Our Shaped by Dog podcast is designed to be heard or viewed. If you are able, we encourage you to listen to the audio or watch the video, as each includes nuances of emotion and emphasis that might not come through on the written word. Transcripts are generated from the audio, then humans review with love and care, and then there's a double check by our dogs. If you are quoting in print, please check the audio first for full context. Thank you!
SG Susan Garrett
SG Hey everyone. Welcome to Shaped by Dog. I am Susan Garrett. I have a question for you. When you
get a dog, whether it be a rescue dog or a new puppy, what is your expectation of that dog? Like when
you see it in your home, what does that look like? So, when you go out and get a new puppy, do you
have a vision of what that looks like?
Now you might say, “Oh well, I hope that he doesn't pee in the house and I hope he sleeps through the
night. Ideally, he doesn't bite me.” What does that look like? A lot of people have their lists of what they
don't want their dog to do. “I don't want him to jump on my guests and I don't want him to be too noisy.
Ideally, he doesn't, like pull on a leash when I walk him, and he'll come when I say his name yeah,
that's— I don't want him running the garbage or drooling all over when I'm trying to eat my dinner or
begging at the table, yeah, yeah, I don't want to see that.”
So, when I ask people, they start thinking about all the things they don't want. But how do you convey
that to a dog? When you bring this new rescue dog or puppy into your home, what do you do? Do you
just go, “Oh, I'm so glad you're here! I love you already. Oh, you're so cute.” You probably put a lot of
time and energy researching into what would be the best dog for your home or your family, but then
when you got that dog, what then? Like, what are you doing?
“Oh, I'm signing up for a local class.” How do you know the local class is going to give you what you
need if you don't really haven't given much thought to what you need? It's like, let's say I hire
somebody to join our team. Let's say we're going to hire somebody to help with the podcast here. And
we say, “Hey, you got the job. Congratulations. Welcome aboard. And, well we hope you do a great
job, and everybody likes you. Good luck.” And then day one, the person comes in like an hour late. Day
two, you're waiting to see new ideas about the podcast, you haven't seen anything. Day three, you
“Hey, how is it going?” “Yeah, it's going great. Yeah, it's going great.” He's, this new person is like
watching online porn. While he's on the job or she's on the job. I'm not making any kind of, you know,
judgment on he or she might be watching porn. And you know, maybe a week or two goes by and
you're like, “Ah, what are you doing for the podcast? Like any— well, I haven't really given it some
thought, are you going to tell me what you want?” You can't blame that person.
Now what if this was the way we brought somebody in to help with our podcast. We say, “Hey,
welcome to the DogsThat team. We're super happy to have you on board. Let me introduce you to our
team's core values so you get a little understanding of what's important to us as a member of our team.
And, you know, uh—” I won't go into detail what that it looks like.
“And then let me introduce you to the standard operating procedures for how we go about making sure
the podcast gets produced each and every week. And let me then show you the details of how this
podcast has grown in the last six months.” I don't know. Have we been out for six months? Let's just
say six months. “And our goal for you would be to help grow our audience every month larger than we
did last month so that we can help even more dog owners. And if you've got new ideas on how to make
the lessons more tangible and usable to our audience, then that would lead to the potential for you
maybe even earning a bonus here at DogsThat.”
Do you see how the expectations are clear? But what I've done is I've set milestones. So, this is how
you can become a productive part of our team. And this is how you could actually earn bonuses on our
team. So if you have milestones for your dog, when they come in and what I mean by a milestone is,
you know when you've achieved it, you celebrate and then you know you've done something well. And
that drives you on to the next milestone.
And if you go, “Oh Susan, I just want a dog. I just, you know—" As I've mentioned time and time ago,
again, you can get a dog and just hope that it works out, but there's a lot of dogs in rescue with owners
who have had that approach. It doesn't always work out, actually a lot of times it doesn't work out. But it
can work out if you're very intentional about it and it's super easy. I break it down into three categories.
So, it's what I call the basics, and then there's manners and then there's extras. All right.
So, the basics would be, we need a dog that will sleep through the night. We need a dog that won't go
to the bathroom in the house. We need a dog that won't bite us. You know, that's pretty basic isn't it?
Like you might add more to your basics than that, but I don't know that, maybe I want to be able to trust
my dog loose. So, if we're going to add one more, they sleep through the night, they don't go to the
bathroom in the house, they don't bite me, and they don't destroy my stuff if I leave them loose in the
So, like, there we got four biggies, right? Like it's not a big deal. That's the basics. Now, a lot of people
don't have the basics, right? The dogs don't have that level. The next categories would be manners.
And so, when you get the basics, you celebrate. You have a dog who sleeps through the night. They
don't wake you up anymore, celebrate. And then by celebrating, think about the dog. “Hey buddy, wow.
Really appreciate that you're not waking us up anymore in the middle of the night.”
And I've got a podcast that will help you if you have a dog that wakes you up in the night. Episode
number 26, check it out. And then you go to, now I need a dog that doesn't go to the bathroom in the
house anymore. And so, then you might mark it on a calendar, but look we've gotten two whole days
without the dog going to the bathroom in the house. Oh, we've gone a week, we've got a month let's
celebrate. I think we've got this problem licked. And you're going to carry on with your four basics that
you're going to celebrate that you've achieved success.
Now let's move on to manners. Now manners might be, when I say your name, you give me a
response. Like you go, “Yeah, what?” It doesn't matter if I'm in front of the refrigerator holding a cheese
stick, or I'm out in the backyard. I get what I call a head whip when I say your name. That's manners.
You know how to appropriately greet my guests. That's manners. You don't muddy up my mother-inlaw's you know, dress.
That manners would be you walk calmly on a leash. And you know how to chill in the house. So, when
I relax, you relax. Like that's just kind of everyday manners that you had set as milestones. How do I
get my dog to this level? You aren't excessively noisy, so you're not whining or barking, and you don't
stare at me and drool when I'm eating my dinner, nor do you try and grab food off the counter or off my
So those would be manners. You might have some more and there might be some more that I'm
forgetting. Now, the extras would be things like teach your dog a trick because maybe your partner or
spouse wasn't really keen on getting a dog, but you teach it a couple tricks and wow, that's impressive.
And its extras but you could set milestones for that. I would like to teach my dog one trick. How am I
going to do that? Break that down.
Teaching your dog retrieve. You could say that's a trick, but I think it's a life skill. It could be something
very functional, like every week my dog Swagger retrieves the newspaper for me because it's delivered
at the end of the lane and it's all a long way out there and especially when it's wintertime. So, retrieving,
teaching a trick and having something that you guys can engage in a form of exercise, those would be
extras. And you might keep growing your extras. Maybe it is I want my dog to catch a Frisbee and that
might lead you to different sports.
There's so many different dog sports out there that everyday dog owners can learn to love and enjoy. It
gets a great bonding with you and your dog. It gets your dog some exercise. Gets you in a community
of likeminded people who love their dogs and love doing things with them. Of course, there's things like
agility that I love to do. There’s all different kinds of sports. So those are extras. We've got your basics,
your manners and your extras.
Now, if you go to somebody's class, you just mindlessly go through the lessons but where are they
leading you? So, think of your milestones. I want my dog to walk calmly unleash. Well, there's probably
some lessons in those local classes. They're going to help your dog walk on a loose leash. My point is,
what are you doing to intentionally hit these milestones? You only need like a handful of milestones to
have a pretty awesome family pet. And the more milestones you add, the deeper that bond develops
with you and your dog and the more that dog blossoms.
So, somebody who gets a dog in order to chain them to the back yard and, you know, change their
water bowl once a month, maybe they just keep dumping water in that big old bucket and give them,
you know, maybe even just open a bag of dog food and stick it in the back of there dog house, highly
unlikely they're listening to this podcast. But if you are welcome, everyone's welcome here. But there
won't be a lot of milestones for that dog. “Maybe can you not bark all night? Cause you're keeping up
the neighbors.” But the more you welcome your dog into your home and into your heart, the more it
becomes part of your family, the more milestones you may want to set for your dog. Because that's
what allows the dog to be successful.
You've showed them how to be successful by setting out those milestones. I need you to tick these
boxes together. We're going to tick those boxes because I am responsible for all of your good behavior
and I'm also responsible for all of your naughty behavior. I take that on myself and I'm going to be
intentional about ticking the boxes that lead towards you and I celebrating yet again another amazing
And if you take something like exercise, that actually takes a lot of those other naughty behaviors off
the boards. You have a dog that destroys your furniture, runs off with your remote control or runs off
with the sock and won't bring it back, they get into the garbage, things like that. Or they bark at the
window all day when you're gone. A lot of those things are eliminated when you grow some of the
Because if you get a dog who you've engaged their brain and you've given them some exercise, what
happens is that dog is mentally and physically exhausted. They tend to relax and chill around the
house when you're home or when you're not home. That means you have minimized the opportunities
for them to get into trouble. A lot of the times dogs are just happened to have all this extra energy and
there's been nothing set up on the calendar for them to achieve. And that's when they get into trouble.
But I'm sure if you're listening to Shaped by Dog, that is not you and your dog. And if it is, then what's
your first milestone going to be? What is it going to be one of the basics that you've let slide because
you thought it wasn't possible with your dog? If it was, leave me a comment. Let me know what it is and
if I haven't spoken about it, I'm going to do a podcast to help you out.
Or maybe it's a manner, some inappropriate behavior that your dog is showing towards somebody in
your family or to others or to other dogs, that could be your milestone that you are going to set up. And
you can have more than one.
I would suggest you know, maybe have three to five to start. Celebrate even getting partway to one
because that momentum is going to lead you to the other. And you will find that a milestone like
retrieve will minimize things like running off with a toy. So, or running off with a sock or running off with
your remote controller, or your glasses.
When you teach a retrieve that goes away. It's funny how that works. That's it for today. Good luck with
your milestone. As always, please leave me a comment. I love to know what you think of the podcast.
And if you haven't done so yet, would you do me a favor? Share Shaped by Dog with just one family
member or friend who has a dog and let them know all of the things that you're learning here.
I'll see you next time on Shaped by Dog.