Dog Trainers: Meet & Greet Checklist for New Dog Trainers

Published: 01/13/2021
If you're new to dog training services with Wag!, welcome! We're glad you're here. This article will delve into tips for your initial meet-and-greet with your furry client's parents to ensure you have all the info you need to provide the best service possible.

This checklist will help you understand where the dog is in the training process so you can better assist them. Bring a pen and paper to take notes while you complete the questionnaire. 

Doggy basics

This section discusses the basic things that are helpful for you to know about a dog's personality and tendencies.

  • How old is Fido? 
  • What breed is Fido?
  • Has Fido ever been enrolled in training or obedience courses? If so, how did they do?
  • Has Fido ever worked with a trainer one-on-one? If so, how did that go?
  • What's Fido's favorite treat and toys? (This will be especially important for figuring out what motivates the dog.)
  • Is Fido leash-trained?
  • What about crate training? If so, do they sleep in their crate?
  • Housebroken?
  • Does Fido have a short or long attention span?
  • Has Fido ever been diagnosed with separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, or depression?
  • What are your dogs triggers?
  • Does Fido get along with people of all ages?
  • How is Fido around other animals?
Basic commands
This section will tell you what commands and behaviors you could use with Fido.

Does your dog know:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Heel
  • Drop it
  • Leave it
  • Lie down
  • Does Fido come when called? If so, do they come at least 99% of the time? (Reliable recall is one of the most crucial aspects of training.)
  • Does Fido obey commands even with distractions?
In-home training

This section will give you a feel for not only the dog's training experience, but also the parents'.

  • How long do you spend exercising Fido every day?
  • How many times a week do you work on at-home training with Fido?
  • How long are your at-home training sessions? 
  • Do you work on training while out-and-about? (e.g., on walks or at the park)
  • Do you practice commands with and without distractions?
  • What distracts your dog?
  • What motivates your dog?
  • In what ways do you reward your dog?
  • Do you use clickers when training? What about "click words"? 
Problematic behaviors

This section focuses on manners and undesirable behaviors that you'll want to nip in the bud.

  • Does Fido jump up when they're excited?
  • Is Fido territorial?
  • Does Fido have issues with food aggression or dog reactivity?
  • Does Fido eat things they shouldn't?
  • Does Fido become destructive when left alone?
  • How do you correct your dog when they exhibit undesirable behaviors?
After the questionnaire

When you finish the questionnaire, spend time with the dog to get a feel for where they are in the training process — this will allow you to see what they've mastered and what to work on.It's a good idea to observe how the dog interacts in their surroundings for a bit before working with them one-on-one. Jot down your observations to help you create a training strategy specific to their dog.