I’ve shared many posts where I cover setting our dogs up for success, but it is super important that we set ourselves up for success too. We are always looking to do our best for our dogs and to do that we need to take care of ourselves. I love continuing education and online learning, so as you are reading my dog training blog online, I thought I’d share tips about online learning for you and your dog … but this can apply to anything at all you want to learn.
The convenience of online learning is having a classroom available any time of day or night allowing you to fit in learning with work and family life. You can learn at any time that suits you, no matter where you are.
There is no need to commute to an online classroom, and no need to juggle your schedule to arrive at class at certain times on certain days. This flexibility gives you more time to enjoy learning. Online learning opens up a world of possibilities to immerse yourself in anything you ever wanted to learn about with educators who are the best in their fields.
If you can turn a computer, mobile or tablet on and off, comfortably use a mouse and / or tap a screen, save a file, navigate around the internet, send and receive an email … then you can enjoy a virtual classroom by creating your very own physical classroom using your computer, mobile or tablet.
You will have your own private classroom that suits you, can try out things in the comfort of your home, and practice when YOU want to, HOW you want to.
Tips to Creating an AWESOME Learning Experience for You, and Your Dog
Set yourself up with your very own classroom of success.
Create a space for you and your course materials. Have a special low distraction area where you can play with your dog. This is your very own private training facility where you can take the learning from the computer to the real work by playing with your dog in an environment that sets you both up for success. You can check out my blog post “6 Keys to Shaping Behaviour” to see how a quiet area benefits our dogs.
Your new area can be as simple as a corner in a room or as elaborate as a cleaned out storage area with a table, chair, notebook, treat area and your own little work area. You can go so far as modifying a room or just designating a “training corner” in a larger room.
Set an INTENTION to train (which is really play!).
Create your own schedule. Committing to spending a certain amount of time in the online classroom to learn, and a certain amount of time to put into practice what you are learning will help you stay on track. The great thing about online learning is that if things happen to interrupt your planned schedule, you can readjust as there are no deadlines to meet. Set an intention AND a time in your daily check list or calendar!
Organise your course materials in folders, or take notes … or both.
Create a special library or notebook just for your course material and set it up in a way that suits you. Keep notes of your progress in a journal that is only for this purpose (and not for your to-do lists, or shopping lists, or anything else). Your journal can be as elaborate or as plain as you would like. Remember, it’s all about you creating what you want.
Put the learning into action.
Take the learning from the keyboard to your training area and play with your dog!
Make your time learning special for you.
Keep distractions low, learn at a time that suits you best when you know you can concentrate. You might have to turn off all devices that are likely to beep, knock or ping you, especially if it’s social media. Set your learning area up in a way that inspires and motivates you.
Think about everything you love about learning, and the joy it gives you, and put ‘prompts’ for this where you spend the most time learning. Even if you do all your learning via your phone, you could create an album of images that mean something to you, and look at that to ground yourself as the first thing you do when it is your private learning time.
Decide what makes sense to you.
There’s one thing we need to be careful of in this day and age with information from anywhere and everywhere filling our screens, and that is sampling everything. Sampling everything can stop our learning in its tracks and can be detrimental or even harmful when it relates to our dogs. Although you may be struggling with a challenge, it’s best to avoid jumping around. Decide what makes sense to you. For me that means two things:
- Does this resonate with my core values and the kind of person that I want to be not just with my dog but to others in my life?
- Is this scientifically sound, has it worked not just for one or two dogs, or highly skilled dog trainers, but rather does this just work for all people and all animals?
I am no different than anyone who has found themselves “sampling everything”, so I’ll share some great advice I was given by a great life coach more than a few years ago. He told me “Susan there are tons of opportunities for you to learn that will come across your computer screen. The key to your progress, happiness and sanity is to be able to discriminate between those which will be a contribution to you on your journey and those which will end up being little more than a distraction or worst yet a diversion to you on that journey.”
Celebrate your learning.
There’s a bonus tip that I’ve shared on my blog before, and that is to aim for “progress, not perfection” (and I know that anyone in one of our online classrooms will be nodding their heads at this). Remember to celebrate all your learning, every day there will be something! Allow yourself to be a learner, and let yourself be a beginner if you are learning something new. Enthusiasm will get you started but good daily habits are going to make sure you stay on the path to success.
Do you have a special learning area for yourself and an area that is low in distractions to play with your dog? Let us know in the comments. Your set up could help many people with ideas.
Today I’m grateful to the wonders of modern technology that allow us all to learn from anyone in the world, in the comfort of our own home.
And I am also deeply grateful to everyone who has learned online with me. When I first started dog training online as a way I could meet the demand for teaching and seminars around the world without all the travel and time away that it necessitated, I was told it was not possible and that it would fail. That was over a decade ago. Each of you has helped make online dog training something that can be amazingly special.
Hi! I am new here and I have a question about creating a Training Den, our house is fairly small, so there is not a lot of extra space we can designate to just training. We have trained our puppy, Odin, in the same place that we play. But he is always excited to train, is this okay? He trains well in any area of our house
Looking forward to getting started but have a worry regarding the flooring. The floor is slippery tiles so worry that she might slip or pull something. 😏
Let me know when a classroom is available please.
Did I miss it??? I did not see list of things that should be in the training area. I know a tug toy and treats. Someone mentioned a bed or blanket. What are the canvas bed up on legs I am seeing?
It’s been almost 4 mos. since I adopted our dog Shadow. In the beginning I was very frustrated and ready to give up. I couldn’t deal with the lunging on leash among other things. Many days I would break down and cry. We did beginner dog obedience classes and that wasn’t working, she just wanted to pull all during class to go visit with the other dogs. I was able to do the class lessons at home and she was doing well. After the 6 weeks, of class, I was at a loss as to what to do with Shadow. I found Susan’s online classes and loved the method of no punishment and positive reinforcement! It is working. It is slow, but we are definitely making progress. I can now feel sure we will get through these tough days and have some wonderful experiences along the way and have a wonderfully trained dog! Thanks Susan!!! P.S. I had also tried someone who said she could help me with my dogs lunging on leash, she said my dog needed to be submissive…..wrong words…didn’t do that trainer at all!
Although I’m still looking forward to doing this coarse I have to say I’m a little discouraged after watching the creating a den in a small space video. I have a small space without a basement or yard. I don’t know that I can make that part of it work.
Hi Terry, I’m not a HSTD trainer I’m another learner. I want to encourage you. You can work with your dog in the space by your chair couch or bed as long as you have a few treets and perhaps a dog bed or blanket to help the dog learn about staying in their place. If you have a short hallway you can do retrieves and recalls. If you need outdoor space a local park or tennis court with a fence works well. Don’t give up! We can do this.
My 9 year old GSD mix has come a long way from the 4 month old skinny puppy I first adopted. She behaved like an insane chihuahua, running around nonstop through my house, and terrorizing the older dog I adopted at the same time. After a lot of crate training and leash training with gentle leader, winter came around and it was too difficult to fully exercise her outside. My living room became our training space, and we played many games and practiced heeling straight through to the dining room. Like Susan’s hot zone game, she learned to place on her bed, or put herself into her crate. We still use that thirty foot length to practice stay and recall and heads up healing. I even taught her to jump through a hoop in my living room, which was a great hit at my “beginners” class that we finally attended when she was 3. People dont succeed at dog training by taking a class once a week, they succeed by consistent daily sessions and lots and lots of repetition. Thank goodness the games make it fun and the mental work tires the dogs out when they cant get out and run in bad weather.
Thanks for the guidance. This is the 2nd online dog training course we are currently enrolled in for our 15 week old doodle. I’ve kind of stalled out on the first one.
Susan, you and your team are Special and Amazing and someone I look up to and never can get enough of all you do and teach. Totally Grateful for all you do ❤❤❤
My Leonberger puppy, Joy, came home at eight weeks and within a very short time she was housetrained, had learned sit, stay down, leave it. Shortly after we started Junior Puppy School and then Senior Puppy School. This is the first dog I have had in 35 years and I was really hoping to learn a lot from the Positive Training classes. Shortly after starting the trainer commented “You really don’t have a connection with your dog do you” This was an eye opener; my feeling were hurt as I was trying really hard, but the trainer was right – Joy is very well connected to me when SHE wants to be or when there are treats available. I continued with classes and even attended private training classes with hopes of getting some hints on how to create that connection the trainer spoke of but there is so much more for us both to learn. There is no doubt that my dog loves me as I love her. My Joy is now seven months old and weighs 100 lbs. She is very bright and behaves very well within our own environment (for the most part) but as soon as we step outside of our yard, she wants to greet every dog and person she comes across, she jumps up and she must wear a Gentle Leader (at the recommendation of the trainer) as she pulls too hard with just a leash. I hate the Gentle Leader as I know Joy does but I need to walk her without risking life and limb. Joy lives up to her name in so many ways, but as she continues to grow, I need to teach her manners that will endure outside of our home. I have become very discouraged and I have really high hopes that Home School My Dog will help train me to train my dog to be the dog I envisioned when I decided to get a pup.
Home School will help with exercising Joy’s mind and body. There is more learning for you on Susan’s Podcast about Head Halters and pulling on leash. Have a listen or a watch on YouTube!
http://www.shapedbydog.com #40 is about Head Halters and #53 is all about pulling on leash.
My five year old Cairn Terrier and I are training for competitive obedience. He is a retired Conformation Champion that has earned a CD, and is preparing to compete for a CDX. We were ready to enter obedience trials when
COVI-19 put everything on hold. We continued training and even initiated utility skills for mental stimulation, but he has become bored with our training sessions. My Home School goal is to learn new skills that will strengthen our bond, and initiate new excitement and challenge for our training schedule. Thank you for presenting this opportunity to grow and enhance our skills while remaining safely at home.
I have 2 rescue dogs that require training. Do I train SEPARATELY?
Can I use the SAME Training Den space?
Me too! I have some resource guarding issues and I think its over me.
Lynn, visit Susan’s new podcast for some great insight into helping with training challenges by asking different questions. http://www.shapedbydog.com Lynda(TeamSusan)
Hi Jacueline, I too have 2 rescues. We train them together on our walks, (however, my husband has one and I the other). At home I have one sit and wait while the other plays a puzzle game then switch. This has been working well. I wonder if you have received and answer and if you could share? There are times I have both with me and I am not sure how to proceed.
My wonderful English Shepherd 2 year old female ia very smart and learns most things very quickly depsite having a high fear AND ANXIETY REACTION to strangers, ,ade worse by the quarantine. I don’t have much “empty space ” in my house. Can the”training center”be set up in a room she already uses ( she watches me on the computer and sits on the empty bed in that room)
I have a 8 months old Siberian Husky, a friend of mine gave him to us after we lost our 1year old England Sheppard by a car accident. We don’t know what happened to this dog before he come to us, but he is very scared. The vet said he probably was abused and has anxiety and panic syndrom. We never had a dog with this kind of behaviour, so it’s all new for us, and my family is very agitated with my 2 young boys. Willow looks like a cat, everything he does sounds like a cat thing, except barking, he only barks at night when he wants to play with me, that is the only time he is happy. During the day he sleeps and to eat he needs to be alone in a quiet place, if not he doesn’t eat or drink. After 2months I got some improvements, now he wants to play during the day only if we sit beside him. I hope I can get him trained one day since every movement we make he gets scared and doesn’t do anything at all.
Hi Teresa, some great blogs for you. 5 Games for Puppies would be fun games to try with your new pup to build confidence. If you haven’t heard Susan has a new podcast – some great training insight there as well http://www.shapedbydog.com
Hi I have a 5 month chihuahua that hasn’t been socialised with other dogs barks soon as he sees one. Hes never been around any dogs and hes to old for puppy classes…
I have a 6 month old Australian Terrier, (we call “Aussie’s”) and her grandmother and great grand mother. All have benefited from your crate games and Recallers games – I’ve learned so very much – thank you!
Now I need to up-my-game!
Especially when it comes to planning and organizing
A female Aussie puppy is coming as soon as the border between Canada and the US allows. She is my girl from one of my grand champion boys who sired 9 pups (a huge litter for our 17/18lb females) in the US
She is coming to be trained and shown,
I now have to 1) Train two young ones 2) start the Train of the second girl from scratch, she will be 5-7 months when she arrives and will have spent her life with two other of her littermates! Might be house trained – not sure what else !
My biggest concern is planning !! And keeping my mind clear !!
Training can sometimes “flood” my brain with too many roads and options possiblilities and Any tips along that line would be greatly appreciated
We have a 12 week old AussieDoodle, Marvin, that has been in 5 homes in his young life. We are committed to loving him and training him with positive training. My friend, Kathleen Reish highly recommends your methods.
I wish i would have known about crate games when we brought home our 12 week old puppy on the last day of February 2020. He only slept for 2 hours at at time! He was always on the go. And i thought exercise and playing fetch and learning basic skills would wear him out..but not. I have had many other dogs but they all enjoyed a crate. But not this little guy from day one. Now at 10 months and destroying a wire crate he is finally using a crate for an hour at a time without to many complaints. I love how Susan put her puppy in a crate an a stand right by her head as she slept. And if the puppy needed to go out at night she wouldn’t say word. Just would carry puppy outside and put it down to do its business on a leash and then carry it back inside with no words and put back in crate. She didn’t want the puppy to think going outside at night was fun after waking up Susan.
Everything Susan does makes sense!
We adopted a 15 week old border collie/lab mix from a rescue. We named him Finnegan, and he is a handful, but is a lot of fun. We missed our old border collie and our other dog of indeterminant breeding (they died of old age a couple of years ago). We thought that, since my husband and I are both home all the time due to COVID19, we would get a puppy. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle a couple of weeks after we got him and haven’t been able to work with him as much as we need to.
He had some good skills when we got him–and some bad habits that we are trying to break. He knew Look, Sit, Kennel, and could wait for his food. He is also pretty good on the leash. He was NOT housebroken and was a little aggressive with other dogs (we’ve fixed that). We have also taught him to stop alerting on the deer and elk that come through the yard. He loves the cat (maybe a little too much). He also barks too much, has little come/recall, and has serious separation anxiety. We want to fix these issues. He will be a fantastic agility dog.
One of our challenges is that we do not have a fenced yard; we back up to 900 acres of open space park and because of bears and mountain lions in the area, we can’t leave him unattended outside.
I trained my previous border collie to do search and rescue and beginning agility, and learned a lot, but it’s been 15 years and I could use a refresher. My husband is super patient, but has not had formal dog training (and needs it). We set up the training area and have started going through the lessons.
Oh Lord what was I thinking!!! I have had male golden retrievers as my companions for thirty years now..Never let it be said that the Lord doesn’t have a sense of humor. By His hand I now have a female 6 month old GSD pup who is truly the opposite end of the spectrum! Woo hoo what a ride this is going to be and I am sooo grateful you have made this available. Our scheduled classes were cancelled and here in Alabama it looks like it may be slow going getting back up to par. On line training is probably not something I would have pursued but I am really looking forward to this!
We are excited to train our newly rescued 4 year old Zoe, a Boxer/Pitbull!
Am so excited for our journey together
I have a 15 month old mix, maybe terrier, poodle, plus , Finn and an 8 year old yorkie poo, Beau. Beau hates Finn.Finn loves Beau. I was ill through a lot of Finn’s puppyhood and his care was inconsistent. He has definitely learned that doing things we do not appreciate gets him a lot of attention. Your materials give me hope that I can train both dogs and eventually have enough control that home is a happier, place for them both. Currently starting with Finn.
I am just starting here. I have a new dog and so far she can sit and is learning to walk on leash. I have great hopes this schooling can help us both. I do not understand what you mean by website.
Donna, did you find the homeschool page? Just type in homeschoolthedog.com in your address bar. That is a website
My 16month Bichon Frise & I have been playing Home school the dog since lockdown started in NZ. Such a well put together course of training videos, pdf hand outs, video feedback & critique. I was hooked, my dog was hooked! Missy looked forward to our sessions every morning for the 10 weeks in lockdown as we progressed through the course playing, recording and posting our videos online for critique.
I have noticed a change in Missy as she matures and grows, HS has shaped her into the best dog she could be.
Thank you Susan and team for giving the gift of gentle fun training games that get great results.
Home school the dog is a life long gift I will continue to use and enjoy with Missy.
I’m excited! This type of training does indeed resonate with how I feel about animals and approaches to learning in general. I adopted an 8 week old pit/boxer rescue who is finally well enough to consider training. He was so sick when I got him that I virtually carried him around for weeks as it seemed to be the only thing that brought him a measure of comfort. As a result, I have not only forged an intimate bond, but a pup who need some training, starting with sleeping in a crate. I have a 3 year old rescue yellow lab who, has taken to him for help in teaching him how to be a dog:) I have been blessed with wonderful animal friends and look forward to understanding this relationship better and creating a better life for my pets and for myself. Thank you.
Just starting today I have a 5 month old cockapoo called Jack he gets very excited I have started some training but I need help from what I have read so far on the web site I think this is where I need to be with my fur baby
I can relate to the “sampling” and ocean of information available on the internet. Thanks for this home school for dogs! I have two 6 month old puppies.
I have an American Bulldog, a Blue Tick Coon Hound and 5 month old Box/Pit mix Who is very smart and easy to teach the few things I have worked with him with. The older two are easy going and other than th Blu Tick darting whenever she can pretty well behaved. I am looking forward to teaching the pup not to jump up on people and listening well I tell him to stop roughhousing.
Thank you for this opportunity to learn. I might struggle a bit with the online mechanics, but I will give it my best shot.
My 25lb rescue Lexi is just so excited for life! But that makes things difficult when she sees the Amazon truck (barks), and odd car in the neighbors driveway (barks), or sees fellow dogs, chipmunks, squirrels, or even leaves that she wants to play with! She pulls like crazy on a leash… We had great success with a handling class for agility, but had to stop due to life circumstances, but will return when able. We have done lots of mini-sessions of training around the house already, so finding a spot we haven’t used is difficult. I’m just going to use a play area spot that she knows will be a “fun time” and hope for the best. Thank you, Susan!
Well, I just read the Home School the Dog announcement and I missed the sign up by 27 minutes. Should anyone drop out, my 7 month + old puppy and I will be delighted to take their place. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are “sheltering in place” and are very bored.
Thanks. I’m starting today with a semi-trained wilful Chessie with little impulse control.
I am thankful for this ability to do an online training course. I am a foster home. I have no formal training and welcome the chance to give the rescues more skills so they can find good homes. I am only working with one breed but every dog is different so the more ideas and training tips I can learn the more effective I will be.
Hi , I’m get a Maltipoo puppy next week , and I’m very excited to start the puppy training with your help and ideas for a successful time with my puppy..
Thanks in advance.
Just started today, looking forward to playing with Monty and seeing the rewards
Thank you. Really looking forward to the course. I have a 7 month old beardie/ border cross, a highly intelligent,hyper and sometimes reactive border collie aged 7 and another collie aged 10 who is almost deaf! I compete in obedience and also do some scent work. All my shows and group training sessions have now stopped
Just starting today using a semi finished basement area. I’ve thought my dog should be in agility or field work but I’ve never had the time to start her. She’s had basic training before but this is a whole new play based approach. Looking forward to her happy engagement!
Dear Susan, if it were not for your incredible intuitive powers to predict the need for this program & putting it out there prematurely as a gift in such uncertain times, I would not have been able to immensely enjoy my time in isolation with my Tri-mix, 4 yr old Chihuahua, Neo. We are having so much fun together & his progress is so cool. I set up our learning area in our small living room, dinning room, kitchen, bathroom space. My heartfelt thanks go out to you & your team.