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Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast

For the last 2 years, FDSA has been working to provide high-quality instruction for competitive dog sports online, using only the most current and progressive training methods. And now we’re bringing that same focus to you in a new way. Each episode of the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast will feature an interview with a leading name in the competitive dog sports training world, talking in depth about issues that often get overlooked by traditional training methods. We'll release a new episode every other Friday, so stay tuned--and happy training!
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Nov 10, 2017

SUMMARY:

Dr. Patricia McConnell is a Zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals.

She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Patricia has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and taught "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships” for twenty-five years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her radio show, Calling All Pets, was heard in over 110 cities around the country, where Patricia dispensed advice about behavior problems and animal behavior research for over fourteen years.

She is the author of the much-acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash, For the Love of A Dog: Understanding Emotions in You and Your Best Friend and Tales of Two Species. Her latest book is a memoir that came out earlier this year, titled The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog.

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Next Episode: 

To be released 11/10/2017, featuring Sarah Stremming, talking about effective behavior change.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-quality instruction for competitive dog sports using only the most current and progressive training methods.

Today we have a special guest -- I’m talking to Dr. Patricia McConnell. Although she probably needs no introduction, I will share a bit from her bio.

Dr. Patricia McConnell is a Zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals.

She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Patricia has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and taught "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships” for twenty-five years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her radio show, Calling All Pets, was heard in over 110 cities around the country, where Patricia dispensed advice about behavior problems and animal behavior research for over fourteen years.

She is the author of several much-acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash, For the Love of A Dog: Understanding Emotions in You and Your Best Friend and Tales of Two Species. Her latest book is a memoir that came out earlier this year, titled The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog.

Welcome to the podcast, Patricia!

Patricia McConnell: Thanks for having me, Melissa. What fun.

Melissa Breau: I’m so excited to be talking to you today. To kind of start us out a little bit, can you just share a little bit about the dogs and the animals you currently share your life with?

Patricia McConnell: Oh, absolutely. The most important animal is the two-legged one, my husband, my wonderful, accommodating husband who puts up with my obsession for dogs and sheep and cats and animals and gardening. So that’s Jim. And so we have three dogs. We have Willie, a 10-year-old border collie who is one of the stars of The Education of Will, and we have Maggie, a 4-year-old border collie who’s my competition sheepdog trial right now and the silliest, funniest, most adorablest dog that ever lived, of course, and Tootsie, who’s the other most adorablest dog, she’s a little Cavalier who was a puppy mill rescue. And we have two cats, Nellie and Polly, and we have 16 sheep.

Melissa Breau: That’s awesome.

Patricia McConnell: Here we are. And we have Teresa the toad, who’s living in the cat bowl often, and I could go on and on. We have a little farm, it’s about 12 and a half acres, and so there are lots of critters on there, but the family ones I’ve already mentioned. I’ll stop there.

Melissa Breau: Excellent. Well, I know that you’ve shared kind of in some of the other interviews you’ve done that you’ve been in love with dogs and behavior for as long as you can remember. So I wanted to ask a little bit about kind of when you decided that was what you wanted to do with your life, and see if you could just share a little bit about those early days.

Patricia McConnell: Oh yes, you know, it’s almost like a feminist manifesto, because when I was … I was born in 1948, and when I was 5 — there’s a story about me being asked what I wanted to do when I was 5, and I said, “I want to marry a rancher,” because in 1953 in Arizona, women made babies and casseroles. They didn’t make, they didn’t have careers, they didn’t, you know, make shopping centers and business deals or even be veterinarians. And so gradually over time I had all kinds of different careers. I moved a lot with my first husband, and eventually I got to the point where I thought, You know what, I’m going to go back to school and I’m going to study animal behavior. And what I envisioned is that I would teach it. I would teach at some small private college, and I would teach animal behavior because I loved animals and I loved behavior. And I finally realized in my 30s, early 40s, you know, this is a way I could really enmesh myself in my passion and what I love.

But then I went to an animal behavior society conference — it’s a conference of academics, people who study behavior, mostly wild animals, mostly in the field — and I ran into John Wright, who was an academic, actually a psychologist who was an applied animal behaviorist, and so he took all of his training and behavior and used it to help people solve problems with family dogs. And I was like, Oh, really? I didn’t know that was a possibility.

So it ended up that my colleague, Dr. Nancy Raffetto, and I opened up Dog’s Best Friend as a consulting service. Most people had no idea who we were, what we were doing. Nobody did it then. I mean, nobody did it then. People would call us up, Melissa, and say, “Do you guys groom poodles?”

Melissa Breau: Oh goodness.

Patricia McConnell: Yes. So this was in the late ’80s, and this was a really new field. So it all progressed from there, but it certainly wasn’t linear, and anybody who’s in a path right now of, like, who do I want to be and what do I want to do, or maybe I’m going in a direction that I don’t want to go, is don’t lose heart. I mean, I didn’t get into this until I was in my 40s.

Melissa Breau: And you’ve quite clearly achieved quite a bit of success, so …

Patricia McConnell: It’s been very satisfying, you know. I feel so lucky. I feel very grateful and lucky and privileged and honored to be able to find the right niche, you know? Yeah.

Melissa Breau: I think the rest of us have been pretty privileged that you’ve decided to do this too, so …

Patricia McConnell: Well, thank you.

Melissa Breau: So I wanted to ask, you mentioned that, you know, you’ve been in the field for quite a while, and I wanted to ask kind of how your philosophy is today and maybe a little bit of kind of how even it’s changed over that time. Obviously the world is a very different place for dogs.

Patricia McConnell: Oh, man, so true. I mean, I’ve written quite a few places about the first dog training class I went to when I was, I think, probably 19. The dog trainer was a Marine, and he hung a Basenji — as in, with a choke-chain collar — picked the dog off the ground, so all four feet were off the ground, and hung him there until he started running out of breath and was dying. Actually, it was not all that long, shockingly, not all that long ago somebody, a dog died from that and someone tried to sue, except they didn’t … they weren’t successful because they were told that that was standard in the industry. That was standard practice, so you can’t blame the person for doing it.

Yeah, so boy, have things changed. Boy, have things changed. My philosophy now is very much along the lines of “least intrusive minimally aversive,” you know, the LIMA protocol that I think is fantastic. I would say 99.95 percent of what I do with dogs is positive reinforcement, and I do use, I will use a correction. I mean, if Maggie starts to eat something I don’t want her to eat, sometimes I’ll say “Leave it,” or sometimes I’ll go “Ah-ah,” you know, and that’s positive punishment because I added something to decrease the frequency of a behavior, right.

So, but, I think, you know, besides the really important focus that you see now on positive reinforcement, which I think is just so vital, I think interspersed with that, entwined with that, is a change in our relationship and the way we see our dogs. I mean, it was all about dominance before. It was all about control, and you’re in charge, and sometimes it was just simply, like, well, you know, “You have to be in charge,” and other times it was suggested as a way, as something your dog needed, you know, the old “Your dog needs you to be the alpha of the pack.” But it was always about control.

And now it seems to me, don’t you think, it’s more with many of us about relationship. They are our best friends, you know. They’re great friends of ours, and that’s what I want. You know, my dogs have to do what I ask them to do. Sometimes they have to. They have to lie down if they’re chasing a rabbit towards the road or something. But I value them as members of my family and friends. I don’t think of them as furry people. I think that’s disrespectful to dogs. But they are an integral part of my life and my family and my love.

Melissa Breau: That’s definitely something that is kind of a core part of the kind of Fenzi philosophy, so I mean, I definitely think that we’re seeing more and more of a shift to that, obviously. Not everybody’s there yet, but hopefully they will be one day, right?

Patricia McConnell: Absolutely, yeah, and I think the kind of work that, you know, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy is doing is vital to that, you know? We just, we all need to be out there as much as we can, just spreading the word, because it’s, you know, it’s not just more fun, because it works better. I just heard, I was just at APDT not too long ago and somebody was … it was Pat Miller was talking about Bob Bailey saying — who was a professional animal trainer, he trained for movies and commercials — and he said, “I use positive reinforcement because it works better,” he said. “I don’t do it for welfare, I don’t do it to be nice, I do it because it works better and it’s more efficient. I would do, if I had used punishment if it worked better in order to do my job, that’s what I’d do, you know, but,” he said, “it just, it works better.” But so it does work better, but it’s also so much more fun, you know. It’s so much more fun to not have to be a drill sergeant in your own living room.

Melissa Breau: I did hear that you were awarded an award at APDT. Is that right?

Patricia McConnell: I was so honored. They gave me the Lifetime Achievement Award, yeah.

Melissa Breau: That’s awesome.

Patricia McConnell: Yeah, thank you. I was really honored, yeah. Thank you.

Melissa Breau: Obviously, you’re really well known for your work in dog behavior, but I know from your first book that early on in your career you did quite a bit of research on cues, especially across languages. And I know that cues are always kind of a big topic and of interest to people, so I wanted to ask you to kind of share your top takeaway or two from that work.

Patricia McConnell: Oh, thanks for asking, because, you know, that’s how I got into this. I mean, I was … I started as an undergraduate looking for a project, a research project. As an ethologist, somebody who studies animal behavior, I had no thought of working with domestic animals or being an applied animal behaviorist. I was working with a professor who worked with fish, and so what I did is … the question at the time that was really hot in the field at the time was, why do animals take the risk of making noise, you know, what are they doing, are they just sort of expressing an emotional state because they can’t help it, are they, is there some function of what they do? People honestly were asking questions about why are animals making noise, because it’s risky, right, it attracts attention.

So I used working domestic animals, the relationship between handlers and working domestic animals, as a kind of a model for that system. So I recorded the acoustic signals from over 110 handlers who work with racehorses and all different kinds of dogs, different kinds of horses, and they spoke, I think I got 16 different languages, and what I found was I found patterns in how people speed animals up and and how they use sound to slow animals down. And so basically what I learned was short, rapidly repeated notes are used all over the world, no matter what language, what field, to speed animals up, and long, slow, extended ones are used to soothe them, and quick, abrupt ones with an instant onset are used to stop them. So, you know, so it’s the difference between [makes sound] or [makes sound] right, those are all used to speed animals up. “Whoa, lie down,” soothe, slow versus “Whoa!” to stop a quarter horse, for example. And so yeah, so what I learned was it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and that’s had a profound influence on how I work with animals and how I think of how we communicate.

Melissa Breau: So how does that kind of continue to influence what you do today?

Patricia McConnell: It does professionally and it does personally. So, you know, with clients I was always paying attention, and I think we all are. All good trainers, when we’re working with dog owners, we’re paying a lot of attention to how people use sound and how they say things, you know. So, I mean, this probably happened to everybody who’s listening is you had a client who would say, “Jasper, come!” and Jasper would stop in his tracks, you know. And that was standard obedience, by the way, is to shout it out like that, and to stand really stiff and really still and look straight at your dog and, like, “Come!” you know. And dogs had to get over, like, OK, I guess I’m supposed to come forward, rather than their natural instinct, which is, I clearly should stop right now because they’re telling me not to come here. So I pay a lot of attention to how clients would speak, and, you know, I have to work on it too. I mean, I work with working border collies and who are sometimes 500 yards away from you, so you really have to pay attention to tone, you know, and how you sound. I mean, I’ve learned … Maggie, for example. Maggie’s super sensitive and she can get really worried, and so when I ask her to lie down, I say, “Lie down, lie down,” just really sing-songy, really easy, and she’s so responsive that she’ll do it right away. So both personally and professionally I just pay a lot of attention to that. Am I perfect personally? No, of course not.

But the other thing I learned, Melissa, after I finished my dissertation, after I finished all that research on sound, when I started doing dog training classes is I discovered how, yeah, sound has a huge effect on how dogs behave, but they’re primarily watching us, and how unaware most of us are of how our … the movement of our body affects dogs. So that’s the other big takeaway that I’ve learned about cuing is that just whether you’re leaning forward a half an inch can make a profound difference in whether your dog is comfortable coming towards you, or breaks its stay, or you turn your head away from a dog who’s uncomfortable, or stare at it, make it uncomfortable. So, you know, all my training as an ethologist, and study communication and subtle, subtle, tiny, subtle little signals, I think stands everybody who loves dogs in good stead because it’s so important to be aware that less is more. The tiniest little change in inflection, the tiniest little movement, can have a huge effect on your dog’s behavior.

Melissa Breau: And it goes back to, like, the example you mentioned kind of of somebody standing straight up and strict as they yell “Come.” It’s not just the language. It’s also the body language there that’s just so counter, counter to purpose.

Patricia McConnell: Yeah, exactly.

Melissa Breau: I wanted to make sure we talked a little bit about the new book, because I know there are a lot of people who are very excited that you wrote it. So how does The Education of Will differ kind of from some of the other books that you’ve written?

Patricia McConnell: Oh, well, thanks for asking about it, first of all. It’s hugely different. It’s … this is a totally different work than I’ve ever done before. It’s a memoir, so it’s very personal. It’s a memoir about me and Willie. That’s why the subtitle — on the hard cover, anyway —  is A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog. I intertwine stories about getting Willie as a puppy who came as if he comes straight from Afghanistan with some canine version of PTSD. He was the most, he was fearful, he was sound reactive, he was pretty much a mess as a young dog. He really was. But he also, you know, he was … when he was good, he was like the best dog ever. He has a face on him that can just melt your bones, and he still does. I mean, there’s something about Willie’s face. That’s why the publisher put his face on the cover of the book, which I still am not crazy about because I don’t think it tells people what the book is really about. But his face, he’s just got the most gorgeous face, and he’s so loving and so friendly and so playful, you know.

The best of Willie is, like, just the dog everybody wants, but he came with all this baggage, and his baggage, as it turned out, triggered all kinds of stuff that I thought I had resolved from my past. I had a lot of traumas in my past. I was raped, I was molested, I had somebody fall and die, literally out of the sky and, like, fall by surprise out of the sky and fall at my feet and die. Yeah, and you know when things like that happen, it really changes … structurally, physically, changes your brain. I mean, when individuals get traumatized with that kind of a trauma and they can’t, they don’t, have enough resilience to bounce back from it, it literally structurally, physically, changes your brain structure. Your amygdala gets more active, your hippocampus shrinks, I mean, all kinds of things happen.

And so I had my own version of PTSD and I thought I’d resolved it, but when I got this super, super sound-reactive little puppy who, when a butterfly in China came out of its chrysalis, would leap up barking, and it set off, it triggered, all this old stuff and all these old symptoms with me. And so I basically figured out eventually that I couldn’t heal Willie until I really healed myself. So he forced me to go farther down and face some of the things I thought I dealt with but I really hadn’t finished.

So I didn’t start writing it to publish it. I actually started writing just segments of it, of some of the traumas that happened to me, as part of therapy, because it’s very therapeutic to write out just about anything. I highly, strongly advise it to any of us. I write in my journal almost every morning and I find it so balancing. But so I started … I wasn’t going to publish this, Melissa. I was just therapizing myself and trying to get better. And then, as a part of that process, I read a couple of books that literally changed my life. I mean, you know, that sounds, it’s used so often and I know we can overuse it, but they really did. That really is how it felt. And I started thinking if I could write this book where I intertwined Willie’s story and my story to show people that both people and dogs can, that the effects of trauma on both people and dogs, because dogs can be traumatized, and I think a lot of people don’t acknowledge that. Horses too, any mammal, but to also that we are ultimately so resilient, and that if we have the right support around us, people can heal from just an amazing amount of things and so can dogs. So that’s why I ended up finishing it, publishing it, and putting it out in the world.

Melissa Breau: How are you and Willie both doing today?

Patricia McConnell: Oh, we’re good, we’re good. He’s 10. I can barely believe that he’s 10 years old. He’s really happy. I think he loves having Maggie there. Maggie is great with him. You know, he’s so much better now. I mean, he recovered so much. He’s still super reactive, but now it’s like happy reactive, you know, it’s not panic, scared reactive. But he’s also … he’s not the best dog around other dogs, and so when Maggie came she’d, like, try and play, and he’d get grumpy and, you know, do a little one of those little tiny little, you know, grumpy tooth displays, you know, like, [makes sound] and she literally would be, like, “Oh Willie, come on, let’s play,” and you could just see he’d be, like, “OK.” So yeah, they play, he gets to work sheep, he gets, he and I still cuddle, and he gets a belly rub, he’s really good, he’s really happy, and it makes me really happy, yeah.

Melissa Breau: Good.

Patricia McConnell: Thanks for asking.

Melissa Breau: Yeah. When you wrote the book, what do you hope people will take away from it? I know you mentioned that you wrote it kind of inspired by these other books that changed your life, but when somebody finishes reading the book, what do you hope they’ve kind of learned or that they walk away with?

Patricia McConnell: Yeah, yeah, thanks for asking. I would say, one, that about that resilience, about the fact that it’s amazing if you know how to handle it, you know. You have to have the tools, you have to have help, you have to have a village. That if you have help and you know how to handle it, it’s astounding how resilient people can be. And I’ve since heard stories, and we’ve all heard stories, about people who have been through just unbelievable nightmares and yet they’re doing good, you know, like, how do you live through that? So people are really resilient.

I really want to emphasize and get out into the world, past sort of the Dog Fancy world, that dogs can be traumatized, you know. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you or listeners is that so much of “aggression” and “disobedience” are is basically behavior that’s motivated by fear, you know. And I see … I saw a lot of dogs who I think were traumatized, I mean, even just in the dog park they got attacked from behind by some dog and then they become dog aggressive. And so knowing that, you know, this is not about dominance, this is not in the, this is not a bad dog, you know, that we need to be really thoughtful.

Veterinarians need to be really aware of how terrifying it can be to a dog to have certain medical procedures, and I think veterinary medicine is starting to come on board, which is really gratifying. Dr. Marty Becker has a book coming out — it’s actually available through Dogwise, it’s coming out in April commercially or everywhere else — it’s called From Fearful to Fear Free, and a lot of what he’s trying to do is to change vet clinics so that they’re more conscious, you know, using a lot of the kind of methods that Sophia Yin did such a great job of spreading out into the world. So that’s another one of the things that I want people to be aware of — that animals can be traumatized and they need understanding. They don’t need dominance. They need understanding.

But, you know, the last thing that I would love people to get is that we all have stories, you know. We all have stories, and we all have things that we’re ashamed of or afraid of. And I’m a big supporter of Brene Brown and her work about facing those fears, about putting light onto some of that, rather than hiding it in the dark. And, you know, we need to be aware of the person we’re sitting next to, or the person who was rude in line at the supermarket or something, you know. We don’t know their story. And even when people are successful and productive, you know, you don’t know. You don’t know. So the more empathy and benevolence and kindness we can have to everybody and anybody, whether person or dog, the better the world will be.

Melissa Breau: I think that’s such, like, a powerful and important message to kind of get out there and think about and to be aware of, not just in your interactions with dogs but also with people.

Patricia McConnell: Thank you. And don’t you think — and this is an authentic question I’m asking you — maybe because of social media, I don’t know what it is about the world, is it in the water, I don’t know, but, you know, it’s true in many fields, and sort of parts of social behavior of humans, but there is a certain amount, in the dog world, of snarkiness, of, you know, of snappiness, of a lack of real thoughtful, benevolent consideration of other people, and I think that’s too bad. I do think it’s partly because of social media, but I just want everybody who loves dogs and is promoting positive training with dogs, if we all — and we all need to be reminded of, believe me, I am no saint, I have to take a breath sometimes too — but we all need to remember that no matter what method somebody uses or how much we disagree with them, we need to be as positive with people as we are with dogs.

Melissa Breau: I think especially in kind of the sports world, or the competitive world, you’ve got a dichotomy there between competition where people want to be better than the others around them and they also do have that relationship with their dog, so I definitely do think that there’s a snarkiness, and we all have to be conscious of our own behavior and our own words and kind of fight against that a little bit.

Patricia McConnell: Yeah, yeah, you know, I don’t do, I don’t go to agility, I never competed in it, but I don’t go. I watch it sometimes, but I don’t do it a lot, but I’m in sheepdog handling and, you know, we all know how competitive some people can be. And I love the people who are competitive in a really good way, you know? They want to get better, and they love to, and yeah, it’s way more fun to win. I mean, it’s way more fun to do well. No question about it. It’s way more fun to do well. But overriding all of these has got to be the health and happiness of our dogs and our relationship with them.

Melissa Breau: I could not agree with you more.

Patricia McConnell: Oh good.

Melissa Breau: So I know we’re kind of getting towards the end of the call, but there are three questions that I ask everyone who comes on the podcast and I wanted to make sure we kind of got them in and I got your perspective … so to start out the first one is what is the dog-related accomplishment that you’re proudest of?

Patricia McConnell: Well, you know, I have to separate it out. Personally, I think I’m proudest of giving my dogs a good life. I feel all wussy when I say that. I could just get all soppy and Oprah-ish. But I, you know, I’m not perfect and, I mean, I can beat myself up over things I haven’t done perfectly and I could have done better, but I think, in general, I think I’ve provided quite a few dogs a really, really good life, and understanding them as individuals rather than just dogs and making them fit into some kind of a slot that I wanted them to fit into, so I’m really proud of that. And I also, I guess professionally, I think I’m proudest of combining my respect for good writing and my passion and love for dogs and my interest in science, combining all those three things. I love to read, I love good writing, I don’t think anybody needs to hear how much I’m just stupid in love for dogs, and I think science is really important, and I found a way, sometimes, you know, I get on the right track and I combine all those three things in a way that I feel is good enough, and when that happens I feel really good about that.

Melissa Breau: I love that, especially the bit about just knowing that you’ve provided a good life to your dogs. That’s such an awesome thing to be proud of. I really, I like that answer.

Patricia McConnell: Thank you, thank you.

Melissa Breau: So this one may be a hard question, but what is the best piece of training advice that you’ve ever heard?

Patricia McConnell: Oh man, oh wow, oh wow, let’s see. Do I have to pick one? OK, I’ll be really fast.

Melissa Breau: You can share more than one if you want. I’ll let you get away with that.

Patricia McConnell: Good. The thing that pops up in my mind the first time I hear that is actually … it’s not a piece of advice. It’s just a saying and it makes me want to cry. I sound like such a crier.

It makes me want to cry. The saying is, “We train by regret.” It just hits home so hard to me because I think every one of us who cares deeply about dogs and is really honest, and insightful, and learned, and grows, you know, admits that there’s things we’ve done that we wish we’d never done and, you know, some of them are just tiny little stupid things. It’s like, “Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that,” or, you know, so I think that’s a really important saying. But I think that the most important part about it is to remind all of us to be kinder to ourselves. I think a lot of the people I work with who are progressive dog trainers who just adore their dogs and move heaven and earth for them, we’re so hard on ourselves. Don’t you think? I mean, we’re just, you know, I work with clients who are just … they’re just, oh, they’re being so hard on themselves because they haven’t been perfect. They made this one mistake and it’s like, oh man, you know, we are all human here. So I think that strikes home with me a lot.

And I guess the other just sort of solid, quick, concise piece of advice is basically “Say less, mean more.” I just made that up, but I’ve heard people say versions of that, you know, so basically another version is “Just shut up.” I think, I mean, you can hear I like to talk, right, so I can get badly with my dogs, and I think it’s confusing and tiring to our dogs. And I think, you know, some of the people who, you know, those people who dogs just don’t ever want to leave, you know, they meet them, and the second they meet them they sit down beside them and don’t want to leave. There aren’t many of them, and I was never one of those people. I sometimes am now, which makes me really happy, but those are often people who are really quiet. So I think being very mindful of the way we use words and sound around our dogs is really, really important because, I think, frankly, our dogs are often just simply exhausted trying to figure out what the heck we’re trying to convey to them, you know? So I guess I’d just stick with those two things.

Melissa Breau: Excellent. Well, thank you. Kind of the last one here is who is someone else in the dog world that you look up to?

Patricia McConnell: If you had asked that first we would still be talking. That’s cold to ask me last when we run out of time! OK, I’ll talk really fast. Susan Friedman — I’d kiss the hem of her skirt or her pants. I bow down to her. I think she’s brilliant, funny, amazing, wonderful. I love Fenzi Dog Sports. I think that incredible work’s being done. Suzanne Hetts is doing great work. Her husband, Dan Estep. Julie Hecht at Dog Spies. Karen Pryor, oh my goodness. Trish King. Steve White. Chris Zink, the … everybody in, you know, dog sports knows. Those are the people who just, like, rattle off the top of my head right now, but I could go on and on and on. There are so many amazing people in this field right now. It’s just so gratifying.

Melissa Breau: That’s awesome.

Patricia McConnell: Those are just a few of them, yeah.

Melissa Breau: We’ll have to see if we can get a few of them to come on the show.

Patricia McConnell: Oh absolutely, yeah.

Melissa Breau: Well thank you so much for coming on the podcast Patricia! I really appreciate it.

Patricia McConnell: Oh, it was really fun. Thanks for having me.

Melissa Breau: Awesome. And thanks to all of our listeners for tuning in.

We’ll be back next week with Sarah Stremming. Sarah and I will be talking about life with your dog outside of training… and how what you do then impacts that training.

Don’t miss it! It if you haven’t already, subscribe to our podcast in itunes or the podcast app of your choice to have our next episode automatically downloaded to your phone as soon as it becomes available.

CREDITS:

Today’s show is brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Special thanks to Denise Fenzi for supporting this podcast. Music provided royalty-free by BenSound.com; the track featured here is called “Buddy.” Audio editing provided by Chris Lang.

1 Comments
  • over four weeks ago
    Honey Loring
    Hello, Trisha, You are one of my idols! Just reading here what you said about how a dog can become dog aggressive has helped me feel a bit better about things with my young standard poodle boy Apollo. I love how you love dogs, for their dogness. I get so much pleasure just having them around, like now, in my office, sleeping. They are my anchors. Thanks for all you do, Honey