6 Great Online Dog Training Courses

6 Great Online Dog Training Courses

A dog can be an enriching addition to your life, providing life-long companionship, love, and affection. However, if you’ve just brought a puppy home or you’ve recently adopted a rescue dog, it’s not all snuggles and cute Instagram pics. There’s a good chance you’ll also have to deal with damage, mess, and general disobedient behavior.

Long-term misbehavior can turn your companionship sour. When left unattended to, behavior issues can lead to your dog damaging expensive property, or worse, attacking another human or pet.

On the bright side, if your dog has begun to misbehave, there are plenty of ways to curtail bad habits and encourage good behavior. Dogs are intelligent animals, and with the right encouragement, it won’t take long to improve their behavior and teach them new skills.

The best way to do that is with an online dog training course. While dog trainers and puppy schools can be great tools, an online course is a much more affordable and flexible option.

To help you get started finding the best one for your pooch, we’ll first provide you with a breakdown of what to look for in an online dog training course. Then, we’ll introduce you to the best online dog training courses available and finish by offering some helpful information, tips, and tricks on getting the most out of your course.

Choosing an Online Dog Training Course

Taking an online dog training course is the most efficient way to perfect your dog training technique, but not all online dog training courses will equip you with the correct foundational knowledge. When you’re choosing an online dog training course, it’s important that it’s suited to your goals, whether they’re personal or professional.

Goals & Knowledge Level

It’s certainly trickier to jump straight into training your pooch if you have no previous experience or background knowledge on canine behavior and training techniques. Before you begin, you’ll need to understand why your dog is misbehaving, basic training techniques, and the best way to reward your dog.

You’ll also need to determine your current knowledge level. Are you starting from scratch, or are you a practicing dog trainer looking to brush up your skills?

If you sound like the former, you’ll probably benefit from taking a more comprehensive beginner’s course. This way, you’ll be introduced to some basic training jargon and techniques before you get into actually training your dog. This is also a great option if you’re considering dog training as a full-time career — not only will an online course provide a solid understanding of the basics, but it will also give you a taste of what to expect in a career as a dog trainer.

If you fall into the experienced category, a specialized course that focuses on specific behavioral problems or training skills may be more appropriate. This will prevent you from wasting time and/or money covering skills and techniques you may already know.

Length

The length of each online dog training course is different and will ultimately depend on the depth of knowledge being covered, your own level of knowledge, and how much you’d like to learn. The courses we discuss below range from 1.5 hours for some basic training and tricks to 8 weeks for a complete, comprehensive dissection of various dog training techniques.

No matter the length of the course, most of the platforms discussed below allow you to take the course at your own pace. Many of them also provide lifetime access, meaning you can come back to the course if you need a refresher later in life. If you’re studying or working full-time, an online dog training course is flexible enough to fit into even the busiest schedules.

Cost

While a dog trainer or traditional puppy school may be costly, an online dog training course is an incredibly affordable alternative that also has the added benefit of self-paced learning. The courses listed below range from $100 to $450, with platforms like Skillshare offering a monthly subscription fee that gives ongoing access to your chosen course, as well as to many others.

Additional Equipment

The most obvious equipment you’ll need in order to complete an online dog training course is, of course, a dog. Your dog doesn’t have to be badly behaved or showing behavioral issues in order to benefit from dog training, though.

Some other tools you may find helpful to complete an online dog training course include:

  • Leashes of varying length
  • Halter and/or harness
  • Clicker
  • Treats or other rewards
  • Backyard or open area

Please note, the space you use to train your dog is incredibly important. Aim to practice in a backyard or open area that is enclosed and free from distraction. If you try to train your dog at your local dog park, you’ll find that their attention is easily drawn away by other dogs, novel scents, strange sounds, or nearby people.

Now that you know what to look out for, here’s a summary of the best courses available.

Course Comparison at a Glance

CourseDescriptionMetadata
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer FoundationsLearn alongside professionals with this nose-to-tail comprehensive guide to all things dog training. Cost: $249
Level: Beginner – Intermediate
Length: 6-8 weeks
Udemy: Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior & Training ProblemsDeepen your understanding of canine behavior through extensive study with a qualified veterinarian. Cost: $99.99
Level: Beginner
Length: 6hrs
Skillshare: Ohana Dog Trick Training ClassThis quick course will teach you the best of the basics in simple, easy-to-follow videos. Cost: $19/month
Level: Beginner – Advanced
Length: 1.5hrs
Peach on a Leash: Silver Collar Online ProgramAddress specific behavioral concerns with one-to-one online lessons for your pooch.Cost: $449
Level: All
Length: 5 sessions
Udemy: Sirius Dog Trainer AcademyElevate your dog training passion into a career with the help of an experienced industry professional. Cost: $139.99
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Length: 1.5 days
Puppy Trained Right: Online Puppy TrainingFollow simple, tried and tested training techniques to give your puppy a quality training education. Cost: $299
Level: Beginner
Length: 1 year of access

Top 6 Best Online Dog Training Courses 2021


1. Most Complete Training: Dog Trainer Foundations

  • 6-8 weeks $249 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Most comprehensive online dog training course available

Why we like it

This comprehensive course takes a nose-to-tail approach when it comes to dog training, leaving you with a solid grasp on the foundations of canine behavior and training.

Course Review

No matter your personal or professional dog training aspirations, the Karen Pryor Academy will help you to hone your dog training skills through a variety of educational and informative mediums. This course is designed to be both effective and enjoyable for you, your family, and your dog. In fact, a common theme amongst customer testimonies for this course is owners declaring that the bond they share with their pooch has never been stronger.

Over the course of seven different modules, the Karen Pryor Academy takes an all-around approach to positive reinforcement training. Whether it’s teaching your pooch to walk nicely on a leash or recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress in your dog, this program uses engaging live demonstrations to effectively convey training techniques.

This course is suitable for complete beginners or those who have intermediate experience and are starting training with a new dog. If you’re interested in learning more or pursuing dog training as a profession, completing Dog Trainer Foundations will provide you credit points (which means a discount on cost) for the next two stages of the Karen Pryor trainer series: Dog Trainer Comprehensive and Dog Trainer Professional. Another helpful feature of the Kare Pryor Academy is a group discount. Consider completing this course with a group of friends to lower the cost of the course.

In order to successfully complete this course, you are required to complete and pass a quiz at the conclusion of each module. This is essential if you wish to gain your certificate. As this course addresses some equipment training techniques (i.e., clicker training), you’ll need to purchase some additional items to complete this course.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a course that addresses solutions for behavioral issues rather than general dog training advice, consider the Peach on a Leash: Silver Collar Online Program.

Pros

  • All-rounder course
  • Unlimited access for 12 weeks
  • Discount for groups
  • Course credit/discounts

Cons

  • Requires additional equipment


2. Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior & Training Problems

  • 6 hrs $99.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Provides practical solutions to common behavioral issues

Why we like it

No matter the training problem, this course has you covered with a comprehensive how-to guide on the most common issues you’ll face when raising and training a dog.

Course Review

While some people view dog training as just a series of commands and rewards, it actually requires a lot more skill and knowledge of canine behavior. If you’re new to dog training and canine behavior, the Udemy Solutions for Common Dog Behavior & Training course can help you develop a feel for the basics.

In over 20 different modules, qualified veterinarian Ian Dunbar will introduce you to the world of canine behavior and everything you need to know in order to teach your pup or dog the correct manners. Given that this course tackles many aspects of canine behavior, this course is suitable for both beginners and industry professionals looking to brush up on their knowledge in this field.

Across the course of 24 different modules, Dr. Dunbar will discuss common training issues like toilet training, crate training, and crying, while also addressing more behavioral concerns like digging, leash pulling, and jumping up. One important consideration is that this course is not suitable for dogs displaying aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs.

You’ll also be shown a number of different training techniques that you can use at home; be sure to try out the different techniques discussed in order to find the ones your dog is most responsive to.

You can rest easy knowing that you won’t need to complete a quiz in order to gain a certificate for this course. Unfortunately, this course doesn’t include live demonstrations, so if you’d rather be shown how to perform a technique live, consider the Ohana Dog trick Training Class from Skillshare.

Pros

  • Qualified veterinarian instructor
  • Suitable for both dog owners and prospective trainers
  • Includes certificate
  • No quiz or test

Cons

  • Doesn’t address aggressive behavioral issues
  • No live demonstrations


3. Ohana Dog Trick Training Class

  • 1.15 hrs $19/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Certificate: No
  • Short and sharp videos to learn fun dog tricks in a hurry

Why we like it

You won’t have to spend hours learning complicated dog training techniques with this quick and simple guide to different tricks you can practice with your dog.

Course Review

A true introduction to basics, the Ohana Dog Trick Training Class offers a complete breakdown of some of the most popular dog tricks. This fun and easy course outlines more than 15 different tricks and the appropriate techniques you’ll need to teach to your pooch. With each video only running between 2 to 5 minutes, this course is great for people who don’t have a lot of time but are still looking to teach their dog some new skills.

Instructor Cassie Kennedy uses her own experience with training dogs to assist and guide newbie dog trainers. To start, Cassie will walk you through how to use a clicker (you’ll be required to purchase your own) when training your dog before introducing some simple tricks such as roll over, crawl, shake, and spin. Cassie encourages course takers to use this training time not only as a method of stimulation for your dog but as a chance to strengthen the bond between yourself and your pet.

You will be learning your new training skills alongside a community of like-minded dog lovers. You’ll be given the chance to share videos of your dog’s new tricks and will also be able to learn from fellow class members through an online forum. Luckily, there is no final quiz for this course.

As this is a short course, there isn’t much room to address all the behavioral concerns that new pet owners may be experiencing. If you’re looking for a training course to address concerns like destructive behavior, excessive barking, or aggression issues, you will be better served taking a more comprehensive course. Take a look at Peach on a Leash: Online Private Training for a more in-depth course.

Pros

  • Simple techniques
  • Short, digestible videos
  • Community learning
  • No quiz or test

Cons

  • Doesn’t address behavioral training
  • Requires additional equipment


4. Silver Collar Online Program

  • 5 sessions $449 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: All
  • Certificate: No
  • Taught by industry experts

Why we like it

Consult and train alongside industry experts to learn common training techniques and address individualized behavioral concerns.

Course Review

It can be challenging and concerning when your dog starts to display aggressive or fearful behavioral problems. Thankfully, the professional team of trainers at Peach on a Leash can provide you with a personalized online training program to not only get to the root of your dog’s issues but to correct the disobedient behavior.

The Silver Collar online training program is recommended, but not limited to, owners with dogs who are displaying any of the following issues: mild to moderate behavior issues, leash reactivity, and mild aggression or fear. This course is also suitable for multi-dog households and particularly challenging puppies.

Each session will be conducted via Zoom or FaceTime, providing you with the undivided attention of your trainer in the middle of your home or backyard. If you’re looking to treat a specific behavior, your trainer will be able to get a full idea of the issue from observing your dog before prescribing any specific treatment.

Even after the conclusion of your session, trainers provide follow-up support via email or phone between sessions to ensure your dog is staying on track, as well as to address any concerns. Even when the course is concluded, Peach on a Leash trainers offer a lifetime training support guarantee for all their customers through email and access to a vibrant online client community.

Given the personalized nature of this course, it’s more expensive than other basic online dog training courses. If you’re operating on a budget, consider the Udemy Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior and Training Problems online training course.

Pros

  • Specifically address aggressive behavior
  • One-on-one training
  • Lifetime trainer and community support

Cons

  • Expensive


5. Sirius Dog Trainer Academy

  • 4 days $139.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner - Experienced
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Taught by: Dr. Dunbar (PhD in Animal Behavior)

Why we like it

Reach your professional aspirations with Dr. Dunbar’s practical guide to turning your hobby into a successful and profitable dog training business.

Course Review

With a graduated pool of more than 15,000 students, Dr. Ian Dunbar is a recognizable name in the world of professional dog trainers. If you have a passion for dog training and you’re looking to turn your passion into a successful business, Dr. Dunbar’s Sirius Dog Trainer Academy teaches you everything you need to know to turn that dream into a reality.

Not only does Dr. Dunbar have a PhD in Animal Behavior and world-renowned expertise in off-leash puppy socialization, but he is also the author of several successful books, DVDs, and television programs relating to canine behavior and dog training. It’s fair to say this makes him somewhat of an expert on all things dog training.

As this is a dog trainer course, Dr. Dunbar will show you how to teach other dog owners effective and simple dog training techniques. Through a series of lecture recordings, you’ll cover topics like behavior counseling, adult dog training classes, home training, and puppy classes. You’ll also be provided with the business management and safety tools to implement what you’ve learned and turn it into a professional enterprise.

As this is a more theory-based course, there are no live demonstrations. However, you will be awarded a certificate on completion of this course, and you won’t have to complete a quiz!

Pros

  • World-renowned course coordinator
  • No quiz or test
  • Includes additional business and safety resources

Cons

  • No live demonstrations


6. Online Puppy Training

  • 1 year of access $299 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certificate: No
  • Specifically designed for puppy training

Why we like it

Introducing your puppy to good behavior and forging positive habits has never been easier with this comprehensive online puppy training course.

Course Review

Taking an online puppy training course minimizes the stress, cost, and chaos of traditional puppy preschools without compromising on the training of your pup.

The Puppy Trained Right online puppy training course equips new dog owners with the techniques to pursue positive reinforcement training in the home and backyard. This course was designed by a qualified trainer and breeder with over 40 years of industry experience, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting all the best tips and tricks!

In the initial video modules, you’ll be introduced to some basic tricks like sit, come, and fetch. You’ll also have access to over 30 different articles about the theory behind puppy and dog behavior. However, as you go deeper, this course goes above and beyond introductory videos and theory articles, diving deep into advanced techniques like how to train your puppy to walk nicely on a leash and how to ring a bell to go to the toilet.

Thankfully, you’ll have a full year of access to the course, so you can learn the more advanced content at your own pace and revisit it later on to refresh and refine your skills. Unfortunately, you will not gain certification for completion of this course.

As this course is specifically catered to puppies, a teen or adult dog would not benefit from this course. If you’re in need of a course suitable for an older dog, consider the Karen Pryor Academy.

Pros

  • Qualified trainer
  • Live demonstrations
  • Access to exclusive video and written content

Cons

  • Not suitable for teen or adult dogs
  • No certificate


Frequently Asked Questions

Online dog training courses (particularly those that include sessions with a qualified trainer) are not only just as effective as in-person training, but they’re also a more convenient and cost-effective option.

There may be a few rare cases, such as a dog with severe behavioral issues or a traumatic past, where online dog training may not be appropriate. In such cases, in-person training with a professional will provide a solid foundation for online dog training in the future.

Given that puppies have a short attention span, you can expect them to start actually learning basic commands at around 8 weeks of age. However, if you’d like to conduct further, more complicated training, you should wait until your puppy is around 6 months of age.

That being said, a dog is never too old to begin training. Older dogs have longer attention spans and more self-control compared to puppies, so you may find that a middle-aged or senior dog can pick up training really quickly.

Technically, you don’t require any formal training or certification to call yourself a dog trainer. However, you’ll likely find it difficult to gain clients and run a successful business with no credentials to add credibility to your name.

If you don’t have any formal training but want to start your own dog training business, you can get started by joining a dog training organization like the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Not only will this give you access to an online database of different dog training information, but it will also show potential clients that you take your role as a dog trainer seriously.

To improve your business credentials, you can become a certified professional dog trainer. This requires you to complete a minimum of 300 hours of training experience, and you’ll need to complete a multiple-choice examination. This process will cost around $385.

There are a few different organizations that offer this certification throughout the USA. One such organization is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

While it’s an incredibly rewarding experience to train your own dog, it’s certainly no walk in the park and will be more challenging than simply taking your dog to a professional trainer. However, that doesn’t mean that training your dog is unachievable.

By taking an online dog training course and practicing patience and persistence, you shouldn’t find it too challenging to teach your dog the basic commands!

Contrary to the popular saying, you can teach an old dog new tricks! All dogs, no matter the age or breed, can be trained.

You may find that some breeds, such as German Shepherds or Border Collies, take to training more quickly than other breeds. However, if you’re persistent and patient, you can effectively train any dog using the techniques you’ve learned through an online dog training course.



Extra Credit

Before you jump straight into online dog training, there are few more bits of information that you need to consider. First and foremost, the online course you choose should help streamline your dog training goals. Once you’re aware of why you want to learn about dog training, choosing an online course will be a walk in the park.

So, before you begin, you should aim to have a basic understanding of what you’d like to teach your dog, any bad behaviors that you’d like to address, and the equipment that you’ll need. Not only will this allow you to pick a course tailored to your needs, but it will also increase the likelihood of training success.

To help kick-start your learning, we’ve created a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about dog training, from the various training methods you can use to how dogs of different ages and breeds may require a different approach.
Four dogs sit in sunny park

Dissecting the Dog Training Jargon

You’ll probably encounter a lot of behavioral science jargon when completing an online dog training course. To help you make an informed decision when perusing different online dog training courses, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly used terminology when it comes to training dogs.

Antecedent Stimulus: Antecedent stimulus refers to the incident or trigger that occurs immediately before a particular behavior, both positive and negative.

Appeasement Gestures: A gesture a dog uses in order to present as non-threatening or when they want to ask for space. These gestures may include bowing, rolling over, or freezing.

Attention Span: This simply refers to the amount of time a dog will work for the treat or reward a trainer is offering.

Behavior Chain: A series of behaviors that occur as a result of a trigger or stimulus. Each behavior can act as a cue for the following behavior.

Clicker: A clicker is an instrument used to reinforce positive behavior. The device is used to make a clicking noise that the dog will eventually associate with a reward.

Conditioning: A process in which a behavior is altered through associating abehavior with a stimulus.

Desensitization: The act of increasing an animal’s tolerance to a stimulus by slowing increasing the presence of the stimulus. An example of desensitization is socializing through regular exposure to other dogs.

Positive reinforcement: Rewarding a desired behavior with a treat or praise.

Negative Reinforcement: Negative reinforcement is the encouragement of an action through the removal of an adverse stimulus. The behavior is reinforced because it associates the behavior with the removal of the stimulus.

Different Dog Training Techniques

If you’re new to the world of dog training, it can be overwhelming to see and choose between so many different training options or to know which technique will be most effective for you and your dog. A lot of the time, a combination of training techniques works best to reinforce good behavior and make training easier.

Understandably, it may be easier to begin with the simpler training techniques while you learn the ropes and get comfortable with the commands. However, there is no one method that suits all, so take your time and give each of the methods listed below a try to see which one is right for you.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is one of the most, if not the most, popular methods of dog training. Often employed by professional trainers, positive reinforcement can be used in conjunction with other training techniques. Generally, this technique relies on the idea that a dog will repeat a positive or good behavior when it’s followed by a reward, such as a treat or praise.

While this method requires great consistency, it is very effective and leaves no need for harsh reprimands or punishment. However, it’s important that every member in the household is on the same page in regard to which behaviors are to be rewarded and which are the bad behaviors you’re aiming to correct — this should help to minimize confusion for your dog and will prevent the accidental praise of unwanted behavior.

While using this training technique, bad behavior should not be acknowledged or rewarded; this ensures that the bad behavior isn’t accidentally reinforced. Instead, trainers should take away a reward item (like the dog’s favorite toy) to correct the bad behavior.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is often a technique that is used in conjunction with positive reinforcement. It relies on the principles of instrumental or operant conditioning, whereby a clicker is used by a trainer when a dog displays the desired behavior. The clicker will make a short, sharp sound that will catch the dog’s attention. Following the noise, a trainer should provide a reward.

The addition of a clicker has the benefit of becoming a signal to the dog that this particular behavior is what is being rewarded. In time, the dog will begin to associate the behavior with the click, and then with a reward. You can also slowly introduce a command whilst using the clicker to introduce a new association so that, given time, you don’t have to rely on the clicker.

Clickers are an affordable tool to use for dog training. Check out the PetSafe Clik-R Dog Training Clicker for an ergonomic option that also includes a free training guide.

Model Rival Training

This technique is great for use in group training. Essentially, a dog will begin to mimic a wanted behavior from a model. By providing a model (or a rival), your dog may learn to mimic the wanted behavior in order to win a prized toy or reward.

While it is perfectly acceptable to use a trained dog to act as a model, you can easily have another human acting out the wanted behavior. While the model acts out the wanted behavior, the trainer should openly praise the model when the wanted behavior is complete and scold any unwanted behavior that the model may demonstrate.

Alpha/Dominance Training

Alpha or dominance training is a method that relies on a dog’s primitive pack mentality and desire to adhere to a social hierarchy. This method has been met with a lot of skepticism in the training community, with most professional trainers viewing it as outdated and inefficient.

In short, the idea is that if your dog is misbehaving and disobeying your commands, it may be because they view you as an equal in your family pack or even as below them on their social hierarchy. If this is the case, you need to demonstrate to your dog that you are, in fact, the alpha of your family pack.

There are a number of simple things you can do to assert dominance over your dog, including eating your meals and walking through doors first, not allowing your dog on the furniture, and not crouching down to your dog’s eye level. Note that this method requires a long-term commitment and a lot of willpower as the dominant position will require constant reinforcement.

How Old Should My Dog Be Before I Start Training?

There is no correct age to begin training your dog. However, it’s always a good idea to start teaching your dog good habits and correct behavior from the outset. If you bring home a puppy, you can begin training straight away with toilet training and basic commands. As puppies only have a short attention span, you will likely only be able to achieve simple commands, such as sit, stay, and shake.

This kind of basic training should begin at around 6-8 weeks of age at the latest. Keep training sessions with your puppy short but consistent — you should aim to spend around ten to fifteen minutes a day training your puppy.

That being said, you can start to train your dog at any age! Training an older dog is believed to be easier than training a puppy as the former has a longer attention span. On the flip side, an older dog may have had more time reinforcing bad habits.

Which Breeds Are Suitable for Dog Training?

Just like with age, there is no breed of dog that is completely untrainable, so you can follow any of the above courses successfully with any breed of dog.

That being said, it’s certainly true that some breeds are easier to train than others. Opting for these breeds may help new dog owners feel more confident during the initial training period. If you’re in the process of looking for a dog, some of the easiest breeds to train are listed below:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Poodle
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Doberman
  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Border Collie
  • Papillon
  • Miniature Schnauzer

All of the breeds listed above are believed to be easier to train than other dogs. This is probably because these breeds are food-motivated, eager to please, and respond well to positive reinforcement.

If you’re currently looking to adopt or buy a puppy from the above list of breeds, you can learn more about each breed through the American Kennel Club.

Put Your Best Paw Forward

Now that you know what it takes to train your dog, it’s time to choose your own online dog training course.

Whatever the reason you’re pursuing dog training, an online dog training course will not only save you a fortune in trainer’s fees but will also strengthen the bond between you and your dog and create a fun, stimulating, and committed environment for your pooch.