Bringing a new puppy into the home is always a fraught experience, and when you’re introducing them into a household of four existing dogs, it becomes even more stressful.
Since the puppy arrived six weeks ago, our oldest dog has become bad-tempered and non-responsive, while the second youngest has developed a tendency for nuisance barking.
Meanwhile, the puppy is struggling with the concept of potty training, and we’ve noticed a marked increase in bad behavior related to separation anxiety across the pack. Even our basic obedience seems to have gone out of the window.
Having looked around for a professional dog trainer to come and assist us with our canine chaos, I concluded that, much as our dogs would benefit from such interventions, there’s simply no way our budget can accommodate the $150 an hour fees.
Seeking a more affordable alternative, I turned to online dog trainers and, after much research and numerous dead-ends, finally hit the jackpot in the form of SpiritDog Training.
What Is Spirit Dog Training?
SpiritDog Training is the “Netflix of dog training,” with 700 lessons and over 400 videos demonstrating various training techniques and dealing with everything from basic obedience to behavioral issues such as separation anxiety and aggression.
In addition to a range of lifetime access online courses, SpiritDog also has its own virtual Academy aimed at transforming your relationship with your dog through bite-sized lessons, weekly Zoom meetings, and a community of like-minded people and their dogs.
What Types of Courses Does Spirit Dog Offer?
1. Individual Courses
A selection of extensive courses covers a wide range of dog training issues, including puppy training, socialization, improving focus, and boosting fitness. This is the best place to start if you’re not sure SpiritDog is the right fit for you and your canine companion.
There are 18 different individual courses to choose from, the cheapest of which is a mini-course consisting of eight lessons designed to teach your dog to fetch. More in-depth options include the basic obedience course, which helps owners understand their dogs’ behavior and uses games to teach them better manners.
If you sign up with SpiritDog Training, you get lifetime access to any courses you purchase as well as online guidance and troubleshooting.
2. Bundle Packages
SpiritDog Training bundles group together relevant courses to give you lifetime access to a whole host of mobile-friendly training videos and tips. Affordable and effective, these comprehensive bundles can transform your relationship with your dog and cost less than two in-person professional training sessions.
There are several bundles available, the most extensive of which is the SpritDog Masterclass which gives you lifetime access to 17 different courses, from basic obedience and puppy training to at-home agility classes and SpiritDog Parkour training.
The other two bundles are designed to help you understand reactivity, improve your dog’s focus, and teach basic obedience.
The Perfect Obedience Bundle includes free courses on dealing with separation anxiety and stopping your dog from jumping up while the Perfect Focus Bundle will transform your dog from an ill-mannered, distracted canine into a great companion.
3. SpiritDog Academy
This academy is, arguably, the most extensive dog training resource available online and, for as little as $20 per month, gives you access to over 700 lessons and 400 video tutorials. You’ll also become a part of the SpritDog community and have access to Steffi’s weekly Zoom meetings. If you sign up for the Academy and don’t see any improvement in your dog’s behavior or find you don’t have the time to commit to training your dog, you can request a full refund.
The SpiritDog Academy has three different subscription programs on offer, all of which you can test out for a week for just $2.
The entry-level subscription, Puppy Starter, gives you access to five core courses, 11 roadmaps, and the online community for a monthly fee of $20.
The Super Dog subscription offers the best value for money, giving users access to every one of the current 17 courses and all future courses as well.
Super Dog users get access to the same 11 roadmaps and online community as Puppy Starter subscribers, but on top of that, they also get all the benefits of the weekly Zoom meetings and video blogs, as well as a few other extras. A Super Dog subscription costs $24.95 per month and, like all subscriptions, comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
For those committed to a long and prosperous training experience with their pooch, the Legend Dog subscription includes everything in the Super Dog program, as well as a 30-minute one-on-one consultation with the SpiritDog trainer every month. That means personalized and professional dog training for just $89 per month!
What Are The Benefits of SpiritDog Training?
One of the best things about SpiritDog Training is that it doesn’t require a huge investment, either financially or in terms of your time. Training for just five to 10 minutes a day is all it takes to “transform your dog into the ultimate teammate.”
All the training material available on SpiritDog Training can be accessed via a mobile phone or downloaded to whatever medium you find most convenient. There’s little point in having all your training sessions on your laptop if you need to access them while out walking, so the mobile-friendly nature of the content makes it ideal for outdoor sessions, as well as indoor games.
Whether you’re trying to teach a young pup to pee outside or correct an older dog’s aggressive behavior, SpiritDog Training has the answers.
Whether you opt to join the SpiritDog Training Academy or just sign-up for an individual course, the costs are minuscule compared to what you’d pay a professional for in-person training. You’ll also get lifetime access to all the lessons you sign up for, so you can return to them later or even use them for training a new dog without having to pay a second time around.
If you’re not happy with the results of your training after 14 days, you can get a full refund, so you can reinvest it in a different course or opt for an alternative approach.
Top Tier Content
SpiritDog Training already has hundreds of lessons and videos available, and more content is added weekly, providing you with new training techniques, games, and fresh reward ideas. This flow of new materials and ideas helps to keep your training sessions varied, making them more stimulating for both you and your dog.
Tips and Blogs
In addition to the courses or bundles you purchase, the SpritiDog training site contains a comprehensive blog section that tackles a range of dog-related subjects.
Here you can get practical advice on a range of behavioral issues, as well as advice on the best collars and harnesses for your canine companion.
There is also a wealth of information about individual breeds so, you can make an educated choice about which one will fit with your lifestyle and circumstances.
Meet The Trainer
While some online training sites offer different and sometimes contradictory approaches from numerous trainers, SpiritDog Training is the brainchild of just one – Steffi Trott.
Having started her dog training journey in Europe, Steffi has worked with some of the top European trainers, including World Champions in agility, Silvia Trkman, and Martina Klimesova.
Now in the US, Steffi has worked with thousands of dogs and their owners, both in-person and online, giving them the tools to perfect their training skills and develop a strong relationship.
Committed to finding the ideal training approach for each dog and owner team, Steffi assesses each team’s natural strengths and weaknesses to determine which positive, game-based methods will be the most effective.
Related: Dog Training Mistakes
My SpiritDog Training Experience
Before committing to a monthly subscription, I decided to try a couple of individual lessons to see how comfortable both my dogs and myself felt about SpritiDog’s techniques and approaches. As I have a multi-dog household, I chose the Taking Turns course first, thinking this was the only way to avoid chaos and separate the dogs during training.
Starting with one of our younger dogs, a four-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, I concentrated on rewarding her for stillness rather than activity. As she’s a herding dog with a strong work drive, doing nothing doesn’t come easily. Fortunately, she also has a powerful food drive, so responded quickly to the positive reinforcement training.
When it came to repeating the lessons with our older dog, a Jack Russell cross who was bred as a hunting dog, I found I needed to swap the regular kibble treats for something a bit tastier – his food drive just isn’t the same as the Cattle Dog’s!
We Think You’ll Like: Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs
Rather than buying expensive treats, however, I took Steffi’s advice and cut up a few hotdogs and used those instead. Suddenly, our old dog became capable of learning new tricks, like sitting still without howling like a banshee!
After the success of our first training sessions, I decided to focus on our new puppy – a Springer Spaniel. With his short attention span and seemingly constant need to either pee or sleep, I was anxious about how much progress we’d be able to make.
As it turns out, the SpiritDog Ultimate Puppy Program is self-paced so you can go as slowly as necessary to ensure your dog’s development. It only took a few days before we could see significant improvements in our puppy’s behavior, especially when it comes to reducing play biting and improving recall.
The courses are advertised as having individual feedback to training questions, and I was skeptical at first – how long would I have to wait for an answer? How well could this even work?
I was really surprised at how quickly and extensively my questions got answered.
After posting them below the lesson in question, I received an email with a response within 48 hours (often much faster). The replies were in-depth and really targeted to our specific situation – you could tell a real trainer was on the other end!
How To Decide On Your SpiritDog Training Path
Every dog is an individual, and every owner experiences stumbling blocks in their dog training. These hurdles are often caused by our shortcomings as trainers as much as our dog’s stubbornness or reactivity. Because of this, SpiritDog has developed courses for every possible behavioral problem or training goal, all of which require just 5 to 10 minutes of training a day.
Before committing to a subscription, therefore, it’s important you have a clear idea of exactly what’s on offer.
We’ve divided the currently available courses into several categories to make it easier to find the one you need:
At $115, this is one of the more expensive courses offered by SpiritDog Training, but the almost instantaneous improvement in your dog’s behavior makes it highly cost-effective.
Over 35 lessons, you’ll develop the skills to teach your dog basic manners and understand why your dog misbehaves. Regardless of the age or breed of your dog, by the end of this course, you’ll have him paying attention to you regardless of external distractions, walking well on the leash, sitting down when instructed, and waiting at the door.
Related: Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
The Ultimate Puppy Program
An excellent resource for any puppy owner, this course will enable you to:
- Correctly and effectively potty train your puppy
- Teach him manners and skills
- Stop biting, chewing, and crying
- Build focus and attention span
Mastering Potty Training
If, after completing the Basic Obedience course or Ultimate Puppy program, your puppy is still struggling to potty outside, this course will teach you how to tap into your dog’s “instinctual cleanliness” and use that to encourage the correct behavior.
Learn To Fetch
This simple, affordable, and fun course is all about getting your dog to bring his toys back to you so that your games are more about throwing the toy rather than chasing the dog. Once completed, your dog should be able to complete fast retrievals, switch between different toys, and deliver his toys to you quickly but reliably.
Perfect for the multi-dog owner, this course is all about getting your dog to do nothing at all. While that might sound simple enough, most dogs love to run, jump, and play games, so, even though we reward these behaviors, they are rewards in themselves. Sitting still and doing nothing, on the other hand, isn’t much fun at all unless you take the SpiritDog Training approach, that is.
Out And About
Focus in Public – Out and About
If your dog is easily distracted by other stimuli, be it people, dogs, noises, or traffic, this is the course for you. Building on the foundations of basic obedience, this course will enable you to get 100% engagement from your pooch while teaching him to:
- Walk at your heel
- Settle on a mat anywhere and at anytime
- Behave in dog-friendly stores, cafes, and vacation spots
- Play safely in public places
Coming When Called And Outdoor Focus
Recall is essential, especially if you’ve got an energetic breed, like the Springer Spaniel or Australian Cattle Dog. It can be difficult to convince this type of dog that you’re more interesting than a squirrel, but this course will show you how. It will also give you the tools so you can teach your dog to leave a toy or a piece of rubbish he’s found in the park when instructed.
Choose this course if your dog exhibits any of the following unwanted behaviors:
- Reactivity to other dogs
- Lunging or jumping up at people
- Fear of sounds
- Difficult to control on a leash
The lessons are easy to follow and give you a wealth of tips and tools to develop your training.
Ideal for high-energy breeds, this course is designed to turn your speed demon into a calm, confident canine. Over 24 sessions, you’ll learn how to calm your dog down and how to get him to switch from high-energy mode to stillness.
Loose Leash Walking
This short course has one main goal – to stop your dog from pulling at his leash. Starting with the basics of how to get your dog to stay by your side, it will establish a solid reinforcement history for not pulling, transforming your dog into an obedient and loyal companion.
Tricks, Games, and Fitness
Indoor Games For Small Spaces
With SpiritDog Training, there is something for every dog, owner, and situation, and this course illustrates that. Step-by-step video instructions show you how to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated without lots of equipment or space. While it is all fun and games, your dog’s attention and self-control will both improve as a result.
Ideal for rescue dogs or those who’ve been through a traumatic experience, this Confidence Booster course focuses on the power of routines, and helps owners develop a fear-free training experience.
We Think You’ll Like: CBD Oil for Rescue Dogs
Another course aimed at more advanced dog and owner teams, Dog Tricks will teach you and your dog to complete various impressive tricks. You’ll start with simple moves like sitting and rolling over before moving onto more complex actions, such as jumping through a hoop or weaving through your legs. By the end, you could even pull off a freestyle heelwork routine to match this one.
Dog Agility @ Home
Dive into the world of agility with this in-depth course and give your dog a new lease of life. Learn how to create your own obstacles while giving your dog the benefits of physical and mental exercise. This is a fun course for anyone wanting to develop a deeper relationship with their dog, whether they’re hoping to compete or simply want to give an energetic dog a way to let off some steam.
Canine Fitness Course
Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you, helping him maintain a healthy weight and prevent injuries. Throughout these 65 training sessions, certified canine fitness instructor Kim Fuqua guides you through a range of different exercises and activities designed to boost your dog’s fitness and your confidence as a trainer.
Playing a basic game of frisbee with your dog doesn’t require any special skills, but if you want to take it to the next level, you need to develop your throwing technique as well as your dog’s agility. Run by the full-time disc performer Felicia Foy, this course will show you how to teach your dog different frisbee tricks and stunts. Check out this video to get a taste of what you and your dog might be able to achieve by training for just 10 minutes a day.
Exclusively For Humans
Creating Online Classes for Dog Professionals
Not only is Steffi willing to share her expertise with dogs and their owners, she even extends a helping hand to other professionals seeking to create online courses and training materials. This course shows participants how to develop an online training resource, covering every aspect, from the best camera angles for your videos to the best online payment systems.
Whether you’re a first-time owner or a lifetime dog enthusiast, you and your canine buddy will find new tricks, games, and skills to master at SpiritDog Training.
Affordable courses, bundles, and subscriptions give you lifetime access to invaluable training tools and materials, with step-by-step tutorials guiding you through the training process.
There are hundreds of videos and lessons to choose from and an online community with whom you can share your successes, and your struggles. Whether you’re struggling to potty train a new puppy or have a rescue dog that’s frightened of its own shadow, there’s a SpiritDog Training course just for you.
Accessible, cost-effective, and mobile-friendly, SpiritDog Training gives you quick results and the tools to keep on growing and deepening your relationship with your best four-legged friend.