Back in March, during the first lockdown, we had no choice but to take our teaching online. We were halfway through in-person courses for puppies and adolescent dogs.
We switched online using Facebook Learning units and managed to successfully finish the courses.
Despite being allowed back to in person classes during the summer months, the success we had seen during our online learning saw us take the decision to keep the first 2 weeks of our Puppy and Adolescent courses online. Building the early ‘foundation’ exercises are key and we had seen that teaching these at home in an environment that the dog felt happy, relaxed and confident in was a huge success.
We saw our client’s dogs learn fast and strong, allowing behaviours to be transferred easily to the outside world.
At the time of writing this blog, we are on our 3rd Lockdown and COVID regulations prevent any in person dog training or services, unless they are for welfare reasons. We never really got back to in-person outdoor sessions and we have not been to our lovely indoor venue for a whole year!
Luckily our online courses was so effective and clients enjoyed the new format so the second and third lockdowns were not such a hassle as we were already online. We tweaked our delivery and used Zoom and Google Drive to deliver content and taught many puppies/adolescents/adult dogs and their guardians successfully online.
Yesterday the government unveiled their lockdown exit plans to help us return to normality.
However, The Dog House Academy has decided not to return to normality.
Toward the end of 2020 and the start of our 3rd lockdown we decided to take the plunge and invest in our own online learning platform, courtesy of 360 Interactions. This platform sits within our website and allows registered users to access their course weekly as well as returning and revisiting lessons. Most of our courses offer
- Weekly live interactive lessons
- On-demand resources – ensuring access to every skill we teach as and when you want to access. We understand that life is unpredictable, so don’t worry if you have to miss a class, our sessions are recorded and you’re provided with an array of resources handouts and videos via our online learning platform
- Recording of our Zoom session
- Certificate of participation
- Access to your trainer between sessions, for support and accountability via a private Facebook page for clients only. You can also chat with other students and share your wins chat to likeminded people.
The experience and insight we have gained over the last 12 months has allowed us to see so many positives to online learning for our dogs.
BUT – WHY DOES ONLINE LEARNING WORK SO WELL?
When you think about it, the answer is really quite simple.
All learning environments should be a place where the student feels relaxed, happy and safe. Look at our children in their classrooms, a familiar place, a safe place. We do not teach children their times table at soft play centre, because it’s loud it’s new. It’s got a multitude of stimuli and distractions. This makes learning harder and slower.
The speed and quality of learning in this environment can be compared to the efficiency and productivity many companies have witnessed during the lockdown from their employees and many are planning to continue with some home working.
SO, LET’S LOOK AT THE BENEFITS
- We can start training earlier – puppies can start at eight weeks, as soon as you get them home as you don’t have to wait for vaccinations.
- You don’t have to have a stressful commute with a travel sick puppy or barking adolescent
- Your dog is ready to learn from the start of your lesson – they do not have to adapt to a new environment – smells, textures and other dogs and people
- Your dog does not have to cope with slippy floors, flickering lights, loud acoustics. All of these can effect the learning limitations of your dog
- During traditional classes, you feel pressured to have your dog working for the class duration – at home, if they are tired they can nap, take a drink, investigate a noise and bark (you have a mute button), go to the loo in their own garden. Our delivery of sessions allows you to work through the content in a timeline that suits you and your dog.
- There is no childcare to sort out and your children can get involved.
- You don’t have to come out on cold, dark nights, you can relax in the comfort of your own home with a coffee (or a gin!)
- Online training caters for the nervous puppy, the reactive dog, owners who feel conscious in large groups, owners that do not drive
- Behaviours can be taught without the added distractions, resulting in strong behaviours that are learnt quickly and have a great chance of successfully being performed in a distracted environment.
We have a whole host of courses and services offered online – take a look at our website and Facebook page