The Bitey End of the Dog

Kim Brophey CDBC, CPDT-KA

April 26, 2021 Michael Shikashio CDBC Season 2 Episode 8
The Bitey End of the Dog
Kim Brophey CDBC, CPDT-KA
Show Notes Transcript

You are not going to want to miss any part of this episode. Kim Brophey is back by popular demand! Last season, Kim broke the dog training internet with her unique, and enlightening view of dog behavior through her LEGS model - Learning, Environment, Genetics, and Self, and she has been in demand ever since, having countless requests for interviews and podcast appearances. 

We continue where we left off last season, and chat about the ethics of dog ownership and why that has gone so sideways with some breeds, and have an exploratory conversation about the impact human culture has had on dogs, including aggressive behavior.

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Kim Brophy:

And as long as we keep the conversation over in left field over here, like it's just training, let's just change our training techniques. We're going to continue to fail these dogs and we're going to continue to miss diagnose the behaviors that we're looking at, which are not in themselve's behavior problems that just haven't been trained. They're actually symptoms of welfare problems.

Michael Shikashio:

You're not going to want to miss any part of this episode. Kim Brophy is back by popular demand. Last season, Kim broke the dog training Internet with her unique and enlightening view of dog behavior through her legs, model, learning environment, genetics and self. And she has been in demand ever since having countless requests for interviews, and podcast appearances. We continue where we left off last season, and chat about the ethics of dog ownership. And why that has gone so sideways with some breeds, then have an exploratory conversation about the impact human culture has had on dogs, including aggressive behavior. 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 in the aggression in dogs conference, the unique three day livestream event happening from October 22 to 24th 2021. With 12 amazing speakers. You can find out more by going to the looseleashacademy.com Hey everyone, I'm Mike Shikashio. Welcome back to The Bitey End of The Dog. This week, I've got none other than Kim Brophy, who's back by popular demand. Her last show stirred up quite a bit of conversation in the dog training and behavior community. So I'm really excited to get into some deeper topics this time in this episode. Kim's an applied ethologists and professional family dog mediator working to solve problems between people and dogs with modern science. Locally, and nationally awarded and certified dog behavior consultant Kim is breaking the mold in the pet dog industry in order to facilitate a long overdue paradigm shift in our relationships with our dogs. She's developed the groundbreaking dog legs system of canine science, and has written that amazing book meet your dog, which is something I highly recommend you pick up. You want to learn more about her view on ethology and how it applies to how what we're going to talk about in this episode as well. She's a certified dog behavior consultant, certified pet dog trainer knowledge assessed. She's an awarded member of The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a member of The International Society for Applied ethology, former member of the IAABCS Board of Directors, and a former board member of the Asheville Humane Society. She's also offering consultations through a business for theology. She's mentoring some students of mine as well. And I'm looking forward to hearing more about that as well during the episode. So welcome, Kim.

Kim Brophy:

Thanks for having me. Again, Mike. I'm super excited to pick up where we left off.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, so I want to jump right in here. I don't want to waste any time on all these awesome topics we're gonna talk about. So first thing I want to do is, quote, the late great Ray Carpenter here. And he mentioned that there's somewhere around 900 million dogs in the world. And we can probably round that up to almost a billion dogs. I'm guessing at this point, or maybe even more. I mean, that's a hard number to I'm sure pin down. But like we don't have a world o meter for dogs like we do with the Coronavirus, right. But if that number 83% are unrestrained or basically they're not like they are in many of our environments here tied down to a home or captive in our homes. So let's jump into talking about that. What are your What are your viewpoints on that? I know you have some things to say. So go for it.

Kim Brophy:

Yeah, I think, you know, the first thing is just that we have this idea when we think of the dog in this culture, the way that we've been raised or, you know, to think of our dogs is very much like as pets. And you know, for those of us old enough to remember when they were still loose and you know, leash laws were a little bit grayer. And you know, I grew up in Atlanta in the 70s. And the dogs were still roaming free like it was transitioning still at that point. But I still very much like born into a world in which basically, they're captive animals where they're under some form of direct human control. And I think that's just become more true in the last few decades. So that most Americans when they think of a dog, think of something like a purebred dog, or a mix of a few purebred dogs. Sometimes we have like super mutts here, but that's very different than the types of dogs that you see in third world countries or developing nations. And I know like, you know, when we were in Mexico together for the Cica conference a couple of years ago, just looking at the street dogs, they're like, some of those dogs might have some purebred ancestry, because people might have had a purebred dog that then became part of that population or contributed to the gene pool. But most of those dogs fall under what's called a land race. And a land race is just a naturally evolving type of subspecies within a particular species where you have more common phenotype within that particular group, they're going to look just a little bit more like each other, the ears are going to be a little bit more similar colors, and so much of the thing, but the size is going to be kind of a mid sized dog, and they're very much mixed in their ancestry, you might be hard to find any kind of predominant breed group in their ancestry, because what's happening in those nations, in those places where dogs are still free roaming like that, unlike here, is that nature is still at the helm of the selection. So all those evolutionary forces of survival of the fittest and descent with modification based on what those pressures and opportunities are in those environments, is determining what works best people participate in that selective process. But that's what's known as kind of human interference or effect on natural selection. So it's still natural selection, because at the end of the day, they have autonomy about their behaviors and with whom they reproduce. Whereas if you, you know, look at our dogs here, is least now, they're under almost entirely human control, both genetically and then personally for their behaviors and choices. And so they're both domesticated in the truest sense of the word being under, you know, very close genetic control with closed, you know, Gene pools here, at least in most cities and suburban areas and rural areas, you still have a little bit more of that natural selective force going on. But then they're also for the most part, on our leashes in our houses, and under our control at all times. So the point I really want to make about this that I think is really interesting is that, for a long time, people used those erroneous wolf studies from decades ago, where we were looking at captive wolves and a force social group. And we were making kind of inferences about dog behavior and how we should understand and then work with dogs behaviorally based on those studies in those captive wolves. And we realized at some point that it wasn't apples to apples, and probably wasn't the best thing to extrapolate all of those inferences from that group for our relationships with dogs, a, they're not the same species. But B, that was also a captive scenario. And at the time, we weren't really even talking about our pet dogs as they were captive. And so the popular kind of next step became, well, let's look at free roaming dogs and developing countries, their behavior, when they're left to their own devices will give us all the insights for our pet dogs. And I would offer that while both the wolf studies and the studying of dogs in developing countries give us a host of different kinds of potential insights into canine behavior very closely related both of those two species anyway, neither one is going to be effective or correct for a direct apples to apples extrapolation to our pet dogs. So looking at the dogs in the developing nations, the environmental conditions are completely different, that are going to change their behaviors in really important ways. In the same way that if you found yourself in that type of situation, you know, traveling to another place where all of the conditions were completely different, and you would be more successful to get your next meal by just scavenging around and finding what was available. And you know, you didn't have the need for a larger social group, like wolves, because you didn't need to have that group hunting capability, right, which is why that evolved in wolves in the first place. So people have said, well, then social psychology has no place in our discussion with dogs. Because if you look at 80% of the dogs in the world, they don't have social groups, right. So they must be the dogs don't, in fact, form social groups on like wolves. But it's not that dogs don't, and wolves do, it's that both are adaptive species, like all other species that will adjust to changing circumstances. And when we're talking about our dogs, our pets and our homes in modern 21st century household, we have a forced social group. And so in the same way that if you suddenly found yourself on a boat, in the middle of the ocean, with a bunch of people you'd never met before, you have an ad hoc social group. And it is a captive social group because of that boat being in the middle of the ocean, but all of a sudden there are there's a need to cooperate about your strategy to survive. If each of you kind of go it alone in the ocean, off that boat, there's going to be a whole lot of conflict and probably very little success. Whereas if you can kind of, you know, figure out how to constructively organize that social group being that we have that propensity as a social species, you'll be more successful. And so when dogs are put back in home environments, the need for them to employ those genetic, evolutionary skills as a social animal, come back into play in the largest sense, in that they found themselves effectively in a reality TV house with a bunch of other people and animals that they did not themselves select. And they're trying to navigate that social and environmental terrain. And so it's important for us to just remember that the devils in the details and all of those environmental conditions are going to employ or negate the importance or need for various kinds of instincts or capabilities that we have as a social animal. Same with dogs,

Michael Shikashio:

I kind of want to touch base, you mentioned environments quite a few times. And to put things in perspective to is when you think about that, you know, again, the vast majority of dogs are not all indoor, are not contained in the way we might have in some certain cultures. And I think if you just put that in perspective for just a moment, and then if we can, which we'll talk about next is breeds. But just put that in perspective, as far as the restrictions we might be placing, and the demands that we might be placing on dogs in certain contexts. I mean, with social media, we're seeing a lot of that, if you go way to one side, where it's one dog, having freedom of movement, just being in part of the environment versus now we're taking them and putting this goofy haircuts to make the perfect round circle around their face, then ribbons and bows and dressing them up for Halloween and things like that, just how much of a difference and the look at a step back for a moment to say wait a minute, what's happening to dogs in general, right, just just the word, just the whole population of dogs, such extremes. And so you can imagine what happens when you take a dog from one extreme and try to place it on the other, the behavior problems that can pop up. So in that regard, let's get right into the breed side of things. Now, one of the questions I get a lot from my students is, well, what do you do with a mixed breed? You know, you have a dog that's maybe you're you've got a DNA test on and you've determined, it's like, let's look at my dog because Castana, she's 50%, boxer, the rest is like Belgian terv, German Shepherd, and a couple of other breeds that are lesser and the percentage mix. What do you say there? Do you do focus on like a certain part of that percentage, you say, okay, 50% boxer, she's gonna do this, or it doesn't necessarily correlate to the percentage amount?

Kim Brophy:

Yeah, I think, you know, for me, the value of like the DNA test and a mixed breed dog is, it's just something for me to keep in mind. And so like, let's say that the DNA test came back, and everything was like under 20%. Now, I'm even probably less convinced that any of that is going to play a large role in the behaviors I'm looking at, not to say that it couldn't throw its hat in the ring in a given moment. And all of a sudden, you're like, oh, there's the shepherd, in a given context, but if something's over 20, 30%, I'm gonna keep it more strongly in mind, just while I'm watching, it's more for the sake of what lens I might then be able to appreciate a behavior through, that sets up for me, what are some opportunities or obstacles that I might have as a result. And so for instance, you know, certain breeds of dogs, were bred to work really closely with people in a cooperative kind of a functional sense. And those dogs are much more amenable to suggestion than other types of dogs, whereas, you know, my Pyrenees mix, Pyrenees Newfoundland mix, breed of dog that's bred to work entirely independently of people, the livestock guardians. And so oftentimes, people will have a lot of false and really unhelpful projections of, well, my last four dogs were, this training that I was doing worked really well. And I could just suggest something and they'd know what I was thinking, and they would be really cooperative and this darn dogs just so stubborn. And if we're able, at that point, to then point out either livestock Guardian breeds and the fact that nothing in their ancestry would have prepared them to follow your every direction. Whereas, you know, the gundogs, and the herding gods have been practicing that for hundreds of years, then all of a sudden, it's like gives them a point of reference for their expectations. And that's one of the reasons why I do feel like it's so important for us to have this as a piece, not a predictor. Again, genes are not predictive, but they're just part of the conversation for us to have in mind when we're looking at something and trying to understand it. Same with something like a terrier, like terriers are bred for tenacity, and all in kind of a gameness. That isn't meant to once it's once engaged, be really affected by our opinion, or micromanaging of the behavior. Once it's turned on, you know, they were kind of supposed to be doing their thing. You put them upon the place where you think that the varmints might be or they just live in the place where the varmints might be, they find them, they do their job without us doing a whole lot of micromanaging of those behaviors. And so when we're trying to make suggestions, a.k.a train the dog in such situations that are arousing for them, that ancestry can really come into play in terms of like, how we're then going to work with that animal to explain the conditions or how we might then manage the environment, to set it up so that we don't have to kind of try to call that bullet back, so to speak, once the animal is already really aroused and engaged in a behavior that honestly they didn't even pick, because if it's an instinct, it's bypassing executive function and frontal lobe decision making filter anyway.

Michael Shikashio:

Let's segue into the next topic then, releasing stimuli. And we had mentioned that earlier when we were talking, tell me more about that and how that plays into what you were just talking about.

Kim Brophy:

Just to kind of backup from like an ethology perspective. And there's this whole, like smaller discipline called, you know, neuro ethology that does like a deep dive into this whole topic, if people are interested. And you had Simon Gadbois, on one of your, you know, past episodes, and I think he's both a neuro ethologist and a neuro endocrinologist. But you know, you're looking at basically how the, the brain and the nervous system, and then the biochemistry of the animal is designed from years of selection, to notice certain things and not notice other things. And if you think about it, it's really just that whole economy of behavior thing that we've learned to keep in mind, from our understanding of how nature functions, any being in nature, can't attend to all the environmental stimuli at one time, you would just die of neurological exhaustion if you were just hyper attending to everything in your environment all the time. So we have filters, in the same way that you can sit in the middle of New York City with the world going on around you. And you can just be focusing on listening to the person sitting next to you talking and the taste of the coffee in your hand. You know, we can filter out environmental stimuli that is, you know, we've desensitized or habituated to either as ourselves, or ancestrally. And so over the course of generations, those filters just become cleaner and more solidified, based on what has consistently been meaningful or consistently been meaning less. And so you know, certain types of movements of other animals will be on some dogs radar, and not on others, you know, whether someone walks into my house without knocking, be on some dogs, radars, and not on others, just from a genetic standpoint. And so there's a lot of things that happen in our modern world on a regular basis, that literally turn on that animal's senses to notice it in the first place, just like a little key and a lock, like, oh, pay attention to this, this is important. And then what happens is, if it has enough reinforcement history of generations, if that's how you want to look at like an instinct, it has like, generations of reinforcement history, then it just bypasses the filter of executive function, and it goes, Oh, I know what to do. And I have an instinct that works perfectly in this condition, that I was selected by humans, not that they're thinking through all of that, but that it's happening to them. But that behavior pops out from all of the years of selective force of us breeding for a certain response, in a certain condition, say the one sheep moving out of place in the flock. And then that animal jumps into action, we're so often diagnosing these things as behavior problems, when all we're looking at is this interaction in the environment and the genetics, that's happening without any kind of prior training, prior trauma, you know, no bad owner that taught the dog to do it, because they nobody's tabula rasa is, especially dogs that have been artificially selected for 1000s of years, you know, in some cases, to do these specific behaviors. So it doesn't mean that that creates a line in the sand limitation to how that animal will perceive that stimuli. That, you know, it means that we then have to recognize it as as powerful as it is, and then work with it accordingly. And that's the beauty of kind of, you know, all four parts of behavior, both you have that environment piece and the genetic piece. And then you also have learning and then you have the individual. And so that learning is what creates the opportunity for us to say, yeah, so in fact, the pizza guy is not an intruder that wants to kill your mommy. In fact, he's the guy who walks in and hands me a pepperoni pizza, and then you get a slice. So we're gonna call him the pizza guy. And we're gonna teach you that that dude is our friend, and not an enemy. And of course, because every species is learning, and they're not just these automatons doing things from genetic wiring, from day one, you know, they are flexible. We can say here, not here, this, not that. But if we're misunderstanding what we're looking at in the first place, we're not likely to handle it right going forward.

Michael Shikashio:

So I have sure we have some listeners, probably thing. Okay, Kim and Mike, I get this whole ethology aspect now that you're talking about, or at least I'm grasping, sort of the why for the behaviors. How about if we talk a few examples of what to do when. Right so let's let me throw an example at you and you can problem solve this at the we've got a maremma or livestock Guardian dog in there won't make it too hard. So like not an apartment in New York City, maybe like a suburban home in their yard. And the dog is barking and lunging at people that approach the fence. So delivery guy, water repair guy, whatever, they come to the fence line and dogs barking, lunging. And they want to work with that with that behavior. So what are your strategies, there given that it's a livestock Guardian dog,

Kim Brophy:

The first thing I would look at is just the opportunity for the animal to practice the behavior in my absence, you know, and we all know how important environmental management is. But one of the things to keep in mind when it comes to releasing stimuli, and when it comes to modal action patterns, is that they get a dopamine hit when they get turned on in the first place, and they get more dopamine hits for engaging in the behavior. So if you're not there, if you're going to leave that dog in a fenced yard in the suburbs, while the world's going by all day long, hang it up. I mean, that dog is training itself to do that behavior towards all of those stimulis all day long. And you know, if you're not there, and the flip side that's really challenging about those dogs is that if you keep them inside all day long term manage against them rehearsal, those behaviors, you're gonna have a host of a bunch of other problems, they are really developed to spend almost their entirety of life outdoors. And so we see a lot of them have a lot of confinement anxiety, with their crated for excessive periods, or even in the house for excessive periods. And just the value of them being able to lay in the middle of the yard for hours during the day, just being outside brings the frustration level down so consequentially that that's going to be critical to the prognosis of the case. So you have a little bit of a problem there, right, because the more time that dog spends outside, the better off you're going to be. But the more time that dog spends outside rehearsing behaviors in your absence that you can't intervene upon, then you're going to, you're going to be working against that tide as well. So let's assume for a minute that it's really quiet for half of the day, and that the net, you know, that maybe the street and neighborhood and the stimulus gets only busy in the latter half of the day. So we have a mourning period of time where, you know, they say, well, we have all these people that work third shift that work around us, and they're all sleeping till noon, or they're up drinking till three. And that's why they're sleeping till noon great. In a quiet morning, wonderful, put the dog out for the morning, keep an eye on the dog, make sure that there's nothing that's going to be turning them on without your ability to intervene upon it, and then bring them in once things start getting busier. Now let's say we're out there in the afternoon, you can take deliberate periods of time, or you're going to go out there and you're going to be ready to help explain this environment to the dog, what you want to be able to do is some combination of look at that, you know, we call it I spy in my company, the dog door where we're playing, I spy with the dog, like if you spy or hear a person or whatever in the neighborhood. And I can see that you've attended to in any way, even if it's just a flick of the ear. And I can catch that window of opportunity before you've engaged in any kind of a further threatened response or defensive response of our territory, i'm going to mark and reinforce the daylights out of that, particularly if it comes with things like not getting up from the down position that you're in, which is another nice little opportunity you have with the livestock Guardian breeds as their dopamine is so low, you have a larger window of opportunity before they spring up from a down into a stand. So I'd be trying to catch that window. And then on the other side, I'm going to then be intervening if the animal does perceive that as a threat. And I want to be able to say that it's not a threat. And we do a lot of like drag lines in the yard. So if it's a bigger yard, and I want to make sure I can catch the animal and interrupt effectively, I might use a lot longer drag line. And what I want to be able to do is just calmly step up towards the condition and put myself between the dog and the condition and then walk the dog back. So it's kind of I call it with my clients, the figurative mom arm, like I got it, where you're not, you're not punishing you're you're just running interference. The other kind of example that I use with my clients about this jumps into the social psychology bit, we're all social animals. And so we're all responding to and giving tons of micro signals and macro signals throughout the day socially. So let's say you and I are in a bar together. And you've had maybe six drinks, you know, your three sheets to the wind at this point. And you see someone who stole $50,000 from you on the other side of the bar, and you're like, I'm going to kick that person's you know what, I'm going to die and you better hold me back. And I'm like Mike's gonna get arrested. I love Mike, I don't want Mike to get arrested and go to jail. He's had one too many. The first thing any friend is going to do is just get between you and the person. They're not trying to threaten you. They're not trying to punish you. They're not trying to distract you. They're just running social interference. We look at this all the time with dogs, we call it a go between right dogs do it with each other all the time. It's a cut off signal. It's used to reduce tension. A lot of us aren't really using that kind of a skill in these situations that just cuts that tension of a perceived threat and says, oh, you're just not privy to information that I have. I know that's just the next door neighbor, Bob. We don't need to market Bob. Bob pays a mortgage just like we pay a mortgage. Bob's not a threat, and then getting them back increasing that space away from that running interference until they're able to kind of de escalate and let it go. We let that go. We're back to playing look at that again. And that same game. I'm also a huge proponent of doing a lot of talking to dogs. I don't think we talked to dogs nearly enough. Most dogs, like the average dog has like the receptive language ability of a two year old child, I'd argue there's dogs out there that have the receptive language ability of like a four year old child. And so the more you talk to them, in the same way you would talk to a toddler, if you were raising a toddler and explaining how this modern life thing works to them. Every time you see someone in your suburb environment or your door, you hear them and your dog notices or attends to that information. When you have that opportunity to play, look at that, or notice that and you can click and treat that reinforce that lack of engagement. You should also be naming that that's just a neighbor. That's just our neighbor, Bob, no barking at Bob, Bob is our neighbor. And I teach all my clients you should be talking to your dog like full on Mr. Rogers, like all day, every day, the more words they have in their vocabulary, the more you are able to fill in the blanks of all these questions and concerns they have about these conditions, that they really don't have an evolutionary point of reference for livestock Guardian breeds weren't ever meant to be sitting in suburban backyards. So it just means that they're relying on us that much more to give them information and show them how things work. And it's not just this carrot or stick model that's going to get us close to resolving the problems. It's understanding what we're looking at, and that actually giving them the information signal that they need in order to understand what's happening.

Michael Shikashio:

Alright, so I'm gonna throw in more difficult case or more difficult scenario here at you, since we're talking about breed specific behaviors. What if you have a Australian cattle dog that lives in an apartment in New York City, and does a couple of different things. Every little bike stroller jogger that goes by the doggies lunging and trying to bite at the heels os a cat a dog might do of the stimuli. And then also in the home, when visitors are over and they get up to go and leave or get up to use the bathroom, the dog does the same thing charges at them has bitten maybe a couple people. What's your plan there?

Kim Brophy:

First of all, one of the things to keep in mind, for all of these groups of dogs, just so that I'm not jumping right into the how. And then you know, not doing what I'm telling everyone to do all the time, which is always look at the why first, and then really look at like, what is the level of stimulation arousal and therefore maybe frustration the animal's experiencing? And is that animal going to even be in a position where they're going to be able to make good decisions. And so both with the prior case, we were just talking about the livestock Guardian breed. And then also in the case of something like a cattle dog, a herding dog, you always want to be looking for signs that the animal can't learn the frustration level is that high or that the arousal level is that high that they are not going to be able to make good decisions and learn well. And of course, then we need to look at what are the other conditions we can change whether that's internal conditions through medication. So something in that self category or whether those were external conditions, and we need to think about rehoming that dog because they just can't live in that environment. So I just want to point that out. Because I think sometimes we put all of our emphasis on how do we change the behavior? What do you do? How do you change the behavior. And sometimes those things are very effective. And the frustration level is manageable enough that the animal can do a great job on a learning curve and a positive prognosis trajectory. Sometimes they can't, I've got a couple cases right now where there's just a no way basically for that particular dog and the environment that they found themselves in because the work drive is so high. But let's assume that for the case of the sake of this conversation, that that dog's frustration level is not so high, or that he's on an effective dose of something that is helping his arousal level, we want to be low enough that we can actually access some good learning. So a couple of things. And one of the ironies is with the herding breeds. And this is true with the gundogs, too, I made mention earlier, when we're talking that there are certain groups of dogs that were evolutionarily artificially selected through the course of human history to work really closely with people and to be able to operate under high levels of arousal, with the filter of taking direction feedback, guidance, etc. from us. And so is as difficult as herding dogs are, there's a reason that their dog trainers favorite type of dog tone, because they're also the most trainable. And so you can have a really incredible intensity behind them and also be able to have them turn on a dime psychologically, I would say that it's very important for us to be able to give that dog a lot of information, the naming phenomenon we were talking about earlier, that dogs gonna need a really long vocabulary list. And then being that all of the herding dogs are really selected for this kind of type A personality presentation. That's what makes them super accounting of environmental information, and very concerned with sudden environmental contrast. The more that you can be highly predictable, and procedural, rigid, even in how you handle all of those events in the environment is going to make that animal that much more successful. This really is kind of counterintuitive for us with a lot of the themes that have become popular. I think some of that we talked about last time, with the value of kind of choice and control being so high. Well, that's true when they can make those choices, and they have the information to make those choices. And having control of those circumstances is something we can accept the outcome of biting the wheels of the stroller is not something we're wanting to give that dog the choice and control to be able to do. And they're not scared of the stroller. You know, I mean, I think thinking that all aggression or herding behavior, which looks a lot like aggression, when when we're actually watching the teeth lash out at things in the environment, that may not be rooted in any intent to harm anything, or have any kind of, or any emotional Association really at all other than just arousal. And so having it be that we have these really rigid, step one, step two, step three, for those kinds of conditions. For instance, something's coming down the sidewalk, there's an automatic outset, wait, that we just do like clockwork out, sit, wait, there's three steps and there's, you know, something that we're putting in place, and that we're going to hold that in place, and then we're gonna play Look at that, while the thing walks by good stand down, that's not the thing that we're supposed to be hurting, etc. And then when we have people coming into the environment, like into the household, having that dog with an assigned seat system, where you're taking them away from feeling like they're on point, right when someone comes to the door, so I put a procedure in place, we call our off duty procedure, where basically ding dong means Hold on a minute, we go get a bunch of good stuff out of the closet, walk you back on the other side of the baby gate, Merry Christmas to you, you get all these good projects to do stand down, not your job, this guy checks out, he's on the guest list, we let him in, he's got good ID, he comes in, sits down, the dust is settled, the sudden environmental contrast is over, we can let the dog come in and most herding dogs at that point go around and they count heads, write it all down on their little clipboard. And then you can say from there, this is a good place for you to lay. Or if you want to play ball, if we want to make that the procedure and the dog does well with that. And that gives them something to do in the presence of the person that's comfortable, that's fine. And then I would say for those dogs, particularly the very high drive dogs for sentimental contrast, that person says I'm going to get up and use your bathroom, where is it, you can say Hold on a minute, you put the dog back on the off duty location before the person goes to the bathroom. So just being aware that the dog will perceive a lot of these events in the environment, the way that they naturally will not that they're intending to, you can go ahead and make decisions as the executive manager in the environment. I mean, at that, I'd say that's one of the social psychology pieces I really can't emphasize enough is that we're putting them in our world. And when we fail to step up into our executive management position, we're leaving them at a horrible deficit that creates so much anxiety, a lot of these conditions, they have no idea how to navigate on their own. And it's not just about whether they feel safe enough to approach or not, it might be a host of other things like herding instincts that are somehow getting turned on by people coming to your house in lieu of sheep. And then the dog is acting in ways that they don't even understand much less know how to make better choices in the face of. And so just us understanding what they're coming to the table potentially with can help us make better decisions in that upper management role.

Michael Shikashio:

So a crucial aspect for us as trainers and behavior consultants is really that educational component of helping clients understand the why for the dogs behaviors so that they can be adaptive to those needs and spose expectations. And that's really that key word there setting realistic expectations, dependence on the natural tendencies of the dog they have in front of them.

Kim Brophy:

Well, absolutely. I mean, I think like not not having a good understanding of why is inevitably going to lead us down the wrong roads of how to change the behavior. So, you know, if we're looking at something like that, let's say it's a herding inspired behavior, you know, so those dogs being highly sensitive to infractions to the status quo, and sudden environmental contrast are all about law and order. It's almost like a fundamental aim in their psyche is just consistency, stability, normalcy status quo, which is exactly what you want when you have a herding dog, so that they notice those subtle changes in the group that then they can quickly take action on to resolve and then they are self satisfied by seeing all the little sheep are back in a row and doing what they're supposed to be doing. When you understand

Michael Shikashio:

You read my mind, because the next question it is that I think it really affects how you approach it. I think sometimes I have a lot of criticisms of the kind of training for incompatible behaviors, because I feel like it just creates more confusion for the dog. So even our choice of the incompatible behavior, I think really matters. So let's say someone comes to the front door ding dong, and instead we pull out a rope tug to get our dog to tug on the rope. Instead of bark at or lunge at the person coming in the door. You might effectively funnel the arousal onto the tug toy in that moment, but you are still keeping the dog front and center in the moment that someone's coming in. So they're still very much part of that wondering, should I do something? Should I do something? I'm right here next to you. I'm your wingman. What am I supposed to do? And it's also really touchy and dangerous to take a moment that we want to say, no need to be aroused, just my friend Bob coming in, stand down, take five, have a lunch break, if we're building arousal. So our choice of the incompatible behavior happens to also be arousing. Sometimes we're going to maintain that neural pathway of arousal in the face of something that we're really trying to de escalate. So that I mean, the nuances and the devil in the detail really matter. I was gonna kind of segue into is this whole use of other outlets or toys or activities for certain breeds. Now, either as a reinforcement or as an enrichment route to kind of satisfy and that's the question I get a lot is, you know, Mike, what's appropriate for this dog. And some of these activities are really not appropriate. And one classic example is the treadmill. You know, a lot of people say, oh, tired, dog has a good dog, which is absolutely not true. You get these dogs that maybe they run on a treadmill, and they're not getting anything really out of it except the physical exercise, right, they're getting the physical activity, but a lot of times they're just getting to be better athletes at exhibiting the aggressive behavior, they're just gonna be with the chase somebody down thats faster then they're used to.

Kim Brophy:

I don't know about you, but like a couple weeks into a good exercise regimen. I started want to go I want to go more, you know, I have more energy. And you know, so like, when you're actually able to keep up that good routine, you've got more hutzpah, not less to bring to the table.

Michael Shikashio:

So where do you find the balance? And then in terms of appropriate activities, let's say tug or flirt pulls, or you know, those kinds of activities, treiball, things like where we might be seeing these innate behaviors in other contexts in which we're using and controlling appropriately as at least we're trying to control them appropriately. What's your thoughts there?

Kim Brophy:

I have a couple of different thoughts. First of all, I want to say performance, dog training and pet dog training are not apples to apples. And I think we forget to say that a lot. And so things that performance dog trainers use as everything from a reinforcer to a enrichment exercise might not be appropriate at all in a pet dog home. And so a lot of the things that can work really well to keep a dog reinforced and engaged in behaviors like tug and stuff like that, in sport context, are things that we really just don't want to be encouraging much of, to be escalating and some of our pet dogs, again, depending on the nuances of the context, but you have to choose wisely, I guess. And I think that there are outlets that are closer to what that animal was selected for, or even can hit one of the important nails on the head without potentially causing more trouble. I'm gonna give you some examples like that I've kind of come up with that is more helpful than I thought they would have been for herding dogs. Herding dogs really like to just feel like they have projects and that they're important. And because they're kind of half sleeping with one eye open all the time anyway, you can even just taking a herding dog with you to go run errands and then having a protocol for how you're running errands. And just kind of going through these motions makes them feel important and makes them feel like they're following a strict protocol. And that can even be very satisfying for them. So it doesn't have to be some super intense chasing it down barking at it thing for it to still be satisfying to some of those instincts. Even things like collecting your toys and putting them away. Or to go, you know, you can play like a game of like, hide all of these different toys in the house and act like there's some really important urgent need, oh my gosh, all of your tennis balls escaped in the middle of the night again, Buster, Dear God, we'd better find them all and put them back in the basket before the world falls apart. Something that makes them feel like it's part of their day, it's important you need them to do it, you're going to play along with the drama, I mean, something even like that can can help be sufficient. So it doesn't have to be exact translation of what we're imagining is enrichment. That said, the closer you can get to something so that it is hitting on the tone of I need you to organize this or I need you to protect me from this in the case of my guardian is going to be more effective than if we're just on the other side of the field completely. So give you an example with my own guardian. This is what she lives for, is her one kind of job that I really feed into here in our little fenced couple acres we have, there's a loose hound dog that the neighbors let out and run the neighborhood and he runs rabbits in the hills and stuff around our yard and just bays and doesn't cause any harm. But we've decided to make it her project to run chewy which is the name of the dog off of the fence line. So you can hear chewy from inside the house sometimes or on the porch. And if we hear chewy will say, Oh, that's chewy. And then she jumps up and she runs outside and she runs the perimeter barking at chewy, which is no problem at all because it's specific to chewy. And when we see the other neighbors walking their dogs by on a leash down the road we say Oh, those are the other dogs, you know, that's chief and browning and they're our friends and our tail starts wagging. And so that's that whole thing about the naming that whereas if we're consistent about our micro signals our vibe, how we're acting towards stimulus in the environment, and whether we're saying you know what, we should worry about that dog chewy. You know, he's creating havoc in the neighborhood, it makes her feel like she has a job. There's no coyotes right around here, even though they're in the, you know, mountains in the area, we haven't heard any around here. There's no other threats in our area, but it makes her feel like she's important. She does her little rounds every night when chewy gets out. So it can be something that's really small. And it doesn't have to be necessarily like this full on sport. And at the same time, I think a lot of the things that we're doing for enrichment, don't do enough. Some of the like food seeking projects and stuff like that, I think sometimes just take the edge off for five minutes or an hour or a couple of hours. But it's really hard for it to be enough. I'm a huge fan of just massive amounts of time outside, if possible, where dogs can get far away from human reality, and just where they're using their noses as close as they can to nature as possible. Getting back to some of that like deep homeostasis, kind of environmental biofeedback, that can just kind of bring the floor of their baseline of their arousal down a good bit, I think that we under emphasize how important that is. I just did a Sarah Streamings podcast with her on Cog Dog and she was talking about like decompression locks, and just giving all dogs an opportunity to just, we're not asking you to do anything, we're not training them to do anything, we're not turning them on or off of anything at all. We're just kind of letting them be and follow what their whim is moment to moment. I think that's really valuable as well. But honestly, Mike, none of us really know, right? Like we don't know, we're all still finding out in this modern situation where we have these dogs that are entirely fish out of water, in many cases where their genetic key does not fit this modern world lock anymore. It's creating all sorts of frustrations and behavior problems. We're the ones in the position of seeing it and people are saying fix it, change it, this, I don't like this, train the dog and make it work for me when it's really not necessarily about training at all. And there's a lot of things that we're going to have to talk about as an industry if we're going to really get to the bottom of it and help these dogs in the long run. And it's not just training and enrichment. I mean, some of this is going to have to come through, you know, moment one with breeding, you know, and the genetics that we have in the gene pool, if we are not going to have the environment that can compatibly house them so that they can have good welfare, we're gonna have to start looking at the gene pool and what changes we can make there.

Michael Shikashio:

And I love that you're kind of tying this in together because I think the industry is moving in a really nice direction right now, especially with all the other topics. Emily Strong and Allie Bender talking about enrichment, so much which is so crucial. I think there's there's a lot more conversation about not just focusing on sit, down, stay, come, heal, right. It's it's definitely going in the right direction. So I certainly appreciate your your viewpoint as well. Let's kind of take a step back here and look at the whole picture of why things have gone. So sideways over maybe the last, I don't even know if I want to put a time stamp on it. But I know I'm a lot busier. I know a lot of my students and colleagues are a lot busier, working with behavior problems, especially United States, it's not exclusive to the United States. But it is certainly prevalent here. Let's talk about that what has gone wrong in your mind as far as where dogs are right now. And the behavior issues we're seeing, we could talk about health and all the other stuff, but let's focus on behavior.

Kim Brophy:

I love that. And I mean, I think we all have to get better at being comfortable with being uncomfortable, because we're in an industry where everyone tells us to have all the answers and be able to fix everything and like the model that we're all coming from in this industry, which is why Last time we talked about how I think dog training is broken. There's like all these underlying presumptions of I don't want this behavior, I want this behavior, you Mike Shikashio dog trainer, you program it to do what I want and follow my whims. If we keep playing that script, this is it's gonna get ugly really quick. I mean, we're already getting there. But like, we're just getting further and further from like the heart of the issue, and then the real solutions, which is why we are having epidemic levels of behavior problems. And these poor dogs that cycle in and out of shelters time and time again, simply because no one really understands what they're looking at in the first place. So we keep failing to get to the heart of it all. The mess is, is that, you know, in the last 100 years, the rate of environmental change that's occurred in this planet is unprecedented. Since that was true 20 years ago, it's only compounded exponentially since I mean that was true 20 years ago. And you know, I was thinking back the other day about how like, gosh, there were no cell phones there were no computers, you know what like, not like personal computers, much less like tablets and you know, our ability to even track the Coronavirus like as globally as we are, you know, now, I mean, our entire world has become so much more indoors technology centric, whereas our, you know, even 100 years ago, most people spend the vast majority of their time outside and so that meant most of their dogs were spending the vast majority of their time outside, that was not that long ago. And so now the conditions that we're all in have changed so rapidly, and they are barely resembling the exact kinds of niches, behaviors and contexts that we bred dogs for against their own will, genetically, I might add, we created dogs that were experts at being varmint killers or livestock herders or livestock protectors. And now, we don't want those same behaviors that we bred into them when we don't want them right we want everything is pushed buttons are down cell phones, we want to be able to turn off that barking dog. As soon as it doesn't please us and we want to be able to turn it on when our ex boyfriend shows up at the front door. And that's just not realistic. I mean, most of us are working long hours away from home. Most dogs are spending all day inside if not, inside of a crate. Only for us to come home frazzled, overstimulated ourselves, want to get in front of the TV, or maybe go out back out to dinner with friends put the dog back in the house after a quick 10 minute walk. And it's not realistic, we've been conditioned to this idea that a doggy is your pet because there's this huge pet market that just completely makes billions off the idea that people keep buying into that that like, yes, you just get it and Isn't he cute? He's adorable, and you get the name and you get him a collar and buy him some food and take into those little dog training classes and everything will be fine. Well, it's not, which is why you and I are really busy and all of our colleagues are really busy. And this field is just like booming. Not with Oh, I would like to train my puppy to sit and down and stay. But oh my gosh, I'm having serious behavior problems. And if we all keep spinning the same script around that it's all how you raise them. And if you just teach them to do all these basic obedience commands, that they'll follow your every whim, when the truth is they're really all increasingly like animals in captivity in a zoo. Like the kinds of behaviors that we're seeing in our companion animals are the types of like stereotypical behaviors that you would see in animals that are in inadequate and under enriched kind of environments in zoos, or farms and things like that, where they don't have an opportunity to express those natural behaviors, their basic five freedoms of welfare that were established for farm animals, I mean, much less our beloved dogs aren't being met. And as long as we keep conversation over in left field over here, like it's just training, let's just change our training techniques, we're going to continue to fail these dogs, and we're going to continue to miss diagnose the behaviors that we're looking at, which are not in themselves behavior problems that just haven't been trained, they're actually symptoms of welfare problems. It's like you have all this pressure inside of something. And if you plug up one hole with your little reinforcing of an incompatible behavior in that context, because we thought that was just a behavior problem, rather than understanding it as a symptom of dysfunction, between that animal's genes and their instincts and the environment that is completely insufficient for them that they found themselves in. If you keep looking at those that way, then you're just going to have that pressure pop holes in other places and create new eruptions of behavior problems. And we don't have a whole population of dogs that are born with these behavior disorders and need to be on medication, we're medicating away the evidence of the dysfunction between their genes and the environment. And we're starting to hit a breaking point, it's it's boiling over, bless these dogs hearts, like if we don't get to the bottom of it as an industry sooner than later and start making some substantial changes. It's just gonna get worse, I fear.

Michael Shikashio:

I 100% agree. And if you think about it, think about how the average human is feeling right now being trapped inside their home, and contained and we don't think about the same thing sometimes for our dogs and the effect on behavior. Think about the average person not frustrated, and how aggressive they might get because of this, this restriction on the environment. And we do the same for dogs.

Kim Brophy:

I live on a little piece of property, that's three acres, and I have a place I can walk on my own property without seeing other people and stuff like that. And so here living where I live, I may feel some lack of social normalcy and you know, things that I definitely miss, but I have some opportunities here that a lot of people don't if they live in a larger city, or suburban population, where they really feel like they just can't go out without feeling like they're they're creating unnecessary exposure and risk for themselves, especially in places where the stay at home orders are more restrictive. And you look at what just happened, you know, to our country this week, a lot of that, I would argue isn't just political opinion. It's also just frustration boiling over. It's kind of like we were ripe for something like this to happen socially, behaviorally, because of that confinement and you're dead, right? Like we can all feel a true sense of empathy for our dogs. If you think about what if this was permanent? What if I said to you, you have to stay in your house all the time. Now. This is your new norm. You get to leave, you know, three times a day for 20 minutes. And then you go back to your house. And that's it. And it's not going to change. There's a point at which you're going to start experiencing psychological madness, because you can't calibrate the change in the conditions, or at least most of us wouldn't, it would be an interesting kind of ultimate evolutionary experiment, because the people who could cope with that would have a certain set of genetic attributes that would make them predisposed for better success in those conditions. And actually, to that point, I also want to remind people, we've hobbled dogs abilities to adjust to these new environmental conditions, because the one thing that would give them an ultimate way out, which is natural selection doing its thing, by us not controlling the breeding, they can't use it, because we are still controlling their breeding. So even though they're very well intentioned efforts for spay neuter, there's a flip side of that coin in that conversation that's really complicated, which is nature can't solve its way out of this, we've prevented that. So we're putting more and more dogs back into the gene pool, not because they're necessarily doing well in modern conditions. But just because their offspring bring a penny. And if that value system doesn't change, and we don't start, if we're going to have our hand in the breeding, selecting for dogs that are coping well, in modern conditions, it's going to get much worse for them. Because I would argue, looking at the indicators of where we're going. Culturally, I think we're largely going to be more inside, more technologically connected, less connected to the outdoors, unfortunately. And if we're bringing dogs along for that ride, which we are, we'd better be selecting for traits that make that adaptive for them make it possible.

Michael Shikashio:

Wow, I should just sit back and let you keep talking. So much, theres just so much there, what we're doing sometimes it's it's like we're asking a dog Alright, I'm going to move you to Manhattan. And now you're going to- what I'm doing to a person going to spend the next 70 to 100 years of your life in this apartment. You can't go out though, can't go out.

Kim Brophy:

No, but I'll take you out sometimes to pee.

Michael Shikashio:

Once in a while. So you take a great pyrenees that used to be on the farm for part of its life and you bring into apartment just think about how that would affect human behavior. We're doing the same things as dogs all the time.

Kim Brophy:

And I don't blame the people who take the dogs in in large part because our whole industry at the pet industry in general, no one's telling them that there's any difference behaviourally welfare need wise, etc. for environment habitat between these groups of dogs, I had the weird experience of speaking with someone who was on like a corporate hotline, I was calling for something last week. And she just starts talking to the dog in the background. And she starts telling me about her dog who's a Malamute. And how she lives in Florida in an apartment in Central Florida with a Malamute. And she's like, This dog is crazy. This dog is just like destroying my house steals things doesn't care. If I say no, tries to hunt the neighbor's cat. I mean, just goes on this long list, it might as well be like characteristics of about me. And like I started telling her I was like, you know, that's really normal. And she's like, Well, no, I mean, my last dog wasn't like this. And I was like, but your last dog was this, and we got in this whole conversation. And she's like, you are blowing my mind. I had no idea, any of the things that you're telling me. And the funny thing is, is that her and her boyfriend has started breeding them like this. So the whole thing to me the implications of this, it's like that, that whole thing. That's how it is right? We're not regulating breeding. So anyone can breed whether or not you understand the breed. And then those people are placing dogs in people's homes. I'm not saying all breeders do this, but there are plenty of breeders who do, that are just selling them as a cute, fuzzy product that other people will pay good money for. And we're not arming the public with anything that would help them make better decisions before they pick a dog or make better decisions once they have that dog. And as trainers, if we keep coming in and saying well, if you just do my awesome little training program that works with any breed, any age, any size, blah, blah, blah, we're just selling them lies. The dogs are literally suffering the same way you would if I told you how to stay in an apartment in Manhattan for the rest of your life and not go anywhere. They're not meant for that world. And there's a reckoning of sorts kind of building here, where I feel like if we don't really work as an industry to create a common language around this, which is why offered legs right out to the industry is like this is we don't need another pitch. We don't need another gimmicky kind of thing to say, Oh, you know, do it my way with training or whatever. It's about just having a way to make sure we remember all the pieces of the puzzle instead of staying stuck in that L of the Learning, you know, to remember your environment really matters. The genes really matter. The self and internal conditions really matter. And you can't ignore any three for the sake of the one at any given time. I have such high hopes that we can mature as a field so that we can Do more meaningful Good.

Michael Shikashio:

Let's shift gears here a little bit. The last note because I cut you off last time, we ran out of time on the last podcast, but I want to talk about social psychology wanted to kind of we were talking about how that applies to aggression. And I see in my cases to things like social facilitation, which is when a group of, let's say, Good, human examples, if somebody in the back of the bus started screaming, and a couple people in the front of the bus would start screaming, but they may not even know why they're screaming just because they heard somebody in the back screaming, that's kind of an example of social facilitation. We see it sometimes with aggression, too, you see dogs sometimes, and back the behavior of others around them in their group. So let's get into that topic a little bit.

Kim Brophy:

Yeah, and I'll even try to bridge it back to where I just left that last. Last point, any social animal is operating off of social referencing in a pretty profound way, subconsciously, someone cuts you a glance with a certain angle of an eyebrow. And you take a certain meaning from that, whether that surprise or anger or happiness, or flirtation, I mean, micro signals happening all the time. And all animals are communicating that way, even between species. And then within a species, there's just a whole nother wealth of micro signals going on. And then if you look at dogs, literally dog's evolutionary niche makes them the scavenger of human leftovers and expert human behavior, body language, facial expression, micro signal watcher, and responder, I mean, that's what they are. That's their evolutionary niche. So suffice it to say, they're watching all of our micro signals, whether we like it or not. And to bring that back to what we were just talking about here, they are now in a world that they really don't understand at all. I mean, their genes can't equip them for it, because we didn't let them adapt to those conditions and figure it out that way. And the world's changed really rapidly, we've maintained all these pure breeds for our romantic reasons that we love, that's fine. But they're completely a fish out of water for a point of reference for what things are that we just take for granted that we have some explanation of, even if when we were kids, they didn't exist at this point, we know what they are. And if you don't take the time to send the right signals to your dog in the face of this crazy world they found themselves in and to give them the information that they need. They are that much more at a psychological deficit for the sense of feeling safety. So if you take like a child and a parent, which is very close to our relationship with dogs, you know, them having the nuclear family model in their genetic ancestry in seminars, and even the dogs that are in the developing countries to go back to that conversation, they still have that nuclear family component at the front end of the early part of their life, we take good care of our babies in both species. And we have all of these dogs that are basically permanately in the *inaudible* they're paid amorphic, so they never quite genetically mature anyway, because of the selection for domestication. They're never going to go out there on their own and make all their own decisions. They stay dependent on us, they're genetically codependent animals, some more so than others. So they're looking to us in a way that a young animal would be looking to a parent or a senior member in their social group. For how does this work? What does this mean? What are we supposed to do in this circumstance. And most of us don't give dogs information in those contexts. We give them commands, maybe maybe we say nothing to them. And it astonishes me when I watched dogs with clients in pre COVID when I was actually in the behavior center working with them on a regular basis. And all of the questions and observations that dogs have about things going on in their environment, where they'll look right at the person asking for some kind of information or feedback, and the person doesn't even know the dog is attempting to communicate with them or ask them any questions much less filling in the blanks and answering them. I think it's impossible for us to ultimately resolve the mounting Generalized Anxiety phenomenon in our dogs for all the reasons we were just describing. If we don't bring back in the black sheep of the industry of talking about social psychology, because of how it's been acquainted with dominance and pack theory and all this baloney, if we keep ostracizing that then we're failing them in a really consequential way. Because the most fundamental motivation of every species on the face of the planet at any given time that has to be met first is safety. Then comes hunger then comes nest making then comes new foraging and reproduction, whatever, if the animal isn't feeling safe, because we're not giving them information about a world that for them feels often like they've landed on Mars. How do we expect anything else to happen? And really have that animal feeling okay. I think a lot of dogs are operating in a pretty chronic state of distress, and just head spinning, no idea what's happening. We walk them down the street and we're working on sit down and stay and heal and all this and they're like, what the heck is going on? What is that? What does that mean, what am I supposed to do now, but we don't fill in any of those blanks kind of like if you left a child to kind of figure it out on their own, but you barked orders at them every once in a while, or randomly bribed them to do something, you know, with the effective carrot. You know, it's not just the carrot and the stick. I don't like that model. I don't like that we've been taught to think it's either or, I think both missed the point. Right now I'm less concerned with whether someone uses a carrot or a stick than I am if they understand what that dog's needs are, and what their welfare is or isn't, and what needs to be done to address the bottom line first, before you set about instruction. And so I think that that's where so I'd like to see social psychology brought in in that way. They need us to be upper management and show them how this world works, because they're clueless about it.

Michael Shikashio:

Kim, that was amazing. I'm sure that's going to generate even further conversation in our industry. And I hope it does.

Kim Brophy:

Yeah, me too.

Michael Shikashio:

And I'm sure you'll be high demand for season three as well. When we come back, what are you working on now? You got some exciting projects coming up?

Kim Brophy:

Yeah. Well, I'm excited to say that, you know, Wolf Park hasn't been cancelled yet, which is supposed to be in August, it's going to be a five day intensive Certificate course for plight ethology and family dog mediation. So the deep dive for pros that want the whole story on this. And we've also decided to, you know, we've been inspired much by you, Mike, that we need to turn this into an online course as well. And the demand for that has really gone through the roof. So we're going to put that together this year, as well, and hopefully have that by sometime next fall. Maybe winter at the latest, we've still got the book out. And we're really trying to grow the accessibility of this information for professionals to integrate it into their practices, because the course isn't out yet. And so in the meantime, we're taking increasing numbers of professionals to do consultations, ethology consultations, where they can talk to us about specific cases, ask questions when they feel like they've hit a wall, whatever type of case that might be, or if they just want to generally bounce questions off of us and see if they can fill in some blanks for themselves that way too. But we're really just trying to put this information out there as quickly as possible, because we feel like there's a real need for it.

Michael Shikashio:

What's the best way for somebody to get ahold of you or find out more about the upcoming course for the Wolf Park.

Kim Brophy:

So a number of ways, you can just look up wolf parks website and find the link there to the course. You can find us at dogdoorbehaviorcenter.com, but we're going to be completely redoing the website in the next month or two. So hopefully that won't create any kind of obstacle there. And of course, people can just find me under Kim Brophy or The Dog Door on Facebook, and private message me there as well.

Michael Shikashio:

Wonderful, Kim, thanks again. And I look forward to seeing you hopefully in person in the future. I wish you the best of luck with all of your projects coming up, thanks Mike, you too.