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Training Is My Business: 5 Don’t-Miss Courses at ClickerExpo 2018

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When your passion is your business, you have the raw ingredients for a very fulfilling life. But, and this is a big but, I know from speaking with many trainers that very few trainers are comfortable thinking about training as a business.

At both ClickerExpo 2018 locations in the United States this year you will find an expanded set of fabulous courses for people who want a little training in the business of training! To train dogs, all you need are friends with dogs. But to train dogs for a living, you need clients—and dogs are easy to find and work with, comparatively!

Read on for my choices for the five courses at ClickerExpo 2018 that will help you obtain the comfort and confidence you need to run a successful training business!
(You may also like my related blog on 8 ClickerExpo courses that will transform how you teach.)  


The full package

Any good marketer will tell you that the box is as critical to a sale as what comes in it. You’re an R+ clicker trainer dedicated to using your skill and expertise to help dogs. But does your packaging help you make the sale? In this fun Session, Veronica (SoCal) or Gina (St. Louis) of dog*tec shows you ways to package, price, and market services that better serve your clients and their dogs.

It's All in the Packaging

Veronica Boutelle (SoCal)/Gina Phairas (St. Louis)


Better living through tech

Are you frustrated with stacks of notes, receipts, and incomplete odometer readings that relate to your training business? Can you remember distance data achieved at your retrieve session last week—so that you don't waste valuable time in a rented ring reviewing or setting up a scenario the dog isn't ready for, bruising his confidence in the ring? Do you wish your receipts would organize themselves magically in time for tax preparation? Let's talk about useful tools and technology for the busy trainer who doesn't want to lose any more time and money.

Tech Tools for Trainers
Laura VanArendonk Baugh


Know your limits

Train yourself in excellent business practices!
Register for ClickerExpo:

SoCal (Irvine) Jan 19-21
St. Louis March 16-18
As positive reinforcement clicker trainers, we’ve excised the word “no” from our vocabularies, and with good reason. But when it comes to running your business, learning what to accept and what to decline is the key to saying yes to success. If you’re like most dog pros, you’re juggling far too much, finding it hard to catch your breath as you run from one obligation to another, and feeling guilty about never having enough time for your own dogs and family. If this scenario is sounds familiar, prioritize this Session with Veronica (SoCal) or Gina (St. Louis) of dog*tec. You’ll get practical advice for managing your time and your business, including a formula for deciding when to decline work so you can say yes to the things that matter most. Veronica and Gina will also share specific scripts for letting people down easy. It’s time to stop wearing the busy badge in favor of better work/life balance!

Say Yes to Success

Veronica Boutelle (SoCal)/Gina Phairas (St. Louis)


Making many work

At first glance, teaching group classes may seem easy and not needing much preparation. Just get a group of dog owners together and teach some lessons, right? Not so fast! If you want people (and their dogs) to love your class, and you want to love teaching it, there are some important elements that successful group classes have in common.

This introductory-level Session will cover two important considerations that instructors should know about before teaching group classes. While a great group class is comprised of many factors, these two elements can make an instant difference to your clients (and to your bottom line). This Session will look at safety (people and dog safety), as well as policies you may want to implement to make the people aspect of teaching group classes a little easier, including policies for payment, attendance, inclement weather, dismissal from class, refunds, etc.

Behind the Scenes of a Successful Group Class

Laurie Luck (SoCal)



Your website is your most important public-facing asset. It probably sees more people than you do! An awesome website makes an amazing difference. Even more amazing is that the road from mediocre to awesome is not 300 miles of pot-holed concrete; the transformation is easier than you think.

In this Session you’ll see examples of website “dos and don’ts,” best and worst practices, and before and after case studies to show you what makes a training website really work. Create an action plan for improving your own most important marketing asset in:

Websites that Work: Keys to a Successful Trainer Website

Veronica Boutelle (SoCal)/Gina Phairas (St. Louis)


Bonus Recommendation: Facilitate growth with prevention

Check out this critical course for building and strengthening your veterinary relationships.

There is an adage that says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This certainly is true with canine and feline behavioral concerns. With behavior issues being the number-one reason pets are relinquished, it is imperative that veterinary hospitals provide preventive behavioral services for their clients/patients. In this Session, an overview of several preventive behavior services that can and should be offered by trainers to veterinary hospitals will be discussed.

Out in Front: Preventive Behavior Services Trainers Can Offer Veterinary Hospitals

Debbie Martin


See all of the ClickerExpo 2018 courses about training as a business

ClickerExpo 2018 will be held in Southern California (Irvine), January 19 - 21, and in St Louis, Missouri, March 16 - 18. Come grow with us.


ClickerExpo in SoCal (Irvine) and St. Louis.

About the author
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Aaron Clayton is President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and TAGteach International, and a member of the ClickerExpo Faculty.