This is a really fantastic episode of Fresh Bites on The Bitey End of the Dog, as I have the opportunity to chat with Lorenzo JW Fox from Synergy Behavior Solutions. Lorenzo brings into the conversation a diverse background in not only animal behavior, but an investment into mutual aid, abolition, and liberation for humans and animals. This all blends together for a great chat about relationships between humans and dogs, and consent based training as well.
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Lorenzo Jasis-Wallace (he/ they) is an aninal trainer with Synergy Behavior Solutions, a veterinary behavior and training facility located in Portland, OR. Working for almost a decade with behavioral kids and teens in juvenile justice, public education, wilderness therapy, and DV shelters for ten years- after growing up on a working farm and exotic animal petting zoo- culminated in a fixation and passion for play as therapy, rehabilitation and relationship, consent-based interactions, and a holistic approach to resolving complex and challenging behavior struggles. Lorenzo is a co-founder of Force Free Oregon, and remains invested in work related to mutual aid, abolition, and liberation for humans and animals. Lorenzo is a 2022 instructor for Whole Dog Academy. They live in Portland, OR with three dogs, four tarantulas, an aging cockatiel, and a very large boa constrictor.
This is a really fantastic episode of fresh bites on the by the end of the dog, as I have the opportunity to chat with Lorenzo JW Fox from synergy behavior solutions. Lorenzo brings into the conversation a diverse background and not only animal behavior, but an investment into mutual aid, abolition and liberation for humans and animals. This all blends together for a great chat about relationships between humans and dogs, and consent based trading as well. And don't forget about the 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 learn about the conference as well as 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 by going to aggressive dog.com. And if you are interested in hearing more about applicable, tangible and immediate steps you can use with your own dog, or in your cases, check out the subscription series I just launched, which is an additional format this podcast, why walk you through a variety of aggression issues and how to solve them. You'll find a little subscribe button on Apple podcast where the by the end of the dog show is listed. Your support of the show is very much appreciated. Hi everyone, I'm here with Lorenzo JW Fox who is an animal trainer with Synergy behavior solutions, a veterinary behavior and training facility located in Portland, Oregon, working for almost a decade with behavioral kids and teens in juvenile justice, public education, wilderness therapy, and domestic violence shelters for 10 years. And after growing up on a working farm and exotic animal petting zoo. This all culminated in a fixation and passion for play as therapy, rehabilitation and relationship, consent based interactions and a holistic approach to resolving complex and challenging behavioral struggles. Lorenzo was a co founder of force free Oregon, and remains invested in work related to mutual aid, abolition and liberation for humans and animals. Lorenzo is a 2022 instructor for whole dog Academy. They live in Portland, Oregon with three dogs for tarantulas, an agent Cockatiel, and a very large boa constrictor. Welcome to the show, Lorenzo. It's really a pleasure to have you. Yeah, thanks for having me, Mike. And you are joining us from a very busy veterinary behavior practice. So you'll hear as maybe some action going on in the background. But that is the nature of being busy and working full time in this kind of industry. So we're gonna jump into a topic that again, needs to be talked about more often in the animal training and behavior community, which is, you know, the relationship aspect of training, because in the last decade or so, we've seen a lot of focus on behaviorism. And, you know, identifying antecedents and consequences, which is, of course, very important part of our work. But sometimes we lose sight of the relationship aspects. And Lorenzo, you come from our very unique background of understanding many aspects of the human dynamic in these cases. So I'd love to just kind of jump right in and talk about, you know, some of the start off maybe you on the topic of choice and control and some of these new catchphrases, and I wouldn't necessarily call them new because they've always existed for animals. But in dog training, especially we're seeing choice and control agency, you know, ability to act on the environment, all those aspects come in and how they ask, have an application or implication in our relationships with animals. So do you want to expand further on that first? Yeah, so yeah, I agree with you that there's definitely this focus on you know, a lot of conversation around things like ABA, et cetera. And and just like as an aside, in terms of there's, I think that the conversations, and pretty emotionally charged and very different when it comes to conversations with ABA around people and kids versus animals, and I've sort of been like, in pretty like deep into both of those worlds historically, and the the perspective is really different. But one thing that I think is really salient to me is the fact that one of the things that that I focused on a lot working in DD shelters and like trauma informed care, especially working with kids who experienced like complex and ongoing psychological trauma was you know, this this concept of like attachment theory, which is really just around different levels of disorganized attachment versus secure attachment. And on you know, what, what might be classified as like unhealthy attachment. Attachment is basically just the ability of a, of a young organism to feel really just like physically and emotionally safe with their caregiver. But a really important part of that, which I see play out a ton and behavior modification and that's when I say behavior, modify Asian I'm talking about the work that we do at Synergy when working with like, pretty like emotionally charged behavior. So we like specialize in things like fears and phobias and aggressive behaviors. So we don't really do a whole lot or really any, like sit down state type training here. And so when I'm thinking behavior modification, we're talking about situations where most often the learner in this case, the animal doesn't feel safe. And so for, for my purposes, if I'm looking at a flick a dog handler team, the history of the relationship and the ability of the animal to feel safe in that relationship, so essentially, they're like attachment history, and the health of that attachment really impacts the animals choice in the moment, when whether or not they are going to feel safe enough to obviously, that like impacts their whether or not they're going to be exhibiting aggressive behavior or fear behaviors, but, but it also impacts their ability to learn to make different choices. And so a lot of what what I teach my students from working on with, like reactivity and aggression is around training for the moment, not in the moment. So a lot of old school dog training was really about like putting the dog in the stressful situation, and then you know, like correcting them, or even trying to, like distract them with food, for like some of the kind of more rudimentary or simplistic, kind of trying to be forced free perspectives, which obviously are not super effective, long term, but but training for the moment means like building those, building the skills and self regulation, necessary outside of the situation that is stressful. But then as we start to, as we feel like the animal has, like built those skills, which as we do those processes, and play those games were also like investing in the attachment and the relationship. But then as we start to expand the animals world and start to introduce, like lower levels of stressors and start to reintroduce access to the situations that were challenging before, that's where we really get to see the history of the relationship impacting the present choice that the animal is making. And so I think it is really important that we are always providing as much choice as possible within reason prioritizing, like the safety of the the learner, but also the people and animals around them. But if that healthy relationship, and the the antecedent really of the of the healthy attachment with the handler isn't there, especially given that dogs are really fun, like fundamentally aware all the time of how quick, you know, at our mercy they really are, especially when they're attached to a leash, then that's where we really get to see whether or not the animal is feeling comfortable enough to go out into the world and to try and make choices and to try and engage with the world in a different way. And to try to utilize and like practice these new skills, while still being able to return to the caregiver for that sense of safety in that anchor. And so if that's what attachment is, like, when a two year old ish child has a healthy attachment, that means that in a new environment, they're able to move away from their caregiver, explore a little bit, and then if they get spooked or worried, they can always return for that reassurance. If the animal isn't feeling that sense of comfort, then we're not going to get the exploring, or we're not gonna get that return to like recharge and feel safe again. So we're going to name an animal that is going to be like dysregulated, and the learning isn't taking place. So I think the biggest struggle with that, with seeing that play out is that if you don't, if you don't recognize that dynamic happening, that's where we get the positive reinforcement doesn't work, or I tried treats, and it didn't work. But if we look at the dynamic of the relationship, it's that you pushed into a scary situation too quickly, before you had the animal trusting and feeling safe and being at least like the whatever like bubble of security you should have created in order for them to be able to explore the world that at this point, they've decided is not super safe, if that makes sense. Absolutely, absolutely. And you bring up many very important points there, especially, you know, when you're talking about this attachment theory and sort of a trust based approach, and that the animal feels safe with their handler. And it's, obviously you've drawing on some of the parallel experiences you had working with children, and how how much of that is similar with dog handlers or dog owners and their dogs that have or are having issues in certain environments. So can you talk about specific, maybe things to look for to kind of be aware of that? So maybe an owner listening right now and saying, Oh, well, I don't know. Do I? Do I just my talk, trust me in that kind of sense, or is there this attachment where they're going to feel safe in a particular environment? So for, for guardians that are wondering, like, okay, so this opens up a whole other question of if we're thinking about, you know, AB ECE antecedent behavior consequence. I was just talking to a client about this actually like an hour ago. It's sometimes I think it can feel overwhelming when I started talking to my client about like, yeah, so I know that you think it's like, my dog sees a dog starts lunging, and barking dog equals lunging and barking. But it's not just like, we think that's the salient antecedent. But the antecedents are actually infinite, right? Like, we could make a list that goes on and on and on. And the antecedents for our behavior are also infinite and often not like we're not aware of them. And just as an aside, I think this is significant. And, at least for me, important in my process, and journey with my own dogs and trying to understand them, and my dogs make me a better person and wanting to be a better trainer makes me a better person, I think. So part of that process is like examining my own antecedents, especially for my knee jerk assumptions and biases and, and like judgments about people in situations. And so a lot of the things that impact that are going to be things like my privilege, and systems of oppression, etc. And a lot of that is stuff that people aren't aware of when they're interacting with other people just day to day. And so that's something that I'm trying to cultivate in my own self awareness all the time. And so the way that that something like that would translate for my dog is thinking about not only, you know, their learning environment, genetics and self, their legs, as Kim Brophy would say, but also like, the way that the trigger picture in that moment, and each element of it is influenced in that dynamic. So for example, the client that I was just seeing this really beautiful and lovely Australian Labradoodle, who was honestly incredible temperament dog compared to most of the dogs that I see, who had been incredible for like three years, and then got pretty viciously attacked several times by other dogs, and was finally traumatized enough that she was like, I learned bark and other dogs now, especially in my neighborhood, and pretty intensely, and totally understandably. And the wife had been, you know, she's been working really hard with the dog, and taking her out, you know, trying to, you know, ditch the walks for a month or so to work on some foundation skills. And then she'd been getting out and doing some practice with the dog and was still struggling a little bit. So I, we've been doing virtual training. So she came in for their for their first in person session. And he said, she said, Well, my husband took care, it took her out yesterday, and he refuses to take treats and refuses to do any of the the training games, which is fairly typical, although often not at our level of training, because a lot of the time when people get the synergy, they're like, pretty desperate sometimes. And so usually everybody's like all in, but sometimes it still happens. And, but but he took the dog somewhere, she'd never really been. And it was a it's a very busy area of Portland. And it's actually like a pretty big, like, touristy shopping area. And it was a nice sunny day. So he sat with her outside of a cafe, and they were passed by people and dogs, dog after dog after dog. And she, I think she barked, like, once. And so he told himself all the stories about why that was the case. And I think it was hard for her to hear like she felt good about it. But she was also frustrated, because she was like, Why does she always react when I take her out? It was like, Well, it's because you always take her out. And you are always there. And so you are a generalized picture of so many different situations that she's had that were scary, you're a part of that antecedent more than he is because he doesn't interact with her as much. But also, in that neighborhood, her relationship with each of the dogs that she would see every single day that she had really charged relationships with are going to impact each of the moments that she sees them. And those layers continue to build. Whereas these dogs in this situation that she'd never rehearsed these behaviors in our she's like, I've never barked at any dogs on the street. So I don't bark at dogs on the street. And that's not true for all dogs. I think like my dog would certainly buy my dog aggressive dog would bark at any dog on any street really, at least historically. But but in this situation, she has a dog that actually free dog social. And so when and this is kind of like a tangential way of coming back to this idea of like, we have to look at all of the elements that are that are going to be like repeatedly coming together, and what are the like most common denominators that keep popping up within that particular trigger picture. And so the most common denominator is usually your relationship with your dog. And if you notice, I think I think you've probably noticed a lot people come to us saying like, well why is my dog? Why is my dog very active when I walk in but not when my wife walks him? And these aren't I think their relationship sure like there are different types of relationships that we have with dogs. But it often is more about like, what sort of behaviors have been rehearsed, and what sort of behaviors are being rehearsed in the house to like, what sort of who plays with the dog, who, who does training games with the dog who feeds the dog, what sort of interactions and tiny little moments, you know, if a healthy relationship is just a history of positive reinforcement, every single interaction that you have with that dog, you can be dropping a coin into that relationship bank account. And then the more that that bank account is invested in, the more like money that we have in it, the more that we can withdraw from it, or that we can count on it, when we need it. And the times that we need it, or the moments that our dog knows that they are vulnerable. And the most vulnerable, they feel often when we're talking about like aggressive or reactive dogs is going to be the end of the leash when they see the thing that they're most worried about. So that can be for most of my clients, a challenging, like mental hurdle that they have to overcome is that I'm often the first trainer that says to them, like I would like for you to stop walking your dog. And that's difficult for people to hear a lot, but, but really, if they can stay home for a while and just invest in that relationship bank account. And unfortunately, I give them three or four games that not only are going to be building those foundation skills that they eventually take out into the world in the presence of other dogs or people, whatever their dog's trigger might be. But on top of that every single time they interact with their dog, they can be investing in that relationship bank account. And our dogs determine what is a positive interaction, right. And usually, their behavior as simple as it is, will tell us if that was something that was an investment or withdrawal. do you what do you say to people that say, well, it's really just about learning experiences, and really has nothing to do with the relationship? Or vice versa? Maybe some other extremes where it's somebody, oh, the dogs just protecting me or the dog is just resource guarding me? Or, you know, so you hear sort of opposite extremes where, you know, some are saying, oh, has nothing to do with their relationship, they can't sense your energy or read your mind or, you know, so you have that one aspect. I mean, I agree, they can read my mind, I will say that my my dog can read me a lot better than I can read them often. But that's there's a lot of parallels, like a trauma that in terms of like, whose life and survival depends on them being able to read the person or organism that has more power over them. And and that's the case with our dogs. And so, yeah, there's that question of energy that people are like, oh, like, I am, like, my husband is just more dominant. But it's like, well, no, it could just be that something that maybe your husband is just more relaxed. Maybe he's not tense like this, and he relaxes his arm. And it's not about energy. It's about our dogs reading every single tiny thing we do, because every moment of their existence, and every aspect of their survival depends on predicting what is going to happen next and what we're going to do. And, like, no time more than when they are fiscally attached to us, but like at the end of the leash. Yeah, I mean, but the whole like, is my dog protecting me thing? I, I am fortunate enough at this point in my career that I don't have to generally have those conversations like sometimes they come up, but all my private clients at least have to first have a behavioral health assessment with Dr. Barley or board certified veterinary behaviorist. So, so she usually has covered that stuff. But I certainly have had those conversations in the past and, and I don't really like argue with people about it anymore. I usually I'm just like, Okay, what does that look like? Like describe it? So I think describing behaviors is helpful. And then and then and then I usually find it to be helpful to be like, so what about a situation where XYZ, and it might be, they'll be like, Oh, she's just protecting me, but she's fine off leash, and I'm like, okay, so you're saying that your dog is protective of you, but only when she's attached to a leash? Why is that? So that you can ask those questions, but I think what's more important to me is like, a like, okay, it doesn't really matter if they believe that they can continue to believe it, as long as they're going to follow the training plan I give them which usually they figure out pretty quickly as you're what we're doing, but that's not really what's happening. And also, you can just ask things, like, you know, if they're like, Oh, well, I've been doing, you know, I've been letting them know that I'm in charge by putting them behind me or whatever it is, then I'm like, how is that working for you? Like the answer is usually not very well, because they're here. So. So I think like, I can usually say yes, I can understand why it feels that way. But here's a different explanation. And usually, and I was actually thinking about this the other day because I also teach like an online reactive river homeschool class and I and my reactive river classes, I think very different than a lot of reactive river classes. It's definitely different than the reactive river classes I have taken with my reactive dogs. I including the one I took good synergy, like 10 years ago, before they had a facility and way before I was a dog trainer. But there was this class that I taught. And one of my students, they had a, they had a really challenging dog and like an older couple, and they both said they both disabled in some way. And the wife is actually disabled, because of something that happened with the dog. But he waited. He wasn't aggressive to her, but it's just like an accident that occurred. And so if they were just really old school about it, but but they but they love the dog and really want to try and figure out a way that they could be safe with him. And they tried their best connection wasn't great, but they did a good job. And like by that, I mean the internet connection. And, and then and then at the end of the class, and I wasn't really sure they'd gotten a ton out of it. But but but they were there every time and trying their best. And then at the end of the class A they got like an email from him. And he said, John, this class changed my changed my life and changed my perspective on my dog. It was the first time that I realized that my dog is a is a creature with all of these feelings. And I was like, yeah, like, we don't think about the emotional live life of the animal really super often. And that's people like yeah, of course, my dog has feelings, which I think is actually a pretty mainstream people like, yes, that's a thing now because I think Psychology Today has an article about it, like every three months or something, but but when it comes to those moments, where we are making up stories about our dogs, that often actually push us further away the examination of their emotional life of like, what is actually happening with them right now. And sometimes, it just helps to, like, you know, how, when you're in this situation, and they're like, oh, yeah, that sucks. You're like, well, that's like that for your dog right now. Yeah, so I'm going to take a quick break. But I'm going to come back and pick your brain more about this relationship aspect because I want to dig deeper into that. So we're gonna pause for a moment and take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. Thanks for tuning in. And I hope you are enjoying this episode, I have a very special offer that I'm announcing just before the aggression in dogs conference this year. You've heard me talk about the aggression in dogs master course on this podcast. And for a limited time to celebrate the third annual conference, I'm going to launch a bundle offer that includes the course and all 14 webinars on aggressive dog.com. Yes, that's all of the webinars. The webinars alone would typically cost more than $450 to purchase together, but I'm including them for free in this special bundle deal with the aggression in dogs master course. 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And I hope to see you in the master course. All right, welcome back. I'm here with a Renzo we've been talking about relationships and dogs and especially with aggression cases, how that impacts the behavior. I promised I was going to dig a little deeper into the realist this relationship aspect of things because, you know, you might get the argument, you know, can you operationalize that or what does it look like when somebody has it that relationship with the dog or the dog is trusting the owner and a particular aspect and you mentioned attachment theory which has come up a couple of times in this this season's podcast episodes, which is great to see because we're again thinking outside of just the realm of antecedent consequences relationships. So if you would just say, okay, all right, I love actually rephrase that question. I'll say learn. So tell me what if you had the perfect client, or the perfect example of a dog having the relationship you'd like to see? Or maybe they don't have the relationship and you eventually have an outcome or goal for them? What would it look like, if you were to spell it out in words, what you're seeing. So there's two things that that come to mind. So the first thing is, often I can get quite a bit out of the way that person talks about their dog, for sure. One of the silver linings of COVID, for sure, has been our shift to virtual appointments, which honestly should have done a really long time ago, because of the types of clients that we work with the types of behaviors and so starting all of our clients on board in virtual sessions means that I get to see them, theoretically, at their best, where the dog is theoretically as as relaxed as it could be, as it should be in its home. So it's home environment, versus coming into the facility, which can be a pretty triggering experience for most for learners, until they have established a level of skill, and some foundations of like being able to cope with, with stress, and so, and novelty novel environments and people etc. So one of the things that I that I noticed it, like right off the bat is like, what is their dog doing when they're just sitting there talking to me for the first time. And, and that's influenced by a lot of factors, of course, but I think that some of the things that I noticed right off the bat in a, a relatively like, like, a more secure attached relationship is that the dog is reasonably calm. So by that, I mean, choosing a calm position. So maybe they are sitting or laying down close to the person maybe touching the person, not necessarily, maybe they are low to moderate level of arousal, expecting something especially because the our instructions before they meet with me is to get a bowl of high value treats. So usually, for people that have have a history of positive reinforcement training with their dog, but dogs like ooh, that means that there's training happening. So I can usually see that anticipation happening and that, that learning history, so maybe the dog is offering some behaviors, but ideally not with like a super high arousal level, the dogs that are obsessively trying to crawl on their people's faces, the dogs that are not present in the space, the dogs that are it's pretty rare. But sometimes they are like patrolling or reacting the entire time. But that's relatively uncommon. And, and also like, the way that the person responds to their dog responding to the environment is usually pretty significant. But I think that probably one of the most important moments is the first time that the person tries to give their dog a treat. So like when they tried to hand their dog a treat. And to be fair, the very first exercise that we do, I'm asking the person to drop a treat on the floor. But often, depending on again, the relationship that they have, the person might try to put the treat into the dog's mouth. And I see a lot of dogs that if the if there's not trust established, and this might be, and this is honestly, yes, I see it in very often in dogs that have a history of aversive training. So dogs that have a history of being trained with prawn collars, or shock collars or corrections, even if it's so called balanced training, or honestly, especially if it's so called balanced training, because a lot of the time the dog is like, am I going to get the train or am I or something terrible going to happen. So you can like see that conflict happening, but but also, with dogs that are trained with what people think are positive reinforcement, I sometimes see like more conflict, because sometimes people think that if they're feeding the animal, then it's a positive experience. But that's not necessarily the case. And so the way that they feed, the treat is often quite aversive, especially for the types of dogs we work with. And so I'll see dogs that are trying to maintain a bubble from their person, a distance bubble that their person is not aware of. And so they keep crowding the dog and the dog keeps moving away. Or they tried to reach the treat out to the dog and the dog steps back. Or the dog hesitates before taking the food. They dropped the treat on the ground and the dog is unsure about whether or not they're allowed to have it. And I understand that people will talk about default leave it. And I still don't think that that's the same thing as the dog feeling conflicted like you either. If you if your dog has a default leave it then you should also have clarity around whether or not they're allowed to have the thing. So if you've told them they should have they can have the thing they should know they can have the thing. So if they still are uncertain then there's this conflict there and there's a lack of communication. So just like small things like that. And then of course like body language And I take into account also the fact that a lot like way more, and I know that you've talked about this on the show, but way more of the dogs than people realize that that we see come to us with undiagnosed chronic pain and illness that are contributing to their behavior. And often I see that like right off the bat in their behavior. So tucked tail or like moving strangely, which some trainers might perceive as the dog being frightened or whatever, like, I also see it as like, I think that dog is uncomfortable, but that also contributes to their relationship with the person for sure. So I think it's it's really small things. And when they first come into the facility, for the first time, dogs that are confident enough to check out the space a little bit, while also acknowledging their person. So looking at their person, making sure they're aware, like, are they still there, okay, good. And then continuing to check out the space dogs that are willing to like relax and lay down in the space is a really big deal. That's pretty uncommon, though, for the first time that they're here. Dogs that are even just willing to take food from their person in the space, just small things like that, I think is a really big indicator of relationship. And I also don't go into any of those interactions making assumptions based on the dogs learning history and training history, because I've seen both ends of the spectrum. And definitely, if you have used aversive training tools, it's a lot more likely that your dog is not quite certain about how that interaction is going to if it's going to be pleasant or unpleasant. Yeah, and some additional lots of things to unpack, there are so many great points. And one of the aspects of secret about is that to make for some of the bullet points, I guess we could call them is for the relationship aspect to be healthy. And to be something that the dog can, that we're gonna be able to help the dog within their, you know, when we're working with aggression, or issues of behavior that we want to change is, is consistency and clarity, as well as recognizing when the dog is communicating to us when they are not okay with a certain situation. And then what we do, because one of the questions I get, you know, I'm sure you get this all the time is, you know, is it my fault? Is it something I'm doing? And, you know, I never say goodbye and say, Well, yeah, it's your fault, because everybody really is trying the best they can with the information they have most of the time, because they're reaching out to you for behavior help, or training. And so most people are trying, you know, they're not purposely trying to create issues for themselves that rare cases, you could say, well, yeah, you should probably stop doing whatever you're doing there right away, but vast majority cases, you know, it's this issue of not knowing what to do, because they're getting conflicting information from all these places, which then translates to what we're telling our dogs, and how we're communicating with our dogs. So yeah, consistency, clarity, being predictable, knowing that it's safe in the environment. Do you see it happening, you had mentioned some things that can backfire on you. So we know about things like we might call poisoning food or using food in a collaborative way. So using a appetitive stimulus in the incorrect way can spoil the relationship, but do you see it going to You had mentioned some extremes, but if it seemed kind of going the other way, so you sometimes you have you coaching your clients on trying to focus on repairing or, or building a relationship. But then you might have other cases where there's an extreme of kind of the opposite. So they're doing too many things, and they're creating too much, you know, so can you give me an example case of that? Or what that would look like? Yeah, um, I feel like most of the recommendations that I give people is to stop doing a lot of things. And I think I think that's really just because like, we're talking about a lifestyle we're talking about, often trying to shift the lifetime with the dog. And that's not to say that people are doing everything wrong, it's that they're trying so many things, because a lot of people are, I don't want to say the word is desperate, but they care about their dog, they care about their relationship, they're really invested in it. And a lot of and they're and there's so many people, their neighbor and their neighbor's uncle and the guy on TV, etc. And every Google Search they've done that's telling them to do something different. And this is like a separate issue, but I have been talking to trainers about it recently is there's so many trainers that I know who give their clients advice that they themselves would never do. It's like, you know, they're like, you have to do XYZ. And also, here's 14,000 things on the person's like, I can't do that. And they're like, Oh, well, and I like I wouldn't do that. Like, that's not gonna work in my life. And I have ADHD and a variety of other concerns in my life that I'm like, There's no way that I would be able to implement that training program. So if I wouldn't be able to do it, and I'm a professional who spends all day thinking about behavior and dogs then my client can't. So like a couple things on what you said is like one is, yeah, absolutely. I never would blame a client for their dog's behavior, especially because every client and student that I have is there. Absolutely. They're trying their best and I don't care what they've done in the past. They are here now. and I always will meet them where they're at. And I'll go to the ends of the earth for a client. However, I do not feel that way about other trainers, because all the information is available to them. And they have, they can access it at any time for free. But regardless, I also feel that, that kind of grace, if I extend that to my clients, that is also how I can model that so they can extend it to their dogs, because we need to be able to meet the dog where they're at, also. And sometimes that means moving a lot slower for the dog so that the person can catch up. So, for example, if I have a, you know, a client that historically I'd use a lot of aversive tools, and I'm like, Okay, well, I see that your dog is like, like have a client right now with a dog with that's very large dog that is exhibiting very intense and lifelong is like six now very intentional, like intent to hurt to harm aggression toward people, like all people, everybody, except for his two humans. And he has been walking on a prawn collar forever. And I know it's contributing to his aggressive behavior. But their ability to feel safe, being attached to him and working with him is a big part of that. And I'm not going to tell them, they have to remove it until they feel comfortable and safe enough to do so. Because that's the only way that this relationship is going to continue right now. And so you know, what we're going to continue to work at the pace that those people need. And that might also mean like, hey, now we're really going to try to scale back the exposure that this animal is receiving, to an extent so that we're not continuing to perpetuate and rehearse that behavior within that dynamic. And so in terms of like asking people to do less, for the most part, people are relieved to hear that when I when I finally convinced them, they don't need to feel guilty about not walking their dog, it's usually a massive relief, I give people three minute games. And that means that usually it is less than 10 full minutes of training a day, of actual, like, take some food and train, I do a lot of we do a lot of environmental management and reframing of the dog's behavior that really, really helps. And, and a lot of like, I really like to use I've been using utilizing a lot of affection and physical touch as a primary reinforcer. And the way that I do it is like based on results, Ruiz's constructional affection, but I also have like a conditioning protocol that is that is front loaded before we actually utilize it in any other situation. And the front loading is the homework is basically like, sit in a quiet room with your dog for 20 minutes, 15 to 20 minutes, like set a timer, no food, no toys, nothing except you and your dog, and just pet them. And, and almost every my clients are like you just throw me into like petting my dog. And like, absolutely. And I have like a specific way that I asked them to do it. But for most of them after just a few weeks, just that interaction of like just sitting and being with them and having that physical touch, which is just like people need that to survive, like dogs are social animals who also need touch to survive and to feel good. And for emotional regulation. It's amazing how calming it is. And it starts to condition like physiological relaxation in the animal because even for my chronically over aroused dogs, that's at least 15 minutes a day that they're truly relaxing. And we're getting like, lowered heart rate and lowered respiratory rate. And that, that like reciprocal, you know, like bio regulation happening between the two creatures is like super cool. And it absolutely like massively fills that relationship bank account. And it can be like as simple as that, that we can start to like, move forward. And then when I when I like reintroduce walks, when we start to do that, again, for the dogs that are ready, a lot of it is to like slow down and stop and let their dog think and process and then let them respond to what their dog is telling them. And I think they'll be like, hey, like stop telling your dog what to do, and just listen for a moment. And that just that can also like dramatically change the walk like in an instant. So I think it's nice for people to like, kind of get out of their heads a little bit and what they think is supposed to be happening. And just like stop trying to get your dog's attention and just stand there and wait usually goes pretty well. So many big takeaways from everything you were saying there. One of the things is that, you know, we have to respect the needs of each unique individual, whether it's the animal or the human that we're working with. But sometimes what's best is to actually do training is to not do any training, right and just kind of work on the relationship aspect and Let life be without so being focused on all of the things that we're thinking of, you know, in terms of changing animal behavior, sometimes it's just a matter of not doing so much focusing on those things and certain points of the day. So I have one additional question for you. You know, again, based on your your background and your interests and things like mutual aid abolition, liberation and how that parallels with the work you're doing now, because I think you have a unique perspective and insight in that regard to talk about, you know, the work you're doing with dogs and how that's influenced what you're doing. So do you want to expand on that a little bit further? Yeah, so I'm a fairly like outspoken abolitionist, when it comes to like abolishing, and deconstructing white supremacy and our prison system, it's not something that I necessarily think is gonna happen in my lifetime. But deconstructing and starting to one day live in a world that doesn't have the, the, like inherent power dynamics that impact every single moment of our existence. i This is also, you know, I think these conversations, you know, I'm grateful that they've really come into the mainstream since, you know, summer of 2020. But I was also like, raised in a family that was really dedicated to this. So like, my, my grandfather was like inducted into the Kentucky civil rights Hall of Fame and spent marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and so I, and my mom was a feminist sociology, professor, and Marxist. And so I spent a lot of time talking about these things from a really young age. So one of the things that I had been thinking about a lot, since I transitioned or like working in behavior, and especially since I think, very naturally came to force free training, which I didn't start it, I actually hired a bark busters trainer, when my dog summer was 11. So that's like a whole other thing, but pretty quickly transition to positive reinforcement training. But I think I had always there always been dislike incongruency, and like trying to understand like, just because we're using the positive reinforcement quadrant, it still didn't feel like that was forced free. So what is like punishment, in the, I think you've talked about this before, also, like the sort of like social and colloquial understanding of punishment versus what, you know, the behavioral science definition. But I think that there's also this like other space of it. And that is the way that it is built into our capitalist system, and into a system of, of white supremacy that is based on exploitation, but it's also based on we're like, obsessed with punishment, at every single level of our society. And there was a tweet that was like, written in 2020, that's been like seared into my brain that was like, you know, we're never going to really grapple with racism and white supremacy until we grapple with our, our obsession with punishment. And that's really true, and it rings true, I think, you know, in a way that a lot of trainers on the forced free community don't want to examine, because it really does mean examining the way that we treat other people. And that's not just in our micro interactions in our day to day interactions, but also, the way that every single choice that we make is impacting people that we often work really hard to not see. And not be aware of. So understanding power dynamics, and like even just starting to unpack them is, I think, essential to us being better trainers, and to also being better caregivers. And, you know, Patricia McConnell would say like benevolent leaders, for our, for our dogs. And also like, the truth is that, that, like dogs are our captives and we shouldn't, like, ultimately, there is no way to have an equitable relationship with them. And so, I think that is also true in our relationships with other humans, if we look, if we continue in the system that we are in, there is no way to have like a capitalist exploitative system, and then try and have equitable relationships with people, especially like I am a white person, white, black next, but I'm so white. And that means that even if I am actively anti racist, and try every single day to contribute to dismantling white supremacy, I'm not only benefiting from it all the time, but I'm also just perpetuating it all of the time. And that doesn't mean that we need to walk around being like overcome with guilt, although honestly, white people should feel bad. And we should be working hard to like to, like counteract that and to be actively anti racist. But I think that if we, if we as trainers that like want to be forced, free and really want to talk about not intentionally causing pain and fear, we have to be grappling with that on a societal level also, or else we're really just doing performative stuff. And sure, it's easy to talk about that in relationship with the cute dog. But also it's easy to do that with the dog because we are still completely in control of everything about that animal. We want to say that we can't control people in that way, but we do every single day because we get to benefit from the system that is controlling their lives and determining their outcome in so many ways that they have no power over. So I think I'm I think that's a conversation that is starting to happen, and people are pretty resistant to it. And I think that there's Audrey Lorde. That said, like, you know, the political is personal and the personal is political. And I'm pretty wary of anyone who wants to say that, like, there's no place for politics and dog training, because it's just patently untrue. And it's also the same way that I feel about people who say that they're like, just not that into politics. I'm like, that must be nice for you. Because like, as a trans person, right now, if you are not even remotely aware of the like, the like literal and very violent attack on trans kids happening right now in almost every single state, it's, like, pretty terrifying. And it's literally going to lead to like a lot of death, I would argue that it's like pretty close to genocide, because of the higher rates of suicide for, for trans kids and trans teens. So I think, like, yeah, we do need to talk about politics and the way that power influences our ability to have choice, and to make sure that we are giving and allowing space for all people, and all living things to make as much choice as they can, in order to feel safe, both like emotionally and physically. And we're definitely not going to achieve that with animals, if we can't even try to extend it with people, it's just not gonna happen. You bring up so many, so many salient points that we could literally have our entire whole show on that, of course. And I really appreciate you opening up and talking about those things, because you're right, they're not talked about enough. And but I'm also glad to see these, these topics being brought up in the dog training community and the need. And you mentioned that, you know, you know, separating politics or not, or in when you think about it, so our trading community is probably the most political with regards to training methods. So it's something that is already occurring, we just have to obviously talk about, you know, things that are probably even much more important than as messy. It's not an easy conversation. But the same people who don't want to talk about racism and white supremacy are the same people who are calling for regulations and dogs. So it's like, come on, like you can't have it both ways. But yes, I also have commented to many people, and one of the reasons I wanted to come on your podcast, and I, I appreciate the fact that you have always been like vocal about those things and have not tried to shut down those conversations and been like, pretty open and humble and expressive about, about the need for them. So I really appreciate that about you. I appreciate you so So Lorenzo, tell me or tell the listeners where they can find you and more information about what you're up to. So I for the last couple of years was like running pretty much every day posting on the synergy behavior solutions, Instagram and Facebook. So we've done I've done a ton of write ups for the blog and, and for the social media on a variety of topics, a lot of the stuff that I talked about today, I also have done a ton of lives on there. Live talks about a lot of these topics and demos with my own dogs. Then I you can find me on Instagram at Lorenzo J W underscore X. However, that's mostly me ranting about politics. If you want to learn about my dogs, that's going to be summer and Yoshi and Rufio. All separated by underscores. You can also follow the whole dog Academy. I will be teaching their dogs and society course this year. We so local dog trainer certification class school here in Portland, and a bunch of other really fantastic instructors in that school. Yeah, I train at Cynergy behavior solutions. And I also teach for plucky puppy, which is a local puppy training company just like class on the weekends. I used to teach for them before I worked for synergy. Yeah, I think I said, Excellent. Fantastic. I'll be sure to link all of those links in the show notes. Thank you. So thank you again, for coming out. I really appreciate all of your insight and expertise. And I hope to see you again in the future. All right, thank you so much for having me. What a fabulous conversation I had with Lorenzo. They brought such interesting insight into the conversation, and I hope to hear from Lorenzo more in the future. I'd also love to hear what you would like for additional topics in future episodes of both the by the end of the dog and the help for dogs with aggression subscription series. You can reach out by emailing podcast at aggressive dog.com That's podcast at aggressive dog.com I would love to hear from you and I thank you for tuning into the show. Stay well my friends