The world’s largest independent community of personal trainers. We’re Dedicated to Improving the Perception of the Industry, and Your Success. Join thousands of fans on Facebook, because that many trainers can’t be wrong.

Tip 3: Dealing with the Top Dog

by Jonathan Goodman | Follow on Twitter

Chest puffed out, intense attitude, and can’t be told what to do. Top dogs are tough clients. Derek’s got some great tips for dealing with them.

Share This

This tip is a guest post by Derek Peruo. Derek is a personal trainer at Peak Performance in NYC and an actor. He’s combined the two disciplines to put together some great material in analyzing client types and mannerisms. Make sure to comment below and “like” or tweet this post if you want to see more.


The “Top Dog” is one of six common personalities we all come across as trainers. Recognizing the fundamental behavior cues of a Top Dog allows you to tweak how you interact with this type of client, so you can increase your client retention, broaden your market, and get the most out of them each and every time you meet.

Top Dogs:

– Work in high-stress jobs

– Put in long hours at the office

– Are under a lot of pressure from their boss

– Are very competitive, and very driven to succeed

– Will always invade your personal space

Top Dogs try to take control of the session by:

– Standing tall, and puffing out their chest

– Looking you directly in the eyes while speaking

– Offering exercise suggestions during the session

Maintain control of the training session by doing any of the following:

– Correct a postural issue. Look for tight hip flexors, tight pecs, or a tight neck. Correcting any of these will raise your status in the relationship, which means they will question your abilities less.

– Give them choices. If Top Dogs want to control the training session, give them the illusion of control. Make sure the options you present accomplish your goal for the workout, so you win no matter which choice they select.

– Compare them with others. Nothing gets Top Dogs fired up more than telling them someone else did better, or lifted heavier weights, or ran a faster time. Use this to your advantage if the Top Dog is particularly stubborn.

Like this type of material? Make sure to comment below and “like” or tweet this post and we’ll make sure to include more videos and tips from Derek. Also don’t forget to “like” thePTDC’s Facebook page.

About the Author
Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan Goodman is the creator and head coach of the PTDC and has a distaste for third person bios ... Hey, I'm Jon and I'd have to say that this site is pretty awesome. Thanks for being here. If you're interested in my brand new book, it's called Ignite the Fire (revised, updated, and expanded). My team and I have also created the first Academy and certification for online trainers. Click here to check out the Online Trainer Academy.