Why working virtually has improved my clients’ outcomes.

When the pandemic first hit, less tech-savvy behavior consultants like me were a little lost. Before that, I worked exclusively with clients in person, so I didn’t know how to best help people once that was no longer an option. I was happy to stay home and wanted to help keep everyone safe, but I worried about the lack of help for those who needed it, especially as adoptions from shelters and rescues were happening en masse. I wanted an effective way to help my current and future customers.

Even though we were working for different companies at the time, Emily and I started thinking about our options. In fact, we started our free Cookies & Catnip Facebook group to help upload content on basic training as well as answer questions from people who might need it. Looking back, the videos we made were a little rough because we don’t have a good grasp of video editing. Or online learning (some of them have very entertaining intros so they will remain silly nostalgia). I also reached out to a few colleagues who were already working remotely with clients before the pandemic for advice on how to continue to do my job effectively. I was afraid of offering a service that would be lacking in certain key areas, but I quickly realized that it would be quite the opposite.

Now that things have calmed down enough with the pandemic that in-person services have become a more common option lately, I have to admit that I’m not as excited as I expected about the idea of ​​working more in person. No, it’s not because I didn’t want to get out of my pajama pants. It’s not because I don’t want to be around people, but I love meeting dogs and their humans. That’s because remote work has proven to not only be just as effective, but in many cases has a ton of added benefits and benefits for real progress. I truly believe we get better results working with people virtually and I want to talk about it so people know it’s a viable and credible option if the opportunity presents itself. Although I have seen how wonderful it is, some may have reservations. I’ve listed some common questions our potential clients or anyone considering a virtual training experience might have.

Don’t you need to see my dog ​​misbehaving?

This is a question we have long before the pandemic, especially when we held our first sessions and asked people to manage the animal so that they would not be able to perform unwanted behavior when we arrived. One of the main cornerstones of our work is prevention, because practicing behaviors that we do not want to see means reinforcing them further. In order to truly change behavior, we need to make sure there is no repetition, because if we wait until a behavior has happened and try to correct it after the fact, that behavior has still already been practiced. Fortunately, you don’t have to see your pet behaving badly to know how to fix it. I could write an entire book on this topic alone, but instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m sharing with you an extremely well-written blog. “Your pet is not like your car” by our colleagues who will help you understand why this is true. It really is a great read.

Don’t you need to be there to show me what to do?

We understand that some people have a learning style that is best served by being able to see what we want them to do. Because we are all about delivering our services to the learners in front of us as individuals, training and behavior modification conducted virtually still allows us to meet this need of our clients. Not only will we explain what we want them to do with verbal instructions, but we will also practice together to make sure they feel confident with the instructions and knock it out of the park. before the end of our session. In addition to this, we are able to offer live demonstrations and recorded video demos for anything you may need additional help with. Doing all of this remotely also has an incredible benefit.

When we did all training in person, we often found ourselves or the client supporting us (taking the leash so to speak) when things weren’t going well or they were having difficulty. It feels good when it happens, but it doesn’t help create better manipulation skills in the humans who need them most. Constantly doing it ourselves means we are doing a disservice to those who need know how to do these things. After all, once the training is complete, it’s our customers who need to know how to maintain what they’ve learned. The companion must also learn that it is its owner(s) that needs to be paid attention to. Virtual training means your companion learns that you are the one to connect with, focus on, and be excited to work with.

Can you work virtually with any behavioral barrier?

I can confidently give you an enthusiastic yes! Everything we would have undertaken for an in-person job is something we can undertake virtually. Whether it’s good manners and basic skills, or unhealthy behavior such as reactivity or aggressive displays leading up to a trigger, we can help you learn what you can use to put your companion on the right track. It doesn’t matter if you have a dog, a cat or a bird, it’s about helping you create the relationship and communication you need. In fact, there are some things for which virtual is more effective. Every time we enter someone’s home to work with them and their pet, we know we are changing the image of that pet. Some are overstimulated by our presence, others are stressed by it, but each animal’s behavior will be influenced from its baseline because we are there. Being able to work with the animal in a more organic environment means a better outcome. This means we don’t make it harder for them to learn while we’re there and they’re stressed or overstimulated, or after we’re gone when things aren’t as exciting.

Our first consultations are an example of this. When we did them in person, it was always a little disjointed because the owner is hyper aware of their pet’s behavior in front of us. While they are trying to get their pet to behave politely, we are trying to get the owner’s attention (which is the first thing that needs to happen before the pet can learn to behave). Doing a remote consultation means a more focused, free-flowing conversation where we know the owner(s) are able to really absorb what we’re saying without worrying that their pet will embarrass them or do things that make them feel bad the need to correct. Everyone has a much less stressful and distracting experience.

Does virtual training have the same success rate?

I would easily say that this is the case for my cases. In fact, I’ve found that my success rates have increased when I work virtually. Not all behavior consultants share this experience, and that is completely normal. Without my physical presence as a distraction or crutch, but rather as a teacher and source of support, I find that my clients end up with better instincts, strong timing, more confidence, and a stronger connection and focus with their mate. . Ultimately, if tutors have the time and motivation to follow through, their success will be as good, if not better. In fact, this motivation and consistency would still be required for in-person work. This has a greater influence on the outcome than whether I’m physically present or not, and that’s because true lasting behavior change takes time and effort, no matter what.

Are there other advantages to choosing a package delivered virtually?

Not only is it an effective way to help your pet, but it’s also more cost-effective. This is the cheapest option since it doesn’t involve travel, but it also offers a more flexible schedule and allows us to actually use the package time as we need, giving you more value for your money. When we travel for an in-person session, we tend to spend more time per session at your location. It’s not always pure training during this session, because there’s something about the physical encounter that makes humans linger (if you’re from the Midwest, you know what that can feel like). Even if your dog only needs a 10 minute session to go over the next steps of what he is learning, a 10 minute session seems unreasonably short and dull to clients since we visited their home and that the schedule is not as flexible. .

This means we use more of your paid time when it could be saved for additional lessons. While taking more time than necessary is deliberate on the part of both parties, many factors other than the Midwest farewell play a role. Upon arrival, we will likely need to take time to calm down and gain focus from an excitable companion, or we will need to warm him up to us if he is stressed by strangers.

Working virtually means we can use 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or anything in between for each session. It’s about using whatever you need at that moment, based on your situation and the questions you have. My remote clients end up seeing me more frequently and get many more sessions for the number of hours they sign up for than my in-person clients with the same plan size.

Plus, working virtually means we can help you no matter where you are or live. All you need is a phone, laptop or other device and an internet connection!

Although virtual training or behavior modification is not will be for everyone, we want our customers to know that choosing this type of plan will not harm their progress or success. If you have any further questions about this or how we work, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


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