Blog post by Amber Quann KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

How much time is included in an hour-long dog training consult?  Seems like a silly question, right?  The answer is actually a lot less obvious than you might think!

When it comes to dog training assistance, it is important to know what you are paying for!  While all dog trainers services are slightly different, I would bet that the majority of us are spending much more time dedicated to your appointment than the actual hour that we are there.  I thought I'd take a moment to explain a bit about what is included the tuition for a typical one-on-one training consult. 

  • Your trainer's complete attention for the hour-long appointment. During this time, you and your dog are the center of our universe.
  • Travel time to and from your house or other session location. In our town, this is typically 15-30 minutes each way. While some of us multitaskers might be able to answer phone calls and mentally prepare for our next training session while driving, the truth is that this back and forth time isn't the most productive - and it adds up quickly!
  • Emails with write-ups and homework and answered questions between sessions.  Depending on the uniqueness of you & your dog's situation, your session follow-up email could take between 15-30 minutes of additional time when we're back at the desk. And if you ask us great questions (which we love!) in between sessions, it adds more time while we try to write great answers. ;)
  • Content created just for you (or dog's like yours). We spend a LOT of time writing curriculum and handouts and YouTube videos to help you and your dog practice better between our sessions. Sometimes we create special content for you based on what we worked on in your lesson, and other times we are able to use handouts that we have created for other clients. Regardless, this content creation takes a big chunk of time, and seems like a long swim upstream as we are always adding to our list of new content to create! 
  • Experience and too many continuing education seminars to count. Progressive reinforcement dog trainers are learning junkies - we can't get enough of the science and applied applications of dog training, so we keep going back to learn more.  In addition, most of our certifications require continuing education credits in order to remain credentialed.  All of this means that we spend a lot of our time (and $$$) on conferences, webinars, books, podcasts, and other trainers' blogs - and curate all of that knowledge into better training applications for you and your dog.

To summarize this: 

Photo credit for header & photo used in graphic:  Tails and Trails Photography

Photo credit for header & photo used in graphic: Tails and Trails Photography

There's one more element of time included in your session that isn't included in this graphic.  It's a lot more subtle and unpredictable, but still a big part of the time we devote to some of our clients:

  • The time spent agonizing over what we could/should/would be doing differently to better help our students succeed.  The time spent wishing we could take out our magical dog trainer wand and instantly remove the frustration, pain, anxiety, fear, irritation, confusion, sadness, arousal, etc. that both our two legged and four legged students are dealing with - voila. This time isn't an essential piece of every session, but in my experience, it is automatically included in more sessions than it isn't. 

This is a lot of time, but we wouldn't change a thing (ok, well maybe we're always looking to change a few things, but that's for increasing efficiency on our end and not yours ;)

Students & Friends - we love sharing our time with you.  Thanks for spending it with us. Thanks for valuing our time and spending your valuable resources on dog training consults with us or other trainers who put just as much of themselves into their work as we do.