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SG Susan Garrett
SG Hey everybody, welcome back to Shaped by Dog. I am Susan Garrett, and I have a list of descriptors for you. Let me know if any one of them apply to your dog. Stubborn, spiteful, sneaky, aggressive, frantic, a psycho, stupid, slow, scaredy cat, he blows me off, he has his own agenda, he ignores me. Do any one of these adjectives or sentences, have you ever used them to describe your dog? If you have, this episode is for you. Because by the end of it, I'm going to give you the solution to fix it all. Stick with me.
I'm going to start by sharing a psychology experiment that was done by a Harvard professor back in 1964. And he went into a classroom. I don't remember the age of the kids. I think they were fairly young. He was doing this test and it was a basic IQ test, but it had this fancy Harvard cover on it. And he told them that the test would predict an intellectual explosion with these kids. And then he just randomly put the kids in groups and gave the teacher a group and said, now these children here in your classroom, they're the gifted ones.
They're the gifted ones. And what he observed is that the teacher had a thousand different ways that, she treated the group of gifted children differently. Things like how patient she was with allowing them to answer a question, or how much she smiled at them or nodded at them in agreement when they were speaking. How much she encouraged them. All of these things we're noticeable in her behavior.
And it goes back to something that I learned first from Tony Robbins, and it's what I call a belief loop. And Tony Robbins is a great author and I worked with him over many, many years. Some people might call him a motivational speaker, although he didn't like to be called that. The belief loop, it starts with what you believe, and what you believe actually alters or has impact on the thoughts that come to your head. Because if you have a belief, your brain is immediately going to give you all these reasons to support it, right? Like if you believe that, you know, you're brilliant, then your brain is going to say, yeah, remember you thought of this and this and this.
So, it starts with a belief and then the thoughts. Cause your brain, that's the way your brain works. And then from those thoughts, your emotions come out. So, if you say my boss is a jerk, if you believe your boss is a jerk, then your brain's going to be like, yeah, yeah. Look at, look at, look what he's doing right now, he's just being a jerk.
And now how are you going to feel when he comes around? You're going to be on edge, you're going to have your teeth clenched, you're going to be a little bit of, “yeah, what do you want now?”. Maybe you won't speak in that tone to him because, unless you had another job in your back pocket. But your beliefs create your thoughts, your thoughts create your emotions and your emotions dictate your actions.
So, your actions are, you're not going to smile at your boss if you think he's a jerk. You're not going to nod and make eye contact every time he comes by. Your actions will be different. You'll be a little bit more closed off. And those actions create the outcomes. Because if you treat your boss, like you think he's a jerk, then he might - I mean he's definitely going to or she's definitely going to feel that - and then might start acting like a jerk.
Your beliefs create your thoughts, your thoughts create your emotions, your emotions dictate your actions, your actions are, we all are just, are outcomes just come from the actions that we take or choose not to take. Correct? So, if you believe, for example, let's go back to the schoolroom that you have as a child in your class, in your grade three class that is disruptive and aggressive.
That's what you think. Oh yeah. That little girl she's disruptive and aggressive. And then you ask the class a question and you see, “Oh, I know, I know the answer I got, I got it. I got it. I got it.” You believe that kid is disruptive and aggressive, first thing you'll do is you're going to go, “Oh yeah, she's trying to dominate this class.”
Right. And there is a level that will be threatened by that. And so, your emotions are going to be, “man, that kid, somebody needs to discipline her”. And so, your actions are going to be “you need to get yourself in control. You need to settle down, just sit down in your seat and wait your turn”. All right. And then you're going to ignore that child.
So, what, what is the outcome of that? You get a little bit more huffy. Your students see that, and then that behavior trying to suppress in the child you've determined is disruptive and aggressive, it's going to go off in a different direction and before you know it, you're going to be sending that kid to detention, to the principal's office or to go stand out in the hall as a punishment.
I know that very well because that little girl was me. Until the next year when it was obvious, I had a teacher who thought I was enthusiastic and confident. And the way she dealt with me, because she believed she had a, a little girl who was enthusiastic and confident. She would say, “looks like you know the answers Susan, right?” I do. Yeah, I got it. I got it. “Alright, can you, do you think you can remember it while Mary has a turn to answer?” Yeah, Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead, Mary. And then, then the next time it might be, “do you think you're going to hold that thought until Jack and Fred get a chance to answer?”. And then you create an engaged student who's cooperative who didn't get sent to the principal's office very often - anymore.
All right. And then let's take that back to dogs. Let's say we have a breed bias. I have a terrier. Terriers are stubborn. Now we know terriers are stubborn. That's my belief. I'm out walking with my terrier and I spy a squirrel or a rabbit at the same time my dog does. So, I call my dog and my dog being stubborn of course, is going to take off after the squirrel and blow me off.
And then what, what are my emotions now? Oh, that little, no, no, I can't say it on this podcast, or I'll get the big explicit rating. I don't want that. And so, then what are your actions when you know you storm off after this dog and what are your actions when you catch that dog? Now your emotions are running high, and so then what happens is you get an outcome based on your actions.
So, your outcome, your immediate outcome maybe, “that's it you're never getting off leash again.” So now, this dog has to live a different life because of your belief that that dog is stubborn or blowing you off. And maybe when you caught your dog, you weren’t as kind as you could have been in the way you gathered her up and put, put on the leash.
And so now you've got your dog a little bit worried about you. It affects your relationship. That is a belief circle, and it all starts with what you think about your dog. You've got to know that our dogs are doing the best they can with the education we've given them in the environment we're asking them to perform.
So, look at that terrier. You could say, “Oh no, Susan, I taught that dog. It knew what come, it knows, it knows what come means”. It may be knows what come means when you're standing in the kitchen, holding a big piece of cheese. But that education doesn't automatically transfer to when there's a squirrel there. Can it? Absolutely.
We have thousands of Recallers dogs to prove it. Many terriers and every breed you could imagine. Absolutely. But it requires you to change the first belief that terriers can be trained to come when called when there's a rabbit in their face. It needs to change the second belief that you could possibly be the one that could train that dog.
But as long as you say that's a terrier, that's going to change your actions. “Oh, I'm not getting another terrier.” So, you will just have this dog live a life with less freedom because you believe that they're being stubborn, which means you've taken yourself off the hook, no training for you to redo because, it's not your fault that the dog stubborn. You'll just get, “we'll get one next time that isn't stubborn”, right? That's the way it goes. In my book ‘Shaping Success’. I think it was published in 2004. 2005, it was named dog training book of the year by the dog writers association of America. And the book basically is a journal describing the training I did with his eight-week-old puppy, Border Collie puppy, from the time I got him until I retired him in agility and everything that I learned.
And I described Buzz as crazy and a wacko and I mean, I used a lot of descriptors. He was a very high drive puppy. But I said things, “Oh, he's just so over the top, you know, I think he's going to be a great dog as a five-year-old dog”. And he was, he was a great dog as a five-year-old dog. He didn't do anything in the agility ring, particularly noticeable until he was five. But when he was five, he won the Canadian nationals. He won the us national championship. So, my belief you know, it, uh, there's a saying that I, that I wrote in that book, your body expresses what your mind impresses.
My mind kept impressing to me, he's going to be great five. Well, what if I decided he was going to be great at like, eight, you know, six, eight weeks. Yeah, he's great. So, I'm going to then start looking to, for things to support that he's great. If you have an eight-week-old puppy and you're, you're saying he's blowing you off or he's stubborn, or, Hey, there's a lot of work to do on changing your beliefs.
When Encore, who is a, she's sevent…., almost 17, 16 and a half now, when I got her as a puppy, I was so excited. I remember I went to this dog, a dog agility trial in the Carolinas. And there was a couple they're in their eighties and I had so much respect for them. They were such icons in the sport of agility back in the day. And they did a lot of sheep herding and they knew dogs and they knew border collies.
And I, and I wanted them to meet my new puppy. When I, and I, when I first saw them there, I said, “Oh, you've got to meet my new puppy. I think she's going to be something really, really special.” And then I'd see them at lunchtime and I'm like, “Oh, you haven't met Encore yet. I really want, yeah. I really want you to meet her because I think you're going to like her she's, she is so brilliant.”
So, when we finally got together, it was about five o'clock in the afternoon, and then, you know “ta-da!” and so then I said, “what do you think?” and JC turned to me he said, “I think she is going to be brilliant. I think she is going to be a star in this sport.” And I'm like, okay, this guy's got eons of experience.
What does he see? I want to see that because I want to be able to pick that up for the next time I get another puppy. And I said, well, why, what makes you say that JC? He said, “because you've been telling me that all day, Susan”. Your body expresses what your mind impresses, right? It's so important that you consider what you're saying.
What are you feeding your brain about with your, about your dog or about your kids or about your coworkers, your boss? Dr. Daniel Amen, he refers to something called ANTS (automatic negative thoughts). When you hear them or when they come up in your mind, you can redirect them. So, when you say my terrier is stubborn, you can say, “Oh, my terrier could be described as stubborn by some people, but I know that this is a breed that was bred to, you know, hunt with man.”
And if they come face to face with a badger and they decide to get distracted, that badger could end their life. So that terrier is, is got an incredible perseverance and focus. And I'm going to turn that towards working with me and then I will have the dog of my dreams.
Okay. So, think about the labels you're giving your dog. And most often those labels are just interpretations of what we see. They're not reality. Because if I owned your dog, and I started off believing at seven weeks older, I don't care even if it was a rescue dog, you got like Tater Salad. When he came into this house as a year-old dog with a lot of baggage of labels that people called him, untrainable, because he destroyed three couches before he got to our house.
Right? Nope. I look for all that's good and I look, how can I help grow that education and alter the environment so I can set them up for success. Because remember our dogs are always doing the best they can with the education we've given them in the environment we are asking them to perform. So where were you wrong if you're looking at your eight-week-old puppy and saying that they're stubborn. Is it that you gave them too much environment to make too many choices? Or was it something that you didn't give them the right education?
And very likely it's a combination of both. But look at yourself, environment, education, environment, education. See your dog, define the behavior that you see what's going on there. What were the precursors that led the dog to make the choice to XYZ? What was the environment like when the dog made a choice that you would rather them not make? Write that down.
Did you give them too much freedom for the stage of training that they are at? What reinforcement did they get for the behavior they chose? And most importantly, what is your do differently? So, define the behavior, described the precursors, define the environment, what gave that dog the reinforcement for making that choice. And what is your do differently so that you get a different outcome. And it starts with the belief you have in the dog in front of you. Beliefs create your thoughts, your thoughts create your emotions, your emotions spring you into an action one way or another, which gives you the outcome you get.
So, I'm going to give you a little micro assignment this week. I'm, uh, I would like you to listen. Listen, maybe at work or if you go in a, in a training environment with other dog trainers. Listen to the descriptors of people, of children, of dogs that come out of your mouth first, that's most important. But just take in what other people are saying. And look at the outcomes they've been creating by the way that they are describing their situation.
Now I'm not saying everything's perfect. I'm not, but I'm saying that our reality, our perception of reality, isn't always the true reality. So, repeat after me, “My dog is awesome, because just this morning I saw him do _______.” And if you want help, continuing, my dog is awesome, I have got a downloadable journal, my dog is awesome, we’re calling it ‘The Dogs That Are Awesome Daily Journal’. And it, will give you a link in the show notes. And it's just, for 30 days practice the belief that your dog is awesome.
Now you can't wish your dog being awesome and then go take them off leash at the bunny farm and expect that terrier to listen to you. It starts with belief. So, if you believe your dog is awesome, then you know, well training is going to make them even more awesome. And you're going to get excited about doing something, go to my blog and there's all kinds of, of, of great things. You know, search one thing, recall. And it will give you a number of things that you can do create a better recall.
Better yet get on our wait list for the next time we open Recallers, alright. So, do something. Take action based on the fact, my dog is awesome. He deserves a life of freedom. I would like to be able to take them off leash at the bunny farm.
So, I'm thinking my dog is awesome. He's got that potential. It makes me excited. It makes me believe in the possibilities. It springs me into action into what can I do right now. I can go to Susan's blog. I can sign up on that list. I can download ‘The Dogs That Are Awesome Daily Journal’. That is going to give you better outcomes than you had yesterday.
That's going to give you better possibilities for tomorrow. All dogs are awesome. We'll see you next time on Shaped By Dog.