Communicating Effectively with Your Customers – A Book Review

Human Half of Dog training

I am ecstatic about what I have just finished reading. I have a hard time finishing books. I get bored pretty easily which is why I like things to get straight to the point. If it’s not going anywhere, I move on to the next thing. I read this whole book and loved it all.

Human Half of Dog training

The book I just finished reading and loved was The Human Half of Dog Training by Rise VanFleet, Ph.D., CDBC. I’m going to go through and talk about some of my favorite parts of the book. (If you’ve read this book, be sure to share your favorite part(s) in the comments below!)

  • Initial Engagement and Relationship – I first learned about cognitive dissonance in this chapter. This is something that happens with at least 80% of my clients as they learn that I don’t necessarily agree with all the advice they’ve received elsewhere (friends, family, TV, etc.) Since it is something I recently went through, too, I usually share a little bit about my story to help comfort them. However, this chapter addresses exactly how I should go about helping someone adjust to the brand new concepts I talk to them about.
  • Empathetic Listening – Empathetic listening is familiar to me (and probably to you, too), but it was nice to have it “officially” explained to me so that I know exactly how it applies to the interactions I have with my clients. As I am getting more and more comfortable teaching, I noticed that I was skipping ahead a little too much and not taking the time to listen to all the client had to say so this was also a nice reminder to slow down and connect with the person, even though I might have some simple solutions already in mind.
  • Skills for Working with Children and Adolescents – Personally, I don’t know how to handle children. It has never come naturally to me, but this chapter really helped me learn about how to address them depending on their age. This chapter covers the developmental stage of children so that you can include them appropriately in the dog’s training. This will help me include children in the conversation even more than I already have. I am a big fan of teaching children how to handle their animals and I look forward to getting involved in more humane education in the near future with Clark.
  • Handling Common Problems with Human Clients – One case that stands out to me was one I had before I had crossed over. This engaged couple had three dogs, two were 10+ year old small dogs and one 3-4year old Shar Pei. They were in the process of moving in together, but the dogs were not completely getting along and the small dogs were harassing the woman (the small ones were his dogs). It is safe to say that the two were less than supportive of each other and I spent my time being a counselor rather than a dog trainer. It drove me nuts…. Anyways, if you are a dog trainer, I’m sure this situation has happened to you! Thankfully, Rise takes the time to address this issue, and others. I did my best back then, but the arguing really wore on me. This book tells you exactly how to address each person in the family so that the training can continue successfully!

It was really great to read a book that explained many things I had already been doing with my clients and addressed approaches I need to tweak and improve. I hope that in the midst of reading all the dog training books out there about all the new training techniques, you will seriously consider purchasing this one so that you can make sure your communications skills are top-notch for teaching all those cool training skills to clients.


(P.S. – I have not been compensated in any way for this review.)