ViewPoint

May 30

Applying V2 media-training skills to our canine friends: A Q&A with Haeleigh Hyatt from SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence

By Megan Nealon

Here at Version 2.0, it’s no secret we love all things tech, public relations and current news events. But, did you know we’re equally as passionate about dogs? We are crazy about them, actually!

So, when we brought on new client, SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, the first and only dog containment and tracking system that lets users take their dog and virtual smart fence wherever they go, it was a match made in heaven. This system is top of the line in its category mainly due to its professional training plans, helping dogs with SpotOn collars to be on their best behavior.

It got us thinking: training is crucial in almost any profession. At V2, we offer media training to all our clients to ensure they’re prepared to present themselves and their companies in the best public light. Additionally, V2ers regularly attend professional development training sessions to hone our PR skills and make sure we remain at the top of our game. If we put this much emphasis and importance on ensuring that we and our clients are properly “trained” for media and the professional world, why not apply the same care with our beloved dogs to prepare them to present their best selves to the world?

I sat down with the Director of Training, Haeleigh Hyatt, for SpotOn to get her advice and best practices for “media” training of the canine variety.

Her key takeaways for helping your pooch get ready for the general public align well with what we’d suggest to our clients to get media ready:

  • Be their advocates
  • Ensure they’re prepared
  • Be proactive in a “crisis” situation and have a plan in place
  • Make good use of gear with the most advanced technology

Check out what Haeleigh had to say here:

[Q&A edited for clarity and brevity]

Q: What are some dog training best practices that are important to know, especially when our pups are in public so they’re putting their best paw forward?

A: Never underestimate the value of basic obedience. A happy well-behaved dog is going to get invited out more and is fun to be around. It boils down to three key basics:

  • Leash manners, which make walks easier and more enjoyable
  • Not jumping on people (or, teaching them when it’s appropriate and when it’s not)
  • House/potty training!

Q: As humans and our dog’s “translators”, how can we help them tell their stories? What are some signs to look for in their body language that we can make sure to relay to others?

A: The biggest thing is to properly understand your dog’s unique language. For example, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean happy or excited; it could also mean the dog is getting aggressive or overly confident. Some other signs to watch out for:

  • Tense body language and growling is obvious, but less obvious is when your dog is staring at other dogs – this might mean he’s feeling tense, too
  • Know how to take action when he’s stressed, be his best advocate and put him in a more comfortable situation

Q: In your experience, what’s the best way to handle a training or behavior “crisis”? For example, what if my dog doesn’t always play well with others? How can we correct negative behaviors in the future and how can we best prepare should a negative situation arise?

A: First and foremost, be your dog’s advocate. Get in front of any potential issues and let people know what his/her issue is. It’s okay to say no to an interaction. A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Preparation is always key – be aware of body language
  • Correct negative behavior before it becomes an issue
  • Have a recall plan in place should a situation arise

Q: A lot of our clients are in the world of tech. In dog training, what are some advantages to embracing technologically superior and advanced products and methods?

A: Sufficient technology is slowly coming to the pet industry, which is exciting because tech products can help you and your dog live life to the fullest together. These types of products are tools that help you better communicate with your pet – we weren’t seeing this even just 10 years ago. However, it’s important to go with the “right” tech gear or product for your situation. For example, some products that were created as “advanced” have not kept up with the times, like the Invisible Fence which hasn’t advanced since its inception in the 1970s. Alternatively, there are some products coming to market that are high quality, like SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence. The system was created by engineers who previously developed battle-tested technology for the military that people’s lives depended on. No other companies in the market are combining effective containment with GPS. The team behind SpotOn applied their knowledge and expertise, and reapplied that to developing products for consumer use.

Q: We believe all companies need PR/communications help in some capacity but a lot of times we need to sell them on the why and how it will benefit their business objectives. As a dog training industry professional, how do you convince people they and their dogs would benefit from your service or a system like SpotOn?

A: Simple – to most people, dogs are part of the family. When a dog is trained, they can come with us where we go and we can spend more time with them. Overall, they’ll have a more enriched life which is important to pet parents and the value of solid training methods and tools is not lost on them.

To wrap this up, let’s take a look at some of our favorite V2 Top Dog “media” trainees!

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