Online Dog Training – Your First and Best Choice


It wasn’t that long ago that folks thought of online dog training (live video coaching) as a second choice. We considered it a good-enough option when in-person training wasn’t available. There are some reasons for that. Dog trainers weren’t as good at remote training as we are today. Fair enough. The other reason, though, is that we just didn’t know what we didn’t know. The pandemic, quite frankly, forced us to immerse ourselves in online learning experiences. Little-by-little it became a welcome part of our comfort zones. We got good at it and we learned how good it could be for us.

Dog training and behavior coaching has some key elements in every case:

  • Setting goals
  • Charting a training plan
  • The trainer modeling specific skills and exercises
  • The client practicing those skills hands-on and getting feedback
  • Review and Follow up

The truth is, not only are all of those things able to be accomplished live on a video connection, some of them are actually better accomplished that way. I take notes for my clients and can often send clients a written training plan the very same day if we are working online. I also record demonstrations and practice sessions and can send a link for those to the client within minutes after our consultation.

And, believe it or not, there are real disadvantages to seeing a client and their dog in-person. For dogs with aggression issues, having a stranger in the home can be very stressful. Half of a training session or more can be wasted just getting the dog to calm down. We don’t have that problem with live video coaching. The client can work with their dog in a calm stress-free environment, skill-building and preparing the dog for real-life encounters later in the process. Dog separation anxiety training is done entirely online. The idea is to help the dog learn how to be calm when left alone. You don’t invite someone over and then leave the dog alone, right? It’s essential that the trainer not be there so that he can monitor your dog’s behavior when left on his own.

It’s normal to have some hesitation around online training. I get it. Many of our clients did at first too. Then the reviews started coming in:

Michael is Very professional and helpful. We were worried about the training being performed virtually at first but found that the training was just as helpful as in person training if not better. – Mary C

I was worried how training might translate over Zoom since we began at the height of COVID, but everything went so smoothly and I think the distance helped Finn to be a bit more natural at home during training sessions. – Corrine B

Even through remote training due to covid, Michael’s professional assessment and training skills shone through and worked wonders. He gave us a customized plan to help her build trust and positive engagement with my husband. – Mabry Family

We met with Michael through Zoom meetings and he helped us immensely with positive training techniques that helped our pup become a loving part of our family. – Pat V

We’ve learned there are other real advantages to live video dog training sessions online, as well.

  • Expert help when you need it. There are still too few dog behaviorists and dog behavior consultants who handle difficult behavior cases. With online coaching you can access experts more easily with less wait time for an appointment.
  • Convenience of scheduling. With no worries about service area or travel time, we can make more evening and weekend time slots available.
  • Expert care and instruction no matter where you are. Online dog behavior coaching is not bound by geography or service area boundaries.
  • Safety. Online coaching is stress-free for dogs with aggression issues.
  • Less stressful for the humans, too. There’s no fuss or worry about having a stranger in your home.
  • Online training costs less.

I’m a watcher of trends. It’s one of my passions. One of the things we are noticing from the pandemic is that we will probably continue to do more work with each other remotely from our own homes. Certainly we crave social interaction in-person. At the same time we are realizing we don’t need that (or want it) for all interactions. If we can get expert help that’s better, quicker, and less expensive, that really should be our first option. Experience has shown me so far it’s likely to be our best option, too.

Michael Baugh teaches dog training in Houston, TX. He’s also able to help people around the world with live video coaching online.



Puppy Potty Training (it works for adult dogs too)


Potty training is simple, but not alway easy. It takes vigilance and patience in equal measure.

  1. Management

While in training your dog should have two states of existence 1) supervised  2) safely confined.  You are eliminating (pun intended) any chance of a mistake.  

Never set yourself up to ask the question,  “Where’s the dog?”  There’s a good chance they are in the next room peeing. And that’s your error.

  1. Making outside your dog’s first and best choice 

Take your dog on-leash to the chosen outside area in which he or she is to eliminate.  

Optional: Give a verbal cue such as “go potty” or “do your business.”  Choose something you are comfortable saying in public.  

Praise and treat immediately upon completion (follow up with optional play or petting).  You’re teaching your dog to trade urine and feces for a high-value reward and that’s better than simply getting relief in the dining room.

Clean up the mess.  


  1. Catching mistakes

Ignore mistakes you didn’t see happen.  They are ancient history to your dog.

Interrupt mistakes you see.  Joyfully take your dog outside and finish step one.

Never scold or yell at your dog.  This could make them shy about eliminating in front of you and slow the process.

  1. Knowing when to go

Try often.  We are always looking for opportunities to reinforce this good behavior.  

Always take the dog out immediately after: waking up, eating or playing.


What Dog Training Taught me About Life (so far)

Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA

I’m just going to put this out there. Life is hard right now. Don’t get me wrong. Life is also beautiful and there’s a lot of joy to be had. Yes, that is true and cause for gratitude. And also – right now a lot of folks are suffering. We are in a pandemic that seems relentless. Natural disasters sometimes seem unnaturally frequent and intense. We are divided and at each other’s throats over just about everything and anything (including the pandemic and natural disasters). I won’t even mention politics. Because really do I have to? Even when the day-to-day seems to be humming along there is an undercurrent of suffering. Some have gone so far as to identify it an epidemic of despair. 

I am not immune and I doubt you are either. And I don’t have all the answers, that’s for sure. But, maybe I have one or two answers worthy of your consideration. They are things I’ve learned from working with my favorite teachers: dogs.

Call in help. Just about everyone reading this at one point called me for help with their dog. All of us need to remember that wisdom now. When shit gets hard in life – when the despair seems too heavy to carry – when the irritability and sadness seem overwhelming – call in help. No, don’t call your dog trainer (I’m not qualified). Call in family, friends, clergy, mental health professionals. We are social creatures (we share that with dogs, too). We are not built to work this stuff out alone. And we don’t have to. Rally the team around you. And for real, if life feels hard like it’s never felt hard before – call 911. They can help.

Break things down. We all do this when we are working with our dogs (remember the term “splitting?). Big problems are made up of small parts. When we look at them as a whole they can feel like indomitable monsters. Don’t do that. Look at the smaller parts. Choose one. Begin there.

Expect change. This is the constant nature of all things: Change. Yes, things sometimes change for the worse. Just as often, they change for the better. Expect it. Use it. Our actions influence change as well. None of this is permanent. Knowing that leads to hope and hope leads to, well, more change. It’s the stuff of life.

Play. Dogs do it. Play is healing balm for all social creatures. It inspires laughter, conversation, and  interconnectedness. My neighbors and I will very likely never vote for the same political candidate. But, it is equally doubtful we will ever miss our weekend game night either. Give it a try. Or at least give it some thought.

When in doubt lead with kindness. I work with aggressive dogs. That means many of them want to bite me. And yet, I’ve only actually been bitten a handful of times. Why? Kindness works. Make no mistake. Kindness is not weakness. It’s smart and it’s strong. I use the word lead with intention. Kindness is our first move and it’s also how we lead. I mentioned calling in help. Why not call with help, too? Take the lead. Call a friend or family member with a little morsel of kindness. Send your veteriarian a thank you card (they are working their butts off). When you ask someone “how ya doin’?” make eye contact. Stay present. Listen. Be kind. Smile at a stranger. Kindness is just about the only thing we can give away and still lose nothing. In fact, we usually get some extra in return.

It’s hard. I know (really, I know). Be kind. Hell no! Right? (Sigh). Wrong. How many times this year, this month, or this week have we all felt like – I don’t know what I can do to help. It’s too much? The answer is right there: Kindness. We’ve got that. We can do kindness. And, kindness always helps. Always.

Just ask your dogs. They can’t tell you, but they’ve been trying to show you for years.

Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA lives in the same challenging moment in history as you. He teaches dog training in Houston, TX.