Table of Contents
- How Much Does Dog Training Cost? - 02/16/2022
- How to Train a Puppy, the Basics - 02/16/2022
- Obedience Training vs. Socialization: What’s the Difference? - 02/16/2022
Puppy training classes help your dog acquire essential life and social skills. They’ll learn good manners, and they can strengthen the dog-human bond and improve the way you communicate with your pet.
With the right training classes, you’ll be able to reinforce desired behaviors, reduce unwanted ones, and tackle any specific issues that might arise as you welcome your new puppy into your family.
In-person training isn’t always an option for dog owners, for various reasons. The trainer’s schedule or the class location may not suit you. Or the price may be too high. Online puppy training is a great alternative that gives you a lot more flexibility and can be equally effective if you choose the right class.
We researched and compared dozens of online puppy training classes searching for top quality schools, and we found that Dr. Dunbar’s SIRIUS Puppy Training provides the most comprehensive package and gives consistent results. With a wide range of skills are taught, your puppy is given individual attention, and there are affordable prices.
Dr. Dunbar’s SIRIUS Puppy Training program includes different types of classes depending on your dogs’ age. You’ll be working in small groups and your pup will learn a variety of new behaviors, from basic socialization to off-leash manners.
When it comes to puppy training classes, there is no one-size-fits-all guidebook.
You may prioritize certain things over others, such as the cost of the course, whether classes are live or recorded video sessions, and whether there’s a general or personalized approach.
For this reason, we’ve included the 10 best online puppy training classes that cater to different needs, so you can pick the one that works best for you.
- Best Overall: Dr. Dunbar’s SIRIUS Puppy Training
- Best Free: Joanne Basinger
- Best Budget: Petco
- Best Work-At-Your Own Pace: FDSA
- Best Youtube Class: Dog Training Revolution
- Best Membership: Dunbar Academy
- Best Community: Austin Pets Alive!
- Best Custom: The Online Dog Trainer
- Best Masterclass: Brandon McMillan
- Best Lifetime Access: SpiritDog
Read on to find out what each program has to offer.
1. Best Overall: Dr. Dunbar’s SIRIUS Puppy Training
Dr. Ian Dunbar is a renowned veterinarian, behaviorist, and the founder of the Association for Professional Dog Trainers. He laid the foundations for modern dog training and his extensive knowledge and experience in this field are difficult to match.
In 1982, Dunbar developed his SIRIUS puppy program, which now also offers online classes, allowing more people to access his training strategies and techniques.
Current course offerings include Puppy Kindergarten (for dogs 8-12 weeks old), Puppy Training I ( for dogs 12-18 weeks old), Puppy Training II (for dogs under 8 months old), and Puppy Training III (for dogs under 18 months old). A prerequisite for enrolling in higher “Puppy” levels is the completion of the lower ones.
The courses involve everything from teaching basic cues like “come here” and “sit” to building leash skills, human and animal socialization, and household training. You’ll also learn how to address and prevent common behavioral and temperament problems such as chewing, biting, jumping up, and separation anxiety.
Prices start at $160 per course, and the courses consist of 3 to 5 weeks of sessions. The classes are held via Zoom (you’ll need a strong Internet connection), and each session lasts approximately 50 minutes. Up to 6 students can participate, which means everyone gets individual attention.
- Reputable training program
- Weekly Zoom sessions (for 3 to 5 weeks)
- 4 courses offered, covering obedience training, socialization, leash manners, and more
- Classes require a minimum of 4 dogs to run (6 students max)
- All classes are listed in Pacific Standard Time
- Prices start at $160 per course
2. Best Free Class: Jo Anne Basinger
Jo Anne Basinger is a director at Andrea Arden Dog Training, a training facility located in New York City. Basinger and her team offered NYC’s first puppy class back in 1994 under the guidance of Dr. Ian Dunbar, and today they offer private and group puppy classes either in-person or online.
Basinger relies on positive reinforcement techniques in animal training. With 20 years of animal training under her belt, her video guides are a great way for laying the foundation work.
You can also access plenty of Basinger’s videos for free on Howcast. You’ll find guides on various aspects of puppy training, including teaching basic commands (and some tricks), clicker training, crate training, as well as addressing specific issues, such as digging, barking, jumping, furniture chewing, and biting.
- Free video guides on various aspects of puppy training
- Access to video lessons anytime
- Work at your own pace
3. Best Budget: Petco
Petco is a well-known pet supplies store, but not a lot of people know that they also offer in-person and virtual dog training classes. They currently provide three online group classes: Puppy Basics, Adult Basics, and Separation Anxiety Course. Each course consists of 4-hour long group sessions, led by experienced trainers with limited class sizes of no more than six dog owners.
Puppy Basics class is designed for puppies that are 2-4 months old and it covers teaching basic cues and behaviors, such as coming when called, proper on-leash walking, housebreaking, and crate training. Your puppy will learn how to socialize and adjust to new environments, and you’ll learn to stop unwanted behaviors like nipping, chewing, and excessive barking.
Adult Basics class is for dogs that are over 6 months old and it involves building on basic cues and reinforcing the positive behaviors at home and in public. You’ll also learn how to address common challenges such as jumping and pulling on a leash.
Separation anxiety classes are the latest addition to the training program. The course provides proactive solutions to tackle separation anxiety. Your dog will learn how to relax when left alone, how to calm themselves when stressed, and how to develop healthy routines.
What’s really convenient is that you can pick the time of the classes and the trainer you want, so you can easily adjust the classes to your daily schedule.
Petco also offers private classes – either a single 45-minute session or a pack of 4 sessions, tailored to the needs of you and your pup. You pay per session and scheduling is flexible.
- Zoom classes lead by certified professional trainers and AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluators
- 3 online group courses are offered, covering basic obedience, socialization, unruly behaviors, and more
- Private classes available, tailored to your needs
- 4 weekly sessions
- Up to 6 participants in group classes
- Prices start at $99 per course
4. Best Self-Paced: Fenzi Dog Sports Academy
Fenzi Dog Sports Academy is an online school that provides instruction for competitive dog sports. Although it focuses on sports and agility training, it also offers courses for obedience training, managing undesired behaviors, and building a strong bond with your pet.
Courses have a fixed schedule with set dates for the beginning and end of enrollment and they last for 6 weeks. Each course has its own structure, but many of them include lessons that are released daily or weekly. The lessons consist of written instructions and videos to illustrate the steps.
The price, or tuition fee, depends on the class you choose. Selected courses offer the ability to apply for a scholarship.
- 6-week courses
- Pre-recorded video lessons with written instructions
- One-hour private lessons available for addressing specific problems
- Webinars and workshops are available
- Prices start at $65
5. Best on YouTube: Dog Training Revolution
Zak George is an expert dog trainer who started his Dog Training Revolution program by making YouTube videos about the ins and outs of dog training. Over the years, he gained many followers, hosted two dog training shows, and trained thousands of dogs.
George’s training philosophy involves an individual approach – he wants to allow dog owners to customize their training according to their pup’s personality and energy level. His YouTube channel contains hundreds of videos on all aspects of dog training, from puppy basics to advanced tricks.
In addition to YouTube videos, you can also read George’s book on dog training, Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution. The book compiles the essential information from the videos into a comprehensive guide with dog training tips, tricks, and games.
- Access to hundreds of training videos for free
- Covers everything from puppy training basics to learning more advanced skills
- Allows a flexible schedule
6. Best Membership: Dunbar Academy
Dunbar Academy contains a comprehensive set of online courses on every aspect of dog training, from general puppy training tips to resolving behavior problems and teaching kids how to train their pets. Whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned pro, you’re likely to find what you need here.
The free package consists of 9 courses designed to help you with basic training. It focuses on tackling common behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, barking, pulling on the leash, dog-to-dog reactivity, fear of people, separation anxiety, and more.
The paid subscription package includes 28 courses with a more detailed approach to dog training. You get access to dozens of videos, recorded seminars and workshops, handouts, worksheets, and dog training podcasts. You also get access to a private Facebook group where you can connect with other dog owners and trainers and personalized email support to help you create a customized training plan for your puppy.
- 9 free and 28 paid courses
- Dozens of dog training videos, seminars, downloadable documents, and podcasts
- Access to a private Facebook group and personalized email support
- Periodic live webinars and Q+A sessions
- $20/month membership package
7. Best Community: Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Pets Alive! is an animal shelter with numerous programs designed to save the animals most at risk for euthanasia. Their free Dog Behavior Program aims to improve the lifestyle of dogs while in the shelter and to equip them for life after adoption. This is a great option if you’re thinking about adopting a shelter puppy.
The program is organized into three parts: dog playgroups, Canine Good Citizen Training and Total Obedience Program training, and adoption follow-ups. During the program, dogs acquire social skills and learn basic commands and manners. Adoption follow-ups include phone consultations, private lessons, and other types of support for any behavioral issues.
Austin Pets Alive! Also posts short training videos to their YouTube channel. They provide useful tips on kennel training, clicker training, harness training, dog walking, and more.
- Socialization and obedience training
- Daily playgroups
- 60 active trainers (made up of volunteers and staff)
- Adoption follow-up support
- Training tips on YouTube
8. Best Custom: The Online Dog Trainer
The Online Dog Trainer a.k.a. Doggy Dan gives you access to over 300 videos with tips on every aspect of dog training. You can pick a program based on your individual needs – whether it’s puppy training in general or dealing with specific behavior problems such as pulling on leash or dog-to-dog aggression.
The puppy training program includes 31 videos, articles, and PDFs, that walk you through the entire process. You will learn how to begin socializing your puppy, how to approach potty training, biting, and command training.
If you decide to sign up, you’ll start with a 3-day-trial at the price of $1. After that, if you want to continue using the services, you’ll be charged $37 per month. Doggy Dan also offers free video series for obedience training and housebreaking.
- 31 videos on puppy training and over 300 videos on dog training in general
- Free videos with obedience training and potty training tips
- Access to articles, PDFs, and a podcast
- 3-day trial for $1
9. Best MasterClass: Brandon McMillan
MasterClass is a streaming platform with hundreds of video lessons taught by people who are leaders in their respective industries. Brandon McMillan is an expert trainer and the Emmy-winning host of “Lucky Dog,” a show in which he rescues untrained dogs and transforms them into well-behaved pets ready to be adopted.
Macmillan’s MasterClass class on dog training teaches you how to build trust and communicate with your pup. The class consists of 15 video lessons and covers dog training foundations, such as using commands sit, stay, off, come, and heel, leash training techniques, and how to fix undesired behaviors like door dashing, digging, and chewing.
MacMillan discusses the key variables that make every dog unique: breed, age, history, and imprinted DNA. He explains how to approach dog training with these factors in mind, as well as how socialization and exercise are essential for building a healthy relationship with your puppy.
The great thing about MacMillan’s MasterClass video lessons is that you can access them anytime and anywhere. You can watch them on your desktop, TV, or smartphone. In addition to videos, each class includes audio-only lessons and downloadable instructor guides.
- 15 video lessons with audio-only options and an in-depth downloadable workbook
- Lessons are available anytime and anywhere
- Offline lessons available for iOS
- Covers dog training fundamentals, including signaling commands and fixing behaviors
- Annual membership costs $216
- 30-day money-back guarantee
10. Best Lifetime Access: SpiritDog
SpiritDog is a comprehensive online dog training program with a really cool perk – you get lifetime access to all course materials.
As soon as you sign up, you get access to over 70 videos that guide you through the process of dog training. You’ll learn the basics of puppy socialization, potty training, obedience training, leash walking, dog tricks, and more. You’ll also learn how to fix specific behavioral problems, such as biting and furniture chewing.
SpiritDog offers short 5 – 10 minute daily courses and quizzes to monitor your progress.
SpiritDog trainers are available to you at all times, and you can ask them any questions that come up in the process. You also get SpiritDog’s ebook on how to improve your dog’s focus and 5 bonus courses for free. They include tips on how to create a training schedule, how to hold your dog’s attention, as well as how to deal with hyperactivity, jumping, and separation anxiety.
Prices vary depending on the course you choose, ranging between $5 and $120 per course, and there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Lifetime access to course materials
- Over 70 video lessons
- Free ebook
- 5 bonus courses for free
- Quizzes to test your progress
- Support from trainers
- 60-day money-back guarantee
Buyers guide: how do we pick the best puppy training class?
During our hunt for the best online puppy training class, we compared professional trainers with years of experience and qualifications, and reputable schools with an established curriculum, and a good track record of satisfied clients.
Our findings took into account the flexibility of the class schedule, the type of training sessions (live or recorded), and whether the school offers private or group training lessons, or both. Many of the classes we picked offer video lessons that you can access anytime and anywhere, so you can easily incorporate them into your daily schedule.
We reviewed classes that teach a variety of skills and cover puppy training fundamentals, but also focus on specific issues and situations that might arise during the process. We looked for programs that are able to create a tailored approach to training and take the individual needs of their canine students into consideration.
Finally, compared the price of the courses and selected classes that are suitable for different budgets.
What to look for when choosing a puppy training course
The internet is flooded with puppy training classes and it can be difficult to filter top-quality options. There are several things to pay attention to before you make a final decision.
It’s essential to look for a training school that’s been in the business for years and has a team of experts with plenty of experience working with animals.
Trainers that have been active for a long time have encountered different clients over the course of their careers, so they have the skills to deal with all kinds of puppy situations and behaviors. You’ll benefit from their advice regardless of the challenges you and your pet are facing.
Be sure to check out online reviews and testimonials of previous clients to get a sense of how a particular training program works and whether it’s right for you.
Don’t hesitate to ask around. If you have a friend or a neighbor who recently signed up for a puppy training class, ask them about their experience and impressions. Your vet may also be able to point you in the right direction and offer recommendations, especially if they collaborate with a particular dog training school.
When it comes to choosing the right training class for your puppy, you should always pick a school that uses methods and techniques you’re comfortable with. Some online courses offer the option of viewing a sample class so that you can be sure that the program meets your expectations.
Check your potential instructor’s philosophy on training puppies, the tools and techniques they use, and whether they give a sense of someone who knows what they are doing and has the situation under control. A trainer who relies on yelling or physical corrections to teach basic commands won’t be of any help, and their methods can be detrimental to your relationship with your puppy.
Type of class
Think about what you’re hoping to achieve with puppy training classes. Some schools offer general courses that cover the basics of puppy training, including socialization, household training, and basic obedience. Others focus more on fixing specific types of unruly behavior, like barking, digging, chewing, aggression, or separation anxiety. There are also training programs that address both general matters and specific issues in a single class.
Most online group classes limit the attendance to several students, usually around 6. This gives the trainer an opportunity to create an intimate atmosphere and dedicate attention to every student.
Many online schools also offer private lessons, so the instructor can tailor the training according to the individual needs of owners and their puppies.
Many group puppy training classes offer live virtual sessions (usually via Zoom) at the same time every week. Some schools have multiple time slots available with different trainers, so you can pick the instructor and the time that’s most convenient for you.
Private lessons are typically more flexible, and you’ll be able to discuss the best training time for you and your pup with your instructor.
When deciding on the right puppy training class, you’ll also need to factor in your finances. You can get access to some training videos for free, but you can also find online classes at fairly affordable prices. Some classes are on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, but they offer good value for money, considering the amount of material and personalized support you get in return.
Puppy training classes FAQs
Are online puppy training classes worth it?
Online puppy training classes can be just as comprehensive and effective as in-person classes, provided you find a quality class that meets your needs and expectations.
They have many advantages. You can practice training from the comfort of your home at a time that’s most convenient for you and work at your own pace.
With virtual training, you don’t have to worry about class size restrictions or getting proof of vaccinations on time. Additionally, training at home minimizes the risk of your puppy catching an illness from other dogs.
When should you start taking your puppy to training classes?
Your puppy can sign up for classes as early as 7 or 8 weeks of age. A period between 3 and 12 weeks of age is a crucial window of opportunity for puppies to learn how to interact properly with pets and humans, and puppy training classes are a great way to expose them to new environments and situations to lay the groundwork for healthy development.
How much does virtual dog training cost?
Prices for online training vary according to classes and schools, but they tend to fall in the $60 to $200 price range per course. Of course, you can find both cheaper and more expensive options, as well as completely free alternatives. Some training schools offer membership packages, allowing you to pay annually for classes.
What’s the best puppy training method?
While there is no universal right answer when it comes to puppy training methods most training experts recommend that classes use positive reinforcement techniques in teaching.
These techniques focus on offering praise or treats when your dog does something good, and they involve a variety of effective and humane strategies you can implement to get the desired behavior. These clicker training, force-free, fear-free, reward-based, and science-based training methods are ideal for puppies.
Key points on puppy training classes
Online puppy training classes are extremely convenient as they allow you to train your dog at home and work at your own pace. They provide tips on puppy training basics as well as how to tackle specific behaviors and can be tailored to meet your needs.
Dr. Dunbar’s SIRIUS Puppy Training is at the top of our list – it provides a comprehensive set of courses to guide you through the training process, from teaching basic commands to giving tips on socialization and resolving behavioral issues. They organize classes according to the age of puppies and they work in small groups, allowing a more intimate atmosphere and a personalized approach to training.