Supporting Your Client’s Self-Determination

Do you have clients who are desperate for your help?

Do clients show up at your doorstep feeling embarrassed and confused about how to help their dog?

When your clients are looking to you for guidance and understanding of what is going on with their dog, how do you support their self determination?

As a trainer and behavior consultant who stands firm in do no harm training methods, your approach stays within the lines of the ethical standard.

This is a non-negotiable.

Where you have wiggle room is co creating a training plan alongside your client, so your client can express their own self determination so they can become self sufficient with their own practice.

Self determination is based on your client’s intrinsic motivation for change. It is comprised of their beliefs, attitudes, skills and knowledge influencing the choices they make. These choices are aligned with your goals irregardless of externalities like what others are saying or doing.

  1. Normalize what your clients are going through and validate their feelings. This will help them to know they aren’t alone in their struggles or challenges. As you start normalizing and sharing new information, this is where your client is now gaining knowledge of their relationship with their dog, empathizing with their dogs and making connections of with their interconnectedness.
  2. When your client learns the interplay between them and their dog, then you can start sharing the concepts and strategies in behavior change. This would be providing framework on systematic approaches and even introduce new skills through games and activities you can coach your pet parents to get started in doing.
  3. Introduce skills, activities and games which underpin the science you shared with them. Coach them through the skills and ask them for feedback about what their experience is like working through the practice. You may experience some confusion from your client. This is normal. Confusion is a piece of the growth puzzle. Ask them follow up questions which connect the dots back to their goals of wanting to work with you.
  4. As your client grows with their knowledge of their dog’s emotional state, and they practice the skills you’re coaching them through, your clients become more competent. They can begin creating their routine and life style within this new understanding. These changes opens the door for them to self determine what will work for them. Make it habit of asking your client what’s working and what’s not. When something isn’t working, ask them what solutions they have in mind.

When you offer your clients opportunities to stand in their empowered selves, your clients will open the door to where they can more clearly see the choices of how to respond in a situations.

Your clients can better understand the outcomes of those choices, continue the practice of the skills and can be motivated to continue because of how their dog responds.

Your clients’ self determination allows them to problem solve and to move into a place of advocacy for the welfare of their dogs.

Curious how you can become co-creative with your clients? Set up a Uniting Call with me!

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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