Yeah learning about dogs, dog body language, and training techniques is cool and all, but have you tried expanding your knowledge on the other side of dog training? I can't tell you how many talented dog trainers I know who have bad people skills, or who couldn't sell a bottled water to the thirstiest person in the world.
You need to expand your knowledge on marketing, selling and communication if you're looking to make an impact in your community or the industry as a dog trainer.
I know your time is valuable so I'll get right to it. Here are the major take aways I got from this book:
SURVEYING AND RESEARCH:
"...People wont tell you what you're doing wrong." If you misjudge a joke or if you completely fucked up the training, I have seen first hand how clients are very hesitant to bring that up face to face. Once the client left the trainer, complaints start pouring in to the supervisor, Yelp reviews get nasty, etc. etc. Usually right about then is when you hear the trainer say "They seemed so happy!". Remember, you have to be aware that unless you specifically ask, or see the glow in their face, you wont necessarily know if they are 100% satisfied with your services. So it's OK to ask!
MARKETING IS NOT A DEPARTMENT:
"Don't open a shop unless you know how to smile..." Don't be an asshole basically.
"...Your prospects face three options: Using your services, doing it themselves, or not doing it at all...in many cases, then, your biggest competitors are not your competitors. They are your prospects."
"Service businesses are about relationships. Relationships are about feelings."
"Don't assume that logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second rate." This one hits some for a lot of us in the dog training industry as we tend to worry too much about how we should set our pricing.
"Merely saying you offer great service will never work. You have to document and demonstrate it."
"A service is a promise. You're selling the promise that at some future date, you will do something. This means what you really are selling is your honesty." I FREAKING LOVE THIS LINE!!!!
This is just a few of the powerful lines I got out of this book. My only complaint with the book is that the chapters are too short. I don't like long chapters, but this book is full of small chapters. You might actually like that because then there's no excuse to read "one more chapter" before you go to bed.
Hope this review helped you and I encourage you to read this great book!
Imagine you have this beautiful dog, the ideal look when you think of a dog. The nice soft eyes, the smile, the tail wag. Also imagine this dog is your best friend. It loves spending time with you, and it's just an all around nice dog.
When people, adopt, or purchase a dog, these are the images that run through their mind. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people get that ideal dog. The reason? In general, many people aren't very good at selecting the right dog for them. It's more than just looking at a few pictures online. It's more than seeing which dog comes running to you first. It's more than looking at the breed on wikipedia, and cherry picking only the traits you find desirable.
So how do you actually select the right dog for you?
You can drastically cut down on the improper selection if you already have an idea of what type of dog would suite you best BEFORE you go to the shelter or contact the breeder. Here are a few tips:
1) Forget about the looks!
If you start focusing on the looks, you're very likely to get the wrong dog. This is a very relative concept because what you may consider a good looking dog, someone else might consider an ugly dog. You might love dogs with short snouts, some people are more into dogs with pointy ears, etc. etc. But looks should not be a priority when it comes to making a commitment that could last over 10 years. I know several people and dogs that are not happy because the selection of their dog was based solely on looks/breed rather than personality and proper match-making.
2)Take inventory of your current lifestyle.
Nothing hurts a dog and dog owner relationship more than improper matchmaking due to lifestyle requirements. Here are couple of examples:
A couple of clients I had bought a poodle when they were in their 7o's or 80's. The husband himself was barely able to move. The wife was able to walk the dog once a day (On a good week) but the dog was too young, strong and adventurous for her. Through training, I was able to help them but if you're unable to provide a dog with proper mental and physical exercise, it's best for everyone involved that you reconsider.
A guy I knew, who was bound to a wheelchair, had a working dog. This was a very strong working dog with a genetic history of sports and police work. The guy tried his best, he was a very good trainer considering his limitations, and he still had to rehome the dog.
Both of these cases would have been better off with a more mellow type of dog.
3) Contact a dog trainer.
If you are able to get in touch with a knowledgeable and responsible dog trainer, it can be easier to choose the right dog. What can a knowledgeable dog trainer do for you? A well rounded dog trainer knows temperament, they understand matchmaking and they have plenty of previous experiences in which they had to help address improper matchmaking. This dog trainer can interview you, see what you're looking for and determine which type of dog would be your ideal companion. It may seem like hiring a dog trainer to do this with you would be very expensive, but the consultation alone many times is free of charge or very affordable, a couple of lessons to pay for the trainer's time to help you get the right dog and now you are more likely to get a dog that best matches your needs.
Remember, there's no rush to get a dog. You can always wait, or get a pet that requires less time and commitment.
Please read this bill being pushed in Massachusetts, which will affect the dog training industry in that state, and indirectly, the whole country at large. (Pay special attention the lines I highlighted and underlined)
CCPDT is known for having a Purely Positive stance on dog training, which can be very limited. I encourage you to check THIS LINK to see what their values are (They will be directly involved with this bill). When you see lines like: "Least Intrusive", "Minimally Aversive", or "Science Based", you know there's lots of medication and Euthanasia involved. I have first hand seen the failures Purely Positive training has had on the lives of dogs and their owners, both in terms or emotional and financial distress.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
There is a hearing scheduled on July, 22nd! SHOW UP!! THE HEARINGS ARE PUBLIC AND YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO VOICE YOUR CONCERNS!!
If by the time you read this the hearing is over, contact the Legislative Director to voice your concern:
SECTION 1. Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General laws is hereby amended by adding the following section 137E:
SECTION 2. The following words in this section shall have the following meanings:
“Board” means the Dog Trainer Board of Examiners established under section 2 of this act.
“Director” means the Director of the Division of Professional Licensure
“Dog training” means the handling or training of dogs for a fee, salary, or other form of compensation.
“Dog trainer” means a person engaged in the practice of dog training or behavior modification who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act.
SECTION 3. There is hereby created within the Division of Professional Licensure the Dog Trainer Board of Examiners. The board shall consist of nine members who are residents of this State and who shall be appointed by the Governor, as follows: one member shall be from the Department of Agriculture; three members shall be, except for the members first appointed, dog trainers licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act; two members shall be veterinarians licensed in this State; and three members shall be affiliated with an animal protection group. The Governor shall appoint each member, other than the State executive department member, for terms of four years, except that of the members first appointed, two shall serve for a term of four years, two shall serve for a term of three years, two shall serve for a term of two years, and two shall serve for terms of one year. Any vacancy in the membership of the board shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner provided for the original appointment. No member of the board may serve more than two successive terms in addition to any unexpired term to which the member has been appointed.
SECTION 4. The board shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its members and shall annually elect from among its members a chairperson and vice-chairperson, and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the board. The board shall meet twice a year and may hold additional meetings as necessary to discharge its duties. A majority of the board membership shall constitute a quorum.
SECTION 5. The board shall:
a. adopt a seal to authenticate its records and proceedings;
b. prescribe rules pertaining to types and methods of examination of applicants for licensure;
c. examine and pass on the qualifications of applicants for licensure under this act, and issue a license to each qualified and successful applicant, attesting to the applicant’s professional qualification to practice as a dog trainer;
d. keep records of its proceedings and a register of all persons to whom licenses have been issued, and a record of all license renewals, suspensions and revocations;
e. maintain records of expenses incurred by members of the board in the performance of their duties;
f. take disciplinary action, against any dog trainer who violates the provisions of this act or any regulation promulgated hereunder;
g. adopt rules and regulations as it deems necessary to administer the provisions of this act; and
h. Prescribe or change the charges for examination, licensure, renewal and other services performed.
SECTION 6. There shall be an Executive Director of the board appointed by the director who shall serve at the director's pleasure. The salary of the Executive Director shall be determined by the director within the limit of available funds. The director may, within the limits of available funds, hire any assistants as are necessary to administer this act.
SECTION 7. No person shall practice, attempt to practice, or hold himself out as being able to practice dog training unless that person is licensed in accordance with the provisions of this act.
SECTION 8. To be eligible to be licensed as a dog trainer, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:
a. be at least 18 years of age;
b. be of good moral character; (WTF does that even mean?? Who gets to decide this??)
c. have successfully completed high school or successfully passed a high school equivalency examination developed by the General Education Development (GED) Testing Service;
d. have successfully completed a minimum of 300 hours in dog training, under the supervision of, and documented by, a dog trainer licensed pursuant to this act, within the three years immediately preceding application for licensure under this act pursuant to the following:
(1) of the 300 hours required, no less than 225 hours shall include training in conducting group dog training classes, conducting private dog training classes, and consulting with clients;
(2) of the 300 hours required, up to 75 hours may include work as a licensed dog trainer’s assistant, work as a veterinary technician or assistant, work as a dog groomer, volunteering at an animal shelter, designing dog training lesson plans, or consulting with a licensed dog trainer on client cases;
(3) hours of experience gained as a licensed dog trainer’s assistant may count toward the hours required under paragraph (1) of this subsection provided that the applicant’s role as an assistant includes actively instructing a client or training a dog;
(4) if any of the hours of experience gained under paragraph (2) of this subsection are not under the supervision of a licensed dog trainer, the applicant shall provide documentation from any other person that supervised the applicant, including, but not limited to, a veterinarian, an owner or supervisory employee of a dog grooming business, or a supervisory employee of an animal shelter; and
(5) the 300 hours of experience required under this subsection shall not apply to any applicant who submits proof satisfactory to the board no later than 180 days after the date procedures are established by the board for applying for licensure under this act that the applicant has engaged in the practice of dog training in this State continuously for at least one year prior to the effective date of this act; and
e. pass an examination administered or approved by the board to determine the applicant's competence to practice dog training; except that this requirement shall not apply to any applicant who submits proof satisfactory to the board no later than 180 days after the date procedures are established by the board for applying for licensure under this act that the applicant has passed any Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) certification examination, or any other examination that is determined by the board to be a substantially similar assessment of dog training skills and competency, prior to the effective date of this act.
SECTION 9. Each applicant for a license as a dog trainer shall be examined by the board. The examination shall be held at least twice a year at the times and places to be determined by the board. The board, in consultation with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), shall adopt as the examination required under this section any examination as developed and administered by CCPDT, or any other examination that is determined by the board to be a substantially similar assessment of dog training skills and competency.
SECTION 10. a. All licenses shall be issued for a three-year period and shall be renewed upon filing a renewal application.
b. All applicants shall pay a fee for licensure and renewal for licensure under this act. Fees shall be determined by the board and established by regulation. The revenue generated from these fees shall not exceed the operating costs incurred by the board in administering this act.
c. A license shall not be renewed until the license holder submits satisfactory evidence to the board that during the preceding three years the license holder has completed such continuing education credits as are to be determined by the board pursuant to regulation. The board shall approve, in consultation with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), continuing education credits that build upon the basic knowledge of dog training and which enhance the competency of the license holder. The board may make exceptions from the continuing education requirement in emergency or hardship cases with the approval of an affirmative vote of a majority of the board.
SECTION 11. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2021.