The Bitey End of the Dog

Nando Brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden

April 19, 2021 Michael Shikashio CDBC Season 2 Episode 7
The Bitey End of the Dog
Nando Brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden
Show Notes Transcript

Nando Brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden are my wonderful and often hilarious guests on this episode, and we unpack some interesting and sometimes controversial constructs when talking about aggression, including things like drive, arousal, and predatory behavior. We also discuss the need to understand breed specific behaviors and the genetics involved, with a focus on bully breeds.

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Nando Brown:

We talk about that we're in this kind of fear period in dog training, where it's really easy to assign everything to fear. So every dog is scared. And I just don't believe that.

Michael Shikashio:

Nando brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden our my wonderful and often hilarious guests on this episode. And we unpack some interesting and sometimes controversial constructs when talking about aggression, including things like drive, arousal, and predatory behavior. We also discuss the need to understand breed specific behaviors, and the genetics involved with the focus on bully breeds. And this episode is sponsored by aggressivedog.com, where you can find a variety of educational offerings, with a focus on helping dogs with aggression, including The Aggression in Dogs Master Course, the most comprehensive course available anywhere in the world on helping dogs with aggression, and the Aggression in Dogs Conference, a unique three day live stream events happening from October 22 to 24th, 2021. With 12 amazing speakers, you can find out more by going to the looseleashacademy.com. Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Bitey End of The Dog. I'm Mike Shikashio. And I'm super excited to have two special guests this episode Nando brown and Jo-Rosie Haffenden. I've known them for a while, I followed both their work for a while fascinating discussions they always seem to conjure up in the dog training world. And I'm really excited to talk about many different thing, where actually this show is going to get into a deep dive into a lot of different topics. Let me tell you a little bit more about them though in case you don't know what they're up to. Joe has been doing a lot of different things in the dog world. She's been on TV, she's an expert witness, which I know takes a lot of training and work to do here in the United States. There's a lot of research involved in doing that. So kudos just for that part of things. She's had a successful career in television co presenting Channel Four is rescue dogs to Super dogs. ITVs teach my pet and has just finished presenting a new show on Channel Four, I believe this year, right or maybe last year if we're reading the Bible correctly last year, all right, and she's represented by TV agent David Foster, and has enjoyed a range of other TV opportunities. She also creates regular content for her thriving social media channels, which is on Facebook, you can find her, Instagram, Youtube. Her passion is rescue dogs and particularly pitbulls, which we're going to talk about more as well. And just led her to become one of the country's leading experts on the breed. And as such he has been asked to lectured internationally on the breed as well as talk on mainstream national TV, international and local radio as well as write for international, national and local papers on the subject. Nando also has quite a following on social media. He's got his YouTube channel, which I followed for a while he's got millions of views on there, he's got a big Facebook channel, that's kind of how I got to know Nando as well as kind of following his work on social media spreading the good word about positive reinforcement and dog training. He's worked on the rescue dog to Super dog with Joe Teach My Pet for channel four and ITV and as well as a regular section on Marbella Now, which I guess Nando use the show on where? Where can people find that?

Nando Brown:

Well thats a Spanish TV show.

Michael Shikashio:

Excellent.

Nando Brown:

Yeah, that's very niche. If you're in the States you're not going to watch that.

Michael Shikashio:

Alright. And he's also a published author. He's originally known for trick training, and he's the founder of the in the dog house trick dog titles. He's also made a significant contribution to the world of scent as the founder of the world scent dog Association. He's got a keen interest in protection sports, which we're going to talk more about as well, and is currently training his dog for Mondeo ring competitions, as well as aiming for his decoys certification. So welcome Nando. And Jo, I'm really excited for this one.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

We're super excited to be here.

Nando Brown:

Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Michael Shikashio:

Excellent. So why don't we jump right in here, we're going to talk about this hot topic that's kind of making the circles in dog training and sort of the behavior world which is the quote unquote, arousal in dogs. And we can even segue into pitbulls and sort of the terrier lines we're talking about in terms of arousal. And I think overall has gotten turned into like a four letter word. It's like the word dominance used to be and these words we get afraid to actually put on on a Facebook post anymore because of the potential misunderstandings that can come with that word. So let's open up with that topic arousal and maybe even its sister impulse control and what your thoughts are on there.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Maybe it's brother drive.

Michael Shikashio:

Right. Right. And the cousin frustration so yeah, we got we got a lot to talk about on this topic. So, arousal let's talk about that. You know, we can we can reference maybe examples Like what what somebody in the shelter might see or a tech owner?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Well, I think when we talk about arousal colloquially, like when we're just having conversations about it, we're just talking mainly usually about excitement. And kind of the dopa magenic. chemistry that underpins that and what the symptoms of that are behaviorly, which is a dog that is super excited and excitement doesn't really, when you look at it from a kind of biochemistry perspective, it doesn't really have any positive or negative, like you can be excited about something bad, and you can have be really excited about something good. And you can become excited, even if you don't want to be excited. It's just a fact, isn't it. And certainly, when I talk about arousal, I'm talking about excitement. When I'm talking about drive I think I'm talking about focused arousal. So when arousal was all like when the attention of the dog is in one direction, and all of that excitement is driven towards one goal, if you like, or like one in one direction towards one outcome. And then when we're talking about impulse control, that's a tougher thing to kind of ring fence. But if we're talking about it in the context of driving arousal, I think we're talking about dogs who are able to control that drive, even when they don't want to so, when a dog naturally wants to pull their arousal in one direction. And we're controlling that energy and instead asking them to put it in either the opposite direction or in a more neutral position, and a dog's ability to be able to respond to those sorts of cues and training cases.

Nando Brown:

Yeah, I'd say that colloquially referred to as excitement all the time. But technically what we're talking about is the body's preparedness for action. And arousal has become this bad thing that everybody's talking about. And for me, like, you are more aroused. The moment you wake up, the moment you open your eyes, you are more aroused then when you when you're asleep. And then as you get up and have a cold shower, your body is even more aroused. And it's not necessarily an evil. For me, when we're talking about drive, the way we define it is focused arousal, and being able to have a dog in a high state of excitement or a high state high preparedness for action. And then being able to really kind of what focus it there's not a better word for it. Yeah, channel it into exactly what it is. There's a lot of the fashion nowadays, certainly in dog training from what I see is that people are turning everything into let's reduce this dog's arousal, let's mark this out. Let's calm this down. And if that's what you're after, don't get a highly or easily aroused dog don't take on a Malinois to spend your life trying to calm it down, take on a Malinois to teach it to be calm in the right context. But to be able to focus that arousal, that's the magic of the Malinois and or the Pitbull, or the Patterdale Terrier, or whatever breed or type of dog that is that really has that but harness it dont hide from it, don't hide from it, just grab it with both hands and teach it how to deal with that.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think it's easy to say that, but I think that there's a hell of a lot of skill required to do that, like a hell of a lot of skill required to do that. I don't think that the vast majority of owners, I don't think quite a lot of trainers have the skill to do that, especially with the higher drive dogs. And I think that propensity to have so much energy in that kind of part of the dog, if you like, is a much higher susceptibility to be reactive. And when I say reactive, I mean to react to things in a more sensitive way and to have a much larger reaction to things that other dogs have a much smaller reaction to. Also, I think that goal orientated behaviors become so much more desirable to those particular dogs. They hunt out the ability to perform the behaviors that are genetically predisposed to perform those behaviors that we've selectively bred them for. And I think in those dogs that are naturally higher drive, or they have a higher base dopamine level, because really, that's what we're talking about on a chemical level, arent we, I think that it is so much harder to move them in a direction away from what they naturally want to do. I think that's probably if we're going to talk about people's one of the one of the main reasons that so many pets end up in shelter, is because a lot of they're predisposed, selected for natural, naturally desired behaviors aren't necessarily socially appropriate.

Nando Brown:

I would agree with right, you've kicked up whole thing here, but I would totally agree with you but the problem there of course, is that part of it is about this dumbing down of a breeds capabilities that for me is where we're tripping up, instead of saying that, like, if like there was this ridiculous statement that came out that if you're not racist, you shouldn't be breedist. But I wholeheartedly disagree with this whole briedist thing, because breeds are different they have, they are genetically different, we have artificially selected them to be genetically different. So it's not the same thing as racism at all. In fact, that's the beauty of it, we've put so much into this specific breeds so that they're so good at that specific job. There's nothing wrong with that, that's the beauty of it.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think that there's great evidence for that as well, both in terms of when we look at the architecture of the brain, and dogs that are selected for different hunting roles and have different predispositions towards different parts of the predator reaction sequence have different shaped brains. So that's a very clear difference between breed types. And then also, when we look at it, when we look at it genetically, when it comes to those sorts of common polymorphisms that are only found in particular breeds. And when we look at baseline dopamine levels, which again, completely differ between different breeds, and you do have the ones that are naturally prions are much higher. There's so much evidence that shows those differences between those breeds. And I do agree with you, I think that there are 100 of those dogs for every one person that can really enjoy what those dogs generally offer.

Nando Brown:

Don't get us wrong. We're not saying that every dog in that breed is going to be exactly that way. But it is a numbers game. So let's say that, I'm going to use Malinois again, because I love them. If you were to look at Mallies, some people say they're terrific pets, they can be brilliant, they can be fantastic. And don't get me wrong, there will be some Malinois that are fantastic pets that can fit in. But it is a numbers game. So for every one Malinois that fits well into a family home that doesn't do any training and only walks a dog for 15 minutes in the evening, there's going to be 100 Malinois, that don't fit into that role very well. Whereas we could flip that around with another breed that's more predisposed to being a good pet.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And my guess would be that those baseline dopamine levels will predict that genuinely, like at the end of the day, those dogs that have to have that desire to seek out opportunities to get those, like more intrinsic rewards are going to be prone to more challenging behavior, particularly when we bred them for like in the controversial case of the Pitbull terrier is completely socially undesirable behavior. And the trouble is, because because the dogs look a certain way, and we want to preserve the way that they look, by the very nature of how genetics work, we have to preserve partly how they behave, and what those behavioral tendencies are. Because if we were to breed a pitbull to be less muscular, for example, or to not be as strong or to be smaller, then maybe we would see changes in those behavior, but all the world that we're bringing them to look like a pitbull, they're going to have the kind of spandrel those physiological traits are going to lead to behavioral traits, which you can't rip apart, genetically speaking, so there is going to be a penalty towards, you know, for example, dog dog aggression, which, which there's no point are shying away from pretending it isn't there in the Philippines, because it is, and particularly in those more athletic bully breeds that have a closer lineage to the fighting dogs

Michael Shikashio:

So while we're on the topic of pitbulls, I kind of want to also swing back towards the topic of arousal, and how sometimes, you know, we we often have a tendency, there's a big tendency to blame arousal for problem behaviors, which can certainly be a fuel for problem behaviors. But as many might argue, it's really a product of the environments and the contingencies that are in play for that dog, you know. So let's use an example. Let's actually use a hypothetical example maybe to unpack this a little bit for the audience, let's say, you know, many of us in the shelter world, or people in the shelter environments are working on, let's say, Pitbull, and they go into the kennel and they are trying to put a leash on and the dogs just, you know, we might label it. So the construct of arousal where the dog is just biting at the leash, jumping up, grabbing clothes, and a lot of time we would used to call it other things, but sometimes now it's labeled arousal. And people that are really focused on observable behaviors might ask, you know, what does arousal look like? And then how would you address that and like that, let's say the kennel type of situation.

Nando Brown:

Joe has a very brilliant mind when it comes to taking things that are not recognized in behavior, and then coining term saw them and describing and you got to talk about selective drive.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I believe a lot of people weren't making shit up. You got to talk about selective drive. So I guess, the way that I see it is that we bred dogs, whether or not it's a long time ago, but we've kept the components of that because of the way they look or whether or not it's more recently, like in the case of the Malis, but we've bred dogs to have particular behaviors that they find intrinsically reinforcing. What I mean by that is that chemically, they get a hit when they perform those particular behaviors. Generally, the behaviors that happen, that gives the dog that hit all the behaviors are linked to the behaviors that they were bred to do. Which makes sense, because biologically, that's how evolution works, doesn't it if, if a particular you know if we're going to go back to genes, and if a particular genus is a certain way, and it causes a dog to thrive, then they are much more likely to pass on replicate that gene in their, in their babies, and so on and so forth. So, because these jeans for these particular behaviors have helped that particular breed to thrive and has been more likely to breed etc, etc. Because they've been successful at their job, they pass those exams. And I would argue that when a dog is in a state of arousal, or is excited, or has lots of dopamine, which is, when we when we pull apart, what we're talking about is an anticipatory neurotransmitter that is telling the dog to seek out more or something to look for the gratification that can be had in that situation, then generally speaking, the gratification is that behavior that's been selected for so why turn that selective drive behavior, as in it's the behavior that the dog is driven to do in those situations tends to be the behavior that they've been selected for, through past generations and in history, with a pitbull terrier being particularly that grabbing on and holding behavior. Because of course, way back when they were, they were bred to bait bears and bulls and some fantastically gruesome and horrifying stories that I've found from dog fighters and people that I've had to work with throughout throughout my career, such as that they used to bring someone in and if she had a litter of puppies they'd put her on a bull run and and he grabbed the bull. And if the puppies were weaned and ready to go, they would slit the throat of the bits while she was holding on to the bill. And they'd get twice as much for the puppies because it shows that tenacity and things like that. And so when you've got a history, where you've got behavior that's so selective for so artificially selected for in such a kind of brutal manner, it's not surprising that even now, dogs that come from that kind of leaning itch, still, perform those behaviors are seen as they become excited and fueled by dopamine, because they're looking for that instant gratification, which they're going to get as a result of that behavior. So I guess that's how I would explain what's happening.

Nando Brown:

I'm gonna put down English, what she just said there, was that when you see a dog go over its arousal threshold, it performs whatever it's been historically bred to do. So a gun dog is likely when you walk in and it gets more aroused, you're more likely to see your golden retriever or your Labrador, go and grab something and pick it off and put it in its mouth. Whereas a pitbull is more likely to jump up and pull down and see those dragging down behaviors that you

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Or even zero. A gene tells you what a see from them, or a Malinois is going to bite you, the likelihood. Now, we're not saying that, that will happen with every specific breed jeans account, there was a geneticist from Harvard that said, I can't remember her name, but she said that genes count for between 10 and 40%. And environment and experiences will make up the rest of that dog. So it's the environment and the experiences that the dog has, are really what are going to express genes. So but if the dog doesn't have the predisposition for those behaviors, the likelihood of them being expressed as they go through their life is a lot less. dog can do, environment tells you what it will do.

Nando Brown:

Exactly, exactly.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

But the chemistry I think plays a massive part in that and that's where situations will bring up behavior that isn't was or wasn't possible before. Certainly when a dog is very excited when especially when it's fueled by the dopamine, Dan Yeah, and is more likely to be to be that sort of behavior isn't it is more likely to be as far as our experience is concerned that selectively driven behavior.

Nando Brown:

Yeah. 100% Well, 100% percentage long term, but yes, I agree.

Michael Shikashio:

It's so great to unpack this with you guys. Because it's kind of been the theme of the last season and this season of the podcast is seeing it through different lenses, you know, so you just mentioning the genetic component. And also the ethology lens. And you just mentioned andalas. And that 10 to 40% is the genetic partner. And it could be, and there's other factors in play. And then if we're going to look through that ABA lens, we might say, what are the establishing operations here, right for the motivation for the dog to exhibit that behavior and those conditions, then we might look at the condition. So for that shelter dog, right, we might see that the establishing operations can be just because it's been confined, and this lack of enrichment and exercise and all the other things that can happen in a shelter, it's really great to talk to all these different experts about to how they're viewing aggression.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think one of my one of my pet peeves, I think, and one of the things that I find most frustrating about the dog training industry is this desire for people who they want to become a purist, they want to only see things through one lens. And it's crazy. And I think it's the problem is that most of the lenses that we have are contradictory. So they don't all work beautifully and make this one channel. I think the skill in our industry is behaviorist is, being able to say where these lenses are the most relevant in this situation. And these are the ones that are going to help us with this particular job most. But I think it's a real mistake to only see situations through one lens. I think that, that I think we need to understand those different components, and be able to see one situation through many, many, many lenses, but all of them if we can, or as many of them as possible, to really truly understand what is happening. I 100%. Agree,

Michael Shikashio:

I think it's I think we're seeing that I think we're seeing somewhat of a paradigm shift towards seeing other sciences come into training and behavior. It's kind of mixed martial arts, you know, for many, many years, everyone's doing one type of discipline. All it took was a few decades for everybody to realize it's it's better to be, you know, take the best of each discipline and mix it all together, and you can have a much better understanding of what to do. I love that analogy. It's good to see that happening in the dog training world, at least that's my mission for the podcast, too, is to really just have a nice, broad open conversation about all the different sciences that we can involve with helping our dogs. So, Let's segue to... do you want to talk more about pitbulls actually? That's a very popular topic. And I know, you know so much, you guys know so much about this, this breed. And I know a lot of our listeners are interested in this. And you had mentioned things like, you know, where we obviously selected for certain behavioral traits or characteristics and certain breeds, what are your conversations like with clients, when they have, let's say, a dog that is dog aggressive, your pitbulls that are bully breeds that are dog aggressive, what has your conversation, go with them with getting them to understand, you know, what they've gotten in front of them, and alleviating some of their concern, but also having realistic expectations.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think I always would start out on a practical level, because that's what the vast majority of my clients want. Like, they're happy to hear the history, they're happy to hear why their dog is doing it. But really, they want to know what's going to happen and what to do. And if they do if they follow the plan, what their life can look like. So usually, the first conversation I'll have will be about protocol that we use, which is the anti socialization protocol, where we talk about teaching a dog to live and thrive and have a fantastic quality of life, which isn't a social life, and how you can train a dog, you know, I've got tons and tons of clients who can take their dog out in a busy dog park with no problems, but the dog won't socialize, the dog isn't a social dog, and we teach the dogs not to socialize, and how they can actually alleviate a lot of their concerns and a lot of the decisions that they're making that they feel they're failing on, and a lot of decisions that they feel their dog is failing on. Just scrap them just take them out of the picture completely, and still have a really good life with their dog. And that's usually with the bull terriers where I start, we're talking about dog aggression, because immediately, then there's a relief. And there's a feeling that they can have a decent life, irrespective of the history, irrespective of why the dog might be performing some of these behaviors and how a lot of the bully breeds when they do have those fights actually find them? Well, reinforcing by definition, you know, they are then more likely to seek out opportunities to fight again, because there is some level of satisfaction that has occurred as a result of that tactile combat. So if we talk about that.

Nando Brown:

Sorry to interrupt. Can I just clarify one thing that you mentioned there because your definition of a dog park, which the the English definition and the American definition are very different things in America, they have a fenced off field where it's purposeful, where you take your dogs and everybody lets them off lead and they have a party. Whereas in the UK, any place that you see dogs is kind of called the a dog park rather than like a country park, one thing that we say, especially to clients is that you have various types of dogs, you have disco dogs, and you have library dogs. And a disco dog is a really sociable dog that enjoys going to a dog park and meeting up with its mates and you know, dancing to the music. And the library dog isn't that dog. And if you've got a library dog, you don't take it to the disco, because it's not going to enjoy itself.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And you know, that mate that always have a punch out when you go out on a night out.

Michael Shikashio:

There's another term from the UK, a punch out, little bar fights.

Nando Brown:

We're not suggesting that you take using the ante socialization protocol to take dogs that aren't suitable to go to venues that are specifically for socializing dogs. And whether they're suitable is a whole different discussion in itself.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

But so that's, that's normally the first kind of thing that I go through, which is the more practical side of things, and then we work on stuff like that. But then I think it's also really important to talk about what the dog's needs are. And when you do have, certainly those kind of athletic breds, so that's, to my mind, there's three quite distinct types of pit mix that you see quite often. So you see the more masterful ones that are more predisposed to human aggression, I'd say and a little bit more predisposed to kind of resource guarding issues. And I would say our high risk category in terms of public safety issues, you have your very athletic, more skinny type ones, the ones that most people who are fanatical about the breed would say, the true pitbulls, the ones that have come down from the voluntary and maxilla tenacious and very able, those ones seem to be as a trend, more likely to get involved in dog bites and be much more a little bit more predatory as well. But also have other challenges just in terms of their energy levels, and frustration levels and things like that. And then you have these little sort of stuffy mixes that tend to break and don't actually tend to cause much of a problem with anything other than being quite excitable dogs. And when we're talking about the dog's needs, for having some fix, for that need for that, kind of like combative, tactile behavior, I do often talk a lot of my clients about play fighting, which I know is controversial, but I actually think is a lifesaver for some of these dogs when it's done properly.

Michael Shikashio:

Right. So your talking more of a like a ritualized aggression type of situation, and that learning the appropriate skills to kind of cope with that, if they're faced with that type of situation, in a sense.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Yeah, and I'm talking about I'm talking about play fighting with the dog, I'm talking about having physical play with the dog. Like, certainly with my, with my boys, my Pitbull. And with a lot of the people that I've fostered and worked with teaching the dogs the rules, and giving them an outlet for that need to use their mouth on skin and have tactile stimulation in an aroused or an excited state. I think if you don't give them that outlet, they will seek and find out elsewhere. And if you do give an outlet, as long as it's on a balance, as long as it's controlled. I think it does itch and scratch that kind of needs to be itched with a lot of those dogs.

Michael Shikashio:

You read my mind, I was just gonna ask you to about that. And, you know, using these games, so let's say maybe Nando, you can even get into other breeds like the Malinois when you're using toys or these games where you are bringing up you know, this excitement, air quotes, excitement, arousal, part of this overall picture, are there potential issues, and I get that question a lot from trainers and from clients, you know, am I going to cause issues by you know, over arousal or overstimulation which we've seen can, you know, quote, unquote, again, spill over into an aggressive response with a dog that has, again, quote, unquote, influence or impulse control, right, so report throwing out all these constructs, but I think people that have experienced that particular phenomenon will sort of have a picture of what I'm talking about. So really high rate of behaviors at a high level of intensity, how's that to operationalize it? And then, you know, somebody's playing tug with them or and then or maybe even dogs, dogs on the leash or something like that, and then the dog starts to bite the person or cannot control those actions. So tell me more about what you do in those scenarios or, or if you see problems there.

Nando Brown:

Yeah, I think that there is the potential for that to happen. There is the potential potential for creating so much arousal in a dog when it's not focused that it displays selected drive behaviors like we were talking about earlier on, and whether that is a bully type dog that jumps up and grabs your clothing and tries to tuck it down, or some Malinois that gives you a bite in the leg or whatever it might be, you can do that. But usually that's because the training has been on the plate. Hasn't set those boundaries in place you haven't periodically and incrementally built that arousal. When we're talking about drive, we talk about focused arousal. So we're not talking about bringing a dog up. So, its so excited or so highly aroused that it can't cope. Because that's what most people would define as over arousal, what we're talking about is pushing that ceiling up each time so that you can bring the dog up to a certain level of arousal, but still have it focused, still get it to leave the toy when you ask it to still get it to return the toy, but still be there with enough kind of enthusiasm with enough oomph behind it, so that you can really, really focus that and certainly for dogs that are doing sports dog type stuff, that's the whole point, we're trying to lift that that level so that they can cope and be focused and enjoy that level of arousal. So that it's, um, it's controlled. It's when you see trainers that or clients that have gone out and just brought the dog up, and they start getting really tactile with the dog. And they start really, really heavily tugging to start off an overly stimulating is when you start running into problems. But just like everything it has to be done incrementally and teach the dog This is how you focus. And this is how you bring yourself down. For us. We talk about recovery, which is what creates resilience in dogs, the ability to practice being aroused, but then practice recovering from that high arousal state. That's a skill for the dog that learns. And I believe that a dog that has practiced that and successfully done it several times is going to be able to cope in a highly arousing situation much better than a dog that's never been able to practice and recover from being highly aroused.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And in fact, you've got that. So like you always say, they used to be puppies to talk about that the bell curve of arousal on performance.

Nando Brown:

I cant remember the bloody name of it.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

You know it.

Nando Brown:

What's the name of it?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

D and K but can't think of?

Nando Brown:

No, that's Dunning Kruger and that'sthe different

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

But anyway, this arousal around the fact thing. that there was this kind of point, as this point for every individual, whereby your round gets to a certain point, it hits that point and your performance starts to dip Nando was the first one who said to me, that's ridiculous. That theres this point, in an individual surely like everything else, we can move that point, depending on training and exposure. And it got me thinking about it. Yeah, dogs. And that's it. It got me thinking about and you're absolutely right, ban on really, because when we're training dogs, so when I first started training, a dog to do mundio, he couldn't manage the arousal of the situation when he would first buy the decor. And so we had lots of conflict behavior and lots of vocalization and behavior that in bite work, you don't really want to see, and he'd bite quite like down the show kind of like a real lack of confidence. And there was all this conflicts because it was just there was just a lot of arousal there for him. So we bought it right, right, right back, kept him a lot lower started biting, now, in those situations, he has no problem at all, in fact, he pushes far, far, far further than that. And the performance of the dog in those arousing situations or in in that state of chemistry, where there's a lot going on. And a lot of stimulation chemically speaking inside the dog is something that once the dog has regular controlled exposure to it, you can move it up and up and up and up and up. And I think when when you have those kind of things where a dog will attack someone, or you know, suddenly start getting very, very snappy, like Lisa used to when we first got her like one of our rescue Malli used to as soon as we got any toys out, even when we were really calm and playing with her, she'd get really air snappy and stop biting towards your face. And she just couldn't manage it at all. But she had no exposure to that. And she found that any engagement that included some sort of excitement, just too much. Now she's great with the toy, but it's been a real gradual process that requires exposure and training and a process. It's not black and white is it?

Nando Brown:

For me, it's that the key is the recovery. It's the practice not only of being highly aroused, but also from coming down from being highly aroused. And at the moment, the fashion in dog training or behavior seems to be just practice the low arousal part, so that when the dog does come up, it never has the ability. It's not, it's not done it before it doesn't know how to come down, doesn't know how to set itself. I genuinely believe that's a key component that's really missing.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And it's just not realistic. It's not realistic, especially for these types of breeds that are more likely to get in trouble anyway, like a lot of the bullies that I bring in, you just take them into a different room and it's exciting for him. Just wear a different coat that has a bit of fur around the collar. And that's too exciting for it, like that they have to be able to manage in real life. And definitely breeds that are more predisposed, like mainly the breeds to get in trouble that do find life as a whole is said to be stimuli.

Nando Brown:

There were so many different things that affect the state of arousal, like, even the things that are completely out of our control. So temperature, temperature will change your arousal level, and it will do for a dog as well. But we have no control over that. And as I say, I don't want to keep banging on about it. But you've got to go all out a dog to practice and recover.

Michael Shikashio:

It's really the big part of the kind of the art and mechanics of training that really takes time, like you guys are using a lot of like sport, dog language, I could hear a lot of the things you're saying are very common in the sport dog world too, right. But we might not see that necessarily carry over to when we're looking at working with behavior problems or foundational skills training with dogs, right. And it just, it makes so much sense when you start talking about it. Because it's not something that's easily learned how to work with dogs, and monitoring that and regulating that knowing how to modify our own behavior to adapt to that dog. And you mentioned that resiliency is just so crucial with especially aggression cases, dogs that have a poor resiliency or the ability to cope with stress.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I wish I could go back in time, because I've definitely I've learned more about teaching dogs not to bite via teaching dogs to bite than I ever knew would be imaginable. You know, I spent the first three quarters of my career teaching dogs not to bite people. And I spent the last three years teaching dogs to bite people, and the amount of information and the amount of skills, the amount of just like exercises and experiences that I've had. Now that mean that a dog that I saw, you know, 11 years ago makes so much more sense. I wish if I could give one tip to anyone doing aggression cases, it would be to at least try and get some kind of experience in understanding the world of training dogs between bites.

Michael Shikashio:

I recommend it all the time. Yeah.

Nando Brown:

I'd say it would, it comes back to this looking through different lenses and trying to be the master of every lens going. But you have to take the time to learn different lenses, not just in the theoretical world, but also in the practical world as well. So if you're a fantastic click, shaping trainer, and all you what you really, really excel at is free shaping, then you need to learn how to lure population or reward with a toy. And one of the things that I would, we both kind of say now is that take the time to spend a few months a year training one of your own dogs to do a sport, whether that's agility or bite work or obedience. There's so much to learn from those trainers. And they might not know the first thing about aggression in dogs. Right, I've had some horrific advice from sport dog trainers about how to break up and apply and stuff like that. But what they do know they're amazing. It's so easy to go, I'm not going to learn from them because they do something I disagree with? Well, I don't know that we go to a club where the whole club uses aversives apart from us two. But it would be so easy for us to not go there. Because they do that. But we have learned a hell of a lot. And we might not do it exactly the same way that they do it. But we we can take things that they have done molded that to fit our own ethics or, and try and bring up and get the same or better results that they get. So it's about learning broadly, it's really about learning broadly. Yeah, I think that's it for dog trainers. It's really about learning broadly.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think as well that the theory will only take you so far. And I think certainly when I went to uni, you know, you can get so caught into this idea that you need to know more you need to know more, you need to know more knowledge theory, read more, do more lectures, read more, do more lectures. And then the practical skills that you're developing are so very specific. And I think that, particularly in the world behavior modification, we get trapped into a real kind of what's it called when you get trapped into a ditch or come back into back into a ditch, but you get trapped. You know, you get really caught into this thing where you're just doing like, you're basically just doing systematic desensitization and counterconditioning all the time or like I look at that all the time. And you miss the art of actual dog training. And I think that the thing you were saying about what we say to people is that you know, just choose sport, i't doesn't matter what sport it is, and try and train up to competitive level. Not ever do competition. That's not what it is, its not about getting ribbons. It's about developing the manual mechanical skills of using toys of training something to somebody else, it's criteria, because I think a lot of the time we see trainers and behaviors in different camps, actually what I think should be the case that you have to be a super hot trainer to do behavior modification successfully effectively.

Nando Brown:

Well, I mean, for me, sorry that for me, the last thing I kind of want to say is that the best trainers, that the the people that I kind of look up to, and that I've worked with, I've gone bloody hell, they really, really know their stuff. They there's always a balance there of them being incredibly knowledgeable, scientifically, and incredibly skilled practically. And the trainer's that I've worked with that are missing one side of those, they may be phenomenal, practically. But they clearly don't know what's going on inside a dog a tool, or vice versa. They're phenomenal acts, that there might be some of the top scientists in canine uro chemistry, but they look like they're stroking a cat when they're trying to work with a dog. So it's for me, if you want to be really, really skilled, you've got to find yourself in the middle there, know the science, understand the science, but know how to practically apply it and be skilled at applying it.

Michael Shikashio:

I highly agree because it can be evidence, you know, a common question I get is, you know, what about a dog working regression case, right? And when maybe we are going to do counter conditioning? But what if the dog doesn't take food? Now, let's say the border collie that's not taking food out in the real world, right? So working on dogs, that border collie that's barking and lunging at other dogs, and it's not taking food. So question again, what do you do then? And a lot of trainers will, that I've experienced with using punishment based methods will go back to that old method of foods not gonna work, I'll use punishment. But then when you start to gain more knowledge, you learn other ways to modify the environment. But what then what if the dog really isn't into that food and is into toys? And okay, let's use toys. But how do we use them? What if the dogs are poor resiliency, and we're upping that arousal, so that those mechanical skills and having that off the art of being able to watch for and regulate that through good mechanics, is what comes from branching out and learning other other things, as you mentioned. So it's amazing when you start to look at other lenses and other and get get that experience in all with people, as you had mentioned just other people that you might not agree with all their methods, but they're still going to teach you things that's going to help, you can apply that to those cases, or special cases where what you're using most of the time might not work for that particular dog. So yeah, I'm on the same page. As you guys, it's great to just hear, you know, you want to do, it's just good to get out there get more more experience that way.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think when it comes specifically to aggression cases, as well, I think that toys are often underutilized. And I actually think that toys are an incredible way to begin to layer pressure on a dog, which is what you need to do when you're working on a Russian case, if you intend to rehabilitate that dog back into sight, because that is full of pressure, isn't it? That eye contact can be a hell of a lot of pressure for a dog. And actually, if you learn to play with a dog effectively, when you first start playing with those sorts of dogs, you know, you don't look at them, and you turn your back on them and you keep the tone very low. And you do it in a very particular way, you can begin to layer on things like eye contact, in a in a kind of jovial play setting where the dog can get to rehearse some of those behaviors that they otherwise might be redirecting on to you. And you can also it gives you a much better read on how they're feeling because how they're moving and how they're, the pressure they're putting on a toy can give you so much more information about the state of play and how they're feeling. And when you're going, when you're, you know, just maybe a millimeter over the mark or you're not quite at the mark yet. And you can go a little bit further. You can get information, there's a dialogue there to be had. But I just don't think you can get in any other way than playing with the dog.

Nando Brown:

You touched on something there, well two things. Firstly, you've upset the whole world saying the word pressure, we're all going to be in trouble for that now. The other thing as well, I think that you mentioned there it's being a millimeter away from that thing. Yeah, surfing the threshold is what we call it, isn't it? And it's for me, when I'm dealing with regression cases, I think that there's more bang for your buck, the closer you can get to the dog's threshold without tipping the dog over and then allowing it to recover. Then what seems to be the fashion where we keep the dogs so far away from the threshold that it could barely be called counter conditioning desensitization, for a while, I think we mentioned this, we talked about this, all the time we talk about that we're in this kind of fear period, in dog training, where it's really easy to assign everything to fear. So every dog is scared. And I just don't believe that I don't believe that at all. I think there are some dogs out there that like a tear up. There are some people out there that enjoy violence, they enjoy violence, okay. And I think there are dogs that now stop pointing to me, there are dogs that, that learn to enjoy violence, there's a lot to be said there for taking a dog closer to its threshold. Now, I'm not certainly not suggesting this necessarily for owners. Because as a dog trainer, as a behaviorist as a professional, your skill set should be a lot higher than the owner. But also, there's an argument for you doing some of the training as the professional because you can get them close to the threshold, which in turn will get more bang for the buck, which in turn should solve that place or bring it to a resolution that is successful, quicker than what an owner is going to be able to do.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I'm really aware that some of the luxuries might sound very unfashionable, in terms of that we use terms like arousal and terms like drive but I think so long as we've justified so long as an individual has justified what they mean by that term, I think there's actually significant benefit to be had by using terms like that, instead of showing away from them, instead of showing away from Yeah, like like us saying, Okay, look, we're not gonna use the term arousal. Now, because people misuse it, we're not going to use the term drive now, because people don't really understand it. But sometimes we say, Well, this is what arousal means to us. This is what drives me is that and this is what I'm gonna mean, when I say it in this context. Now, in this conversation, that's a lot better than us continually going around the bush saying, Oh, we can't use this word can't use this word.

Michael Shikashio:

I think it's really important and helpful to have a common language when we're discussing certain topics, you know, especially with aggression, I think there's lots of different languages we could use. But I think there's a lot of terms that can be used universally and apply and can be understandable, when we're discussing this topic. And you know, you mentioned that about how, you know, we are stepping towards this, kind of leaning towards us all dogs are fearful, or we're really worried about placing dogs in situations. And, you know, with some dogs, sure, but I think you're also correct, in that it's not all fear, you know, and certainly, you know, when we when you look at the genetics and the ethology aspect, we didn't select for fear, right, we weren't selecting I want the fearful dogs, you know, many times we're doing the complete opposite, and we're, you know, truncating, or hypertrophy, some of that the the parts of the predatory motor sequence that we got these dogs to do these things. And so if we were to argue it's all fear based, that would be, I think, doing the dogs a disturbance when we're trying to help them. You know, when we selected for that.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think some of the time, putting significant emotional states onto these behaviors is kind of a mistake anyway, like I don't, we don't know their private emotions around these particular ideas. We don't know what they're feeling when they're performing these behaviors, we can make guesses based on the shoddy science we have around body language, and ridiculous interpretation of what the dog's child has had. And we can make guesses based on this. But actually, when we take that out of the situation, and we do look at it from a more from an intrinsic driving perspective and say, we know this dogs do better do this behavior, therefore, there's probably some chemical that is happening as a result of him performing this behavior, and therefore he's likely to do it again. You know, it does. I think stripping out the emotion sometimes is really helpful.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, I agree, I think when we start it, because they can become labels and constructs, again, when we start labeling things and making our own interpretations, I think it would be helpful in some cases. But again, we do have to be careful about how we use those when we're applying emotions to, something we have no idea if they're experiencing that in the first place. So I kind of wanted to, you know, on this segue over to how we can prevent some of this stuff. So this aggression and these issues that we're seeing with dogs, especially now I'm sure you're seeing the same thing over where you are, with as many puppies being purchased or bread or adopted and with pandemic issues. And that's been another theme of this season's podcast is to look at these puppies and what we can do to prevent aggression issues from kind of not so kind of take a step back and not just from your typical, let's socialize and make sure they're well socialized, but more from a global scale and how we are acquiring puppies and getting dogs and what your thoughts are there.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think again, it's about I mean, it's the boring answer about researching breeds and in trying to create bottlenecks where owners can't just go and try impulse buy a Great Dane because they saw it in a movie and they thought it was cool. I think there needs to be or there should be some level of Not licensing but something that prevents some breeds from being mis sold.

Nando Brown:

There should be something in place because at the moment there are unscrupulous breeders and there are people going out on a whim and buying dogs. But also there is also a massive overpopulation of dogs like what is it? I think it's three quarter at trying to remember what the figures are

Michael Shikashio:

900 million dogs in the world. And I think 83% of them are free roam. Yes. So probably close to a billion that was that was Ray Carpenter when he was the late great Ray Carpenter would have around nine judgments. But it's got to be more than that now. Most of the dogs are not owned by anybody.

Nando Brown:

Yeah, they're village dogs. They're street dogs. Yeah, so that, for me is that there's just a massive overpopulation of dogs that are being brought in. And then in my personal experience, it goes back to research and the research in the brain. It's that mismatch of the type of dog somebody's got, and the type of life that they live.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And I would like to add that I think some of the science, particularly the more shoddy science, and then this kind of thing that we've been doing lately is professionals going Oh, don't look at the breed. look at individual. I actually think that that's been doing that process a disservice. Because I actually think it's quite good to ban labels and golden retrievers and say they generally make good pet dogs. I think that's a good thing. That's what I want the public to think about. You know, I want the public to think that I like this idea of thinking about what I used to talk to owners about when they used to ring me and say, You know what, what kind of dog should we get? One of the things I used to say was, think about what the dog was bred to do. And imagine that worst case scenario is the dogs probably going to be doing that all the time. Because then that does lead people to looking more at your dogs that use their nose a lot more or dogs that are gundogs, things like that, rather than dogs that bite people for living or that buy other dogs for a living and things like that. I think that is quite a good rule of thumb. But I actually think putting labels on breeds of dog this is gonna sound awful, Is it the worst thing in the world?

Nando Brown:

It's a it's a numbers game. It is a numbers game. If you give 100 first time owners a golden retriever puppy, and you give 100 first time owners a Malinois puppy, there is likely going to be a lot more of those first time Mallinois owners that have screwed up them dogs than the golden retriever puppies, is that mean? I don't think there are many dog trainers that are going to disagree with that. Some of those Malli's are going to be absolutely fine. And some of them Golden Retrievers are going to bite people. But I bet you I put my wages on it, that there's going to be more Malli's biting people than garden retrievers.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

100%, I'll say more unhappy owners like I do sometimes look at the breed decision and just think to myself, Oh, but you're really nice owner and you could have had a really nice life. And now instead you're just gonna cattle for the next 12 years.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, it's sort of like you to you guys just got your fourth Malinois and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, including the trainers out there. So...

Nando Brown:

We are those idiots.

Michael Shikashio:

Congratulations on your your sixth dog, right. Is that correct? That's fantastic. Where can people find more about you guys? You guys have a lot of educational opportunities for both trainers and pet owners. Correct? And where can they look for that? And what else you working on?

Nando Brown:

Well, predominantly, we teach dog trainers and behaviorists. That's what we do. We have a school, an online school called the School of canine science, which you can find on Facebook, and on YouTube, as well as Instagram. Although we're we're a bit rubbish at Instagram. We also have our own pages. So I run incredimal on Instagram and Facebook.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And I run, Jo-Rosie, Archie the Super Pit & Co. on Facebook and just jorosieh on Instagram.

Nando Brown:

That's what we do as an everyday living, isn't it? But for fun. We train Mondio ring and that kind of stuff. So what else are we up to?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

In terms of opportunities to learn with us? We have a course called The Puppy Lab, which I genuinely think is a course that every dog trainer out there should do, which is on the School of Canine Science dot online. And...

Nando Brown:

I mean, we are slightly biased.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

I think it will teach people about what a dog is.

Nando Brown:

Yeah, for me like so there's various different modules in these courses. And the my favorite module in puppy lab is learning theory because we dispel some enormous myths. Well, in learning theory, especially classical and operant conditioning, we look at various different things that are commonly bandied about by dog traders and then we look at the actual science that's on it by the original scientists and quote them and bring out all their papers and discuss it in depth? And that's kind of what we do. But we also have courses that are 30 days, which are that balance of learning the science, and then practically applying it as well with your own dog.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Yeah. And that's much more better for kind of like people who are just really enthusiastic about dog training on what something to do for the next 30 days, while they can't leave the house.

Michael Shikashio:

People can attend the school from anywhere in the world, right?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Anywhere in the world. Yeah, we've got about 12,000 students internationally at moment.

Nando Brown:

At the moment. Yeah, yeah.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

You're currently with us, which is cool. And what I mean, what we like about the online stuff that we will never able to do in person is teach something from the ground upwards. Because it's very difficult, as you know, when you're lecturing, you have to assume a certain level of knowledge. And you kind of go, are they here? Or are they up here, and then you need to kind of work out where you're going to start from and what you're going to teach someone, what's fantastic about teaching online, is that you can start from zero, and work all the way out to expert level, because there's no time limit. And you can break it down to these lovely bite sized chunks. So they can learn this information and revisit it again and again and again, which is just why online teaching has become something that we enjoy doing.

Nando Brown:

A lot of people are scared of the online stuff. And actually, if you go into so what we've done at the moment is we've got a free webinar out on canine intelligence. And it kind of gives people that opportunity to see whether learning is right for them online, because a lot of people are worried about, you know, not being able to do it and not being able to practically apply it. So we have our standard courses. But then we have our groups on Facebook generally, where we kind of go through the things and people can ask questions, and they post videos and say, Oh, I'm really struggling with this element. And then we can do a live and show you one of our dogs, Yeah, so we're really enjoying that at the moment arent we?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

At the moment first for school of canine science, we're writing new courses, but are secret...

Nando Brown:

Top secret, I thought you were gonna get something in there,

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

We're not even writing them, we're filming them now. So on to that stage of filming them, then being the operative word.

Michael Shikashio:

Excellent. Well, I do think there's a shift towards online learning, when people are becoming much more comfortable with that. And what else are they going to do during a pandemic? Right? Can't learn anything in person right now? Are you going to go back to in person learning at some point and once things lift?

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

He wont, we do an annual competition at

Nando Brown:

Never. batsy cats and dogs home called the trainer of the year where we take 30 or so trainers who have applied and we run a competition whereby they're given three shelter dogs each and throughout the week, they have to train them different behaviors as well as the final behavior and adds up the points and stuff and then you have one crowned winner. And we've not been able to run that this year. That, I love that hopefully we'll be able to get back on that.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

And we can interweave that with different lectures and stuff that well with whatever comes up maybe that's that happens to be the case because you know what it's like working with you don't know what you're gonna find. So it's just it's just a brilliant thing. So we'll still do that in person will probably still do the staff training for different shelters. Yeah. Which will probably still do.

Nando Brown:

I'm sure we will, I'm sure when we get the opportunity, but six dogs and a four year old at a wedding to get through.

Michael Shikashio:

Underachievers. Well, Nando and Jo, thank you so much for coming on. I hope to visit you, Moira and I want to come out to Spain, I will promise I can put on a bite suit for you as well if you need that. That's something that's something I recommend trainers Do you know if you want to experience what it's like to be bitten, I think that's important if you're gonna be working aggression cases just to what to do if you do get bit. Feeling that momentum and what it feels like to have a dog or several latched on to you. So yeah, I hope to see you guys soon and future. Thanks again for coming on and wish you a Happy 2021.

Nando Brown:

Michael, it's always a pleasure mate, thank you so much.

Jo-Rosie Haffenden:

Yeah. Thank you.