In episode 229, I shared the story about finding joy with a “mighty dog” in my life, a Jack Russell Terrier mix named DeCaff. In Part 2 I admit a painful lesson around frustration, shame and struggle between two of my Terriers; as well as the last six lessons my agility champion taught me about conditioning positive emotional responses, arousal states in dog training, seeing behavior as communication, the canine gut-brain axis, and most importantly: forgiveness of self and others.

In the episode you'll hear:

  • DeCaff’s Story, Part Two: A painful admission about my world champion agility dog.
  • Lesson 1: A dog shutting down during training is feedback to you.
  • About DeCaff’s slow weave pole times.
  • Lesson 2: A dog’s behavior is a critique of your training plan, skills and execution.
  • How I used time outs in the past.
  • About DeCaff’s aggression redirection.
  • Lesson 3: Never sidestep the lesson the dog is trying to share with you.
  • About my a-ha moment with the “Smack Da Baby” tug game.
  • How I doubled my agility dog’s weave pole times with positive conditioning.
  • Lesson 4: You can’t truly help a dog you’ve labelled or compared.
  • How to acknowledge a dog’s limitations but focus on their joy and strengths.
  • Lesson 5: Release guilt, shame and angst we have about our dogs.
  • When DeCaff jumped my sick senior dog.
  • My struggles training DeCaff after the death of my other dog, Twister.
  • About forgiveness for mistakes made with your dog.
  • Lesson 6: Focus on you and your dog’s improvements.
  • About the lessons dogs bring to our lives.
  • About the link between gut health, a dog’s reactive behavior and their neuroses.


  1. Podcast Episode 229: Transforming An Overwhelmed And Anxious Dog Into A World Champion - Decaff’s Story Part 1
  2. Podcast Episode 36: Puppy Selection: How I Do It and Why I Didn’t This! Time
  3. Podcast Episode 205: The Hidden World Of Reinforcement For Dogs And Why You Need To Know
  4. Podcast Episode 177: Dog Training Outside The Box: Transfer Of Value Case Study
  5. Podcast Episode 86: How to Train Unmotivated or Overexcited Dogs
  6. Podcast Episode 189: All The Things That Influence Your Dog’s Behavior And What Behavior Tells You
  7. YouTube Playlist: Dog Body Language, Communication Signals, and How to Read Dogs with Susan Garrett
  8. Podcast Episode 157: Dog Body Language: Understanding Canine Communication Signals And Emotions
  9. Podcast Episode 5: What is Shaping And How Can Dogs Shape Us
  10. Podcast Episode 71: Pro Dog Trainer’s Secret to Help Your Naughty Dog
  11. Podcast Episode 34: Time Outs for Dogs: Does Your Dog Need One?
  12. Podcast Episode 64: Help! How Can I Tell My Dog He’s Wrong
  13. Podcast Episode 172: How To Teach Your Dog Anything With My Training Plan
  14. Podcast Episode 104: Naughty Dog Behaviors And How To Deal With Them
  15. YouTube Video: The Journey with Susan Garrett
  16. Podcast Episode 95: How Playing with Your Dog Like a Puppy Can Reduce Fear
  17. Podcast Episode 221: Mindshifting Dog Behavior Problems To Overcome Extreme Training Challenges
  18. Podcast Episode 8: Get Your Dog in the Belief Loop of Awesome
  19. Podcast Episode 159: Help! My Puppy Is A Bully And Plays Too Rough
  20. Podcast Episode 217: Understanding Emotional Regulation In Dogs To Create Calm
  21. *The Gap and the Gain: The High Achievers' Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy
  22. Podcast Episode 206: First Dog Agility Competition: Creating Joy For This! By Maximizing Reinforcement
  23. Podcast Episode 203: Reactive, Unmotivated and Fearful: Finding Resiliency For This! Beyond Dog Training Part 1
  24. Podcast Episode 204: Dog Behavior And Diet: Recovery For This! Beyond Dog Training Part 2
  25. Podcast Episode 208: Brilliance, Resilience And Gratitude: Inspiration And Motivation With Elliott Connie
  26. Watch this Episode of Shaped by Dog on YouTube

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