New Year’s Resolutions For Dog Trainers

New Year’s Resolutions For Dog Trainers

Welcome 2016! Traditionally people begin thinking of their New Year’s Resolutions shortly after the start of the new year, maybe a week or two before. While there are the common, personal  New Year’s Resolutions – eat healthy, exercise more – what about your resolutions as a dog trainer? What have you resolved to do? How are you going to better yourself and your business this year? We are already half way through January and if you haven’t come up with any resolutions we’ve got you covered.

Image via Erin Bessey - Bessey's Positive Paws

Image via Erin Bessey – Bessey’s Positive Paws

10 New Year’s Resolutions

Increase Clientele

Review your clientele numbers for the last year or two. Then figure out how much you would like to grow this year and set a goal to increase those numbers for 2016.

Network More

Maybe you are just starting out in your business, perhaps you are well established, whichever you are make a point to reach out to others. We can fall into patterns easily and get comfortable there. You won’t be able to grow if you don’t push those comfort levels. Reach out to other trainers, veterinarians, groomers, boarding and daycare facilities. Those are the traditional places to network. What about thinking outside the box? Look to speaking with schools or children’s daycare. While this may seem odd, these places have great, continuous interactions with families. Families who like to share stories about their kids and the family pet. Maybe the daycare is run in a home and has a dog that is present. Putting your name out there and talking to some office people is all it would take. Your name could spread like wildfire because who else would think to make themselves known at a non dog-related business?

Earn Certifications

This is the year to get certified or get more memberships! Sign up for the test (if required) to commit yourself to becoming certified and then start studying. There’s no better way to set yourself apart from others than to have obtained a few certifications. Certification of Professional Dog Trainers, Karen Pryor Academy, International Association of Behavior Consultants are just a few to look into.

Raise The Rates

If it has been a number of years and you are still maintaining the initial starting rate it might be time to increase. The business is growing and it is important to stay competitive with the surrounding areas while being paid your worth.

Train Your Own Dog

As a trainer we get very fixated on our work. Why wouldn’t we? We love what we do, but because we are busy helping others train their dogs our personal pets often fall to the way side. Make one of your new year’s resolutions to teach your dog a new trick or activity.

Teach A New Class

If you haven’t given your classes a face lift in a while make it happen this year. Have you just updated the current class curriculum? Why not look into offering a new class.

Learn A New Skill

The dog training world is exploding with all kinds of training. If you are used to teaching basic behavior classes take the time, reach outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. If you have never done agility, find a class and try it out with your own dog or better yet, build your own equipment. Interested in doing a trick class? Teach your dog the trick first before offering it to others. You would accomplish two resolutions on your list doing it this way! Try any one of the following: Treiball, heel work, Rally-o, agility, dog sports, trick training, nose work, and the list goes on!

Read More Books

In order to learn a new skill it may require you to read a new book to accomplish that. Challenge yourself and read a book that you don’t necessarily agree with as far as training techniques. Exercise your mind and form opinions and arguments and be sure to be able to back up your position. How many dog training books did you read last year? Can you do better?

Set A Schedule

It can be tough setting a schedule and sticking to it. Dog trainers want to help owners and their dogs as much as they can and go to great lengths to do this. Making time when we wouldn’t otherwise be scheduling due to fear of losing a potential client isn’t always best. Being too flexible could indicate to clients business is slow. Avoid answering e-mails and phone calls at all hours. Instead have a shut off time where you are done work for the day. Set a schedule if you don’t have one and stick to it.

Make Time To Play

Make time for yourself! To avoid burn out you need to be sure to leave time for yourself to play. This is where setting a schedule as one of the new year’s resolutions will be helpful. Play might be considered learning a new skill or working with your own dog but be sure to leave time to do something for you. It’s okay to do that!

What new year’s resolutions have you made? Comment below and let us know.

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