You started your own dog training business and received a call from your first potential client. Congratulations! Two key elements of a dog trainer is getting a clear understanding of the issues clients face and creating a training plan for their dogs. A dog-training evaluation will accomplish this task. During evaluations, you will ask a series of dog-behavior evaluation questions that will aid you in understanding your client’s pain points, as well as, the temperament of the dog. The client’s response to these dog-behavior evaluation questions will also assist you in designing a dog-training program for their specific needs.
Before meeting the client, prepare a list of dog-behavioral evaluation questions. Come prepared with those questions so you are not stumbling during the evaluation. Invest in a tablet or use your cell phone or notebook to take notes since it is likely you will not remember all of the details, especially as your client list grows.
Below is a list of dog-behavior evaluation questions we consider essential to ask potential clients. This list should be modified based on your own experience and your personality.
- How old is your dog?
- Does your dog have any health problems?
- Is your dog up to date on vaccines?
- Is your dog spayed or neutered?
- You have owned your dog since he was what age?
- Where did you get your dog?
- How many people live in your household?
- What are the ages of your children?
- Any other pets?
- Where does your dog sleep at night?
- Where is your dog when no one is home?
- How much education has your dog had?
- What commands does your dog know?
- Do you have a fenced-in yard?
- Is your dog allowed on the furniture?
- Does your dog exhibit any of the following behaviors?
- Excessive barking
- Jumping on people
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Pulling on leash
- Reactive towards other dogs or people when on leash?
- Aggression toward other dogs
- Food or toy possessiveness
- People aggression
- Chasing cars or other moving objects
- Chewing on furniture and other personal belongings
- Stealing items
- Counter surfing
- Play biting or nipping
- Bolting out the front door or running away
- Overly fearful of anything
- Is there anything I didn’t ask about your dog that you want to add?
- What are your dog training goals?
* Ask for lots of detail, especially when going through the list of behaviors.
Show confidence and be attentive to the prospective client’s needs when asking your dog-behavior evaluation questions. First impression is everything. According to Bruce Kasanoff, an executive coach, Rule #1:
How did these questions help you when evaluating dogs? What additional questions do you ask? Let us know.
Written by: Jessica Freedman, CPT
Dog training is a lucrative industry! According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), in 2021, $123.6 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S. With $9.5 billion of that for services such as dog training. If you would like more information or are interested in becoming a certified dog trainer, please contact the ISCDT at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.iscdt.com.