Weasel wrote:Yeah, we charge $75 for a puppy consult and $120 for subsequent consults or adult consults. Pretty steep! And I feel like when i start doing them on my own I will feel like I'm robbing people, but I have a feeling i'll get over it.
I've been calling myself a "trainer" for a whole, what, three weeks maybe? and I'm starting to think it is almost reasonable to charge people for my idiocy. Almost.
Once I started actually doing consultations it was pretty eye-opening. I think of myself as a complete fucking idiot because I make a ton of mistakes and my dogs so often blow me off and we're not actually very good
at anything. Pongu is starting to get semi-not-embarrassing at Rally but we still have a long LONG way to go before I'd consider us decent. All the videos I post are riddled with mistakes -- which is part of why I post them, because I like to be able to chart our progress and see how far we've come, but is not exactly a rousing demonstration of my skills.
But then I talk to regular pet owners -- and these are good, committed, caring owners -- and realize that the world outside this little bubble of crazy dog school is a whole different place. There are a lot of people who love their dogs but can barely get them to Sit. Even though I'm totally sad compared to the people at crazy dog school (who are, after all, national competitors in their fields and/or people who literally wrote the best book in their niche), it turns out that I know enough to be useful sometimes. Seeing a dog make noticeable progress in a couple of weeks is pretty encouraging in getting to "hey maybe I'm not quite as incompetent as I thought."
I still spend a lot of time thinking that there's nothing special about what I do/know, and surely every other dog owner on earth must know the same/more (especially since my involvement in dogdom is relatively recent, going only two years back, and many people have had dogs much longer than that), but that feeling is going away faster than I thought it would. The first part is probably true but the second part is not.
I don't know how I feel about pricing though. On the one hand, trainers (real trainers, not me) need to make a living, and the per-hour rate doesn't begin to cover the amount of prepwork you have to do designing a treatment protocol for each dog and tailoring it to what that client is reasonably able and willing to do. Plus group classes are pretty damn cheap, and a good foundation in the basic stuff you learn at group class can head off a bunch of problems later.
On the other hand I wonder if the price of private consultations doesn't prevent a lot of people from seeking help until they are at the end of their rope, at which point it is SO much harder to fix an unwanted behavior that the dog has been practicing and getting reinforced for over many weeks or months or years.