Hey friends, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a many of the wonderful takeaways for me from recording The Bitey End of the Dog, and I can truly say I really am so grateful for this opportunity to learn from my guests.
And two of the things that are top of mind as far as value to me are bringing in new concepts that can often be desperately needed in our work with dogs, and of course, learning new ideas to help the humans that are in the lives of the dogs we are working with.
Marissa Martino is my guest for this episode of Fresh Bites and we focus on the all important relationships between the client and trainer, the client and dog, and the dog and trainer using her Six Connection Principles. It’s a fantastic episode that I think you are going to truly enjoy.
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Marissa Martino (CDBC, CTC) runs her behavior consulting business Paws & Reward in Boulder, CO. She is passionate about supporting behavior change and enhancing relationships for dogs, their people and others. When working with clients, Marissa introduces her 6 connection principles in order to enhance the training process and the relationship between the dog and the pet parent. Her mission is to cultivate awareness so pet parents can see their active role in their interactions with their dog. And her hope is that this awareness expands to other relationships in their lives. She is the host of the Paws & Reward Podcast, a co-founder of LIMA beings, co-founder of the Connection Summit, and the author of the Human-Canine Behavior Connection: A Better Self Through Dog Training.
Hey friends. Thanks for joining me for this episode. I've been thinking a lot lately about many of the wonderful takeaways for me from recording the body and of the dog. And I can truly say I'm really so grateful for this opportunity to learn from so many of my guests. And two of the things that are top of mind for me as far as value to me, are bringing in new concepts that can often be desperately needed in our work with dogs, and of course, learning new ideas to help the humans that are in the lives of the dogs that we're working with. Marisa Martino is my guest for this episode of fresh bites. And we focus on the all important relationships between the client and trainer, the client and dog and the dog and trainer using her six connection principles. It's a fantastic episode that I think you're going to truly enjoy. And if you are working with aggression cases, or plan on taking aggression cases as a trainer, or maybe you're even struggling with your own dog, we have a variety of educational opportunities for you, including the upcoming aggression in dogs conference happening from September 30 Through October 2 2022. in Providence, Rhode Island with both in person and online options. You can also learn more about the aggression in dogs master course, which is the most comprehensive course available anywhere in the world for learning how to work with and help dogs with aggression issues. And special thanks to John Lasala for editing the podcast this season, and bringing the production to the next level. Hey guys, this week, I've got a special guest Marissa Martino who runs her behavior consulting business, paws and reward out of Boulder, Colorado. She's passionate about supporting behavior change and enhancing relationships for dogs, their people and others. When working with clients, Marisa introduces her six connection principles, which we're going to be talking about, in order to enhance the training process and the relationship between the dog and the pet parents. Her mission is to cultivate awareness. So pet parents can see their active role in their interactions with their dog. And her hope is that this awareness expands to other relationships in their lives. She is the host of pause and reward podcast, a co founder of Lima beings, co founder of the connection Summit, and the author of the human canine behavior connection, a better self through dog training. So welcome to the show. Marissa, I'm really excited to be talking about this topic.Unknown:
Yeah, thank you so much for having me, I'm so honored to be here.Michael Shikashio:
And one of the things that's sort of a general theme this in this year's podcast season is relationships in the dog training world and between our dogs and you know, the relationships, we have our job, because it's something I feel that hasn't been talked about enough in the last, you know, decade or so, when we started shifting towards, you know, really this laser focus, look at behavior. So the antecedents, the consequences, training, mechanics, and all those things, which is wonderful, of course, it's great addition to everything we've been doing. But sometimes we forget about other things like the relationship. And so you've been talking about the six connection principles in the work you do. So I'd love to dive into that. And kind of why why did you come up with that in the first place?Unknown:
Sure. Well, when I wrote my book, human canine behavior connection several years ago, I remember, I remember drafting the content and thinking, I really want to teach my clients, how we have the propensity to project a lot of our thoughts and stories onto our dogs. And that impacts behavior. And I wrote that book, as an educational platform to really cultivate awareness for clients. But what I thought was really fascinating a few years ago, working with my coach, she actually said to me, are you using those connection principles with your clients? Like you're really focused on cultivating the relationship between the client and the dog? But are you focused on cultivating that same type of relationship between you and your client? And I remember, just like, I dropped everything I was holding, and I was like, No, I'm not. Like, I'm actually not living into what it is that I'm preaching and hoping for pet parents. And so the work that I have done with my coach in the past few years around these connection principles has really led me to believe that there's multiple relationships going on at once when we're meeting with clients. And so just a few of those relationships that I'm really paying attention to, sort of behind the scenes, right, like I'm not I'm not talking about it with my client, I'm just talking about it with myself is the relationship between me and the dog, obviously, right? That's what all trainers are doing. We're really trying to cultivate that safety and that we're, we're gonna approach them in the appropriate way, or we're reading their body language, all of this. So it's the relationship between me and the dog. It's cultivating that relationship between me and the client. And then I think most importantly, and what I struggle with the most and what I do the most work on is my relationship with myself as a trainer. So how am I paying attention to what I'm carrying into the training sessions and what I might be projecting into this situation and how that could affect the outcome, right? So I'm really focusing on those three relationships all the time. And then clearly, there's also the relationship between the client and the dog. There's also the relationship between the client and the training process. Right? Like, we have a lot of thoughts and stories that make up what a relationship is. And, and sometimes those thoughts and stories are accurate, and sometimes they're not. And so when they're not, I'm curious about getting curious. Right? So I want to get curious about those stories. And I'm, I would like to invite both my clients and myself to really pay attention to what are my thoughts? And how is that impacting my behavior? And is my behavior impacting my dog's behavior? Right. And so that's where it started. And then, you know, we learn, we grow, we evolve, right? And now it's really me paying attention to, like, what is my relationship with myself as a trainer? And how do I really prioritize my relationship with the client, maybe even more so than the relationship with the dog, right, because they're the ones that are going to be doing the work. And I want to make sure that their needs are just as prioritized as the dog needs.Michael Shikashio:
Now, you've got me really excited because this is, you know, the podcast is about aggression. And I always say in aggression cases, that it's so important, that relationship aspect between all of the parties, including, you know, our relationship with the clients and being able to communicate with them, because really an aggression cases, much of the focus is on working with the people, much more so than many of you other cases where we'd be focusing more on the dog, it's not to say the dog isn't important, of course, but we're often focusing so much, but I what I really love, what you said is that, you know, focusing on our relationship with ourselves, because of how aggression cases can impact the trainer and the consultants involved. So, yeah, so let's take a deeper dive, you know, so you've got their six principles, right? And you can kind of unpack each one. But, you know, we could even unpack it in a way that's focusing on maybe a type of aggression case, or a type of issue that focuses around aggression. So, so what's number one? What is the top of that list that you have? Sure.Unknown:
So number one, and they are different in my book than they are today. Because again, you learn you grow, you you edit your work, right. But number one is pausing to notice all conditions. And what I mean by that is, you know, I think that as trainers and behavior consultants, we're really good at pausing to notice all conditions, when it comes to the antecedents when it comes to the consequences when it comes to the dog's body language, right? Like, we're really, really good. We're almost detectives in that way, where we're, we're trying to pick up on all the little details that are causing the behavior to happen. But I think what I'm also really curious about is pausing to notice, like what's going on within the client, right? If I'm noticing that the client is struggling with the particular exercise, you know, I might ask a question like, What thoughts do you have in this moment, and they might say, like, I'm struggling, right. And that would be really good information for me. And I can say, okay, let's make this exercise a little bit more simple. Let's break it down. No judgment, in that it's just, we need to set up the environment so that you're successful, so that your dog is successful. So it's really pausing to notice what's going on for the client mechanically, it's pausing to notice what's going on for them internally. And a lot of that is really like flexing my active listening muscle and my taking my observation muscle that I use with dogs all the time and observing my clients as well like, what's going on with their body language? Did they just like shrink away when I brought up medication? Did they, you know, really struggled with the previous exercise? Are they not implementing the management strategy, and then you know, things are getting chaotic in the home, like, I really need to pause and notice those things and jot them down and take note whether or not that's going to impact our trading plan or not. And then lastly, again, I'm always looking at the three parties involved, I have to pause and notice what's going on within me. Like more recently, I had a client that the story I kept telling myself about this client was that the client is not listening to me. And I did some work on that statement. And I realized, like, I'm also not listening to the client, right. And so I could have gone down the road of client is not listening to me, I'm getting really frustrated. They're not, you know, the old word we used to use was like, they're not compliant with the trading plan, right? And instead, I was like, Well, I'm also not listening to them. And I'm also not listening to myself like I, I need certain things from this client. I don't know if I've set the expectations correctly. So maybe I'll just check in with them and say, Hey, listen, in order for us to reach your goals, we need a b and c done. Let's co create some solutions to figure out how we can get that done. Right so I think the pausing to notice what's going on in me is so cool. critical because I'm sort of the first, like, I start the conversation, and I'm telling them, okay, we're going to do this, we're not going to do this, how do you feel about this? Right? Like, I have to be really aware of what's happening within me in every session. And so it's a lot to juggle. But the more you practice, the more fluent you become.Michael Shikashio:
That's such an important aspect again, especially with aggression cases, everything you're talking about resonates so much with me, because, you know, let's use an example of dog that is barking and lunging on leash, and maybe the owners got pulled down to the ground, or maybe the dogs rip the leash out of the client's hands. So they're really afraid of going out. And we could be like, Okay, here's what you can do, you can go out and, you know, click and treat or current condition, give our usual strategies, go out there and go do it. And then we get there next time. And they're like, Oh, I really haven't done it. And then the first thing that often comes to our mind are like, Oh, here we go, again, other than not jumping in and participating. And then you know, we don't think about it that way. Sometimes we certainly don't think about like, is it the way I'm communicating? So you're mentioning quite a number of skills in which I think, maybe take some time to acquire or maybe need some realization? So how did you acquire those skills? Or how'd you get to start to notice theseUnknown:
things? Yeah, um, gosh, I think I acquired a lot of this. Working in shelters, right. So a lot of my career has been in animal welfare, and has been working in shelters. And I would have to, you know, managing behavior teams, and then also managing behavior volunteers. And then I, in my latest experience, I did a lot of work traveling around Colorado and working with a shelters that have very few resources. And so meeting people where they're at, like, I had to develop that as a little bit of a superpower, if you will, because you can't just steamroll in and tell people what to do, and then expect that that's going to happen, right? Like I really needed to move slowly and shape my relationship with folks, especially when I'm going into rural parts of Colorado and saying, like, hey, you know, a lot of these animals are there, their welfare is really compromised, right? Like, I don't start off with that, right? I'm starting off with let me get to know you. Let me understand, let me be really curious. So I think definitely, in that experience, and then, like I mentioned, I have an incredible coach that I have worked on for many years, and she has been the one to help really dissect my work and help me be able to talk about it and help me be able to put labels and language around like, what is it that I naturally do? You know, and how have I cultivated these skills and so I owe a lot of my awareness and a lot of like, strengthening these skills to her like she's actually watched virtual coaching and training sessions between me and clients before and giving me feedback, not on my training plan, but on my listening skills on my curiosity questions, allowing people to fill the space, but also maintaining goals and the momentum throughout the session. So she's really been a gift to me in providing that feedback.Michael Shikashio:
That's brilliant. It's something that I think all trainers that are going to end up working in behavior problems should add to their skill set, you know, being able to navigate conversations effectively, and empathetically as well. So, all right, so let's jump into the second part of the principles or two.Unknown:
So we separated these two out because I think partly because I need help pausing, because I'm really fast type A east coast, right, like, so I don't I don't pause that well, so that and I will tell you the ones that I'm like kind of fluent in and I'll tell you the ones that I'm struggling, but pausing is a struggle for me. So I really wanted to highlight that one big time. And then the next is if I'm going to pause, I'm going to be observing labels and language, right? Or I'm going to be observing, in other words, a mindset, right? So when I pause, and notice that like, my body is really tense, or I'm sensing that I'm really frustrated, or I have like anxiety come up in my chest, like, what are the thoughts associated to that? So I'm frustrated that my client is not listening to me or, you know, I'm nervous about this dog's prognosis, or my client might be using particular language that is really detrimental to their relationship, right? Like, they might be using specific labels that we talk about all all the time. Like, they might be calling their dog dominant, or they might be saying that like, their dog is pushy, or their dog is rude or, or they might even be turning around and blaming themselves. Like, I find that we lean towards blaming someone when we're feeling uncomfortable, right. And you either have the clients that are super dedicated, and I love working with them, but they often are really hard on themselves. And then you have some other clients that are just like, oh, like, I want you to fix my dog's behavior. And I'm blaming the dog right and sometimes that can oscillate back and forth between blaming themselves blaming the dog I blaming us, right? And I think using that language like it's going to come up. But my, you know, my invitation to everyone is is it really true, right? Which leads us to the third principle, which is getting curious, right? Instead of getting stuck with, I'm feeling really frustrated, I'm angry that I haven't done enough for my dog, I'm angry, this training process is isn't moving faster than I thought. The antidote in my mind is getting curious, right? It's sort of like pausing again and saying, is that really true? Haven't I done a lot, right? And sort of going through that list with clients and really highlighting to clients like, you actually have done so many different things for this dog. And if we have the perspective of, I haven't done enough, or my dog is the problem, we have a negativity bias, where we're going to look for data to support that thought, and then anything else we discount, right. And so I like to really talk to my clients a little bit about that, and that our thoughts are really, really powerful. Not only are they impacting our behavior, but they're impacting what data we are gathering. And we need to be really curious about whether or not the data that we're gathering is actually the full story.Michael Shikashio:
Absolutely, you know, because we hear those words that can have an effect on us, because words really matter. And when clients are putting him to use in the context of describing their dog, or even their relationship with the dog, they might say things like, Oh, he's just being, you know, a stupid idiot, or just being Cujo. Or he's like, he's just not sort of stubborn, you know, the all these different labels. And we have to dissect that, right? So you have to kind of determine is this, you know, what does that mean for the client? And his how's it impacting the case, right? And so, where do you see? Or how do you navigate that where you have to where you feel like you need to interject and say, you know, to get a little bit more of an idea about how that client is really feeling about the dog? Or maybe how it's impacting the actual behavior change strategy that we're trying to incorporate? Right? So we're trying to help the client, but they're using words, you're like, Oh, should I say something now? Or should I not?Unknown:
Yeah, yeah, well, I'm definitely not going well, he's not crazy. Because that would just be that that would really put up a wall with the client, I think, usually, which I'm sure a lot of behavior consultants are doing is that, you know, if they're going to use the word crazy, or they're going to use the word nuts, I am saying like, what does that look like? Right? So from a behavior perspective, I need to understand like, what that means, what that looks like, getting video, all of that. But usually, when I'm working with clients, I don't necessarily start off there. Like I don't start off picking apart some of the negative thoughts that they have, because I don't want to create an opportunity for where they get defensive, right? Because I have had clients, you know, when I start to dissect crazy, they're like, well, he's not really crazy, right? Like, it's sort of, they sort of unfold that thought, on their own. Where I really try to focus is like, I have a client more recently that said to me, you know, after initial consultation, I'm feeling really relieved, I'm feeling like, I'm not as frustrated with the girls as I was previously. And in the past, I probably would have been like, that's great. I'm so happy to hear that. Here's your homework, right? Like, I think I would have glossed over that. And what I decided to do in this moment is that when we got on a virtual call at our next check, and I was like, Hey, listen, I really want to just pull out something that you said in the email was really profound. You said that you are no longer frustrated with your dog. And I wanted to ask you, how many times did you get to feel that or think that thought, this week between our last session and today? And she was like, Oh, wow, I, I thought it several times. And I was like, great when you thought that? How did that impact your behavior? And she was like, Oh, well, I was able to, you know, look at the situation that I wasn't frustrated at the dogs, I was frustrated at the situation. And then that empowered me to change the antecedents in the environment in order to help the dogs and then it helped me. And I was like, wow, like, to me in the past. Again, I would have glossed over that in the email. And now I'm like, Ooh, this is a gem, we need to pull this out and highlight how her thinking really impacted her behavior and then impacted the plan in such a positive way. And I think that's a safer way to not only build rapport with clients, but also teach them that their thoughts are really powerful, and that it can really impact behavior in a positive and negative way. Does that make sense?Michael Shikashio:
Absolutely. And you know, one of the things I was thinking of while you're explaining that is the some clients I see, they're going to use some of those words in a sort of as a defense mechanism, right? So to wait to protect themselves they, if they can label their dog into a certain category or kind of use these words that are going to make I don't want to call excuses but to find the behavior for them and why their dog might be doing what they're doing. It's a way of them kind of defending themselves from the inevitable of saying, okay, maybe I do have a problem, or maybe this problem is extreme, or maybe I don't know what I'm doing and solve all of these things or wave them coping with it. And we have to be careful as consultants I found, where if we start to dig deeper into those words, you might be taking down their walls of defense into brilliant, and then exposing their true emotions that are happening. And you have to be prepared for that as a consultant, because it can sometimes surprise you, all of a sudden, the clients now breaking down in front of you crying, because we've now pulled down that particular wall, their their motions are coming out now that we've pulled down that wall, whether in a good way or bad way. And sometimes it can be way too soon with pulling down that wall. But have you seen that in the work you do? Especially in aggression cases?Unknown:
Yeah, I have seen, like I was mentioning, like, sort of the backpedaling a bit, right. Like, if I have asked a question about like, what they mean, they're like, Well, you know, he's not crazy all the time, or like they, they do start to add in other things like it, I almost feel like clients, they'll say that, and then they'll feel really guilty or like something will happen for them that they feel bad. And then they add in like the 10 other ways why the dog is great, which, honestly, I love. And I you really point out, like, that's so great that you notice that your dog has all these other capabilities. But yeah, I mean, I think if you push too much, I have a tendency of pushing too much in my personal life, I don't push I think enough at times with my clients. And my coach talks about like, you cannot pluck a rose open, right, like, you have to let it bloom. And if you pluck it open, it's gonna die, right. And so she's really, that visual is very good for me about, you know, allowing people the space to lean in. And one of my trainer friends who's incredible, she was talking about, like, gosh, we're really just planting seeds. So I don't go into people's homes and say, like, we're gonna focus on the six connection principles. And, you know, you're gonna get good at all six of them, right? It's, I don't want to feed this down their throat as if their relationship is broken, I want to look at them, like their relationship is whole. And I want to let them know that these principles are great ways to deepen that connection. It's gotta be gentle, and at the client's pace, as best we can.Michael Shikashio:
Absolutely, absolutely. So we're gonna take a short break, and then when we come back, we're going to cover the other principles of the six that we've been talking about. So stay tuned, we'll be right back. Hey, friends, it's me again. And I hope you are enjoying this episode, you may have figured out that something I deeply care about is helping dogs with aggression issues live less stressful, less confined, more enriched in overall happy lives with their guardians. Aggression is so often misunderstood. And we can change that through continued education, like we received from so many of the wonderful guests on this podcast. In addition to the podcast, I have two other opportunities for anyone looking to learn more about helping dogs with aggression issues, which include the aggression in dogs master course, and the aggression in dogs conference. If you want to learn more about the most comprehensive course on aggression taught anywhere in the world, head on over to aggressive dog.com and click on the dog pros tab, and then the master course, the course gives you access to 23 modules on everything from assessment, to safety, to medical issues to the behavior change plans we often use in a number of different cases, including lessons taught by Dr. Chris pockle, Kim Brophy and Jessica Dolce, you also receive access to a private Facebook group with over 1000 of your fellow colleagues, and dog pros all working with aggression cases. After you finish the course. You also gain access to private live group mentor sessions with me, where we practice working through a variety of cases together. And if you need to use we've got you covered. We are approved for just about every major training and behavior credential out there. This is truly the flagship course offered on aggression in dogs, and is perfect for pet pros that want to set themselves apart and take their knowledge and expertise to the next level or even for pet owners who are seeking information to help their own dog. And don't forget to join me for the third annual aggression in dogs conference either in person or online from Providence Rhode Island on September 30 Through October second 2022. This year's lineup includes many of the amazing guests you might have heard on the podcast including Suzanne Cole the air, Jen triack, Simone Mueller, Dr. Amber Batson Kim Brophy, Karissa miroir, Laura monocle. tirelli, Dr. Simone Gadbois, and many more, head on over to aggressive dog.com and click on the conference tab to learn more about the exciting agenda on everything from advanced concepts and leash reactivity to using positive reinforcement to work with predatory behavior. And if you like to show up your support of the Podcast this year, we teamed up again with the folks over at Wolf culture for some catchy, limited run conference merchandise. Wolf culture is known for their witty, nerdy and no nonsense apparel that was created in 2019. To spread more awareness towards the use of humane training methods, their apparel is here to help you start conversations, advocate for your animals and rep force retraining in a different way. So don't forget to get your conference gear, it leaves the site after 1231 2022. If you want 10% off your order, use the code bitey 10. At checkout, that's bi t y one zero. All right, we're back with Marissa Martino, we're talking about the six good action principles. And we've gone through a few of them. So let's get into the other end of things. We talked about pausing to notice all the conditions, pausing and kind of to observe the labels and the language the clients are using and the relationships that are happening there. And then also kind of getting curious about what's happening as well as determining if it's actually true, what's being described. So let's jump into the next half of things. What is the sort of the fourth element here? Sure,Unknown:
sure. The fourth is recognizing needs and CO creating. And so I think we do as behavior consultants are really good job recognizing that our dogs have needs, right. And that is, that's where we go first, we want to make sure that all their needs are met in order to address behavior concerns. And I think it's really important that we're also recognizing that clients have needs, and that we as behavior consultants, and this is the one I'm not great at. But me as a behavior consultant, I also have needs, right, like, what are my boundaries? What am I willing to deal with? What do I say yes to what do I say no to? How do I cultivate the environment so that everyone's needs are met? Right? And how do I ask my client? Like, how are you doing? Well, you know, I've, I've given you this particular homework, does this feel sustainable to you or not? So really making sure that I'm checking in and not taking what they do or don't do personally, right? It is really, that they also have needs that might not be being met by the dog, or by me as a trainer, and it is my responsibility to be checking in with that, and getting curious with them and making sure that we can address that as best we can. And sometimes, I think it's also really important as behavior consultants, that we're honest with clients and say, like, Yeah, unfortunately, like, given the situation, that is not going to be possible, or it's going to take several years, or I don't know, right, like, I think we owe it to our clients to be really transparent. And that is something I have really tried to work on over the past few years is being able to say like, yeah, I don't know, we're gonna have to just go into this process, see, modify, and then learn from it and move on.Michael Shikashio:
Yeah, absolutely. There's so many variables to to think about when you're assessing needs of both the animal and the client. And going back to that, you know, the leash lungi barky dog on a, you know, that's going for walks, we might have two different cases with this, we could take the same client and dog and put them in different environments. For instance, if we were just looking at it. So if we want to recognize the needs of the Border Collie, for instance, that the client just procured for their house, or their apartment, maybe in Manhattan, it may not be recognizing the needs of that dog. Because that dog needs much more space, much more exercise. So we're just thinking in sometimes in our minds that, okay, we gotta go from our walks, you got to do more enrichment, we've got to make sure we're meeting the Border Collies needs, but then we find out the client maybe was pulled down to the ground, or they're very scared about, you know, walking their dog. And we're not meeting the client's needs for safety and security. If we're saying, yeah, just go out and do those walks up, make sure you're doing the counter conditioning, all these exercises that teach you doesn't meet their needs. And so it could differ, we could always come up with other strategies. Here's what we can do enrichment in your backyard, or your do nose work, and all these other ideas to meet the needs of both the client and the dog. But as you're saying, we don't know sometimes it may not be possible in some environments. So a dog client with a border collie living in the suburbs, might have a much easier time than a client living in downtown Manhattan in the same situation, because they have limited options for enrichment. So the meeting the needs is, it's something we're always thinking about now with the dogs, but we don't think about it with the clients. What about for ourselves as the trainer or the consultant?Unknown:
I am good at it in some aspects in some aspects. I am not. But I think our needs are just boundaries in terms of like what we're willing to take on what we're not. Like, do we need to say something to the client in order to, like you're noticing that behavior plan is maybe going off the rails or you're noticing that they can't line isn't really engaging, like, do we need to have a hard conversation? And it doesn't necessarily have to be hard. But do we have to have an honest conversation to really check in and see what's going on? Previously, I made such an assumption about my client. And again, I did the work on it before I had the conversation. But man, like, I had so many assumptions about what was going on. And when I actually had the conversation, like none of them were true, right? And so, so being able to just check in with ourselves and say, like, what is it that I need right now? Is that even true? And how does that fit in with the needs of everyone else? And I do want to say to behavior consultants, like, I think it's okay to have boundaries. And I think it's okay to say that you are working with this person, you're not working with this person, like, there is a need that we want to help so many people and so many dogs, and it's the fastest way to burn out. I sense it like I had to refer someone out the other day, and I was like, feeling such heavy weight about, oh, I hope that person gets help. And it just wasn't within my purview. And I don't have the bandwidth. And like, I have to honor that. Because if I wind up taking on a client that I don't have the bandwidth for, how am I compromising their experience with me if I truly don't have the bandwidth? Right? So something I'm definitely not fluent in something I am really trying hard to work on. But it is the fastest way to burnout. I think in my experience.Michael Shikashio:
Yeah, I think all of us as trainers or consultants are have faced that conundrum at one time or another in their career. And really, because we get this as a helping profession, right. And we wanted, we're in it to help the dogs and their people. And sometimes we it's tough to know when to have that boundary, right? And establish it not with even just a particular client, but with this taking cases in general. And recognizing that because if we don't meet our own needs, we're not going to be able to meet the client's needs, right.Unknown:
Yeah. And I think more recently, and I even have it hanging in my office here, like I have a yes board and a no board. Because I think it's really important that we figure out what we're saying yes to, but I think it's even more important what we're saying no to, because when it comes up, we need to be like, Oh, it's that thing. Like I don't take on cases with dogs and kids. I don't or I don't take on separation related problem behaviors. I have a no to both of those things. And so when it comes across my inbox, it's a no. Right. And so it's just, I think that's really helpful for people. And yet, I also want to say that sometimes when things come in and challenge us, that is a good growth opportunity as well, like the client, I had a challenge with this week, or, you know, I didn't have a challenge with her. I had a challenge internally about it. What a gift like that was such a great growth opportunity for me to pause and ask what was going on within myself. So I don't want folks to just say no to everything, right. But I do think it is important for us to identify what is the know, so that when it comes across our desk, we can actively identify it and say, Yeah, that's just not within my, my bandwidth.Michael Shikashio:
Absolutely. And, and we got to remember when our knows might be somebody else's Yes. So we should have that referral network. For those kinds of cases, or the situations we might not feel equipped to do. We could always find somebody that has that. Yes, almost always. Right. So all right, so let's move into number five, we just talked about recognizing needs, what would number five be in thatUnknown:
list. Number five is advocating for everyone. And so what that looks like is, once we've recognized the needs, we need to put plans in place to make sure that we're advocating for the dog, we're advocating for the client, the client's advocating for the dog and the training process. And a good example of this is I had a really, really great client, his dog was proximate, I would call proximity sensitive about greeting new dogs. So when new dogs would approach he would escalate really quickly and lunge and snap and he wouldn't make eye contact. He continued to share information with me via text about you know, there's a lot of people in my apartment building that are telling me you know, that my dogs territorial of me that my dog is dominant and, and I had done a few sessions with this client already. And I had a good relationship with him. And I asked him a question. In our next session, I said, you know, I noticed that you and your girlfriend are really social, like, this is such a social apartment building community. Everybody knows you. You say hello. I'm curious to know, are you asking them for advice or people offering advice? Like, I'd love to know how these conversations are happening. And he's like, No, I'm not asking anyone for advice. They're just giving it to me. And I was like, Oh, great. Like, tell me a little bit more about those experiences. And he's like, well, people like you said, stop because we're social and they say hi. He's like, and then I tell them that I'm working on Nico's behavior and then They decided to give me information. And I was like, Oh, does that work for you? He's like, No, it doesn't really work for me like what they're saying is contradictory to what you're saying. And I'm getting confused. And I'm not sure how to navigate this situation. And so I said, Hey, can we do a little roleplay? Can we come up with some strategies that will feel really good to you, and feel really good for Nico like we're not we're obviously trying to protect his experience, because not only were they doing leash screenings, and then the dog would react, and that would really prompt people to give advice. So Nico is having a negative negative experience, and so was his pet parents. So we did a little roleplay. And we came up with some really short, concise words that worked for him. And I really put it in his court. I mean, I gave him a few, like, Hey, we're in training, and like stepping off the trail, that's my go to, and most clients really liked that. But he came up with a few different ones that he was like, Oh, I can use this in this scenario. And I can use this in this scenario. And so just having that conversation, I think, really empowered him to say, Oh, I actually don't need to gather all this information and confuse myself and put my dog over threshold, I can actually just have a different plan in place to avoid these situations. And so that was such a great conversation where I felt like not only did I recognize he had a need, but also I was asking him questions. And I really wanted to make sure that he was co creating the solution. Because if I told him just say this, and he was like, Oh, that doesn't feel good. Because I know my relationships with people. I don't want to. I don't want to say that, that that feels weird. I'm not going to get him to do that behavior.Michael Shikashio:
That's so awesome, that there's so many gems there. And the one I picked out, it was in the beginning, when you the conversation was initiated. Nice. You're kind of asking, So what's what are you doing are like, these people are telling me things. And a lot of us right would respond, especially like in a Facebook conversation or something we'd like Hi, we're all and like, people are telling you what to do the immediate thing as trainers and consultants were in our mind, like, oh, here we go, what kind of advice are you getting? So you could have easily responded with an eye roll or some look on your face, that probably would have quickly shut down the conversation or made it much less likely for that comfortable space for him to tell you what's going on, and the advice he's getting. So you know, those little first details can make such a big difference. But it's something we don't think about sometimes, because let's face it trainers and consultants are our opinionated people about when it comes to using other people's advice. And it's very easy for us to show that facial expression, what they can quickly shut down a conversation and not take into account everybody's needs, as you were just saying, so. Yeah, that lots of great stuff there.Unknown:
I will say too, he sent me text messages about it. And I pause to notice what came up in me. And of course, in the beginning was like, Why is he asking like what's going on? Like there was, again, it's that blame, it's that we just, we feel discomfort, we go to blame, we make a story, right? And I did. I did have time in between when I got the text earlier in the day. And when I saw him and I was like, gosh, how do I want to approach this situation? Because you're right, I might have in the moment, I don't know if I would have handled it with such grace, right? Like I did have some time to really think about like, I could take this conversation here. Or I could take it here. And I really want to take it here. Because this is such an opportunity for both me as a consultant to ask different questions and not just like, tell him what to do. So we can fix it. And so I did have that time. And I think a lot of this stuff. And I'm still in the process. A lot of this stuff in terms of changing our scripts, it takes time, right? It takes time and practice and the reflection on how could I have done that better?Michael Shikashio:
Alright, so we just talked about advocating for everybody. And what's the final part of this process. So this I love the how this is it's not a necessary system. But it's a great formula, if I was to say, or like a way of looking at the relationships to kind of wrap our heads around all the dynamics that can become a ball but in a much more simplistic way as as you're going through these things. Everything's like Oh, yeah. Yeah, makes total sense. And you don't think about it, but now that's kind of laid out in this it's more organized fashion for my brain anyways, it's very, very helpful. So what's the what's number six on that list?Unknown:
Number six is celebrating often. And so this is you know, lovely Kathy's today oh smart times 50. Right, where it's like just shifting our our awareness to find the positives, no matter how small they are, no matter what they are focusing on those pulling those out and really highlighting it for the client. As positive reinforcement trainers at Lima based trainers, we're really trying to do that so often for our dogs, like we're setting up the environment so that they're successful, that we can be marking and reinforcing new behavior choices, and just taking that knowledge and that that awareness and bring it over to our clients. As well as ourselves like Man, oh man, this is not one that I'm great at with myself, like, really being able to notice how we've grown from one session to another really noticing our own recovery. Just in that previous example that I gave with that client, like really being able to say like, Great job, Marissa, you were able to pause, step back and decide that you wanted to handle this in a different way in a more productive way. And in a more client focused way. So really being able to point those out. And savoring them, like really being able to hold on to those things, and especially highlighting them for our clients.Michael Shikashio:
I've one little thing that I've done to help with it with the relationship with myself that we're talking about is the it's called the wins folder. So when I, I need to have those smart 50 of the positive reinforcers. throughout my day, if I'm having a down day, or find something Punisher, I do a quick dive into, I keep all of the nice comments. So if somebody makes a nice comment about the podcast, or maybe a client says, you know, gives me a nice feedback, I pop that into the folder, and then when I need a little reinforcement, I go back to that folder that I just read through some of those past emails or, you know, reviews or whatever it is. And that helps to kind of recharge my energy. But it reminds me, you know, especially in moments of like imposter syndrome, or burnout, or all of the typical things we can face as trainers and consultants. I got that little tip years ago, I don't know who to give credit to. But when I did that, I was like, that's such a great idea. It's so brilliant. Yeah. So, so celebrating often, it's it's definitely under rated, especially when we're talking to our you know, we do it with our dogs, we teach the clients how to do this with our dogs. And we do it with our clients, we try to do it with ourselves. But I found it just it's just a good theme to do throughout life, because it just right, it just not only is it reinforcing for the learners, but it's reinforcing for the teachers as well, when we start to take that framework and mindset, right.Unknown:
Yeah, I love it, you bring up life because I the connection principles, like my hope is that folks will become more aware through the process of training into the relationship with their dog, and that all of these principles can be used in other areas of their life, right? And in other relationships. So it's not specific to just what we're talking about. But, you know, if I'm engaging with a colleague, and I'm starting to make up a story, like I have these principles to use as a framework to go, Wait, I gotta pause, I gotta notice what's going on. I gotta get curious. They have a need, right? I have a need as well. How can we cultivate so that we like our needs are met to the best ability? And how can we celebrate that we recovered from a hard conversation? Right. So they, they are like my stake in the ground, if you will write that and I'm hoping that folks can, you know, it's a way to ripple out into other relationships.Michael Shikashio:
Absolutely. So, thank you for this awesome conversation. They provide a lot of tangible and useful tips for our listeners. Where can people find you? And if they want to find more about this?Unknown:
Yeah, so pause and reward.com. I'm on Instagram and Facebook. Like Mike mentioned, I have the pause and reward podcast where we talk about a lot of these concepts. We're talking about behavior change, but also the relationships with our dogs and our loved ones. So you can find everything I offer on that website. So thank you for having me.Michael Shikashio:
Awesome. And I'll be sure to link all of those in the show notes as usual. Thanks again, Marissa, and I hope to talk to you soon.Unknown:
Thank you, Mike.Michael Shikashio:
Thanks for joining me in this conversation with the Super insightful Marisa Martino. If you liked the show, please don't forget to subscribe, share and give a rating and hop on over to aggressive dog.com For more information about helping dogs with aggression. From the aggression in dogs master course to webinars from world renowned experts and even an annual conference. We have options for both pet pros and pet owners to learn more about aggression in dogs