Who Are Your Clients? Creating a Dog Training Intake Form

 

Dog Training Intake Form, Client History, Canine Behavior Evaluation Form, call it what you will, this is the form a professional dog trainer needs when looking for the vital stats on future clients, human and canine. 

“Why do I need one?  It seems like more administrative work.”

There are a number of reasons for using an intake form for both clients and dogs. Getting a full background can help you to:

1. formulate a targeted, more fully developed training plan,

2. help you evaluate the safety risks in accepting particular dogs; and

3. screen out clients whose needs you may not be able to fulfill or who may be unsuitable for your business in some way.

Why does your client need one?

Requiring an initial assessment of handler and dog is very advantageous to the client for all of the above reasons. If it helps you to do your job, it helps your client. But specifically, I find that completing and reviewing this document with your client helps them to understand better what the training issues/goals are and helps to manage their training expectations. 

Clients frequently are not focusing on the big picture, for example, how is the family’s behavior effecting the dog’s behavior; are the problem behaviors indicative of other underlying areas of concern; is the dog’s environment safe and fully providing for his needs. Most clients are focused on the fact that Spot jumps on their toddler or doesn’t come when they call him. The following are items to include that might have your client considering the bigger picture and will help you to create a training plan:

1. Who spends the most time with Spot? Who feeds Spot? Walks Spot?

2. How much exercise does Spot get on a daily basis? This includes both the type and length.

3. Has Spot had previous training? If so, what kind, and with whom?

4. Has Spot ever bitten a person or dog? ***For the best language to use here, you might consult a local attorney.  A local attorney will be familiar with applicable State and local law regarding what constitutes a dangerous dog.

5. Name 5 things that Spot enjoys doing with the family.  5 things that Spot enjoys doing alone.  Note: there are a number of variations you could create: favorite toys, activities, foods.

6.  Spot does these 5 things that I love…  Spot does these 5 things that I dislike….

“Do I have to create my own?” 

Certainly you can create your own dog training intake form. Doing so means that your form will be customized to your needs. This is especially important if you offer specialty classes or provide services to a niche clientele, either of which might require specialized background information. If you prefer not to create your own form, you can choose to either buy a form or utilize business software that collects the information for you as a part of the registration process. There are a number of choices available on the market – check them out!

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