Go Beyond Phone Consultations With Your Potential Dog Trainer
Throughout my dog training career in Pittsburgh, I have encountered many people and dogs seeking help. When dog owners contact me for dog training advice, we have a free phone consultation so that I can get an idea on what issues they are experiencing with their dog, and also answer any preliminary training questions and concerns they might have.
However, if the owner agrees to training on the phone, I still do not sign them up right away. Instead, we schedule an in-home consultation before any contracts are signed or any training plans are created.
Many other dog trainers will give out free phone consultations, and immediately take on a client and give them a prescribed training protocol over the phone. However, I am a Pittsburgh dog trainer that does things a little differently. I don’t want to draw final conclusions about a dog’s behavior on the phone, when I haven’t even met the dog OR owner yet. Phone consultations are followed up with a personal consultation at the owner’s home, because this allows me to get a real idea on what’s going on. It allows me to see how the owner and dog interact, how the dog behaves in the home (and outside), how the dog reacts to a guest in the home (which can be a big trigger for many dogs, ranging from hyperactivity, fear, or aggression), and how both owner and dog live out their regular routines and lifestyles together. Also, in most cases, when I come to a home, I discover another behavior issue that was not mentioned on the phone! This is typically because either the owner forgot and remembered once we started talking in the same room, or because the owner did not draw the connection themselves.
For example while working with a dog trainer in Raleigh, I had a consultation for a dog named Parker last month. When their owner first called, they kept talking about how Parker had severe separation anxiety, and in general, seemed like a skittish dog all around. When I arrived for the initial in-home consultation, Parker was very timid around me, and seemed to pace and whine nonstop. As I learned more about Parker and his owner, I then suggested we continue the consultation, but on a walk together. Parker needed some better leash skills, but as we continued talking and walking, Parker seemed to calm down and become more at ease. Parker’s owner led a very sedentary life, which was not a good match for Parker’s breed. Parker also lacked basic obedience skills and commands, which left Parker to his own devices, thus causing him to feel anxious without anyone directing him. When we finished the consultation, we came back to the house, and Parker laid down, relaxing. No whining or pacing, just staying calm and even appearing more confident. Parker and his owner signed up instantly after that.
Just by meeting and observing Parker and his owner, while getting into a more in-depth conversation about the issues and training, I was able to determine a training plan that would specifically address Parker’s anxiety and lifestyle.
We created a protocol that would give Parker more physical and mental exercise than what he’s used to. I didn’t have to make Parker’s owner run five miles with him every morning, but only creating a consistent exercise routine that was practical for both dog and owner. And if there was a lack of physical activity, then the training also provided plenty of mental stimulation, which is just as tiring and rewarding as a long walk in the neighborhood.
When you speak to a trainer that automatically diagnoses your dog and prescribes you with a training plan on the phone or online, without meeting you or your dog, then run!
A trainer can get a good idea on what’s going on just by speaking to you on the phone, but it will be more helpful for everyone if the trainer meets you and your dog before mapping out a training plan. This will paint a more detailed picture on what’s going on, and allow the trainer to create a plan that covers all bases, and addresses all the issues that may be occurring. It doesn’t matter what they say on the phone — “Just have a shorter leash”, “He just needs a shock collar”, “Your dog sounds too aggressive so you should consider rehoming” (DEFINITELY run from any trainer that says this without meeting your dog first!!!)….the trainer will not be able to fully help and understand your dog’s problems without meeting them first. An in-home consultation may not be a free phone consultation, but it will ensure that your chances of success are greater!
We’re here to address ALL issues and training goals, and we’re ready to listen to you over the phone AND in person!
Call us for a phone consultation at 800-649-7297, and we can talk about setting up an in-home consultation.