Getting the Best from Your Staff

Business owners can apply some very basic principles of animal behavior and training techniques to build effective relationships with their employees.



For the past 35 years, I’ve made a living training animals for movies, TV shows and commercials. Early in my career, I even worked with a wide variety of marine mammals in theme parks and oceanariums. I have hosted two nationally syndicated TV series, written four books, and sold over 500,000 dog training DVDs. 

I’m not an animal behaviorist who is a professor at some university and whose name is followed by a series of capital letters. Nor have I ever even run a large business with a number of employees. As a matter of fact, my staff is currently made up of just myself. 

So, how can a person who owns a business that has no employees and never really went to college teach you how to have a better relationship with your employees? Well, what I do have is over 30 years of hands-on experience in working with our furry and not-so-furry friends. What I have learned through experience is that much of what works in building relationships with dogs, cats and marine mammals works with human “animals” as well.

Notice I said “relationships,” and not necessarily training or teaching. To teach most animals effectively, especially the more intelligent ones, you need first to develop a relationship with them—a relationship based on trust.

What I would like to convey are some very basic principles of animal behavior and how to apply many of the training techniques that I’ve learned over my career to your situation, whether you’re looking for ways to build a better relationship, managing just one person, training a small or large staff, or generally looking to make your business run smoother.

Much of my experience comes from the training of dogs, dolphins, sea lions, killer whales and a variety of other animals. Like people, these are all very intelligent animals with an incredible potential for learning. But in order for people and animals to learn efficiently, they both need many of the same things, including:

Good Communication
Everything needs to be presented in a simple and easy manner.

We need to have a game plan and small goals that are easy for employees and managers to achieve.

We need to know our leaders/teachers/coaches are there for us, and that we can trust them.

Individualistic Learning
Because of the variety in people and animals, we all learn at different speeds. What may work for one may not be effective for another.

We need the drive to work and a desire to complete goals. 

We need something to give us a reason to complete a job or achieve the goal.

We need to be shown when we do things incorrectly in ways that do not jeopardize the relationship that’s been established.

My seminar is probably a bit different from any other you’ve attended. You’ll learn how some of your favorite animals are trained, but most importantly, learn how to use many of the same techniques in building better relationships with your employees, managers, and supervisors.

Joel Silverman has trained animals for Hollywood films, TV, and amusement parks, and he now devotes his forty years of professional experience to helping thousands of pet owners train and care for their dogs. Joel has worked behind the scenes on lots of shows and films, but he’s best known for Good Dog U—his top-rated Animal Planet series. Joel authored three books to share his expertise with pet owners: What Color Is Your Dog?®, Take 2 - Training Solutions for Rescued Dogs, and Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain®


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