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Using Technology to Help Clients Evolve Their Pets’ Training

You’re an up-and-up pet trainer, and you already know that online training is what will see your business through to the future. So let’s dive into some of the key ways that you can help clients to embrace technology and stay current with their updated training regimen. Navigating this new frontier can take some time and patience, but as a trainer, we know you already have this key quality in spades.

Get used to video chatting, streaming, and classes with a little prep and practice.

Set The Example

A pivotal part of your pet training success is your own modeling of positive and helpful behaviors – you’re clear, definite, and can provide ready alternatives. Those already well-developed training muscles will be vital when you’re encouraging clients to adopt new and possibly novel ways of interacting with modified training sessions. Whether you’re aiming for group or one-on-one classes, live social media sessions, or pre-recorded training quick hits, the extent to which you positively embrace this new normal in pet training will have a reciprocal effect on your clients and their pets.

So take time to fully acclimate yourself to the new environment. Get comfortable with equipment and settings and work on your camera presence. Doing some behind-the-scenes work before getting on a live chat or a first training session on ZOOM will enable you to convey a positive vibe and to better instruct clients on how to get their own digital setup working for them. Leading by example is incredibly important, and the more positive, adaptable, and ready to problem solve that you are, the more likely your clients will be to stick out the uncomfortable transition period and find value in this new training medium.

Technology’s Clear Benefits

Despite the uncomfortable interim between in-person and fully virtual training, here are some key positive takeaways to focus on. These are also great points to share with clients who may be hesitant to embrace a newly digital format.

Convenience. Both you and your clients could find that virtual training is far better for a tight schedule. Travel time, bad weather, and traffic won’t pose the issues they once did.

Practicality. Training at home could ultimately be more comfortable for clients and pets, since everyone is in a familiar setting. Training from home will be real-world, and you’re likely to also see some everyday behaviors that the pet owner needs help to adjust.

Accessibility. For those with mobility issues or conditions that make attending in-person classes difficult, online pet training is going to open an entirely new world. Online training could also bring new opportunities to some who couldn’t afford classes previously.

Besides the above advantages, online training is also more real-time in nature. For example, a client can easily record a behavior using their smartphone and either send it to you directly, or post it to a private or community page on Facebook or another social media platform you’re using. They can also record video clips from training sessions to have at their fingertips for quick, in-the-moment training. Most clients will have a smartphone around at all times, so take the time to explore communication options with them, like recording a voice memo for future reference, bookmarking videos, or creating folders that contain notes, tips, and specific instructions for their pet’s training needs.

Make things easier for clients by setting up a calendar in the platform you use for session scheduling and sharing it with them. Automatic reminders can be set up for group sessions, personal training appointments, and any community events or live chat sessions on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram or other platforms. Clients who follow your business on several platforms will be more likely to stay in the know. Even if you don’t have this level of organization available right away, encourage clients to utilize the scheduling and calendar features of their own mobile device(s) to keep up-to-date and aware.

Using technology that’s already on hand will also enable clients to stay consistent in their training efforts. If more than one individual is engaged in a pet’s training, suggest that everyone link their calendars and get involved digitally. This can amp up coordination and yield better training results while also taking pressure off of just one individual in the family.

Beta testing before actual training sessions can save frustration with technical difficulties.

Community Involvement

Especially when initiating your virtual training, keeping a relaxed vibe is key. Some trainers might choose to run BETA testing, even initiating online training with an informal “happy hour” chat. This is a great way to help clients get their tech in order and familiarize themselves with the various features of whatever platform you decide to use. Do some tests, quick demos and examples, and walk them through any trouble spots. Keep everyone involved and engaged as much as possible from the get-go. Set the technology bar low at first as everyone adjusts, and then keep working upwards, encouraging clients all the way. If some need special attention or assistance, take time for your clients, just as you would during an in-person session. Patience is invaluable during this time of transition.

A periodic virtual chat on ZOOM or another video conferencing platform can be a great way to catch up and stay connected. It’s also an easy way to gather feedback on how virtual sessions are going and to learn what clients would like to see added to your program offerings. Encourage clients to speak up and share their opinions as you strive to make the most of this new form of training. Whether they offer feedback on your presentations, equipment, setting, or lighting, group involvement will only help to make your efforts more successful. If clients are hesitant to give opinions, using social media or email to run an anonymous survey could be a way to get the vital feedback you need to best serve them.

Participation and Engagement

If you do have various platforms going and are finding novel ways to communicate with clients but they aren’t engaging, your efforts can fall flat and end up as a source of frustration. So once you’ve decided to upload training quick hits to Youtube or establish a private Facebook group, be sure to encourage participation. Mention subscription and the benefits in blogs, emails, and within your live training sessions. Make resources available and valuable, and make it easy for clients to find them. Show clients how to bookmark pages or save videos to custom playlists for future reference. With everything that you do, help clients to focus on consistent but achievable goals and the methods that will get them there.

Once clients realize how much is available at their fingertips they’ll likely be expecting more, so don’t disappoint – reward their involvement with a regular flow of content and mention that you’d love to hear their thoughts. If clients do post questions or comments, repay their involvement with timely responses and answers. This positive reinforcement will keep them engaged and coming back for more. Consistent posting on various platforms could also open you up to a wider client base that is already fluent in technology.

Lessons Learned

Going remote can be an uncomfortable transition, and clients could really miss the reassuring personal touch and clear visual cues that they’re used to. So it is vital to stay connected and engaged. Technology might not be your or your client’s forte, but it is an invaluable tool that was born for this time.

And here’s the basic truth – the better you keep in touch now, the less difficult future transitions will be. View the digital shift as a lesson in resilience, for both you and your clients. Maintaining relationships is top priority, so find whichever methods work best for you and your clients and work to get and keep them involved. Encourage feedback and help everyone to stay a part of the learning process.

Protecting Your Future

It’s impossible to know where this new venture will lead. But it’s clear that with dogged determination, you and your clients will come out alright, and their pets will be all the better for it. So as you focus on supporting yourself and helping clients, know that Zinc is working just as hard for you. Our pet training policies ensure that whatever life brings to your business, protection is close at hand. Get in touch to learn more, and know that we are always here to help.