Online Sessions & Workshops
What’s the difference between a 1-2-1, a class and a workshop? The answers range depending on who you are, but for me they vary in three particular ways:
- The amount of people I split my time between
- The depth of the exercises the client receives coaching on
- The cost
Online I see the differences as pretty clear too:
- A class is drip fed content spread over a longer period (usually about 6 weeks). This aims to teach a set of skills to your Average Joe dogs. It is personalised by regular lives in a populated Facebook group along with sporadic or regular feedback on video submissions shared to a group, and this is all done in the trainers’ own time.
- A workshop is condensed content, and it teaches a specific behaviour—or set of behaviours—in a much shorter timescale. Most owners then have to go and practice the exercises and continue to progress them in their own time. An online workshop would be pre-recorded content for the owner to keep, as well as a set of group coached sessions over a platform called Zoom. These are usually for over achievers or owners struggling with one particular skill, such as lead walking or recall.
- A 1-2-1 is usually for someone struggling, or a dog that is struggling. It often includes the same techniques you would teach in a class (for example for loose lead or recall) but with the addition of personal, longer coaching sessions via WhatsApp video calls, as well as extra videos. The exercises are received by the owner, and you talk through them one exercise at a time. The owner then practices; and you may wish to re-demo particular parts of an exercise in closer detail. You may also wish to change bits of the process and troubleshoot.
So quick summary of technology. My example would be for recall. A recall class would live on Teachable, on your platform, and it would be supported by Facebook group. The recall workshop would live on the platform, but it would be supported by Zoom video conferencing over a very short amount of time. Recall 1-2-1 would live on the Teachable platform, but it would be heavily supported via WhatsApp video calls and messaging, along with perhaps additional videos being sent to troubleshoot particular problems that owners are having.
Many people just do their workshops on Zoom. There are pros to this—it’s different every time you run it and it’s very, very personal. The cons, of course, are that you have to repeat the exercise every time, your mistakes are also live for your audiences to see, and that’s not just embarrassing but it can reduce clarity and of course it’s not very scalable. You can only really do it for four people at a time. Using the videoed exercises, workshops become a simple group coaching call and this allows you to help significantly more people per day. Additionally the quality of the picture can make it hard for owners to see what’s going on in Zoom or WhatsApp, which is why we recommend giving them high quality videos to really see the technique.
1-2-1s can be the same. Many people take their 1-2-1s online simply by doing a Skype call with someone and attempting to teach and demo and coach in a session at a distance. I’d suggest that the same pros and cons exist, which is why I recommend using the platform to write and build courses specifically for 1-2-1s. A set of three videos teaching your dog not to jump up supported by Skype or, my favourite, WhatsApp video calls can work perfectly. Additionally it allows for homework to be recorded and fed back on the app, which means they can revisit in the future to see their progress.
Generally speaking classes are perfect for Average Joe dogs. Average Joe dogs are dogs that are designed to be in the role they are situated in. A working Collie with an obedience trainer or a farmer might be considered an Average Joe dog. A low drive Cockerpoo in a family home might be considered an Average Joe dog. A non-working type Labrador in a home with a young couple as their first dog might be considered an Average Joe dog. All dogs living good lives.
With a point in the right direction, and a pat on the back when they get it right; good, broad reward-based training techniques will help these owners wind up with the dogs that they want. These Average Joes are perfect for classes—you can show them tricks and sort common problems in the support group via Facebook, in exactly the way Nando described, but they don’t need much more than that.
But there are those that want a little more. The recall, from class, just isn’t quick enough for Over-Achieving Annie. Her dog doesn’t sit fast enough or straight enough. A-Grade Annie usually either has higher expectations than what her dog can fulfil, or she just wants the absolute best. She wants her dog to recall easily away from rabbits, and not to move or make a peep when she goes to the pub. She wants the ball returned right into the hand every single time, no matter what. Later down the line you might suggest outlets for this precision training for 50% of your A-Grade Annies. A-Grade Annies want it right and they want it now. A-Grade Annies are perfect for workshops.
People who really want one particular skill to be proofed and perfect can happen as a result of bad passed experiences, or because they know they are going to expect their dog to do this particular behaviour in very tricky environments because of where they work or where they live. These guys also fit nicely into a workshop.
For me, a workshop involves fewer participants than a class. They receive much more coaching than a class. They also receive deeper information over a very short time amount of time.
To run a digital workshop well you will need:
- An intro to your day one and intro to day two, and you need to film and edit those.
- Your exercises for each day on your Teachable platform can be taken from other courses, but we’ll go into that in a minute.
- You’re also going to need Zoom. Zoom is an application designed for meetings and allows you to coach multiple people working through an exercise, live.
In a workshop, rather than break an exercise into lots of parts over coming weeks, dogs turn up and you work on one thing for an intense amount time. The humans learn the entire process in one or two fell swoops. Now, depending on the skill I may actually teach these a little differently to the way I teach an exercise in a class; or I may not. Recall and loose lead workshops could run perfectly using exactly the same exercises as we use in the Good Dog class.
To make a recall or loose lead workshop from the material we’ve already made, I would simply pull out each of the exercises from each of the weeks and split them in half for day one and day two. I would write a top and tail. So, I would do a 5-minute chat about recall workshops, about Zoom and how these workshops run, and about the techniques that we use. Then I’d get them to follow the instructions to join a Zoom.
Zoom is definitely worth having a play will. Dean is going to talk you through it properly in another video, but it’s really easy to set up on your phone. To set it up just download the app and then you sign up. Signing up just requires basic, normal personal details; it’s very quick.
You can have up to a hundred participants on Zoom, but as I said I wouldn’t recommend any more than four for a workshop session. It does mean you could easily have sixteen on a workshop and split them in four groups of four to coach. Each would watch the first exercise on Teachable before joining the Zoom, which you’ve scheduled in for them at a particular time, and you would then coach them through that first exercise. You would then coach your second group of four people, your third group and your fourth of four people, before returning to the first group who by then would have practiced and watched the second exercise.
[16 people having all payed £65 (plus VAT) is £830 take home for two half days which isn’t too shabby. With that in mind don’t be scared to spend time fixing people’s or pushing people further.
You can mute yourself and others when on zoom and I would always ensure you’ve muted the other participants while you feedback on one at a time.]
Push them through each exercise, try to progress them and then send them away to keep practicing between your session and your next exercise. Starting them online means demos are pre-recorded; you don’t have to go through them four times in one day. It also allows for them to see the exercises clearly: to pause, to rewind, to see close ups. It gives them the exercises for life as well. Using Zoom to coach, however, works great for workshops because these people need a little more help and they want you to see them do it live. They’re working through the exercises really intensely over a short period of time. It’s important you make sure they’re getting it right.
So for an online workshop, the client would receive:
- Tutorial videos for all of the exercises required to teach and progress the behaviour.
- Five or six coached sessions (some on day one and some on day two) where they also spectate three other attendees working through the exercises, as well as work though the exercises themselves with you.
This teaches the owner all of the exercises they need to work on over coming weeks to nail the behaviour that they want or, in the case of something like a tricks workshop, to nail all of the behaviours. I would price this slightly higher than classes.
1-2-1s For people with a dog that doesn’t fit, a particularly tricky dog or an owner who struggles badly, we have 1-2-1s. Depending on what someone wants help with here, they can still use the same exercises that already exist on the platform for your classes, just put in a different set/in a different package. Or they can buy a brand new package that you can create specifically for various series of 1-2-1.
I love this set up. It allows you to teach the basics such as muzzle training, if needed, or a simple hand touch; and it allows the owner to go away and do it in their own time, but it allows you to hand hold them. I think that the support that an owner can receive with a combo of pre-recorded high qualify tutorials and 1-2-1 video calls, as well as recorded homework sessions which can then have decent feedback, can go way above and beyond that which is received traditionally in a physical set up.
WhatsApp is my favourite to use for 1-2-1 video calls. The picture, in my opinion, is better and I find nearly everyone these days has it. The application is super easy to set up and use, and it’s second nature to the vast majority of people that I talk to; but Skype and even Facetime will work just fine. In our suggestions for classes, 1-2-1s and workshops, Zoom is a relatively different application. Most people can understand the set-up of a basic video platform and Facebook and WhatsApp; they’re old friends. That, in and of itself is important; it’s a definite pro. Learning new applications and new technology can be a real obstacle for people.
Right, so next, some homework. I want you to make a list of all the exercises you teach in a class.
I’m going to go with the ten that we teach in the Good Dog Level 1:
Okay. So make your list of ten exercises, or any amount of exercises that you teach in one class. Some of these, with the addition of a few short videos here and there, could be made into separate courses for both 1-2-1s and for workshops. Which ones would you use straight out the box, or what small additional could you use for a workshop? I’d go with recall and loose lead, most definitely, almost straight out the box for workshops and 1-2-1s. A few additional exercises and you could do a nose-work workshop, and a few more additional exercises and you could easily put the retrieve together to make a play workshop, and as well use it for 1-2-1s for people who need help with their relationship. I’d add settle to leave it and sit-stay exercises as well as some others and make a calm dog workshop, as well a series for 1-2-1s with any hyper dogs that really need help.
So brainstorm your exercises and take notes where you think you could either bundle groups of them together to make courses specifically for workshop design, and groups of them where you could make courses specifically for a 1-2-1 series. Be creative. This bit’s fun and it only gets more fun the more ideas you can write, because it gives you more and more stuff to film.
See the thing is here we’ve got three simple price plans. We’ve got the cheapest price plan for those Average Joe dogs—which is the class set up—and this should have around thirty different sessions in it, which means about twenty exercises because a lot of them will have additional parts. Then you’ve got your workshops, and they usually have around five or six exercises in them. They’re the bare bones of one particular skill all put in to an intense period of time. These are going to be a little bit more expensive than your classes because the people are getting much more coaching and they’re getting it in a very short time frame. Remember with these to schedule your calls; so you might start your workshop at 10 o’clock, that’s when people will go and open up that first video and watch it. Then at 11 o’clock you might have your first coaching call. After they’ve had their coaching call, they might be given an hour to practice and another half hour to watch session two and give it a little go. Then you might then schedule your next coaching call, so that you’re then watching them after they’ve had a little go doing their second exercise and troubleshooting. Then they might have another hour to practice that and give their dog a little break, and they might watch their third one, and an hour and a half later you’d put your third coaching call in that day. But if you schedule it by time it can actually make those workshops really feel like workshops over a weekend. As I say, make sure you price those properly. You’re giving a lot more of yourself—a lot more personal time—into them, and the client should be paying for that.
And lastly you have your 1-2-1s, which as we say we would run through pre-recorded videos as well as WhatsApp. Now with these 1-2-1s they’re the highest price because you’re giving the most of your actual time to these clients. What’s really nice about this particular set up is that you can have pre-recorded bundles ready for clients, for all manner of different things, and you can put them all into one “course” if you like, so that they can have all of those exercises to work through with you. You can still demo live if you want to, but it means that the client can go back and watch the high-quality pre-recorded ones when they’re practicing them over the week. If you’ve got a class that’s completely ready, let’s say a six week recall class, and you come to us and you say ‘right this class is ready, it’s filmed, it’s done. But I want it as a class and I want it as a workshop option, because I want to be able to offer this as people who have it over six weeks, but I also want to offer it as people who have it as one weekend’. That’s fine, we can do two separate prices for one course, but you need to tell us. So make sure that you drop that into an email when you give us that course.
Okay, so you’ve got your three options and you’ve got what we would recommend—how we would recommend—that you do those three options. So now, go away and have a think about your different courses and your different exercises in your different courses, and think about how they can be packaged in that way. Like I say, my best advice to you just now is to go away and write that down. So write a list of all the exercises you teach in one class and think about how that can make a workshop and a series for 1-2-1s.