Training at your clients’ home is a wonderful way to begin your career as a dog trainer. It allows you to keep your present job and offer dog training to your clients in the evenings and on weekends. Most people prefer weekends, as their own employment makes it difficult to schedule a full hour during the weekdays. If you also maintain at least a part time job, You will have a steady income to supplement you while you build your dog training business.
You will need various types of equipment. We will discuss that in depth later in this course. Most people find something that works well for them and they develop a training style around the equipment that is used. Just remember that all dogs are unique and what works for some may not work for others.
In-home, or private, training is unique in that it allows you to see the real-life experience of your clients and their dog. This gives you a tremendous advantage in terms of problem solving. Some trainers insist that only one member of the family actually train the dog, at least in the beginning. Other trainers allow more than one member of the family to work with the dog. If more than one family member participates in the initial training, it is extremely important that they all use the same commands, and handle the dog in the same manner.
Whatever you do, do not allow adults to place responsibility for training in the hands of a child. It rarely works, and can create a great deal of frustration for you, the child, and most importantly, the dog.
For your initial consultation, you will want to meet the entire family so you can see the dynamics in the household. It is not necessary for children of any age to be present during the training itself. In fact, their presence can distract the dog.
Each dog has a unique living situation. Whether the dog is in a family of eight or is an “only child,” its owner will have certain expectation of your training arrangement.
Never take the dog out and work with it alone. Your clients will not be learning anything that way, and they are the ones that need to understand what to do between visits. Demonstrate your technique, introduce commands to the dog, and then allow the owner to attempt to duplicate it while you are present to encourage and correct them.
Many trainers bring their own, fully trained dog along to demonstrate what their dog can learn to do. If you are a competent trainer, this will work well for you. A calm, confident, obedient dog is the best demonstration to can use.
Be prepared for the fact that not every client is going to be friendly. Some might argue with your techniques. It is your job to pleasantly explain your methods and how they work. Also, you need to be prepared to offer a different method that is acceptable to both you and your client.
There are clients who simply do not work with their dogs between lessons. Pleasantly explain to them that they are actually wasting their money by not working with their dog, and that everyone will be much happier if they stick with the program for a few weeks it will take to accomplish the job. If you find that every single lesson ends up with the dog still at square one, you’re better offer referring the client to another trainer.