Comparing the on-line puppy class with classes on the field

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Author: Laure-Anne Viselé. Written on 17 April 2020

Puppy on-line started as an emergency measure, but now…

When the Corona crisis broke out, we worked night and day to transform our puppy classes into an on-line learning experience. We wanted to give our students the opportunity to keep training their pup under our professional guidance despite the crisis. 

The first lesson was nerve wracking: we’d never done this before. After the first lesson, we waited nervously for the students’ feedback. 

Wouldn’t you know it? The students were so pleased with “the new way” that they nearly slagged off the lessons on the field!  

Feedback from our on-line students

A calm learning environment for my pup

Feedback: I hesitated to continue my puppy classes on-line. It was important to me to have the other pups around during class. It turns out that it’s worked to our advantage: my puppy was getting hyper during class because of the other pups, so I couldn’t focus fully on the instructor.

Despite our small group sizes and the space between students, the other students and their pups still form quite a distraction. It can lead to hyper behaviour in your pup, making it tough for you to focus on the instructions. 

A step-by-step hand-out for each exercise

Feedback: The possibility to re-read the instructions later made a big difference for me: I can practice more effectively. I realised that I wasn’t remembering every detail of the explanation during class, so the written hand-outs help.  

“Field students” do not traditionally get hand-outs after a lesson. The time investment required in doing this systematically being, unfortunately, completely unrealistic during normal times.  

Video clips of the exercise with a real dog

Feedback: The videos really give me a visual idea of how the exercise should look when done properly, with a dog who already masters the exercise. 

We can’t use our own dogs to demonstrate on the field, unfortunately, it would be unfair to them (what are they supposed to do between demo’s?).  So, on the field, we demonstrate the exercise with a plush dog.   

More detailed explanations and more insights into dog behaviour

Feedback: I had no idea that there was so much to know about puppy behaviour! With the normal lessons, the theory explanations are quite short – I understand that. We also need time to practice. But I am really discovering a lot from the extra background information during the on-line lessons! 

A practical lesson needs to be practical in nature, or the pups become crazy with impatience. Without the pups, we’ve found out how much more knowledge we can share with you!

Misconceptions about the puppy class on-line 

I want to be able to get a direct answer on my question during a lesson. I don’t want to wait for an answer. 

The live lessons are the same as the normal lessons on that point: you see and hear us speak, and you can type a question at any point, which we then answer direction. 

With the on-line lessons, we also now have time for an ‘ask the behaviourist’ Q&A. You can ask generic questions about raising your dog, and not just specific questions about the exercises that were covered during the lesson. 

You can also submit video’s of your practice session after the lesson, throughout the week, so that we can give you additional tips.  

I want a puppy class in person so that my puppy can socialise with the other pups

Socialising your pup is something you do through the week. Signing up for a puppy course in order to give your puppy the chance to socialise with other puppies once a week is common, but slightly misguided. We only have 1 lesson in the entire puppy course on the field during which the puppies interact with each other. This is because they are not great role models for each other, seen as they themselves don’t yet master mature social behaviour. These skills are honed by interacting with adult, sociable, stable dogs; and not with other puppies.

The point of a puppy course is to give you the necessary insights so that you can socialise and raise your pup responsibly. You learn about socialising your pup on the field; your pup does not actually get socialised there.   

How can I sign up?

You can find more information bout the puppy class online here. The beauty of this is that you can even sign up if you don’t live near The Hague. 

If you want to sign up, you can do so here. You can start every week. 

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