Hiring a trainer or behaviourist is ideal when you’re looking for individualized support or struggling with a serious behaviour issue, but there’s also a lot to be learned from online courses. In a sea of options, navigating your way to the right fit can be tricky. Here are 3 of my current favourite schools offering courses for caregivers, each with budget-friendly options and its own unique approach.
The DoGenius Institute
The DoGenius Institute stands apart from other online providers for its emphasis on animal-centred ethics, its team of highly qualified tutors (largely based in the UK and Europe), supportive community and commitment to excellence. Founded by my incredible mentor, Dr. Teresa Tyler, The DoGenius Institute offers introductory courses for caregivers include Canine Body Language, A New Puppy, Canine Enrichment and Play, Managing Resource Guarding, Separation Anxiety, and more. There are also exceptional advanced courses designed to meet certification requirements for dog-trainers and behaviourists. I’ve created a wee bit of content for The DoGenius Institute and I continue to learn with this wonderful community of brilliant, caring trainers and caregivers. To get a feel for The DoGenius Institute check out their blog.
Founded by Bangalore-based director Sindhoor Pangal, Bharcs offers online courses for dog caregivers and behaviour consultants. The offerings are rooted in the approach of Turid Rugaas and Pangal’s extraordinary work with “streeties”. The Canine Essentials 101 is a fabulous online course (commitment: about 20 hours) that covers a variety of topics including communicating effectively with dogs, calming signals, setting dogs up to thrive, equipment, leash handling, and more. No traditional obedience training or clickers to be found here–the emphasis is on natural communication rooted in deep understanding of dogs. I love their focus on careful observation of dogs engaging in natural behaviours and their emphasis on connections between physical and emotional well-being (Sindhoor Pangal is also a Galen Myotherapist). To get a sense of “the Bharcs way”, check out their library and Pangal’s awesome Ted Talk.
Kathy Kawalec’s US-based online school rejects obedience training and focuses on nurturing deep and authentic bonds between humans (specifically “dog moms”) and dogs. Kawalec and her team focus on coaching people to become mindful and loving leaders. Like Bharcs and The DoGenius Institute, Dancing Hearts offers courses that are great for first-time dog caregivers through to professional dog trainers. Their coaching model provides opportunities for personalized support and the Facebook group is one of the nicest places I’ve found on the internet. I’ve recently started working through their program with my own dogs and I’ve been very happy with the progress we’ve made. For more on the Dancing Hearts approach check out Kathy Kawalec’s podcast and blog.