolled your pup in an obedience class, now's the time to catch them up on basic cues like stay and leave-it. SF Puppy Prep is still holding classes for the city's youngest fluffs online. They also offer a five-week basics class to teach adolescent and adult dogs everything from walking nicely on a leash to effectively managing jumping and barking. Mission-based Prime Paw is also offering three-week adult dog "essentials" and loose leash walking courses online.

Take a seminar on doggy behavior.

Local favorite Jeffrey's Natural Pet Foods hosts a variety of classes and seminars that will help you to better understand and connect with your pet. Their upcoming online offerings include seminars like "Learning to Be Alone" and "Ask the Trainer." Jeffrey's "Puppy Love in the Time of Corona" teaches about puppy behavior and some basic cues.

Nurture your dog's inner athlete.

If you've got a dog with drive, put that energy to work with classes that will challenge both the mind and body. Ace Dog Sports, the place for teaching the sport of agility in the Bay Area, is offering their beginning classes online. If you've got an active pup that's missing out on some of their regular daily activities or an older dog who needs to build muscle, K9 Cross Train can develop a personalized program for optimal health during and after quarantine.

Take your dog's training next level.

Ever thought about competing with your dog? Now's the time to teach them (and yourself) how to navigate a show ring and come home with the top prize. Show Dog Prep School, founded by Bay Area trainer Vicki Ronchette, has a catalog of online courses for turning your pup into a star that covers everything from grooming to competition training to life skills.

Consult with a trainer or take a private lesson.

Even though dog training traditionally takes place in a format where the trainer can physically interact with a dog, there's a lot that can be done to teach new skills or address problem behaviors via videoconferencing. The Bay Area has a huge number of highly experienced, certified positive-reinforcement trainers who have taken their private consultations online during the quarantine. If your dog is experiencing fear, struggling with impulse control, or suffering from separation anxiety, working with a trainer online may help. It's also a great option for teaching basics like housebreaking, crate training, and a variety of other topics. Here are just a handful of the great trainers accepting clients online. For more options, check out Go Dog Pro, a database of qualified dog professionals committed to using force free methods.

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