If you are a dog trainer without your own private training facility, you can sometimes feel relegated to holding only private in-home sessions. However, with some creativity and planning, you can hold group classes in many different places.
Public parks can often provide you wide open spaces to hold group classes. They enable you to spread dogs out so even space-sensitive dogs can succeed. Holding group classes in parks is often easier if you have somebody to partner with so that one person can teach while the other can run interference with curious bystanders or loose dogs. Be sure to check any city regulations about using parks for personal gain.
Many veterinary offices have spacious lobbies. They often love having a trainer “on staff,” so to speak, so they can refer clients to you. If you can establish a good working relationship with a vet, it can become mutually beneficial with each party referring potential clients to the other. Classes are a great way to keep clients coming back to their office and you’ll be able to make new relationships with clients.
Local Pet Stores
Most of the big box pet stores have their own staff trainers, but many local pet stores have decent open areas and would love to have a trainer hold group classes there to bring customers in their doors. If you promise to promote their products, they may even allow you to use the space for free. Additionally, holding group classes in a pet store provides for GREAT distraction training!
Parking lots/parking garages can be fantastic for group classes. Being on concrete allows for distracted dogs to focus a little more easily, yet there is often still grass close by for potty breaks and sniffing rewards. Also, like public parks, they are very large and permit you to spread your clients out so all the dogs have ample space. Just make sure you have permission to be there.
Sometimes churches or AmVets type clubs will rent out their halls or basements for a reasonable fee. Be aware that some may require you to be an active member to get this benefit, but it certainly does not hurt to call around and ask.
Remember that when you are out in public or using somebody else’s space, it is important to leave the space as clean as or cleaner than it was when you arrived. Doing so ensures that you and your clients will always be welcome in the future.
What other places do you use for group training?
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