Want to start training your dog but aren’t ready to put down a big cash deposit for a dog trainer? Luckily there are plenty of free dog training videos on the web that can jump-start your dog training!
Whether you’re thrilled to teach your brand-new puppy some new tricks, you want to try a dog sport that’s not available in your area, or you need help with your dog’s serious behavior concern, there are online dog training resources that can help.
We’ll list out some of the best resources here!
Note: Some of the paid videos we recommend further down have affiliate links, which means K9 of Mine may get a commission if you choose to buy a paid course (don’t worry, we mostly talk about free stuff). We haven’t let this affect our recommendations, but we thought you should know!
From puppy training to teaching your dog to stay, there are plenty of great free dog training videos out there. Let’s look at some of the best free dog training videos on the Internet!
Trainer’s Qualifications: Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, PhD, and behaviorist who founded the Association for Professional Dog Trainers. He’s something like the father of modern dog training, and honestly there are few trainers out there who are more qualified than he is.
All of Dr. Dunbar’s videos are hosted on his own website – Dunbar Academy – so we couldn’t embed any of his videos here, but below is a TED Talk he gave on dog behavior. Yeah – this guy knows his stuff!
If you’d like to go more in-depth than his free videos, he offers an $8/month and $20/month subscription package. Each extra payment level gives you a bit more access to Dr. Dunbar’s nearly-endless knowledge.
The $8 per month level gives you access to six classes (from how to pick a puppy through aggression) and a library of seminars. The $20 per month level gives you everything at the $8/month level, plus more classes, four books, 13 videos, and 10 seminars and workshops. There’s new material being added to the $20/month level all the time.
Dr. Dunbar has taught thousands of seminars on these subjects, and his knowledge shows.
Constructive Criticism: Some people find Dr. Dunbar’s voice a bit dry, and complain that they could fall asleep to his English accent. Some of his methods are not the most progressive around, but they are still incredibly well-backed in research.
Best For: Everything from before you get your puppy to dealing with behavior problems. Dr. Dunbar is a true puppy whiz, but his behavior modification skills shouldn’t be ignored, either!
Avoid For: Dr. Dunbar is good for just about anything. If Dr. Dunbar is selling it, I’d buy it.
Trainer’s Qualifications: JoAnne Basinger is a graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, a prestigious school for professional trainers. She is also a member of the Association for Professional Dog Trainers and is an experienced marine mammal trainer. In other words, this woman knows her stuff!
What We Love: JoAnne keeps her videos short and to the point. She does a great job of showing a few different options for each skill in a very short timeframe. JoAnne is clearly skilled and well-educated.
Constructive Criticism: Unfortunately, it seems like JoAnne’s Howcast videos are pretty limited. There are only 24 videos on the site, and it doesn’t seem like Howcast is producing more. This means that you might not be able to find what you’re looking for from JoAnne.
Best For: All-around dog training, especially puppy training, new shelter dog training, and tricks.
Avoid For: Anything that she doesn’t cover, such as behavior problems or advanced tricks and sports.
Trainer’s Qualifications: Emily Larlham does not seem to have any professional credentials, but like Tab Shamsi (below), she seems well-educated and has excellent videos. She focuses on building a trusting relationship with your dog through kind, science-backed training methods.
What We Love: Emily (Kikopup) keeps her videos concise and demonstrates with a variety of dogs. She does an excellent job with multi-dog training, something that’s hard to find good examples of elsewhere. Her trick training is truly top-notch.
Constructive Criticism: Emily sometimes has some pauses in her speech in a way that can be a bit distracting.
Best For: Tricks, building your relationship with your dog, and working through behavior problems.
Avoid For: Serious behavior concerns, as most of the content is on the lighter side. Not best for people who really like flashy, high energy videos.
I learned to train dogs volunteering at a rescue that specialized in rescuing and re-training “unadoptable dogs.” Since then, I’ve trained thousands of shelter dogs and helped hundreds of families with their difficult dogs.
What We Love: I record most of my videos first on Facebook Live during my “Training Tuesday” free lessons. That means you can join me at 7pm EST on Facebook and interact with me while I film a lesson on a given topic. This is pretty unique from other free video trainers!
Constructive Criticism: My video quality isn’t as top-notch as others out there, so it can be frustrating to watch some of my videos on a bigger screen. I promise, I’m working on upgrading my equipment (and my editing skills). My lessons are much longer than many others, which isn’t great for a quick bit of information.
Best For: People who like to ask questions while they learn, since the Facebook Live aspect offers an additional level of interaction. Also a good choice for dogs with behavior problems such as aggression and anxiety.
Avoid For: Competitive dogsports, and people who are bothered by “low production value” videos.
Trainer’s Qualifications: While Zak George seems to be on the same page as many professional dog training organizations with his methodology, it doesn’t seem like this celebrity trainer has any education or credentials that make him stand out knowledge-wise.
What We Love: Zak George’s videos are truly made for YouTube — his videos are chopped up into tidbits of easy-to-understand info. He’s cheerful and charismatic, and his training is all rooted in positive reinforcement. We love that he’s so popular – he’s really helping bring positive dog training to more people.
Constructive Criticism: Some of Zak’s videos on behavior modification highlight his lack of training in aggression cases — he does not use the appropriate safety precautions, and I would not recommend following his advice for working with aggressive dogs.
He can also be a bit “too YouTube-y” for my taste, with an over-caffeinated feel and dramatic shots. It sometimes feels more like marketing and entertainment than true education. His more recent videos are also full of promotions for his dog food line.
Best For: Basic obedience, puppy training.
Avoid For: Behavior modification, especially regarding aggression.
Trainer’s Qualifications: Like Zak George, Tab Shamsi doesn’t seem to have any professional affiliations, specific education, or dog training credentials. Nevertheless, his skills are solid and his training methods align with the modern science of learning theory.
What We Love: Training Positive is more down-to-earth and earnest than Zak George, making him easier to watch in my opinion — it feels less frenetic! His training skills are solid and he does a great job of breaking down the skills.
Training Positive is the only YouTube trainer that I have personally used to teach my dog a trick, whereas I’ve used the others on this list only to demonstrate for clients.
Constructive Criticism: I can’t find much about Shamsi’s training credentials online, which might not matter if you’re focused on tricks and obedience. However, I don’t like seeing uncredentialed trainers teaching behavior modification. From a viewing standpoint, he might also be a bit less exciting to watch than Zak George for people who like the YouTuber style of video.
Best For: Basic obedience, puppy training, dog sports, and trick training.
Avoid For: Aggression, anxiety, and other behavior concerns.
You might notice a conspicuous absence from this list of free dog training videos: Doggie Dan. Doggie Dan also provides paid courses, but his free videos are generally where people start.
When I was researching this article, I signed up for Doggie Dan’s free course. It started off well enough — he doesn’t advocate scaring the you-know-what out of your dog in an attempt to get her to behave. But just a few seconds later, he says he also doesn’t use treats.
I’m sorry, but it’s just about impossible to really get much done with dogs without either scaring them or using food rewards. Sure, some dogs will work in exchange for petting, praise, and toys (I’ve got a ball fiend who would actually rather have a ball than chicken). But for most dogs, food is their preferred paycheck.
In fact, science says that dogs just don’t work as hard for praise and petting as they do for treats. Your training will be slower and less effective. So I was pretty skeptical as soon as I saw that in his training videos.
The final straw for me, though, was seeing how Doggie Dan’s dogs interacted with him. In one of his free videos, his dog stands stock-still, with wide eyes and lip licking. The dog’s ears are back and its tail is tucked — many classic calming signals. The dog does not want to be near Doggie Dan.
Dogs don’t lie. I don’t recommend taking advice from a trainer whose dog is not filled with joy about its training. Doggie Dan advocates a pack-leader based “balanced” training approach that I strongly disagree with (and so does almost every professional dog training organization out there: AVSAB, APDT, PPG, CPDT).
While Doggie Dan does have some good, positive reinforcement-based and science-based sections of his course, I simply can’t recommend him based off of my experience with his free class.
Don’t just take my word for it: another pro trainer wrote this excellent in-depth review of Doggie Dan’s training.
There also are a variety of other online resources where you can learn to train your dog, ranging from free blogs to private coaching sessions. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of those approaches, too.
Let’s go through the pros and cons of online dog training.
It seems like you can do just about anything online these days — including learning how to train your dog.
As a professional dog behavior consultant, I’ve got a pretty sharp eye for the good, the bad, and the ugly of other trainers. That said, I actually love online dog training videos, in general.
There are tons of reasons why free dog training videos are awesome. Sure, they’re free – but there are other reasons why these videos are awesome too!
Free or Lower-Cost. This means that it’s easy to dabble and shop around to find a trainer who’s right for you. If you don’t like someone or it’s not working for you, no biggie. Just move on.
Private dog training can be incredibly expensive, so it’s pretty awesome that free videos allow you to get access to good information, even if you’re an owner on a tight budget.
Other versions of online dog training, such as private coaching or online group classes, also tend to be much cheaper than in-person options. When you take into account the gas savings (or hotel savings if you were considering a seminar), online training is a no-brainer cost-wise.
On-Demand Format. In-person courses and trainers take time to set up. Even if you’ve got unlimited money and a flexible schedule, odds are there isn’t a new class for exactly what you need that starts this week (or even next week). But with online dog training, you can get started right now.
Location-Independent. Finding a good dog trainer, especially for a specific issue, can be depressingly difficult. Even when I lived in Denver, I struggled to find an agility trainer who offered classes close to me and/or at a time that worked for me.
Online classes are available wherever internet is fast enough for your chosen course format. That’s a pretty huge step up!
Access to the Best of the Best. From puppy school to competitive obedience, it’s hard for a local trainer to “do it all.” Online training lets you get access to the absolute best of the best dog trainers, even if that trainer lives in another country.
This is especially true for behavior problems and dog sports. While most basic obedience and “pet dog training” (teaching your dog basic cues and manners) is decently easy to cover with your local training options, it can be hard to troubleshoot difficult problems or get to the higher levels of competition with just your local options.
That all said, online dog training is not perfect. In-person dog training isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and there are some good reasons why.
Nothing is perfect, and free dog training videos online do have a number of drawbacks and pitfalls.
No Feedback on Your Own Skills. Dog training, especially movement-based skills like pulling on the leash, requires some precise mechanical skills. It’s easy to plateau in your skills if you don’t have someone watching you. A trainer’s skillful eye can help identify that your dog isn’t sitting because you are leaning backwards, or that your dog continues to shy away from a stranger because of that stranger’s body position.
Some online dog training schools deal with this problem by allowing you to send video of your training sessions for feedback. This can lead to more detailed feedback because your trainer can re-watch things in slow motion, which is pretty cool! However, this is not going to be an option in any free video lesson.
Difficult to Ask Questions. If you get stuck, it can be difficult to ask an online dog trainer for questions. Each format is different, but most YouTube dog trainers simply aren’t going to respond to every single question. You get what you pay for in most cases, and free courses probably won’t offer much in the way of support from the trainer.
The Wild West of Training Techniques. We’ve discussed in other articles how dog training is a frighteningly unregulated field. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the Internet is even worse than the “real world” as far as this goes. Since just about anyone can set up a smartphone and make a video about dog training, it’s easy to end up watching videos from some charismatic know-nothing. That’s why it’s so important to hold online dog trainers to the same standards as in-person dog trainers.
Not Well-Suited for All Learning Styles. If you learn best by practicing with real-time feedback, dog training videos are probably going to be pretty frustrating. If you opt for an online dog training course instead of a free dog training video, you might get more variety in how information is presented. But it’s still not quite the same as an in-person class!
Might be Algorithm-Focused Rather Than Education-Focused. Online dog trainers are forced to pander to Google and YouTube’s algorithms, which are based on click-through-rates, watch time, and other metrics that reflect user behavior rather than the educator’s skills.
If an online dog trainer is paid based on advertising fees (which is probably the case if the course is free) or selling her courses, she’s incentivized to write eye-catching headlines and spend her time being as entertaining as possible.
Unfortunately, good training doesn’t always make good TV. In other words, the Internet rewards the flashiest, not necessarily the best.
Many of these pros and cons really come down to finding the best dog trainers on the Internet, rather than just the gal or guy who floats to the top of a tech company’s algorithm!
If you’re looking to really deepen your understanding of dog behavior and dog training (or you’re more of a reader than a watcher), there are tons of excellent resources available online for you that aren’t in video form.
Of course, you can get truly excellent information from us right here at K9 of Mine. We cover everything from how to pick out the right dog to how to socialize an aggressive dog — and most of our training advice is written by yours truly, a pro dog trainer!
That said, we’re not the only dog experts on the internet.
If you’re looking for really good dog behavior advice online, here are a few other good places to go for free dog training advice:
Attention, Podcast Fans! If you’re more of a podcast listener and prefer to consume content via audio, make sure to check out our list of the best free dog training podcasts (featuring many of the trainers we’ve already discussed here).
There are tons of different ways to gather dog training knowledge – just pick your poison and have at it!
The best things in life aren’t always free.
A lot of true dog training experts offer online dog behavior help for a fee. Before you cringe and scroll back up to the free options, remember this: if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.
What does that mean? Any “free” program is going to be funded somehow – generally through ads or through up-selling you to a course.
On the other hand, if you pay for a product, you’re paying for the instructor’s time and knowledge. Since they’re not making money with ads, product placements, or affiliate sales, paid courses are extremely motivated to provide you with the very best information that they can.
Of course, free resources are trying to give you good information too. But that’s not their only way to make money, so they might be a bit more focused on marketing a product or selling affiliate links than going to seminars and learning how to provide you with the very best training information around.
Another bonus of paid courses is that most of these paid online dog training options have some sort of specialty you probably won’t find anywhere on the web for free. Keep that in mind before purchasing!
I’ve already sang the praises of Dr. Dunbar above when talking about his free programs.
At just $8 or $20 per month,Dr. Dunbar’s Dog Behavior and Training program is a total steal! Go ahead and test it out over a long weekend or when you’ve got some spare time.
For $20, you’ll be able to get through a good amount of material in a test month and decide if it’s worth sticking with the program. Given how great his information it is, I honestly don’t see a better option out there.
Brain Training for Dogs is a program by Adrienne Farricelli. Adrienne is a Karen Pryor Academy graduate, a certification that holds a decent amount of weight.
Her online training program is highly praised by other trainers, though I have to admit that I haven’t tested it personally. Her program also provides access to an active forum and online community.
Adrienne has really invested in making the program easy to follow and user-friendly, which is incredibly important. It does seem like the program is very trick focused, which could be disappointing for owners who are really focused on practical training. However, at just a one-time flat rate of $47, it’s cheaper than date night in most U.S. cities.
Malena DeMartini-Price’s Program: This is the real deal. Malena DeMartini is basically the world expert in separation anxiety — she literally wrote the book on it. Malena and her team offer a suite of options for owners with dogs who have separation anxiety issues.
From her $99 “Mission Possible” program to an $840 intensive online seminar (with much more in-depth one-on-one support), Malena is there for you and ready to resolve your dog’s panic at being alone. Given that most separation anxiety behavior consultants charge around $100 per hour to meet with you, this self-study $99 course is a no-brainer to try first!
Again with the full disclosure, Journey Dog Training is my own site. I currently offer two one-on-one services and am building self-study courses to keep costs low.
Whereas the other online dog training programs on this list are largely self-study courses or webinar-style classes focused on puppies, tricks, sports, and obedience, I almost exclusively work with dog behavior issues.
I offer an unlimited email support package for $20/month where owners can simply go back-and-forth with me about their dog’s training, and I’ll give tips and next steps as you progress. I’ve successfully helped dogs with food aggression, extremely fearful puppy-mill dogs, dog-cat introductions, and reactive dogs in this format.
For more in-depth help, I also offer one-hour video training services that range from $35 (for basic training) to $50 per hour (for behavior issues). This is a great way to get one-on-one help for training problems either on an ongoing basis, or to troubleshoot a pesky problem. I
It’s similar to the free helpline provided by Denver Dumb Friends League (where I got my training in remote behavior help), but with three big differences: I offer recurring and ongoing support, I’ll work with aggressive dogs, and I will do video instead of just phone.
Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (FDSA): While “FDSA” isn’t the only trainer on this list that I’ve personally dabbled with (I’ve watched videos and/or worked with almost everyone on this list), FDSA is the only program on this list that I personally have paid for in order to continue my own education.
That’s how good FDSA is.
Every two months, FDSA starts a new “term” where there are nearly fifty different courses running at once. These courses are taught by true experts in each field, like Sarah Stremming for agility, Stacy Barnett for scentwork, and obedience with Hannah Brannigan.
FDSA is broken into roughly ten different “schools” ranging from Behavior and Foundations to Rally Obedience and Health and Fitness. Within each school, you can select a given course (at a 100 to 500 level of difficulty), then choose to take the course at a gold (generally $260 for a six-week course), silver (generally $130 for a six-week course) or bronze level ($65 for a six-week course).
The gold-level students get the most interaction with the instructor (and they pay the corresponding premium) while the bronze-level students are more of just “lurkers” that get to learn but don’t get to ask questions.
It’s a pretty amazing setup that is very different from just a series of PDFs and pre-recorded videos made into a class. I honestly can say that I learned more in my last FDSA course on TEAM Obedience than I did in my in-person agility classes in Denver.
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So there you have it. From free YouTube videos to Malena DeMartini’s $840 online course, dog training has hit the digital age. And with a bit of sleuthing to find the right format and the right instructor, you can learn just as much from an online trainer as you can from an in-person trainer.
What have you learned from online dog trainers? What format do you find works best for you and your dog?
Kayla Fratt is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the IAABC and works as a professional dog trainer through the use of positive reinforcement methods. She also has experience working as a Behavior Technician at Denver Dumb Friends League rehabilitating fearful and reactive dogs.