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Varsity Tutors partners with Seattle-based company to train dogs virtually

Rover.com and Varsity Tutors will host a two-part "Essentials of Dog Training” class to give dog owners step-by-step instruction in reward-based training
Credit: SLBJ
Chuck Cohn, founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis-based tech company is partnering with Rover.com, an online pet services marketplace based in Seattle, to help families train their dogs virtually. Varsity Tutors has a sizable operation in Seattle with about 50 corporate employees there.

Rover.com and Varsity Tutors, which connects people with tutors and instructors, will host a two-part "Essentials of Dog Training” class to give dog owners step-by-step instruction in reward-based training.

Alison Rutty, director of new business lines at Rover, said people are relying on their dogs for companionship “more than ever” since the start of the pandemic and noted an uptick in pet adoptions in recent months.

“We thought this was a really unique opportunity to help strengthen and celebrate the bond between pet owners and pets via dog training,” Rutty said. “We know that healthy dogs and happy dogs are often well-trained dogs.”

Brian Galvin, the chief academic officer for Varsity Tutors, said the class is an opportunity to entertain families while in quarantine. The company has garnered 500,000 users since the start of the pandemic, he said. Though their classes are typically geared toward younger students, he said parents frequently ask if they can join in.

“Everybody's getting online education pushed on them somehow, and a lot of it isn't very good, “ Galvin said. “We've been at it and making our service better and better for 10 years.”

The first hourlong training sessions will be at 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday and Thursday, and Varsity Tutors will deliver them over its video platform. The classes are free and open to all. The first session will be a basic training and the second will be more advanced, Galvin said. The sessions will consist of reward-based training and “mental engagement” exercises for dogs, Rutty said.

Galvin said he expects the turnout to be in the thousands. Their target is 20,000 attendees, he said.

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