Sometimes they ARE listening!

I had this client awhile ago that was sometimes very fustrating to me as a trainer. I was the 3rd or 4th trainer she had worked with and she just wasn't very compliant. I would explain things she needed to change or do to help her situation with her 2 dogs and she would pleasantly tell me she simply wasn't going to do that. The dogs wouldn't like it. I didn't let it rattle me and did the best I could as we worked on some simple exercises that she did approve of. After a few weeks of scattered sessions she called to say she would ring me back for more help when the weather got better. (it was winter in Maine at the time) I really never expected her to hear from her again.

Cut to a month ago and I am listening to a message on my machine requesting that I call her. There had been an incident with one of the dogs and she said prefered my methods to the previous trainers. I called and made an appointment. It turns out one of the dogs had gone after someone and she now had to go to court to sort it all out. In the meantime she wanted to change the dogs behavior so it never happened again.

I was hesitant due to the previous unwillingness of the client to change anything that might upset the dogs. It turned out that for her the incident was a wake up call. She is now very willing to listen to my advise and is making the changes I originally suggested. She admited that what she had been doing wasn't working and if anything had made it worse. A very enlightened admission! She is now one of my most eager and motivated students.

What I took away from this experience is that even though we think we may not be getting through sometimes we are. It just may take longer than we expect. Keep sharing the knowledge and it will eventually seep into the conciousness for some of the people we are trying to reach. The key is to be patient and not get upset. Leave a good impression so they are willing to reconsider what you said later. Don't argue about your methods, show them and prove them and stand by them. That will do more for your side than angry words.

Happy training!

(The dogs pictured, Price and Walker, are both available for adoption at my local shelter.)