I am sure that we have all encountered at least one client, whose green-eyed monster has made an appearance when another client’s dog performed exceptionally well in class. What are the signs and how do we handle the situation?
Jealousy may be conveyed by:
- Smirking or making sarcastic comments
- Downplaying the success of others
- Lack of support (not complimenting or congratulating others)
- Backhanded compliments (“Oh your dog did very well, despite your messing up”)
- Tearing down others (Caustic or derisive remarks or open antagonism)
Jealousy is a normal reaction, especially when someone feels insecure about their abilities; however, we don’t want them taking it out on their dogs or making others uncomfortable.
Strategies To Address The Jealous Client
How can you as the trainer, help minimize jealousy in your class? Below are some strategies that have worked for me:
- Just as we tell our clients to ignore their dog’s bad behavior, we do the same with jealous people – ignore their behavior, NOT them.
- Look for their strengths, what they and their dogs do well, and point them out to everyone.
- Praise them for their successes and achievements (big or small).
- Encourage them when things don’t go as planned, and remind them of what they have accomplished.
- Focus your attention on their efforts (everyone can reach their potential through practice).
- Help them to improve in the areas in which they feel inadequate, you may suggest that they stay an extra 10 minutes or request a private session to catch up and feel more confident.
- Encourage a group atmosphere where everyone encourages and applauds each other and their dogs’ achievements.
- Let the group know that skills take time to learn, and through practice these skills will become second nature.
- People need to understand that like us, some dogs learn faster, while others take longer to grasp things.
And as the saying goes, no one is perfect and that includes our furry friends. So encourage them to enjoy the process of training instead of focusing on who’s achieving their goals first.
What are some of the ways you have dealt with jealousy in your class?
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