By Anthony De Marinis, CDBC, VSPDT, CBATI
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant by IAABC
Dog owners with dogs who display aggressive behavior need the help of a qualified behavior consultant! They can get it through Online Virtual Sessions.
In my last blog about Online Virtual Dog Training & Behavior Sessions, I discussed what the service is, how it works, the options available and the benefits it can provide to dog owners. (To check out my last blog about online virtual training & behavior sessions click here.) In this blog post I wanted to specifically address online virtual sessions and aggression.
“Can Online Virtual Training & Behavior Help My Aggressive dog?”
One question that keeps coming up for myself and my colleagues is “can online virtual training help my aggressive dog?” Now, of course you can safely guess that my response will be “yes!!!”. No surprise there since I have been offering Online Virtual Training & Behavior Sessions for aggression and behavior issues for a few years now.
In fact, I have actually seen a lot of success with this service. I believe a large part of this reason is because clients are willing to put in the time and effort when they hire me virtually since they have to do all the hands-on work themselves. It is sort of like the saying “what you put in, you get out.”
A lot Can Be Done!
I am very fortunate to receive referrals from other professionals across the country. Most of my referrals are specifically for aggression, which is my primary business. (It has truly become a passion of mine!)
There are some differences to in-home consultations and online virtual sessions for aggression. The first, is that with in-home consultations, the owner may rely more on me and my handling skills to help implement specific exercises and protocols. With online virtual sessions, clients rely heavily on taking detailed notes and reviewing videos of specific exercises and protocols that I want them to implement. They also rely on me coaching them virtually. This helps them learn and practice their training and handling skills while in front of me for proper implementation. I find this to be a large advantage for many of my clients because they have to focus more on their task at hand. This in turn can provide better results during the behavior modification process. Learn more about Behavior Modification by clicking here.
During my initial online virtual aggression consultation I will:
- Go through a thorough history on the dog.
- Breakdown each incident that is significant to the behavior(s) of concern.
- Discuss the goals and concerns to develop a behavior plan for the client.
- Provide answers to all of the clients questions.
- Discuss safety and management strategies for the client to implement.
- Review any relevant video footage the client has sent me.
- Introduce behavior modification concepts and/or training skills. (In most cases, we will start hands-on training together during the initial consult, BUT sometimes the entire consult is used to figure out what is going on, why the dog is displaying the aggressive behavior he chooses to display, answer all the clients questions and start developing safety and management strategies as a first line of defense.)
- When teaching clients behavior modification protocols and/or training skills, I typically will share instructional videos with the client first, then after the client has an understanding I will coach them through step by step.
During follow-up sessions I will:
- Get up-dated on the dogs progress or regression.
- Review videos of training and practice sessions the client has submitted.
- Continue guided hands-on coaching of protocols and/or skills we left off with.
- Introduce new protocols and/or skills.
- Explain the clients goals and homework until our next session (if needed).
Success Can Happen!
So much can truly be done during online virtual sessions for aggression. What it really comes down to is getting a client to initially buy into the concept. Online Virtual Sessions are still considered a “new” service in the training and behavior industry. Many clients still feel that behavior consultants need to see the problem, meet the dog and work with them hands-on. If the client is willing, able and ready to implement the work themselves, then success can happen for them with Online Virtual Dog Training & Behavior Sessions.
The Benefits of Online Virtual Training & Behavior
There are many great benefits to online virtual dog training & behavior sessions, specifically for aggression. Some of the benefits can include:
- Guided Hands-On Instruction: Working together with a behavior consultant, dog owners will be coached on how to modify behaviors and/or teach their dog skills. As I mentioned, in many ways this is extremely valuable to clients because they have to implement all the hands-on protocols and exercises themselves. (This might sound daunting, but your behavior consultant can help coach you!)
- Less Stress On Your Dog: There is something to be said to working with a dog when they are in a calmer and more relaxed state of mind. Just like with people, when a dog is in a more relaxed state they can learn and process information a lot better. Being able to work with a behavior consultant virtually can be a very stress-free approach for the dog, as well as the owner, all while getting professional help.
- Reviewing Video Footage: When owners have video footage of their dog it can be a plus, but not totally necessary. In fact, I encourage owners to capture video of their dog being calm and relaxed so that I can see what their dog is like on a regular basis. (I have suggestions on providing video at the bottom of this blog.) When the owner provides video, we can watch it together on the screen at the same time so that we can dissect what is going on. This can help the owner learn more about their dog, his behaviors and emotions and why he may be displaying the behaviors he chooses to display.
- Watching Behavior & Training Exercises Together: I can only speak for myself here, but during my online virtual sessions, I like to coach clients by first showing them a video of what I will ask them to do prior to coaching them through it (in most cases). This can be really valuable so that the owner can understand how to work with their dog and what the end result can look like.
- Personalized Support: Dog owners seeking one-on-one support will find that most behavior professionals will tailor the session to the unique needs of them and their dog.
- Helpful Advice: A qualified behavior consultant will be able to provide helpful advice and guidance based on the client’s questions, concerns or issues that might be occurring. Furthermore, dog owners will also receive helpful management strategies for their specific situation.
- Professional Experience: If a dog owner is hiring a certified and qualified behavior consultant, they will find that they will receive the same expertise and guidance just like they would if the professional was their in-person.
- Access To Behavior Consultants Outside Your Area: The dog training and behavior industry is unfortunately not regulated. Furthermore, many communities across the country do not have access to qualified behavior consultants. However, with online virtual services this is now possible! Go ahead and search for your training and behavior professional from anywhere in the world! As I mentioned earlier, I have many clients across the country that I have the pleasure of helping. Many of us are ready to help you!
- Success Can Happen!: YES, success can happen. If a dog owner is dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort to working with their dog, they will find that online virtual sessions can help their dogs aggressive behavior.
Still Not Convinced or Maybe You Are A Little Hesitant?
If you are still not convinced about whether or not Online Virtual Training & Behavior Sessions can help you and your dog, then I encourage you to take a look at my full blog post about Online Virtual Training & Behavior Sessions. This detailed blog explains the service in more detail, addresses client hesitation and provides suggestions on how to search for a qualified professional. Click here to learn more!
Check-out My Video Of My Online Virtual Sessions
To learn more about what online virtual sessions actually look like, you can also checkout my video with some of my virtual sessions. You will see I try to make my sessions fun, enjoyable and educational for my clients. Click here to watch a trailer of some online virtual sessions.
How To Prepare For Your Online Virtual Session
In preparation for your online virtual session you should consider doing the following:
- Write out any important questions you would like answers too.
- Keep a journal of any concerns or important incidents that have taken place so that they can be discussed in detail with your professional.
- Provide video footage: If you have any videos of the problem behaviors, it is helpful to upload them to your computer so that they can be reviewed during your session. You can also upload a couple of videos where your dog is just being him/herself, regardless if it shows any issues. It is NOT worth trying to provoke your dogs behavior or put yourself or your dog in harm’s way for video footage. If you happen to have video footage that is great! If you don’t have video footage do not worry as it is not necessary.
- Have a notebook and pen ready to take notes and write down your homework
- Have a space where you can set your laptop or mobile device up so that you can do some hands-on training with your training professional and your dog. Having a tripod or stand for phones or an ipad is ideal so that you can easily position the camera. The space should be well lit, preferably without a window behind you so you can be seen more clearly. Your space should be as open and clear as possible so that you can work with your dog comfortably.
- Have a variety of very tasty treats to motivate your dog to work with you.
Interested In Getting Help For Your Dog’s Aggressive Behavior?
If you are interested in getting behavior modification help through online virtual sessions you can search for a qualified behavior consultant from one of the professional organizations I listed below. If you would like to work with me through online virtual sessions you can visit my Online Virtual Training & Behavior Session page by clicking here.
Dog Training & Behavior Organizations:
Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers – (This organization offers online virtual consultations.)
I want to just give a couple of disclaimers that are worth me mentioning.
Disclaimer 1: I would like to say that online virtual sessions work really well in many cases. BUT, it may not necessarily be for specific dog owners who really need hands-on coaching. With that said, that does not mean you cannot do an initial consultation virtually to get started until you can get some professional hands-on coaching.
Disclaimer 2: Hire a qualified behavior consultant who has experience in working with aggression and who has experience working virtually. This is important because your behavior consultant will need to have great observation skills and know what questions to ask so that they can get the full picture. There is a bit of an art to this type of service.
Anthony De Marinis is the owner of De Marinis Dog Training & Behavior in Long Island, NY. He provides both private in-home and private online virtual training and behavior modification solutions using positive reinforcement-based methods. Anthony has 6 professional certifications which include: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants, Certified Graduate of distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, Certified Behavior Adjustment Trainer, Certified Victoria Stilwell Licensed Positively Dog Trainer, The Third Way Certified Trainer and is a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer. Currently, Anthony has a young Australian Kelpie named Journey. They are learning about agility and nose work together. You can visit Anthony’s website and learn more about him and his services at: www.demarinisdogtraining.com