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One on One 2nd edition
Introduction

It is hard to believe that the original version of this book was written almost twenty years ago. A lot has changed since then! But thankfully, dogs have remained just the same. Our four-legged friends still bring us joy and provide unconditional love. And, they still need to learn basic obedience skills and have their behavior problems solved. Dog trainers will always be in demand. As professionals, we must be knowledgeable as well as proficient at working with both dogs and people. We must know how to teach obedience skills, feel comfortable addressing common behavior problems, and be able to solve unforeseen issues as they arise.

Although some technology and ways of teaching have changed over the years, the rewards of private training have not. If you enjoy puzzle solving, teaching, and working with both dogs and people, private training may come to be something you love doing, and may even become the entire focus of your career. It certainly has been for me. Solving a dog’s behavior issues can even make the difference that allows a dog to remain in his home. Talk about positive reinforcement for trainers!

Whether you are just embarking on your dog training career or have been in the business for some time, you will find plenty of guidance in this completely revised and updated edition. First, we’ll address a common dilemma: knowing when you are ready to teach private lessons. Perhaps you already teach group classes and would like to add one on one sessions to your offerings. Or, you may plan to focus on private lessons from the start. Either way, we’ll start at the beginning with a set of quizzes that are designed to help you to assess your skills and knowledge. You may come away feeling confident that you are ready to begin, or discover areas where further research and improvements are needed.

Don’t worry if you lack confidence! That type of anxiety is almost ubiquitous among new trainers, and is even common in experienced professionals who begin to offer different types of training. Bringing “cheat sheets” to sessions will help you to feel more self-assured, will assist in keeping you on track, and will ensure that you do not forget anything important. I will show you how to create these helpful reminders, along with sharing other ways to boost your confidence.

The operational aspect of private lessons must also be considered. How much should you charge? Should you sell single sessions, or ask clients to sign up for a package deal? How many sessions should you schedule in a day or a week, and when? All of this and more is discussed. Before you ever see a client, you will be gathering pertinent information about their dog’s issues and the situation in general. That will help you to assess whether or not you wish to take the case, and to be prepared if you do choose to work with the person. Whether you do your initial intakes by phone or online, you will learn which questions are crucial to ask, and how they should be phrased in order to get the most useful information. You will also find detailed explanations of what certain types of responses might indicate.

Then it’s on to the actual session. In this section, you will discover which things are important to bring with you, as well as how to stay safe around both people and dogs. You will learn the important skill of conducting a thorough in-person intake to ferret out essential data that can make all the difference in solving a behavior issue. You will master the art of structuring sessions to ensure excellent results, including which exercises never to do back to back. You’ll learn how to get client compliance. And, because I know many of the challenging situations that can come up when working with private clients, there is a final chapter filled with questions and useful solutions. You will also find usable contracts and handouts, and a section containing products, books, and other resources that are mentioned in these pages.

Whether you are at the beginning of your dog training career or are interested in adding private training to your roster of services, I am here to guide you step by step on this journey. Let’s get started!

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