Top Posts From 2017

Top Posts From 2017

2017 has come to an end, but we covered some pretty interesting topics this past year. Let’s take a quick look back at some of the most popular articles in 2017 to review and help us prepare for 2018.


1. Guest Post: A Passion for Primitive Dogs

It’s safe to say that primitive dogs have a passionate following. This article was our most popular article of the year. It spread like wildfire across social media and brought attention to the unique needs of primitive dogs. In this article, Molly Sumner shares some of her experiences living with and training several kinds of primitive dogs. This is a must-read for anyone that works directly with or intends to work with primitive dog breeds.


2. Top 7 High-Value Training Treats

One of the must-have skills of a talented professional dog trainer that utilizes positive methods is to truly understand what motivates a dog. Each dog is different and is motivated by different rewards. In this particular post, our contributor Liz Wyant identified seven popular high-value treats that professionals or dog owners can use to motivate and train the dogs they are working with.


3. How To Socialize Puppies Before Getting Them Fully Vaccinated

It’s clear that raising a puppy correctly helps prevent many behavior problems in the first place which helps to explain why this post is ever popular. Getting your or your client’s puppy out for socialziation during the critical early socialization periods is very important, but it can be challenging to do it without putting the puppy in health compromising situations. In this post, contributor Jorge Melara shares some professional tips for puppy socialization.


4. Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2017

At the end of each year Kat Camplin, our long-time contributor and podcast co-host, rounds up a list of highly anticipated conferences for the upcoming year. It’s no surprise that this post is still one of the most popular posts of the year. Looking into 2018 conferences? Check out our Top Animal Behavior Conferences of 2018 post.


5. 5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

Professional dog trainers are always looking to improve their lessons and classes. One of the best ways to get students to utilize their newly learned skills is to have them play games with their dogs. In this post, Monica Callahan lists out several games professional dog trainers can use in their obedience classes to improve their student’s mechanical training skills.


6. Review Of The Perfect Fit Harness

Professional dog trainers are always on the look out for the best and latest equipment that might help them better manage a dog. Setting a dog up to make the right choices is critical in making lasting behavior changes. In this post, contributor Lisa White shared her thoughts about the Perfect Fit Harness.


7. Mental Stimulation Ideas For Dogs

Another trick professional dog trainers often use to improve behavior, increase confidence, and reduce boredom is to utilize toys and games to increase mental stimulation. In this post, Laurie Schlossnagle shares some of her favorite ways to mentally challenge dogs.


8. How To Choose A Dog Training Business Name

One of the first thoughts that goes through a new dog trainer’s mind when they decide to start their own business is, “what should I call my business?!” It’s an important decision because it cannot be easily changed so in this post Kat shares some critical things to consider before deciding on a business name.


9. Top 5 Favorite Dog Harnesses For Training

Every trainer has their favorite harness. In this post, Lisa takes a look at several force-free harness options that allow better control over the dog without sacrificing the dog’s comfort.


10. Three Ways To Teach Relaxation

Until I got deep into the science of dog training and animal learning theory, the thought that I could teach an animal to relax never crossed my mind. Since I’ve learned how to train this skill, it’s one of my go-to strategies when working with high-anxiety, impulsive, and reactive dogs. In this article, Monica shares three different strategies you can use to teach your dogs or your clients’ dogs to relax at home or in class.


To Niche Or Not To Niche

To Niche Or Not To Niche

how to find a niche in dog trainingTwo species cannot coexist if their needs are identical. Competition for food, water, and shelter is bad enough within the same species, if you add another species one will out-compete the other. The ecological niche relies on the assumption that diversity will always give one species an advantage, no matter how slight. If each species has something unique, then no two species will occupy exactly the same niche. The species Dog Trainer needs to diversify in order to compete.

Dog trainers already occupy a niche by their service area. You cannot compete with a trainer in Ohio if you’re living in Oregon. But is location niche enough? If you’re doing exactly what everyone else is doing in the exact same way then someone will out-compete the other. There must be a difference for a dog owner to choose you over the competition. “When two species are in competition, the outcome will be either the exclusion of one species or the evolution of one or both species resulting in less or no competition.”  Either one trainer will win all the resources or both will evolve so there is less competition. It’s time to evolve.

Who is competing with you for your resources?

If you are alone in your service area then you basically have nothing to worry about. Dog owners will call you for whatever they need. Your limitation may be your own time availability and resources, not competition from other trainers. If other trainers are in your area then you have competition over resources, namely dog owners. The people that hire you now have some choices, so who are they going to hire? How will they decide?

It is important to keep up with who and what your competition is doing and offering. Pretend to be a dog owner and do some internet searches for your location plus “dog training” and “dog trainer.” If you’re in a high competition area you may be surprised to find the top people in each search are different. Does their service area overlap with yours? Is it a multiple trainer company that can hit a wider audience? Are they also offering other services like pet sitting, dog walking, or transportation? Do they offer the same services as you? If you offer group and in-home instruction, do they do the same? Who are they targeting? What service is first on the home page of the website? This will give you a clue as to what they really want to concentrate on.

Finally, what do their reviews look like? Do they have any? Are they good, bad, or in the middle? Are they active on social media? Do their followers interact with them on social media? Do they have a YouTube channel with weekly videos? Or is there one video on their channel from 5 years ago?

Once you gather all this information you can see who your closest competition is and how they’re doing with it. You can then diversify.

The Price Niche

After location the next niche trainers normally use is setting their prices in comparison to their competition. Do you match them, undercut them, or charge more than them? The normal inclination is to match prices thinking that is what the local population is willing to pay. The problem with that is your competition may have set prices during a recession and never raised them, or set them during a boom and never lowered them.

Price comparison shoppers will always be there, but they don’t make the best clients. They chose you because you met their price point, not because you’re great and not because they like they way you do things. You cost what they want to pay, that’s it. The flip side is the shopper who wants the best and thinks the best costs more. There are fewer of these in your local population, but if you’re going to go after them you will need to be much higher than your competition. This isn’t a $10 more kind of thing. This is the $100 surround sound system vs the $4000 in-home theater system thing. If you’re going to go after this market the difference needs to be significant.

Unless your competition is targeting a vastly different customer you should never match prices. Matching services and pricing means high competition for the same target resource: dog owners who are willing to spend a specific amount of money on training services. If you feel the need to match prices then there must be something different about you to make you stand out.

The Certification Niche

A lot of trainers use certifications and education as a way to stand out against the competition. While education and proof of knowledge standards are great for the profession, they haven’t quite filtered down to the average dog owner yet. It’s been said many times that clients don’t understand all the letters after a trainer’s name, and if they did, there’s really no data on whether they’d care or not.

We know the certification niche works in some cases because there are quite a few organizations that are now offering them. More trainers are adding letters after their name, which means they are either viewing them as an industry standard or a marketing tactic. It’s probably more the industry standard view. A certification niche can work in some areas. College towns and areas with residents with advanced college degrees will see the logical benefit of education, even if they don’t value it as a choice selector. By all means, fly your certification flags and put logos on marketing material. You worked hard to get them and deserve to use them, they just probably aren’t helping people choose you over the competition.

The Method Niche

The nice vs. not nice training method niche is one we see often. Using “positive” and “nice” and “friendly” training as a way to find a market of people who want to be nice to their dogs is certainly a way to separate you from the competition. Unfortunately, most people want to be nice to their dogs. In fact, they think they’re already being nice to their dogs even if they’re throwing chains at them. People want to be nice to their dogs but they also want their dog to stop peeing on the sofa and refusing to come when called. They don’t particularly care how they get these things to stop, they just need them to stop.

That said, the “positive” and “nice” and “friendly” approach isn’t a bad idea when we switch it to people skills. The dogs aren’t writing the checks, the humans are, so if your niche is that you’re kind and friendly and supportive to people then you’ll have a leg up on the competition. This niche works when your goal is to be someone’s dog trainer. Your feedback for this niche is clients saying, “Let me give you the name of my dog trainer,” instead of “Oh, I have a great dog trainer.” This is the personal approach; the bonding of client and coach where you become “theirs” instead of just an “a”.

The Dog Type Niche

This is the meat and potatoes of the niche market that separates the girls from the Girl Scouts. This niche concentrates on some segment of the dog population such as breed, age, and problem behaviors. You love poodles, so go after the poodle owners. You love puppies, so go after the puppy owners. You love dogs that hide behind things, so go after the fearful dog owners.

Marketing in this niche can take some skill and some research. For instance, you need to be sure someone in your local habitat isn’t also a poodle lover going after poodle owners. If there are already three trainers targeting puppy owners you will either need to do things very differently or find another niche. Remember, the whole point of the niche is to lower competition, not increase it, so finding an untargeted market segment is the only way to do it. 

Marketing language for this niche will move away from generalities like “dog trainer” to “puppy trainer” or “poodle trainer.” The problems you list will move away from a general list of behaviors to those more commonly found in your target market. Targeting puppies might use teething and jumping and sleeping through the night, while targeting poodles might move more to handling for grooming and curbing zoomies.

Once you find your market look at your previous clients who were your ideal customers and what problems they were having. Look at intake forms and emails from them to find the language they used to describe their dog. Make a list of terms and then compare. You’ll find that the language people use to describe their dog or problem are pretty consistent. These are also the terms they’re going to use to search for a trainer to help them. These lower competition keywords are your low hanging fruit to integrate into marketing materials. It really doesn’t matter whether you are targeting a breed or a problem or an age, there is a commonality to the language people use to describe their dogs. These words are how you target your niche.

The Human Type Niche

The alternative to the Dog Type niche is the Human Type niche. This segment targets specific human groups defined by age, family status, or special circumstances. Seniors, families, first-time pet owners, college students, and stay at home moms would fit in this niche.

Marketing language for this niche is focused on the human need instead of the dog problem. Understanding your targeted niche means understanding what problems they’re likely to encounter and how to help them. For example, college students may have problems with separation anxiety or how to deal with unruly roommates. A senior might walk slower, travel more, or need the dog to be okay when grandkids come over once a month. Understanding the environment and conditions each segment creates means you can sell personalized preventative training instead of problem solving. While problems will certainly occur, being the guru of a human niche means you’ll have the experience to solve them.

Getting your message in front of your chosen market segment can be a bit different than trying to tap the general dog owner. You need to find out where they hang out in your area, what they read or view, and how to reach them. Don’t discount senior centers and public parks and local neighborhood apps to reach these audiences. Be clear who you are targeting with keywords concentrating on the human need and experience instead of the dog’s.

The Activity Type Niche

The Activity Type niche is where the crazy people are. Okay, they’re not really crazy, but they’re usually goal driven and competitive. This segment isn’t so much about problem solving as it is about skill building. It also covers both ends of the leash since good handling skills are needed by the human to compete well.

Agility, scent work, obedience, tricks, canine parkour, hiking, kayaking, and herding all fall into this niche. For some of these activities interest and skill is not enough, clients want titles and a lot of experience. Experience does tend to include training multiple breeds to do the task, not just your own dogs.

This niche lends itself to creating communities, and you really should view part of your task will be community building. The human social aspect of classes and competing and engaging in the activity is part of why people do it. Being a great trainer in a sport or activity will allow you to introduce people to each other and build friendships just by the very nature of how you set up the learning environment. Clients who fall into this niche are usually in it for the long haul, so cultivate each one and you’ll have a repeat customer for a very long time.

While marketing to this niche is pretty straightforward since the keywords are built into the activity language, this segment lends itself to using a lot more visual images and video than other segments. Video of a calm dog enjoying a ride on a kayak, agility runs, photos of ribbons, and huge smiles will go farther than a website page called “Canine Kayak Training”.

This niche can be easier to reach by attending local events and taking part in the sport. On the plus side, all those entry fees and travel expenses are tax deductible.

Final Thoughts

Marketing to everyone is marketing to none. This is true in the ecology of every profession, but perhaps more so with dog training. Reducing your competition by doing what you enjoy for a price you can live on will bring you years of a successful career instead of slogging through clients you hate just to get by.

Did we miss a niche? What’s your marketing segment? Let us know in the comments!Save

Why You Should Attend A Dog Trainer Mastermind Group (+ Our First Meetup!)

Why You Should Attend A Dog Trainer Mastermind Group (+ Our First Meetup!)

Ever wish you had a group of local, friendly dog trainers to talk to? What about a group of dog trainers you felt comfortable bouncing ideas off of?

A networking event, or better yet a Mastermind Meetup (otherwise known as a peer advisory board), can be extremely useful to gain traction when you’re first starting out or even if you’re stuck in a rut in your current businesses. Getting an outsider’s perspective from someone that’s been in your shoes can be the best way to open new opportunities for you and your business.

mastermind group for dog trainersA mastermind meetup is a group of like-minded individuals that get together from time to time to share their goals, obstacles, experiences, and insights to benefit the group as a whole. You learn from each other, you keep each other accountable, and you support and help each other. There are many benefits, both tangible and intangible, to having a group like this to turn to as you start your own dog training business or grow a business you already have.

1. You Can Make Life-Long Friends And Partnerships

When you’re meeting with like-minded people that are passionate about the same things you are, you’re able to connect on a whole new level. You’ll feel like you’ve found “your people” and share business and personal challenges, goals, or experiences that are helping you succeed or inhibiting your progress. You’ll have an instant, reliable, supportive network to turn to as you start and grow your business.

Not to mention, the endless opportunities for collaboration and cross promotion that will result in having a strong support network of like-minded trainers in your area! Just because a group of trainers service the same area doesn’t mean you necessarily overlap in target audiences, skillsets, availability, types of services, and more! These days, there is usually more business coming in than many dog trainers can handle. The mindset you should have if you’re looking to network and find a mastermind group is that there truly is an abundance of business and dog training clients that need your help.

2. You Discover New, Creative Solutions For Your Business

The benefit of speaking to others who have been in your shoes and are like-minded is that you can collect valuable, honest, and relevant feedback about your business choices and initiatives. You can hear how others of similar backgrounds and passions would approach your challenges and generate ideas to overcome them.

When you’re surrounded by other like-minded individuals, you’ll feel validated that you’re on the right path to reach your goals and your dream. Seeing others succeed will help to motivate you to keep going as well.

Additionally, a facilitator or someone who hosts/organizes the mastermind meetup, also has a wealth of knowledge and resources to share with the group and is going above and beyond to help others grow and succeed as well. They bring their own skill set and experiences to the table.

3. You’ll Be Accountable To Make Improvements

Ideas are great, but taking action is better! 

One of the most valuable aspects of having a mastermind group is that you can hold each other accountable so you all make progress in your businesses. 

Mastermind groups are more than just a networking event. You actually sit down, share your goals, and work together to make actionable plans to make improvements within your businesses. When you share your goals and action items with someone else, you’re more likely to take those steps and reach your goals!

The connections you make in a mastermind group go much further than a handshake at a networking event. You’re truly in it together to help each other stay accountable so everyone in the group can succeed. 

7 reasons to attend a mastermind group for dog trainers4. You’ll Gain Industry Insights Found Nowhere Else

When you get together with other people from within your industry, you can gain insights you won’t find online, in books, or in seminars. Each person brings their own unique learning experiences to the table for all to learn from. One person’s challenge becomes a learning experience for everyone in the group. There is just nothing like it! There is nowhere else to find this kind of knowledge.

5. You Find Relief In Knowing You’re Not Alone

Typically, when you’re starting your own dog training business, you’re considered a “solopreneur” or solo-entrepreneur. It can be isolating when you have no one to turn to or relate to. You have to figure everything out on your own and while you should always trust your gut and do what feels right, you don’t know what you don’t know. Speaking to others who are or have been in your shoes is a great way to build connections and find relief in knowing you aren’t completely alone in this adventure. Others might bring up experiences or insights that you hadn’t thought of or experienced yourself. Mastermind groups help you expand your awareness of what it takes to run a successful dog training business.

6. You Get To Work ON Your Business Instead Of IN Your Business

While learning how to post on Instagram or writing up thorough client notes is important, mastermind group discussions should focus more on the bigger picture. You’ll be able to take a step back, reflect, analyze, learn, and plan your next big business goals.

Many times as solo business owners we spend a lot of time working in our businesses – creating documents, sending emails, working directly with clients. This time away from the office allows you to refresh and reinvigorate yourself for your next business steps.

7. It’s Electrifying

When else will you be able to be completely honest with a group of people? Share the highs and lows of starting your business. Share your expectations versus the reality of what it actually is like. Vent about the challenges your experiencing or share your success with others who understand what it means! Finding your “kind” of people is invigorating! You don’t have to go at it alone.

One of my main missions with this blog is to help other positive dog trainers (or whatever you want to call dog trainers that follow Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) principles in training) succeed with their businesses. There is often a ton of focus on learning the science of training dogs with little acknowledgment of how to run the business side of things. However, if you’re in this profession for the long haul, you have to pay attention to both. Without a thorough understanding of how to run a business, you will not be able to take your passion for dog training full-time or be able to sustain it full-time for many years.

Guest Post: Don’t Get In Over Your Head When You’re Starting Out

Guest Post: Don’t Get In Over Your Head When You’re Starting Out

Today, I’m honored to have a guest post from someone that’s been on the podcast twice (once in 2016 and once in 2017) to talk about a unique challenge that new dog trainers face – taking on clients that you’re not ready for to make ends meet! This scenario has a multitude of implications that I’ll let Rachel explain below.

Some of the most frustrating situations I’ve encountered in my career as a professional dog trainer is when a positive reinforcement-based trainer takes on cases that they don’t have the skill set for. Don’t get me wrong– these trainers have the best intentions and they genuinely want to help these dogs– but a lot of the time they end up doing more harm than good.

We are all, for better or worse, in a highly-competitive field with a high overhead and relatively low-income potential. To compete in an oversaturated market, most of us rely on social media in some aspect or another to increase our visibility. However, we must accept and respect when we post on public forums, groups, or even our own Facebook account and get questions or unsolicited criticism about our methods. Without this system of checks and balances, our careers would be even more susceptible to “whisperers,” dominance trainers, and untrained hacks. While I agree that positive reinforcement trainers should be working together for the greater good of the movement, constructive criticism delivered in a non-confrontational manner encourages learning, improvement in training, and continuing progress in the field.

Aside from inter-industry drama, newer trainers might wonder why it’s a big deal if they take on a dog that exhibits problem behavior beyond that trainer’s particular skill set or comfort level. After all, how are we supposed to learn without experience? Isn’t stepping outside our comfort zone how we all continue to grow? My view is that if the desired behavior change isn’t achieved, we’ve taught the pet parent that positive reinforcement doesn’t work. Not only can this harm how the public views positive reinforcement training, a trainer taking on a case above their experience level inherently places the trainer’s learning experience and income potential above the well-being of the dog and expectations of the owners. This is antithetical to our commitment to our craft, our clients, and the animals themselves.

As a thought experiment, imagine a novice dog owner who has a dog displaying “aggressive” behavior, such as snapping at strangers visiting the house. She’s not sure how to address this behavior, and after doing some research she decides to go with a trainer who markets themselves as R+ savvy and force-free. Many, if not most, of these pet parents have at least one acquaintance or a family member who’s told them to use a shock collar or prong collar when the dog aggresses or states something along the lines of, “You just need to be dominant and show that dog who’s boss.” In fact, any day of the week you can turn on the television at a given time and see this advice peddled on TV shows or infomercials. Despite this, the pet parent isn’t comfortable with heavy-handed methods and ends up hiring the R+ trainer. The pet parent works with the trainer for months, sometimes years, but the dog just isn’t making a quantifiable change in the behavior. The pet parent has spent thousands of dollars, but they still don’t feel confident in the dog’s training. The pet parent is now discouraged and believes that R+ doesn’t work for “aggressive dogs.” Out of desperation, the pet parent hires an aversive-based trainer.

This is where good intentions become damaging: that well-meaning trainer was the catalyst that turned this client– a pet owner who wanted to go about training in a non-confrontational way– into a confrontational-based trainer because the R+ trainer didn’t have the correct skill set for that particular client. Had the trainer been honest with themselves and referred the client to a trainer or behavior consultant who specializes in aggressive behavior, the client would have gotten the help they needed using positive reinforcement methods and achieved timely results.

Just as animals need to learn from small approximations and positive experiences to shape behavior, so do we as dog trainers. A trainer with little or no previous experience with aggressive dogs is taking a huge jump in approximation by agreeing to consult on such cases, and the willingness to take such a leap is as much a sign of training naivety as it is a representation of the person’s enthusiasm and excitement to be working in an industry that we all love. Being well-versed in respondent and operant conditioning and canine behavior is the first step, but slow, gradual, and preferably supervised hands-on experience is just as important with cases where the consequences of making mistakes or simple lack of progress is so dire.

I am the first person to admit that there are many situations outside of my experience base. For example, competition and canine sport training is not my forte. Could I train a dog to compete in obedience and agility? Yes. Are there many others who could train that dog more efficiently? Absolutely! And that’s why I refer out those cases to trainers who are better than me in that particular realm without any hesitation.

So please, if you’re a newer trainer who really wants to help pet parents and their dogs succeed with positive reinforcement-based training methods, refer the difficult cases to someone who knows how to handle them and shadow the trainer or behavior consultant that you refer your client to so that you too can learn how to work these kinds of cases. Don’t try to learn by doing and figuring it out as you go; learn by observing a behavior professional through the lens of your understanding the science of behavior.

About Rachel Golub,  CDBC, CPDT-KA

Rachel started her animal training career at the Escondido Humane Society in 2008. She began as an Adoptions Counselor and was quickly promoted to Assistant Trainer in the Behavior Department. Rachel went on to apprentice under some of the top trainers in Southern California, receiving her certification as a Professional Dog Trainer from the CCPDT in 2010, and in 2016 she received her Certified Dog Behavior Consultant certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. In addition to her expertise on dog training, Rachel also has training experience with cats, parrots, exotic animals, and domestic livestock such as horses and pigs.

In 2009, Rachel founded her own company dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and placing dogs with behavior issues. This company evolved into San Diego Animal Training where she continues to consult with rescues, shelters, and private individuals to transform difficult dogs into adoptable, loving companions.

How to Attend a Dog Training Conference

How to Attend a Dog Training Conference

With the registration date for ClickerExpo coming up, I began to think about what learning goals to concentrate on this year, who I wanted to hear speak, and if there should be a theme or if I should just see whatever sounded interesting. I then began to think about the other part of going to conferences; meeting people and networking. So many times I’ve seen someone I haven’t seen in years passing by in between sessions and had that 7 second drive-by conversation, “Hi! How are you doing! Great to see you! Let’s meet for lunch or something!” The other person responds, “Great!” and then that’s the end of it. This year, I really want to make a plan.

1. Put people you want to meet on your schedule.

I always have the best of intentions and every conference I fail. This year I’m putting people on my schedule. Message people and ask them for a time to meet or share a meal or have a drink. Put the appointment on your schedule with a reminder so you don’t become that person that stood someone up at a training conference. You have 3 meals a day, after conference drinks, breaks in between speakers, and skipped session periods you can fill. Fill them. If meals are coordinated and prepaid you might consider skipping one and doing a DIY lunch at least one day to accommodate people who aren’t purchasing meals.

Related: Are drinks after the conference your favorite part of attending conferences? Do you like meeting online friends in-person? Ever wish you had a group of local, friendly dog trainers to chat with to continue the conversation? Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers

2. You don’t have to fill every session.

I actually learned this when I got violently ill at a conference. Fatigue set in and I needed to prioritize my energy instead of my desire to see everything. There were some session slots where there just wasn’t anything that really perked my interest or I had seen all the presentations already. I skipped that period and took a nap, waking up refreshed for the speakers I really wanted to see. When I skipped and didn’t take a nap, I met a bunch of people that were also skipping!  If you’re just trying to fill time by seeing a speaker, meet up with people instead.

3. Introduce yourself to people sitting or eating alone.

If you haven’t filled a meal period with a scheduled meet up then scan the dining area and look for people wearing the conference badge who are sitting alone. Go introduce yourself and ask if they want company. Please don’t push in if the person says they’d rather be alone. Conferences can be overwhelming and some people need quiet time. I’ve had many amazing conversations eating with strangers. Meeting and talking to people way outside your normal circle can be more educational than some presentations. This practice also makes everyone feel welcomed and interesting. Which brings us to number 4.

4. Remember to get cards or contact information for people you meet.

I’m putting this on a post-it note on my forehead this year, “Please give me your business card.” After introducing myself and eating with a stranger and having a lovely conversation, it inevitably happens that the conference bell rings and you’re off and running to the next session. The number of times I’ve grabbed my things and said, “Thank you for the wonderful lunch!” then sprinted away is embarrassing. Take a moment, get a card or have the person put their email address in a note for you. When you get seated at your Must Get To session, make a note of where you met them, what you did together, and the general topic of conversation. Even if you never message them you will have a reminder if you see them at the next conference.

5. Organize meetups with your virtual friends.

We all have them, people we “know” from Twitter, Facebook, certification organizations, clubs, and schools. Schedule a meetup and get a few people you want to meet in one place. On Twitter you can create a hashtag and have people retweet or reply they’d like to join. You can create calendar and Facebook events so other people can invite other people. While it may seem fun to set these up for dinner at a restaurant, some trainers are on a budget. You might consider doing these in hotel common areas instead of restaurants so everyone can bring their own food yet still have dinner together. Remember to send reminders to everyone who was interested when you get to the conference.

Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers

Did we miss anything? What is your go-to strategy for attending conferences? Tell us in the comments!

Ep 14 – Lynn Webb on the First Years of Running a Dog Training Business

Ep 14 – Lynn Webb on the First Years of Running a Dog Training Business

This episode we had Lynn Webb on the show to discuss what it was like to work through all the unexpected challenges of starting up your own dog training business.  Learning how to train dogs is the easy part. Knowing how to run a business with consistent income is the difficult part. Listen as Kat Camplin and Ines McNeil discuss the challenges that come with starting up your own dog training business.

Lynn Webb is the owner of The Proficient Pup Dog Training and Massage in North County San Diego. She has over 17 years of experience with animals, much of that time spent with birds, mammals, and reptiles at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Working in a zoo gave her the ability to wear many hats, which is also needed when starting and running a dog training business!

Lynn’s education includes a Master’s Degree, certification in dog training through Karen Pryor Academy, certification in Canine Massage through Rocky Mountain School of Animal Accupressure and Massage, and certification in Pet First Aid and CPR through PetTech. Her passions include dogs, learning, and teaching.

Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer Podcast on SoundCloud or iTunes. Follow The Modern Dog Trainer Blog on Twitter at @ModernTrainer, on Facebook at The Modern Dog Trainer Blog Page, and on Instagram at @TheModernDogTrainerBlog. Don’t forget to join our FREE Facebook Group, “Startup Tips for Modern Dog Trainers.” We love hearing from our listeners!

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Show Notes

You can find Lynn here:

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