Do you spend most of your time teaching the dog? Or the owner? Are your learning goals set up for the dog? Or the owner? Do your clients seem to “get it,” and can they use what you taught in class out in the real world? Or, do you more often see clients “forget” everything you just taught in class as soon as they walk out the door, letting the dogs pull them across the lot to the cars?
Most dog-obedience instruction (group and individual training) focuses on what the dog will learn. To be effective, however, focusing on what the human will learn is even more important. Even more crucial for success is taking a step back and looking at what dog owners need in real life. Life isn’t a dog-obedience classroom. Life is messy! Because dog owners need information that will help them right away, and because they live in the real world, teaching should give them what they need instead of an idealized version of the “textbook” execution of dog-training exercises.
This talk will introduce client-centric ideas to consider working with dog owners. We will discuss the importance of empathy and building rapport with clients. In addition, we’ll look into the importance of formulating a management plan the owner can implement immediately, as well as setting realistic expectations and helping the owner develop accountability for implementing the training and management plan(s) you provide.