Client-Centric Teaching

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.

Laurie Luck

Laurie Luck has been involved in the dog world for more than 20 years. Her formal education includes a M.A. in psychology, but she credits dogs for teaching her the most important concepts of behavior and training.

An entrepreneur (Smart Dog University) and social media enthusiast, Laurie delights in sharing her knowledge and experience with dog owners across the country. She is committed to helping improve the lives of dogs through education of the humans at the end of the leash. Laurie's YouTube channel offers free dog-training videos, and her blog details training experiences and ideas that every dog owner will find helpful.

A member of the ClickerExpo faculty, Laurie is also a faculty member of Karen Pryor Academy. She teaches the Dog Trainer Professional program at various locations in the United States. Laurie has spoken at regional and national conferences about both dog behavior and social media.

Laurie has been a volunteer puppy-raiser for a service-dog organization since 2001. She has had a hand in raising and training more than 16 service dogs, and enjoys being involved in the education of dogs that go on to do so much good for their human partners. Laurie and her Labrador retriever, Tango, are a certified R.E.A.D. therapy-dog team and enjoy working in the classroom with elementary school students to improve the students’ reading skills.