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Ep. 1 Transcript

Episode 1: Reactivity in a Multi Dog Household

Jerri: [00:00:00] Welcome to Unpacked an open-minded podcast, taking a clinical, not political approach to help pet parents around the world. Sailor Jerri, certified dog trainer, virtual dog training, revolutionary owner of Tulsa Pack Athletics and creator of the open-minded approach.

Mattison: And I'm Mattison, her friend, certified trainer and cynologist.

Together we have nearly three decades of experience in behavioral dog training.

Jerri: This is episode one, reactivity in a Multi Dog Household.

Mattison: In this episode and every episode, we will fully unpack a real case. We've been working with real owners and they're very real struggles behind the scenes. For months now to provide this learning opportunity for everyone else out there,

Jerri: We're giving you a peak into our world and our minds following through with our promise of adding transparency to this industry.

Mattison: If you're along for the ride, this is how it's gonna look. First, we'll introduce our incredible and dedicated owner and explain their intake process while [00:01:00] we describe their dog or dogs and the problems that they're dealing with,

Jerri: Then we'll walk you through our assessment and explain how we got there.

Mattison: Lastly, we're gonna break down the management and modification plan. This is something we do a little bit differently. We're delivering a high level end goal case plan to every single owner. We believe in their ability to process a lot of information with us as a team to ensure we're all working towards the same goal.

Jerri: It's time to introduce you to someone who's been a part of my Instagram family for a very long time, and honestly, the larger Tulsa Pack Instagram family. Her name is Amy, and I am so excited that she is here with her dogs Gizmo and Ace for our first episode.

Mattison: And it took us a while. It took us longer than we anticipated to nail down the intake process, not necessarily the questions that we were asking.

We, we knew the information that we wanted to gather. It was more about figuring out the best way to navigate that back and forth conversation between multiple people. What we've learned is [00:02:00] that it's much easier for a trainer to have. Multiple clients than it is for a client to have multiple trainers and it can just take longer to come into a unified path forward.

Jerri: Absolutely. I think you start putting more ideas in, um, and it can take longer, but often you'll get a more, um, unique perspective that might fit that client a little bit better.

Mattison: And it'll probably have a much more holistic approach because we are all gonna approach things with a slightly different lens and we might identify needs that the other trainer wouldn't have thought of.

So it gives us an opportunity to, I think, just give a, a wider range of information and advice and guidance.

Jerri: I really like, um, this part of the intake is for me, coming from a vet tech background, I wanna dive right into that medical stuff. I wanna make sure that there's not something that we're missing that a veterinarian needs to look at, because that is a concern [00:03:00] that, you know, every trainer needs to take into account.

And also, you know, the clients too. Is this something that I've overlooked with my dog?

Mattison: It's the first thing we ask. We can't wait until last. We need to ensure that medical concerns have been taken care of before we explore potential behavioral solutions .

Jerri: When it comes to the medical part of the intake, obviously that's very exciting for me, but I do wanna take just a step back and see, did anything stick out to you, Mattison, that you saw in there, um, that might be interesting to talk about?

Mattison: Now there were no medical concerns. There were no red flags from my perspective. There was no sign of pain, there were no sign of any type of, uh, deficit in their, in their senses. Um, we saw some allergies that, uh, can always impact seasonally. That's something that my dog struggles with is twice a year when the seasons change in the spring and the fall, he just gets real itchy and that makes his general tolerance for things a little bit lower.

So I think it's something to always. Talk about, but it didn't seem to me that it [00:04:00] was something that would be massively impacting these behaviors or something that would stand in our way.

Jerri: I felt the same way. I, you know, I'm always looking for things like, if this dog has this low underlying baseline of anxiety, it's something that we kind of figure out together, and not necessarily in the beginning by running to the vet and getting on medication, however, I do wanna just men mention that in here, because sometimes that is part of the medical intake, even though it isn't for these dogs, it may be something that you need to, um, you know, kind of get, get the trifecta in there of, of the owner and the trainer and the veterinarian all working together to decide what's best before you move forward.

That does happen on occasion.

Mattison: In that scenario, I would encourage each owner to seek out a veterinary behaviorist to have those conversations. Mm-hmm. Because a veterinarian might not have quite as much depth of knowledge on those [00:05:00] medications.

Jerri: Uh, I agree. I agree. It's something that people really need to be aware of.

Going to a general practitioner for. Um, you know, any type of behavioral medication is kind of akin to going to a general physician or your family doctor for psychiatric medications. They can do


Mattison: and veterinarians will prescribe it, right? They will, but there's not any follow up. There's not the additional therapy side, if you will, that really has to go along with it.

So just, I

Jerri: think it's just something important to note on our first episode as we move forward. There's gonna be, uh, probably cases where there's dogs on medications, there's dogs that aren't. Um, it's just, you know, something that we need to be open minded about and work with a veterinary behaviorist if that's the case.

Mattison: And medication is often a very effective form of management. For me, what was most obvious in the intake process was some of the fallout from [00:06:00] previous training. Um, Amy was quick to admit that she had tried everything under the sun, right? She had tried the reward based, uh, she had tried more, more aversive methods, and she found that the corrective style of training was not a good fit and was not providing any type of sustainable.

Solutions for her and in fact, damage the relationship, which is something we tend to hear.

Jerri: Yeah, I do, um, hear that a lot. I think it's very common in the community for the opposing, kind of polarized sides to claim that they have all these dogs that come to them from the other side. You know, so people will say as balanced trainers, oh, I get all these dogs and they're coming, uh, from force free and it's not working, or the, you know, or, or vice versa.

And it, it's, my experience is that it's not so much about what they [00:07:00] choose, it's about the consistency. And when there's so many options on the table, it's so hard for people to pick something and stick with it. You know, they do it for a little bit. And then so when I hear somebody say, I've tried everything, I'm sure you think the same thing, and we all think you've tried everything inconsistently.

Mm-hmm. Is probably what that is. And I think that, you know, Amy did a really good job of, I. Just being honest here and just telling the truth about all the things that she had done and tried, and that really helped us. Yeah, kind of fill in some holes there.

Mattison: Even previous attempts at a reward-based training, she felt were ultimately ineffective because there was something missing and.

It was the connection between the two of them. It was not leaning into their relationship, it was leaning more into just using the food and not using the food as a reinforcer, but also building up a


Jerri: Uh, I think that's where a lot of people [00:08:00] will get confused about reward-based training. Is that it, it maybe it just isn't described.

Accurately to them or they don't have a full picture of what it takes to be successful is, is the general kind of consensus that I get from people, because I really honestly don't know how many people aren't interested in giving their dog rewards during training. Most people are, and they do, they do, whether it's toy or food or what have you.

They are interested in learning this stuff. It's just, you know, us getting it. To them in a way that is repeatable and sustainable. Yeah.

Mattison: When we started talking about the behaviors, both of Ace individually and Gizmo individually, and the two of them together, where did your head go first?

Jerri: This is like most interesting part of the entire thing for me is the dynamic of.

What is the owner's perspective versus what is actual reality of what's going on here? That's what stuck out [00:09:00] to me was Amy's perspective of what was going on or maybe, um, who was sometimes the instigator or who might be the source of reactivity dawned on me very quickly that I thought what she was doing was potentially, and this is common, This is common.

She was very, very receptive to this and I so appreciated her just listening, knowing that we were not judging her, that we were there to help and really hearing these hard things. I just was so impressed by her ability to do that. But I noticed what was going on was, it's easier to make it about the bigger dog it just is.

The other pitfall people will have a lot of times is it's easier to make it about the newer. Dog. And so what we saw was kind of this, and, and it was accidental. Was this drift towards, well, the reactivity really isn't over here. It's here, you know? And because gizmo's smaller. And so once I [00:10:00] said that to her, she was like, oh my gosh.

And we really started breaking it down, looking at each dog's individual behavior, like what you were talking about before, because. Everything is apart. Each dog has its own personality, its own thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, wherever you want, every person in that home as that. So if we are focusing on undesirable behaviors, a lot of times bigger, undesirable behaviors will take precedent and will step to the front, when really kind of all the behaviors are causing a problem.

Mattison: You know, I think

because Ace is the bigger one, the intensity of his reactions made them much less manageable.

Jerri: Absolutely.

Mattison: That's just the reality. He's almost twice her size and the source of his reactivity is very different from hers.

Jerri: Yeah.

Mattison: It is much more of a nervous, fear-based reactivity, whereas Mo is Ziggy Boooooo ready to go.

She wants to meet and greet everybody.

Jerri: She's bebopping around, isn't she?

Mattison: [00:11:00] Yeah. Bebopping around ready to go, and that is as likely to impact their collective energy as his reactivity. Yeah. Because every time she gets excited, she goes from a two 20 and she stays there. She's not calming down quickly. Right.

So it's almost no different than a potentially more aggressive behavior that is trying to ask for space, whereas Gizmo is trying to close that space and say hello. They feel very, very different.

Jerri: Mm-hmm.

Mattison: But they almost have equal impacts. Mm-hmm. As a collective for the two of them. And I think that's where we were.

We were taking a bunch of steps towards the goal that was not gonna work because it was a goal that only factored in one stakeholder, one dog.

Do you think

Jerri: that of the hardest parts of multi dog households is just recognizing that these dogs are independent creatures?

Mattison: Mm-hmm.

Jerri: Completely separate from one another yet?

Everything they do has an impact on the other


Mattison: They are together all the time. It is. It is two [00:12:00] roommates that also work together.

Jerri: Yeah. And are married

Mattison: and also hang out together and are married and also hang out together on the weekends. And that is one of the reasons why I struggle when owners so exclusively just wanna walk their dogs together.

Jerri: Mm.

 I'm like, they need a break. Like, that's too much time together. They just need to breathe and have time with you. When there's, um, you know, codependence and separation anxiety between the dogs, obviously I'm not just gonna suggest Okay, crate one and walk the other

Tough it out. Yeah.

Mattison: Right. Let 'em cry it out.

Like, yeah, no, not what I'm suggesting, but what I'm suggesting is that they deserve the break. Mm-hmm. And if they. If they don't respond well to it, that's information.

Well, and this is an A, this

Jerri: is a wonderful opportunity for the parents that are listening to, you know, put their little parent cap on and ask yourself how exciting, thrilling, possibly nauseating it would be to always have all your [00:13:00] children together, never spending time with them separately.

Like, what in the hell? Do you think that that is gonna do to your relationship? I can tell you right now. I can give you an example. My daughter is a preteen. She is figuring out and navigating a very difficult time in life when your body's changing. Your brain is changing.

Mattison: Literally

the worst time, let, let's just put it out there.

Jerri: The

worst time in your life. Yeah,

it's rough.

Mattison: And to all the 12 to 14 year old girls out there listening. It does get better. We


Jerri: does get better. I swear it gets better and then it, you know, it gets pretty exponentially worse. And then it gets fantastically better and then that's life. It's just like that all the time, but, but, You know, she's not at an age right now.

They're sitting around with a five-year-old who wants mom's attention every second is really palatable

for her

Mattison: and you, you can be and will [00:14:00] be a different person and a different mother when you only have one child to be responsible for. You can adjust to talking to a preteen and not talking to a five year old.

Jerri: Correct.

That's right because in in my family, everybody knows the rule. Youngest person in the room supersedes all others with that person cannot care for themselves. So we have to do it. It makes me be a way that is unshakable. It's not negotiable. So when he's not there, she is the most important and that is unshakable.

Mattison: Yeah.

Jerri: So when we don't give that common courtesy of quality, time and intention into our relationship with each individual dog, the entire house will suffer.

Mattison: Couldn't agree more,

Jerri: and the dogs will be blamed. I would love to see people that have children really get that, really get that, and then people that don't, if you had siblings, really think about that, how that felt growing [00:15:00] up when your mom would just take you or your dad would just take you and it was your special day together, how, how much that filled you and either built into your relationship or maybe helped heal your relationship.

It's super important. That's why I only have one dog will ask me all the time. It's not because I can't handle more than one dog. I've had multiple dogs.

Mattison: I don't want my dog to have to share me.

Jerri: I don't want my dog to have to share me cuz he already has to share me with everyone else.

Mattison: And in our case, other dogs.

Jerri: Right,

right. Like he had to share me with that cat and that ring-tailed lemur over there, you know, for for years. So it's just a personal preference. I don't think there's anything wrong with having multiple dogs any more than, I think there's anything wrong with having multiple children. Just think that the least that we can do is be honest about what it takes to do that.

Mattison: Right.

Jerri: Doesn't mean we're always gonna be perfect at it,

Mattison: and just like it is okay to only have one child.

Jerri: Mm-hmm.

Mattison: But, but [00:16:00] who will they play with? They're fine.

Jerri: They're fine. I'm an only child. I'm fine.

In Amy's household, she does have

Mattison: some other individuals to help out. She has her two brothers that live with her. And

Jerri: speaking of siblings,

Mattison: speaking of siblings, and I think that what we found there was mostly just a lack of clarity. On what role were they expected to play? Because Amy works and they are home and they are able to take care of the dogs. However, it is not always the people in our life's responsibility to be a part of our behavior change journey.

They didn't sign up for that. What we do find to be very reasonable. To ask our family members to be on board with is management. That that's one of those where if, if the whole unit, the household is not on board with the same management, you will not make progress

Jerri: Jump on the management train. Everybody

Mattison: then modification is something that we were able to take off of their [00:17:00] plate.

Knowing that potential inconsistencies on a behavior change journey could be detrimental.

Jerri: I think that the reduction of anxiety for everyone involved when there's one person at the helm and then everyone else knows what their specific rule is.

Mattison: You don't have two directors in a play.

Jerri: Everybody wants to be the director and we start having problems.

Yeah. So one person gets to be captain of the disco. And then everybody else can fill in in supporting roles where they're not having the responsibility, where they're not feeling overburdened. Mm. But they're still contributing to the household in a way that is effective and meaningful. Yeah.

Mattison: So for Amy's house, this was actually a pretty small change.

The potty breaks during the day because the dogs are mostly kennel during the day. The potty breaks individual now, so her brothers no longer have to worry about potential reactivity and redirection. They don't need to be given an opportunity for social interaction at that time. We are not there [00:18:00] yet in our behavior change journey, so we just provide separation.

Jerri: Imagine expecting to socialize during bathroom. Breaks in the the restroom.

Mattison: Don't talk to me. I'm busy. I only have five minutes.


Jerri: passing each, yeah. Passing notes underneath the stalls like the old times. Her brothers like those dogs. That gives them the opportunity to kind of have a little bit of relief too, and spend a little bit of time with each of the dogs without that feeling of, oh my gosh, something is gonna go wrong.

Mattison: It's just stress management for the humans, which impacts. The stress for the dogs always. Yeah. Yeah. One thing that we identified straight away needed to be addressed was the routine of physical activity for these two dogs. They just simply weren't given enough opportunities for movement during the day or even during the week.

And that's something that Amy was also upfront in saying, I know I need to do more here. How do we make this work? [00:19:00]

Jerri: I think a lot of people, especially in today's age of what we are seeing on social media, there is this misunderstanding about ags being calm and not moving. Being on place stays for long periods of time doing these downs in public and things like that.

And so I think what's happened is this underlying kind of thing has seeped into the public's kind of general batch of knowledge about dogs. So there's, there's a misunderstanding about stillness movement. And a dog is being still, what does calm mean? I think the way that we talked to her about it was really effective.

And I really liked what you said because you were super specific. I wanna be very clear. These dogs need more of an opportunity to have physical movement, like little powder kegs. You know, just there with a bunsen burner underneath them [00:20:00] is what it reminded me of. You know, just this slope and then all of a sudden we're met with something and there's this explosion because this energy that builds up during the day has nowhere to go.

And I think so many owners struggle with the balance of, okay, I know that, but when I let them do this stuff and I go out and do these things, all these undesirable behaviors happen. And it's honestly very scary for me. So I know why Amy was doing it, um, and I know why a lot of people are doing it. So if that's you and you feel like your dogs are in the crate a lot or on place a lot, just listen in really carefully, um, to how we decided to move forward and into solution.

With that

Mattison: one suggestion that we made is not something that is going to be accessible for everyone, but if at all possible, hiring a dog walker to come and spend time with your dog, midday, get them out of the kennel. Can be incredibly effective. You can work with that dog walker to show them exactly how you'd like them to engage with your dogs.

They don't even have [00:21:00] to go on walks. They can do structured play in the backyard or even leash walks around the backyard. Just some opportunities for movement engagement and a little bit of mental stimulation.

Jerri: Reality is dogs, humans, animals, period, are not. Meant to live their lives in cages, y'all. This is not to make people feel bad.

This is not to put crates down and say we shouldn't be using crates. I believe that we should. I believe they have their use. We have to be honest about how much. We are relying on these things to get us by. And if we're relying on them, what are the reasons and what are solutions

to that

Mattison: and how can we make up for it to our dogs?

Jerri: Right? Because we have to go to work, right? Right. You still have to go to work. You still deserve to have a dog. You are not somehow disqualified from having a dog. But can't just put them in the crate for 12 hours and [00:22:00] not give them opportunities outside of that time. Make up for that. So if you have made the decision to have a dog that has.

Any type of need at all, uh, which they'll do, and you have a full-time job. This is gonna be for you, okay? This is gonna be for you. I know there's a lot of us working from home, myself and Mattison included, but Amy is not working from home, so there are ways to do this.

Let's real quick

Mattison: recap our assessment before we go through our case plan.

One of the most important discoveries was that Gizmo just as reactive as Ace. Ace was the bigger problem on Amy's mind because ace's reactivity had become less manageable and much more scary. The other big discovery was that Ace is heavily, heavily impacted by a sound sensitivity that is making his baseline of anxious energy so high.

That beginning to address leash reactivity is almost out of the realm of [00:23:00] possibility. Until we can get a handle on his response to sudden changes in the ambient noises around him.

Jerri: So what we're, what

we're talking about, everyone is not a dog who is perking up to sound, giving a couple of boofs talking about a lot of stuff.

That wouldn't necessarily be stressful for other dogs is really, really, really bothersome to ace.

Mattison: If you are asking yourself if your dog is sound sensitive or has a sound phobia, if your dog is hearing a noise and being triggered, and, and by that I mean, I. They are having a reaction. Their muscles are tensing.

They are probably lunging towards wherever that noise came from. They are very concerned and it's taken them minutes to calm down. They're potentially very, very loud in this moment. If that is happening 10, 15, 20 times a day, your dog is probably very sound sensitive, and that could be because dog's, dog's hearing is [00:24:00] four times stronger than ours.

Four times stronger than ours. Think about that the next time you are playing your radio in your car,

Jerri: you could relate that to if you are a person that has light sensitivity, sound sensitivity because of Neurodivergency. Um, I know that Mattison is gonna talk a little bit about her sensitivities.

Mattison: People don't like, Letting me ride in their car because I get in and immediately turn the radio down because I have a lot of trouble having a conversation with someone when there's music playing.

I genuinely will start to get really stressed out. I'll start to get really flustered and I actually have a similar reaction to the dogs. I find myself tensing up.

Jerri: I'm a light sensitive person. Um, I'm also a little bit sound sensitive. If you get me in an arcade

Mattison: too many beep poops.

Jerri: I'm gonna start making bad decisions, y'all.

I'm just gonna tell you. I won't even know why. It will simply be be because I was overstimulated. You know? So talk about that. How can people, Relate their own [00:25:00] sensitivities to understand what could potentially be going on with their dog.

Mattison: I think almost everybody is gonna have an experience that they can relate to.

What is that one thing that stresses you out to the point that your shoulders start riding up towards your ears without you even noticing. Or your tongue is glued to the roof of your mouth and your fists are clenched and you're stressed out and you don't even realize it. If we can acknowledge the.

Physical responses that our bodies are having and be much more in tune to what is triggering us in that moment. I'll tell you, my life changed when I figured out that I was that stressed out by noises and started wearing noise reducing earplugs.

Jerri: Yeah, I have to do that at night. We were just talking about this before we started recording, and I also have to sleep with brown noise.

Or if I am having a hard time concentrating, we'll put brown noise on because it drowns out the ambient sounds. I'm a human.

Mattison: Can't even imagine.

Jerri: Can't even imagine.

A little, little fart in the wind. All the farts, [00:26:00] you know, like that'd be a nut job. I'm gonna tell you. I, I feel for you, ACE. I totally get it. I think a lot of people's dogs are suffering from sensitivities they're totally unaware of,

Mattison: and I think many of those are our doing for sure.

Jerri: Every breed is gonna have sensitivities that it's prone to, and then each dog individually, um, is gonna have things that bother it or don't bother it. And then, you know, if they're not super genetically sound, That's where we start seeing a lot of these things pop up.

Mattison: What was one of the first suggested changes that we, that we gave to her?

Jerri: I think the first thing that you and I really caught onto was the way in which the dogs were being moved around the home. They felt very, I know that they did not intend it to be this way. These are wonderful kind people. I. Felt very much like moving inmates around. Was, um, very military-like, not maybe [00:27:00] necessarily in what they were saying, but they were attempting to kind of do way too much structure.

And I think really it was just a grasp to keep everyone safe. Mm-hmm. So I get that. And I know that it's easy to fall into management that's so heavy that the dogs have no choice. And so I think that was the first thing that we noticed was how, how can we. While keeping some structure in management for safety and practical reasons, how can we provide these dogs with some autonomy, right?

And some choice.

Mattison: I think it was taking some of just, just the obedience cues out of it, of just not using cues when we don't need to. So they can have times when they're quote unquote off duty, off shift, right? So that way they're not always having these expectations when. We don't need to have our dog in a heel from their kennel to the backyard.

Yeah. We can give them the opportunity to wiggle and stretch in those moments.

Jerri: Yeah. I think too, another another key thing that I really wanna hit on [00:28:00] here is when I am starting to look at dogs on intake and evaluation and I start really looking at the videos, is there joy there? Is there joy? There's if, if I've got dogs coming outta crates with heads hung low, it doesn't always mean somebody's beating them.

Think what that is is when there isn't that choice, when there isn't that ability to be, quote unquote off duty, you're always on. There is a loss of joy in that, and that really resonated with Amy when we said that to her because she is a naturally joyful person.

Mattison: Oh, is she! My goodness.

Jerri: I can see it in her and.

I talked to her. Yeah, this beautiful smile. Um, she's such an encouraging, supportive person. Um, I really think that stuck out to her because she wasn't doing that intentionally. She was having them do it because she didn't know what else to do, you know? So that to me is somebody who really is putting effort.

In just maybe getting it a little bit wrong and [00:29:00] just needs a little bit of adjustment. So that was a great first step that we made There was let's just take away some of this structure within the structure and just have the structure and then within that we could have some freedom and some


Mattison: When you talk about that, because that's something that you've spoken about before. It's really personal because somebody saying that to you changed your life.

Jerri: Did. When Denise Finse told me that there was no joy in my training, I felt like somebody dropped an anvil on my foot because that's not me. Cuz I'm literally don't even know what's going on half the time because I'm laughing and goofing off and, and discoing, going and being silly.

And I thought, wow, if that, if the way I am, if the, if me is not reflected. In this dog, something is wrong, something is off. And I already had a relationship with her when she said that to me. So I was able to instantly take the feedback. So what I would say to people is when, when that's said, where's the joy?

Is there joy in your [00:30:00] training? If your mind cannot immediately conjure up three or four things, right, then it might be you. It might be if the only thing your mind conjures up are these, you know, mechanical. Sort of things that you're doing with your dog. It's not a reflection of whether you love your dog.

It's not a reflection of what you are capable of with your dog, um, or what your dog is capable of. It just may be that you need to take a step back and what are my priorities or my priorities to have my dog obey all the time? Where my priorities to bring the best out on my dog are my priorities. To have fun, you know, what are they?

Write them down. And once you get that, you can start looking at places where you can insert that joy, where things can be joyful. Mm-hmm. Even if they're not perfect.

Mattison: Yeah. Things do not have to be perfect, to be fun and to lift your heart up.

Jerri: I think they're more fun when they're sloppy.

Mattison: It's the truth. We wanted her to make a couple of changes to the management until [00:31:00] both dogs get to a better point for general management of emotions.

We asked her to take solo trips only. We don't wanna take two reactive dogs out into the world. We really don't even wanna take one reactive and one non-reactive dog out because chances are it's gonna result in some type of explosion for both of them.



Jerri: Choosing of the mouth violence.

Mattison: You said something about fireworks.

Jerri: Yeah. So if you guys can think about it this way. When you have dogs together, you're just dealing with really little balls of energy. You know, there's not this, they're not gonna stop and have complex conversations with each other to calm each other down. In the heat of the moment, they're gonna turn down for what?

You get Enzo next to a dog that's losing its mind, and they're on a walk together with each other and we're all rolling together and this dog starts losing its mind. My dog's going to do something. Yeah, clack, clack. You know, [00:32:00] like, he's like, what? What do we need? Where are we? Who are we? And when

Mattison: is that the guy? Is that the guy?

Jerri: We ride it at Dawn, everyone. You know, like, it's just the way that they are, they're hardwired to, uh, kind

of a, uh,

Mattison: they're gonna hear energy much more clearly than English words.

Jerri: Right? That's

right. So the Posse rides at Dawn, regardless of whether or not each individual posse member has their shit together, okay?

So they just do it. They just do it that way. And we all know what it's like to be around a friend like that. So the analogy that I made, it's like taking a black cat, those little firecrackers and lighting it and throwing it in a pile of larger black cats. Don't do that.

Especially not

Mattison: inside of a closed vehicle.

Jerri: Right. I mean, I guess if you are wanting a fireworks display, that would be when to do that, but I just don't see the benefit of adding [00:33:00] gasoline to the fire like that. There's nothing that's going to be accomplished there. There will be no nobility badge by taking the dogs out together. Now, I know people aren't doing it nobility badges, they're doing it for practical reasons because they need to save time.

And I'm going to say this, you have more than one dog. So the excuse of saving time went out the window when you made the decision to have more than one dog. That's for the ones that ha. That's for a single parent. Single only child household. I'm kidding.

Mattison: No, you're not.

Jerri: I'm not, though. I'm not. You know, because it is, you guys think about it.

I watched my friends going and doing whatever they're going and doing and guess why I can't do that? Cuz I have children. I made the decision to do that. To take that additional responsibility, which means my time is now divided. This is not Amy, this is, this is just in general. [00:34:00] If people will continue to try to save time.

By walking the dogs together, the reactivity will never, ever, ever subside. It will compound and really what you'll do is put yourself in a position for one of one or both of those dogs to become aggressive and that's


Mattison: And or redirect on one another,

Jerri: which is what's happening.

Mattison: Yeah, which is exactly what happened with ace and Gizmo.

Jerri: So this is serious when we say, Don't walk the dogs together. It's not because we think you're stupid. It's not because we don't think you can, it's because you simply should not and we would not.

Mattison: Mm-hmm. Well said.

Jerri: Okay, so don't take it personal. If you've got multiple dogs, you're not gonna get out of it, boo boo.

You're gonna have to walk the dog separately.

Mattison: And then also just asking her brothers to really step into a specific management role, right? They're they are in, they're in a management position. Yeah. [00:35:00] And, um, that means that they are freed of responsibility in the behavior change journey. Their responsibilities are very specific and very consistent, and providing that is a great service to these dogs.

That is, that is the best gift that they can give them.

Jerri: Absolutely. Everybody having a clear role. They know what they're responsible for. They know where to go if there's an issue or if there needs to be changes, they can come together and meet and talk about that. Um, but just really taking burden off of everyone, it sounds like that would give more responsibility to Amy.

I don't think that that's what's happening. I think what's happening is it's providing a lot of clarity. A lot of clarity.

Mattison: Well, because we're simultaneously helping Amy figure out how to more fully step into the modification journey and having a more clear plan, that is actually hopefully going to get her to some more sustainable results.

Oh, and I think that knowing [00:36:00] where to begin on the reactivity. Was maybe one of the only missing pieces for her, which was jumping right to the leash reactivity for ace, thinking that he had mostly a leash reactivity. When we found that the sound sensitivity, again, is so much more impactful. So we've really decided we're not even gonna address the leash reactivity until we have the barrier reactivity.

Much more managed and until we have some protocols that are really easy for ace to repeat inside of the house in response to the auditory triggers, then and only then will we talk about doing some of the car and leash reactivity and adding in a little bit more of those, um, those, those other stimulus in the form of the visual and maybe some of the smells.

Jerri: Yeah, you could, you could think about that. Um, like a racehorse, a horse at the gate. If you can't get the horse to go into the gate, The gate is a problem. There is really no point in you worrying about that horse racing.

Mattison: Mm mm-hmm.

Jerri: They have to do one [00:37:00] before they can do the other, and once the gate opens, you are in trouble.

Because now you've got all this stuff going on, everything's going very, very quickly. So if we can't even get to the starting gate, it really makes no sense to focus on the race. Yeah. Is kind of how my brain thinks about that.

Mattison: Absolutely.

We talked with Amy about the specific behavior. Protocols that we wanted her to start using, and we've started working with her to implement those in really low stress environments so that way we can start doing some reactivity setups.

But knowing the when to do the reactivity setups was also key. I think that she was struggling to do those as the exercise and activity for the dogs after, after being pent up. For a lot of the day. And so talking her through a specific schedule when she gets home from work of doing some high intensity physical activity for the dogs in a way that that won't get anybody triggered.

And then after they've had that opportunity for movement and to release some of that, um, [00:38:00] Potential energy buildup from the day than doing a reactivity setup.

Jerri: Yeah. It, knowing how to fit this into to your life is gonna be the part where a trainer is critical. Mm-hmm. Lot of this stuff like, ah, you can find a lot of this stuff out there.

It's not that you can't just, everyone's life is so different, you know, and figuring out like, when do I implement this in my day? Just having someone there to help you with that can make all the difference.

Mattison: Yeah, absolutely.

You know, one of Amy's questions was about, okay, so am I, am I doing reactivity setups for both dogs?

Every day.

Jerri: Every day. Yeah.

She was like, oh my God,

Mattison: that's so much. Um, because we're certainly gonna ask her to do physical movement and high intensity play and activities with both dogs every day. I think that that's really important. But no, we do not expect her to run reactivity setups with two dogs seven [00:39:00] days a week.

We, we kind of equated this to working out. In different muscle groups. Right. So maybe Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we do upper body. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday we do lower body and then Sunday's our rest day. But, oh, I woke up Tuesday and I'm really not feeling it here, so we're gonna do this instead.

Having a plan that threads it out, but also being willing to adapt and be flexible based on the moment. Yeah. If your dog is having a bad day, that is not the time to be running reactivity setups. We wanna go into that feeling like we're gonna be successful.

Jerri: Oh my God. Right. That's like you wake up, you started your period in it's leg day.

Girl, make an adjustment.

Mattison: I'm not gonna squat it out today. Absolutely not.

Jerri: That's right. Like it's ok. I know who my audience is. Dang it. It's okay to make an adjustment when something is off. I do it all the time. I'm a big, big gym person. I go every single day. And this morning was one of 'em. I was like, leg day.

I don't think so. It's not because [00:40:00] I'm just being flippant or I just don't want to, it's just I have my own particular reasons I had a lot to do today. I wanted to come and focus on this, and so I just made an adjustment. I thought, yo, what? We're gonna swap out cardio day. We're gonna swap out Core day.

I'm gonna just do that really quick. And it was fine, and I will be. Fine.

Mattison: And you can afford to do that because you have a history of discipline, right? And this will not be your undoing. And this was not day one that you were like, well, I think I'll adjust it today. Right. No, we wanna get a little bit of a routine in first and then we can allow for adjustments.

Jerri: That's right. That's right.

Mattison: And lastly, just really having her understand that we need to start at step one and for ace, that is the sound sensitivity and the barrier reactivity, and getting that to a better place. And for Moe, we actually are gonna have her start working on two separate things. One, learning to do a little bit of independent decompression in the back of a parked car in the garage.

And then also working on some of her leash frustration, because Gizmo is [00:41:00] most definitely a frustrated greeter and we wanna give her opportunities to go and say hi to people because she's social. We never let her do that. Our girl's gonna be. Really, really frustrated and frustration tends to work against us, but we wanna teach her that charging to the end of the leash is not the way to do it.

We wanna teach her to regulate those emotions more quickly so we can guide her towards that environmental reinforcer.

Jerri: I think that so many people struggling with their dogs in the car, like to the point of where such a struggle that they either don't talk about it, they simply do not take their dog. It doesn't need to be that way.

Simple steps that you can take. If you're listening, just even today, do yourself a favor if, if your dog can have this, if it's not an allergy or you know, a food related issue, and just get some plain unseasoned chicken. You just pulled chicken. Just go out there in the garage and sit down next to the car and feed your dog pieces of chicken.

After you do that for a while, open the door and sit inside and let your dog [00:42:00] sit on the ground outside and feed it pieces of chicken. And after a while, get in the car. You know, if it's not too hot, you wanna cook yourselves in there, feed it, pieces of chicken. Do you see where I'm going with that? And then we slowly, slowly add distractions.

It's don't have to, just not with the car. It's you're, you're really limiting yourself and your dog in the places that you can go together and enjoy together if you just give up on the car.

Mattison: Totally agree.

Okay, everyone, that is Amy Ace and Gimo, if you are interested in hearing. From Amy and hearing more about how they've been doing since we started this journey. Come back for the, where are they now? Episode,

Jerri: episode one was fantastic. Thank you so much Madison, for doing that with me and thank you so much, Amy, for just being open and transparent.

And coming here ready to step into solution. I thought it [00:43:00] was really a great way to start the season off, and if you liked it, which I hope everyone did, you can come back. Next episode, we are going to unpack separation anxiety with one of the sweetest little babies named Penelope that you have ever seen.

Mattison: Unpacked was created by Jerry Scherff and Mattison Simpson. For your chance to be featured on unpacked, apply at www . Unpacked .Stream and find us on Instagram @SailorJerri theDogTrainer, and @Freedbytraining. See you next time.

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