In-home sessions can be a blast, but they can require a lot of “stuff”: treats, a laptop, a notebook, spare pens, washable toys, and bait bags, just to name some. A pro trainer arrives organized and prepared.
New to (or thinking of starting) in-home sessions for the first time? Don’t have all your tools right where you need them, when you need them? Don’t have a way to prevent puppies from dive-bombing your supplies for treats? This post is for you!
Everyone has their own preferences, but you can use this to get an idea of what might suit you and your business best.
Your Two Supply Stashes
I recommend two forms of organization for your supplies:
- A Training Bag that you take into people’s homes, full of the stuff you use the most (and the stuff you might need in a pinch)! Kind of the Mary Poppins bag of dog training… You should also keep anything perishable or heat/cold sensitive in here.
- Containers in your trunk for things you need less often, but get regular use. Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk? I dunno, but clear out some room for your containers…
“What’s In the Bag?”
Your bag is your mobile office! Business overnighter bags and nurse’s bags are great! (As an example, here’s the bag I use.) I think the ideal training bag has multiple compartments that open individually. Why individual compartments?
1. You can quickly get what you need because it’s stored in the same compartment all the time.
2. You can keep treats and toys closed off from prying snoots! (No more panic about a pup getting something they’re allergic to or will resource guard while you’re just trying to get out a laptop.)
What’s essential to have in your bag? Well, that’s up to you! Here are suggestions from myself and the DTU Facebook community:
- Laptop protector/case
- Notebook and pen (even if you’re digital, you never know when that battery might go)
- Treats (Multiple sizes and proteins. Go for stuff you don’t have to cut up!)
- Toys (Multiple sizes and textures. Many times, YOUR toys are more exciting for clients’ dogs than the same old ones that have been lying around their house!)
- Phone charger and laptop charger
- Bait bag
- Poop bags
- A place to store checks/cash if you take them as payment
- Leash (non-retractable…)
- Examples of walking gear (harness, headcollar, etc.)
- Kong or Lickimat and squeezable treat
- Dog-safe human snacks! (So you can skip the trip to the store between sessions if you want/need to.)
- First-aid kit
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Extra copies of contracts/waivers
- Spare face mask (Never know when an ear loop might be on its last leg!)
Your resources may limit what you can choose right now as far as a bag or supplies, and that’s okay! Make the most of what you’ve got. How can you divide up your supplies? Maybe you have smaller bags and/or a laptop case that will fit in your big bag? Maybe you or a relative have a piece of luggage you can repurpose? Don’t forget secondhand sources and thrift stores!
You may also opt to go bagless! Some trainers on our Facebook group commented that they simply pocket a few items and wear their bait bag for in-home sessions.
Here’s a look at my bag, what’s in it, and how I use it!
Junk In Your Trunk
Your trunk is a great place for tools you want to keep handy but that are too darn big for your bag, or that you just don’t need quite as often. Storage containers with lids are ideal for the little things.
Here are some items to consider for trunk storage if you’re rocking the in-person appointments:
- Long line
- Slip lead
- Flirt pole
- Basket muzzle (for training)
- Mesh muzzle (for emergencies)
- Mat and/or platforms for “place” and stationing work
- Carabiners (Secure way to attach a leash to a solid object without taking a dog’s leash off the collar. Great for outdoor/in public sessions.)
- Nail trimmers, brushes, etc. (If you do puppy socialization or cooperative care)
- Stuffed dog (For those of us who work with reactivity. Also, don’t put the fake dog back in the trunk in front of your client’s dog…)
- Treat and Train or Pet Tutor (batteries stored in your bag!)
- Target stick
- More water! Collapsible dog bowl, Gulpy…
- Large items for CGC/socialization such as walkers, canes, play tents, etc.
We’d love to hear what else you think is a handy item to have for your in-home training sessions!