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Speaker Key

SG Susan Garrett


SG Today's podcast is brought to you by you. Because earlier this month I put a story on Instagram and Facebook and said, “Hey, do you have questions for me? Let me know and I'll talk about them on a podcast.” And these are your questions.


First question, first round is on Facebook. I think there's five or six from Facebook. “How about the owner's personality and how it affects training? An introvert versus an extrovert personality for example.” I really think as you develop your chops in dog training, you realize that you have to be both an introvert and an extrovert. If that isn't the kind of person you want to be, you have to choose your dogs very, very carefully. 


So with my dog This!, I have to be very quiet with my movements but very excited with who I am as a personality. Versus say training Swagger, I could be as you know, rambunctious with my movement as I wanted but I had to be kind of mellow and more monotone with my voice and excitement level.


So, it really depends on the dog, more so than the personality of the person because it comes down to what does your dog need, and you have to be that for your dog and learn to be that for your dog. Next question, “stick-to-itiveness.” We could probably do a whole podcast on this because this is really about perseverance. 

Like, “How do you persevere? When you're in the midst of a struggle or an ongoing struggle?” And I've made reference to my youngest dog This! and I guess with my puppy [she's not the youngest] but my youngest Border Collie, This! she's two and a half, and it has not really been easy. The dog training has never been easy since she was a wee puppy. 


So, this might be something you've never thought of, but how do you define yourself? And that is a question that's answered subconsciously so you have to kind of bring that to the forefront. How do you define yourself? If you define yourself as a good dog trainer, I'm a good dog trainer.

And you might say, “Well, good dog trainers have an easy time of it. They don't struggle, so this is BS and I'm packing it in.” Or, “I'm getting another dog.” Or, “This dog can't do it.” Or, “This dog doesn't have what it takes to excel.” So, it's easy to protect your own ego and put it on the dog, right? 


Or you might say, you might define yourself as, “I'm just in this for a good time. I'm a hobbyist. That's all I am. I'm a hobbyist, so this is too much for me. You know what? I'm going to go scroll through Netflix.” “You know what, Susan Garrett, you can keep this perseverance stuff because that's not who I am.” I define myself consciously as a lifelong learner. I am a lifelong learner. And what you go through, you grow through.


And so, I welcome the new lessons that I get. I don't like struggle. Heck, who likes struggle?! But there's a great saying that I heard, and this could be a podcast on its own, a great saying that I heard when I was away in Costa Rica. The first part of my trip was a business meeting and the fellow kept saying, “You need to choose your hard.”


So, I think it's easy for me to fall in love with puppies. It would be hard for me to say, “You're not going to meet my standards and I need to place you in a new home.” So I'd rather choose my hard of helping that dog to shine. So, you choose your hard.

And I think that's what gives you stick-to-itiveness, because at the end of the day I just love my dogs and so I'm going to do what I can and get the help that I need if it's nutrition, or if it's health, to help that dog live their best life. 


Okay, that was a very long question. I think we could do two podcasts out of that. One on ‘choose your hard’ and one on ‘stick-to-itiveness’.

“How to fix up a broken recall word? How to set up a new one?” Alright so number one, you have to have an intentional plan on how to create a really good recall and go to my playlist here on Shaped by Dog and really, not allow the dog to not come when they're called.

That's the biggest part of having a great recall word. So how does that work? Well, if you know the dog is highly unlikely, unless you're willing to bet me a thousand dollars that your dog's going to come, don't use your recall word. 


And now you want to replace it. Just start playing new games with your new word and keep that word sacred. It's a special word and you want it to be valuable to your dog. You want it to be meaningful. So don't let it lose its meaning or lose its value by using it when your dog's less likely to respond to it properly or by repeating it. Let that one sink in. 


If you use your recall word, if you say to your dog, your recall word is your dog's name, that's what my dog's recall word is, I'm not saying it twice. I expect that my dog is going to respond on that first time. And if they don't, then I'm taking notes. Yeah, I got to fix that. That's not going to happen twice.


“Instincts over arousal, what exactly it is? How can we use it, inhibit it in our dog training?” So those are two different things. Instincts and over arousal. So over arousal is, you know, just something that all dogs will get over aroused if they find something that's over their threshold of what is their normal. 


And for some dogs it might be easy. Now, aroused is what I would call Swagger. And people would say, “Oh my gosh!” when I used to run him in agility. “How could you run him? Like he's just crazed.” No, he was aroused. Over aroused is so focused on something else that they can't respond to me. And that's not something that Swagger like rarely, if ever, did.


And so over aroused is different than being aroused. Over aroused is something that you can help a dog by helping them to understand the foundation. I mean, everything comes back to foundation.

The more understanding, the more clarity the dog has, the less over aroused they're going to get. Alright.

And instincts really, there's different instincts in all dogs. And what you need to do is understand those instincts and use them to help you with your dog. Don't work against them. That's a battle that none of us are going to win. 


Okay, so let's go to the question on separation anxiety and yesterday's podcast on relaxation. I mentioned that if anxiety is something that you guys would like to hear more about, then leave a comment and sure we can do a full podcast on that.

Actual fact, I've got two students who have taken what they've learned from us, and they've created this amazing protocol going beyond what I do for separation anxiety, which is awesome, and let me share that with you.

Okay, so that is our questions from Facebook. Now a lot more questions from Instagram, so let's jump over to the ‘Gram. 


Lot of really good questions on Instagram and some of them I will turn into full podcasts. First one, “How to get Hounds: Redbone, Tree Walker, et cetera, to stop barking?” 

Okay. If you don't like barking, there are certain breeds you probably shouldn't get, right? A Jack Russell Terrier is not going to be the same dog as a Golden Retriever.

And the breeds you named they're bred to bark when they work. They're bred to bark when they're excited. 


And so, can you get them to not bark? Sure. How much time do you have? It's a long process. And at the end of the day, is it fair to the dog if that's innately who they are?

Next question, “How do you physically train yourself?” I do a program called Functional Patterns and I've done that for about eight years, and I strongly recommend everybody listening to this podcast look into Functional Patterns. 


I've been in fitness since I was 13. I have worked out since I was 13. My father worked out every day of his life until he was killed in a car accident when he was 80. And he was just a great model for all of us growing up. So, I've tried pretty much every kind of fitness there is.


Functional Patterns is the one I know will increase everyone's longevity and will help prevent injuries. It's like no other way to work out. So, there you go.

I do a lot more in my fitness and I don't know if it's just fitness, but it's my overall approach to health because I love life and I love living an active life.


Okay, next question. “Training multiple dogs. Most siblings that have been together for life and they struggle to be separated. Mostly siblings that have been together for life.” So, I would say the separation anxiety podcast would maybe help you with that. But I think training one while the other is in a Hot Zone is the way to do it. And gradually you can increase the distance away from each other while you do it. That is going to help.


And the same person asked “How to work with siblings? I didn't know better. And now they get anxious when they're away from each other.” So similar question. Yeah, we recommend that you not buy siblings, but if you've got them, we're going to do the best we can with what we've got, right? 

And so, your goal is to help them be confident, and that may be just putting one in a Hot Zone, walking into the other room with the other, and making sure that first one gets like a remote feeder while you're gone. 


“How to become accredited reinforcement-based dog training when it's an unregulated industry?” There's several people that have great training programs to help you be a great dog trainer using reinforcement. Jean Donaldson's is a great program. The IAABC has got a really, really good program as well. And of course, there's the Karen Pryor Academy. So, there are places that you can become accredited even though the industry is not regulated. 


Those would be the three that I would be recommending. If you go to our YouTube page and go to the playlist, my team has organized our podcast into these amazing playlists for you, so that would be a huge help for you. 


“When to start weave polls for my agility dog?” I strongly encourage you to have a great foundation of strength and fitness and body awareness and flexibility. I personally don't even consider it until my dogs are well over a year old, maybe 14 to 16 months with a smaller dog, maybe 14 months.

But there's so many things that I want to do first. Skills that make them a great family pet are my number one. Agility comes next. There's no rush on agility skills guys, there is absolutely no rush. 


“Thoughts on office dogs? What should requirements be training and behavior wise?” You know, a friend of mine showed me recently, we were on Zoom. He showed me, I've never seen anything like this, I thought this was a great idea. 

They have a calendar, and they have all the photos, of the people who work there, their dogs. Because they all want to bring their dogs to the office.

So, they will pick, like somebody will pick their photo “I want to bring my dog these days.” And then “Well my dog gets along with your dog, so I'll bring my dog those days.”

So that's a great system if you have people who are working in the office and bringing their dog. I thought that was genius.


So just have a little photos of your dogs and put that out and yeah, that's a great way. Because not all dogs are super well trained. But ideally if you're taking a dog to the office that they are, obviously they're very well house trained.

They’re not going to urinate or defecate or mark anywhere. And ideally that they know Hot Zone. They have been worked in areas of distractions and that if they will bark when somebody knocks on the door or comes in, that they'll settle really quickly afterwards. 


“Best or safest way or product for all sizes of dogs to travel in a vehicle?” I don't really think there is because think about like Irish Wolfhounds. I'm sure there are crates made for them, but I mean, my favorite crate to travel with is a Gunner. But those Gunners take up a lot of room in your car, so you might not have room for them, some of them. 

My next favorite I also use the Ruff Land Kennels because I like that they have doors, and I can get doors on the side or on the back. Those are my two preferences, but it really depends on the size of your dog and the size of your car. 


So just like feeding your dog, you do the best you can with the finances you have in the situation that you're in. So, I would say there isn’t necessarily the best or safest. It’s the best and safest with what's available to you.


“What to do when another dog attacks yours?” Number one we want to avoid that from happening if we can. And I know sometimes like stuff just happens. So, when you're out walking your dog, always be aware. Don't ever be scrolling on a phone when you're walking your dog. Always be aware of your surroundings. 

Be aware of you know, you see a neighbor, a dog in a fenced in area up ahead. Is that dog going to be lunging at your dog? Cross the street, don't take any chances.

But if this happens, the first thing you want to do is you know, I'm assuming a dog’s jumped your dog. I personally try to play with my dog. Now, if your dog is injured, you get your dog to a Veterinarian right away. 


But the first thing I do is try to play with my dog. I want them to know, “Hey, that was normal. That was weird. Come on, let's play.” They might, depending on how bad that jump was, they might be paralyzed.

But that's my first go-to or throw a handful of cookies on the ground and tell them to ‘search.’ Really, it depends on the degree of what just happened to them and how they bounce back. 


But I don't want me to start screaming at the owner because then that takes my dog who's already flooded with stress and makes it even worse. But the two times that I can think of that have happened to my dog, well three times, all three of them - so Buzzy, Shelby and Decaff, all three of them, I just like turned and said, “Hey! Get this thing!” and all three of them just came and played with me. Alright?


Now that's assuming that the other dog owner has got the dog because you trying to get excited is going to stimulate that other dog, right?

“Random things that scare the crap out of your dog.” Again, you want to behave normal. Just scatter cookies on the ground, see if they'll tug. Again, depending on your dog. 


So, I could get Swagger and Minty to respond, and probably even the puppy, This! might be harder, but I want her to change her state. So, I talk about in the last podcast, podcast number 191, the Relaxation Protocol. But I also have a stimulation protocol that is just you know having these games, our Recaller games that triggers a state of excitement and fun.

If you play those enough in enough places, then it's easier to get a dog to recover once they've been overwhelmed by something. So, it sounds so simple, and you know, “Oh, that would never work for my dog.” But it will work for most dogs. But you have to be consistent about it. 


“Is there any dog that isn't fit for people that aren't professional dog trainers? For example, Malinois.” That's you know, that's a kettle of fish and there are a lot of dogs. I think working dogs generally are not great for first time dog owners or less experienced dog owners. And it isn't just Malinois, but like any working dogs that are bred for a specific thing, they are brilliant. 


They tend to be pretty smart dogs. And if you take that and you add it to a dog that's got a lot of power, power in their body and power in their jaw, then it could be potentially dangerous as well to you. So, for first time dog owners I would you know, go and talk to a professional dog trainer and say, “This is how I live my life. What kind of dog do you think would fit in with me?”


Dr. Google is not going to send you down the right path. Go to somebody who really understands dogs. Because a lot of people pick dogs based on the look, and that is the absolute worst way to pick a dog. Pick a dog based on your lifestyle and the dog that will fit with that lifestyle. Doesn’t that make sense? I think it makes sense, right?


“Cliques in dog sports, completely the human aspect, but it's hard for us new folk.” You know I think it's same when you're new in anywhere. I don't think it's just dog sports. You know, like last weekend when I went to this business meeting and there's 80 people there. I didn't know any of them.

So, you know, sometimes that's difficult. I don't find it too difficult. But if I was a real introvert, I would. And so, it's just you know, being curious. That's the best way to fit in. Asking for help. People with dogs love to let you know how much they know. So just ask for help. That's a great way to meet people. 


“Training to ignore or not be interested in wildlife or deer.” That's our last question. So how do you train a dog to ignore or not be interested in wildlife or deer? So that is University level. So how are your fundamentals? My dogs have no interest in chasing deer.


The bulldog came, wanted to chase everything. The puppy, I think the puppy isn’t bombproof yet, she's only going on nine months old. But all my dogs grow up. I've had three Jack Russell Terriers and a Jack Russell Terrier cross, and they all grew up.

Again, I train with reinforcement. I don't train with physical corrections, so I play games that create a foundation that I am more exciting than anything in my dog's life. 


So, you know mastery at anything is mastering the fundamentals and recalls to me are the most important thing we can train a dog. So, get really, really good. And if you're not sure what that looks like, I'll leave a link to our Recallers Program. And you can take a look at that when it's open again, that might be something that would be great for you and your dog because it gives you so many things.

Those ‘how to get a dog to be triggered, to be stimulated, to play to recover from things.’ And while you're playing all these games, they're leading you to a dog that walks on a nice loose leash or comes when they're called. And another, a huge myriad of things. So, mastery of the fundamentals, that's what mastery of anything is, any skill, right? Not just dog training.

So, thank you for your questions and I'm going to do that more often because I love to hear what you guys want to hear about on the podcast. So, I'll see you next time right here on Shaped by Dog.