A year ago this time I was revamping my website and building a whole new one from scratch to accommodate moving to virtual training and to help make my programs more accessible for clients.
This time around we are moving the other way, and opening back up to in-person training with clients.
It has been WAY too long since I've played and trained with puppies in person. It's pretty exciting to be able to do this again.
I've noticed some things over the past year, and have decided to continue offering virtual training and behaviour modification coaching because of it.
My time has been easier to manage and be more productive with. I used to spend a lot of time travelling between clients and that travel time reduced the number of clients I could see in any given day or week. With online training, I start getting ready to meet with a client just minutes before starting our Zoom session. This has saved hours and hours in time spent travelling, and I can book more clients in that time I would've otherwise been driving.
My vehicle hasn't moved a whole lot in the past 16 months. This has resulted in far less fuel being used, and a profound reduction in emissions.
The other big one has been paper. I was organizing my training bag last week and noticed how much paper is used for a single client. Between handouts, contracts, homework, handwritten notes. It's a lot. Like... a lot a lot!!!
Effectiveness and Efficiency
I've been training almost 13 years in clients' homes and I gotta say... virtual meetings are just really efficient. While I do miss having coffee and chatting on random topics (which is still definitely being done over Zoom, just not around a kitchen table, together), training sessions are shorter, more to the point, and clients have just been really getting down to it and getting the work done.
Quality dog training and behaviour modification is not always accessible to those living further away from larger cities. Online coaching allows dog owners who are remotely located to have access to a private trainer and modern training methods.
Virtual dog training has been happening for over a decade now, long before Covid.
Trainers, Behaviour Consultants and Veterinary Behaviourists have been working with long-distance clients successfully via telephone or video chats for quite some time.
Among my friends and colleagues trainers all over the world have clients all over the world.
This system really opens up clients to find the trainer who's able to meet their needs best.
Virtual training and remote coaching are here to stay at Keystone Dog Training.
I have loved getting regular video updates from clients, coaching them via email/text or making and sending quick videos to address their specific questions.
Compliance has been up and owners have really been putting in the work and making incredible progress with their dogs, and that's one of the most reinforcing things for a dog trainer to see :D
Future scheduling will include travel days, where we can schedule clients in a way that reduces travel time, and days dedicated to virtual training.
Thank you to all the clients who've been patient with me as I stumbled through building a new website and switching current and new clients to a completely online system.
I look forward to new online and in-person clients in the future. And I'm sorry in advance if I just have to pause a moment and really enjoy and appreciate a new puppy.