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Ep. 7 Transcript

Episode 7: unPACK Session #3 (Serena)

This is your glimpse into our process as we unpack high drive dogs and Milo and Coda's case plan with Serena. Looking at the assessment, I think both of the dogs definitely have a strong prey drive, right? So that definitely carries over to those little dogs. So I think that that's a huge part of it just because a unmanaged prey drive adds in a lot to arousal levels.

Because that's a lot of events that are outside of our control that are just like jettisoning their their arousal level through the roof. Like for me, prey drive is almost the highest, the highest level of arousal, an instinctual arousal. So when you have dogs that are cattle dogs too, I think you just have, I hate to keep using the word drive, but they're just machines. I remember the first time we ever had one stay with us and

My partner, he's never had a dog before my dog. So every time it's like, it's his first experience with this and his first experience. He met a cattle dog. He said, oh my God, like she is an, he said she's an Olympian. I'm like, yeah, they're literally built different mentally and physically. They're physically capable and they mentally wanna do it. A lot of these dogs could do this stuff if they put their mind to it. They don't care to. Cattle dogs are like, let's go. Very intense.

Very, very intense. And so without teaching some good decompression patterns that they can repeat when we cue them to, they're not gonna be able to repeat that on their own and self soothe and decompress, which means that their nerves, their physical nervous system is, ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba. And both of them are living in the peaks and the valleys of these really dramatic wavelengths. Okay, that makes sense.

Serena, normally the way that dogs do is to catch the things that they do when they catch prey. They're like physiologically designed to go through the process of chasing, seeing it, orienting it, chasing it, grabbing it, shaking it, ripping it, shredding it. All those kinds of things help them actually when they start eating their prey.

sympathetic nervous system kicks in. We were just doing, bring it down. I always think about it like, um, like when she was just catching their prey, they're running so fast and their hearts are beating so hard that they have to stop and sit there. They like literally cannot eat it or take it away. And a lot of times it will get stolen from them because they have to sit there because their body has to calm down from the process that it just went through, or they literally cannot move forward. And I always think about, you

that because it's so much closer to what's really happening with dogs than I think what we realize. They're designed to actually catch prey or to always be in the pursuit of trying to catch it. So it's definitely playing a part for sure. Their nervous system has to go into overdrive for them to be successful. That's why it is so intense. I was going to say the same thing about how the, for me specifically, it's the shaking.

and the eating that is like the physical release. Right. And then sorry, sorry, he's like, he just felt my energy drop. And he was like, and then the eating. And so I think that finding protocols that can tap and this is a like solo dog thing. Right. So this would be when you're out with one walking on a leash, just, just getting them to disengage from visually seeing prey to take a food scatter. Huge win because that's actually teaching that.

regulation of like you get up and then we, I've actually noticed in the past couple of weeks how much scatters affect breathing and just force dogs to just like, like I've met dogs that will just hold their breath when they're really intense and you give them a good scatter and as they're eating they're like, oh, and they actually start like breathing in like in through their nose as they're eating and you hear them take these deep breaths and then you see the muscles relax. So I think that's something that.

Probably we didn't talk about it a lot, but I think it plays a huge part here because it's getting triggered even in the house because of the cat. So this is their, their, their adrenal system is just. Yes. Go. Every time the neighbor dog comes out, it's back up and then they chill like now they're both chill. But as soon as you know, they hear a motorcycle and then they're on it for like.

you know, two hours. Yeah, the motorcycle one, believe it or not, is probably going to be one of the easier things and one of the one of the places where we start where you're going to be you're going to find some YouTube videos, some nice realistic ones, you're going to start with it on your phone at a low level. We're going to get to this in a minute. And then you're going to put it on a Bluetooth speaker outside the window and crank it up so they feel the bass, right? So we're going to slowly but that I actually find that sound sensitivity is a great place to start. And

Once we can feel really confident about the management of them and food and things like that, I think, and I think individually, you're gonna have no problem working on it. I think we do have two dogs here that are re-triggering each other in these moments over and over and over and over again. So we have to get some decompression individually for them to be able to bring their

For me, that just has to come later. And this is a lot like what we were talking about actually in our first episode about Ace, is just he's not ready to deal with the leash reactivity because of the sound sensitivity. So I would really focus on the sound sensitivity and the barriers, both the backyard and within the house. I think that's a perfect place to start. And just that overall hyper fixation, hyper arousal with that inability to decompress. So even if that means for the next day, you write down every single time,

Each one of them gets their own list every single time they get triggered, right? The timestamp and what it was, you know, because I think we need to have a realistic understanding of how many times a day are they getting from a zero to a hundred, because that's, that's a lot of Jerry, you're gonna have to tell me what, what hormone it is. Is it cortisol that's being released? It's cortisol. Yeah. So if, so if you go back to the nervous system, their sympathetic nervous system is like, go, go, go.

go. And if their parasympathetic nervous system never comes in, and never, they're just at this high cortisol level all the time. And we know that that has incredibly negative effects to the body over time. You know, it will cause dogs, like I've seen police dogs that are, I'm not comparing your dogs to police dogs, but I've seen police dogs that are gray by the time they're four. And you're like, how is this happening? It's just the stress or military dogs maybe, or

Um, so yeah, I think that if you can't do times, if you can't do that, a shorter way to maybe do that, that would still provide some information would be to write down what are the things and then just go up and tally mark it, just go up and tell like Mark when it happens, because that's an easier habit for you to kind of create if you can't, I mean, if you can write the times down.

right above the tally mark, that'd be lovely. But if you can't, you know, just keep it in a notebook or whatever and there's a column, the shih tzu, you know, the motor, you know, the motorcycle outs. Because if I think it's happening six times a day and it's happening 12, you know, maybe I'm habituating to my dogs doing this. The reason I wanted to get some timestamps is because I think- Go ahead, sorry.

If we can collect some good information on the when and the what of the triggers, I think we might find out what is the setting events that are happening that we don't understand that are causing a redirection. I think, I just think that in this case now, normally I agree. I'm trying to make things as easy as possible for data collection. I think we need it. I think we need it here. I think it's a notebook with Milo, Coda, and just every time they get triggered, as soon as it happens, you just go and you just write the time.

And you just write the time. Instead of your tally mark, you just write the time and your word. Time and maybe like one word, like dog, motorcycle, whatever, you know? And then we're not going to make it through this without ever seeing them have a moment together again. Of course. But if we can then look back at the last 48 hours and be like, oh my gosh, we have all this great information, I think that because we all felt like there was more than what was just happening at that moment.

Yeah, lots of stacking, lots of stacking of the things. Lots of trigger stacking. And let me take this just one step further. I'm so sorry, Madison. The reason it's so important is because we know how the brain works. Now, we're far enough along that we know enough about the mammalian brain to know that when these particular pathways keep

happen over and over again, the brain will literally start to rewire pathways to make it easier for that dog to produce that behavior. And it will then become reinforcing to that dog to produce that behavior in very much in the same way that it is for addicts. And then it's like doing the behaviors within themselves are physically and mentally and emotionally reinforcing to them.

just like it would be like a child, you know? So I think that's important to know that it's not just the behaviors and the emotions. There is something physiologically going on in them that they can't control. And so we have to help change that too, which is, you know, why we obsessively try to learn more and more about behavior. Do you have any questions about that? Because I know that was like a big old info dump. I know. I'm sorry. No, it's great. I want all the info. Um,

So is that kind of why like, almost like you said, like with attic, like where like, then it's not enough, like first there, then they just keep it. It's like, yes, yes. That's why reactivity is never this thing that just stays. People are always like, it's gotten worse. I'm like, yeah, because of course it's going to get worse. I thought that is such a good point. My goodness. You made that connection so quick. We've never even, we've never even made that connection. Thank you. Yeah. And a hundred percent it's, it's, there's so many like layered pieces.

to it, but once you see them, you can't unsee them. And so that's the good thing. Yeah. Yeah. Because I've had even just like, like with the cat, he's downstairs all the time. So it's like, first it was when the cat was up here, then they were upset. Then it was like, now it's to the point that if my daughter even walks down the stairs, they know that she possibly might be going to pet the cat and they instantly are triggered and run down after it. It's like you see it.

and the smarter the dog and the more the dog is meant. Especially these two. Yeah. And the higher level thinkers, the border collies, the healers, the Aussies, they're going to pick up on patterning really quickly. So they're going to understand the five free cues that happen in a chain before something,

know, sometimes you just have like a nice dumb dog, which is great. Dumb dogs are really, really trainable. They don't think five steps ahead. They're not problem solvers. I love a good dumb dog. You don't have that. No, you have geniuses and Olympic athletes. Some smart ones. That's for sure. Yeah. They remember training but bad for Yeah, and honestly, it's like, we can kind of flip this on them because they're also going to pick up on different patterns and better patterns very, very quickly.

We don't have, you know, seven, eight years of this going on. We have less than that, right? It's not an overnight thing because they didn't become this way overnight, but they also haven't been set into these patterns at this level for years and years and years and years. I think I think we're in a right in the right spot to try and. All right. We've stopped their momentum and now we're going to start inching back the other way. Awesome. OK, so for COTA, the leash reactivity.

is that dogs is barking when he sees them outside and growling if he's like an enclosed space. So I don't know if I put this down in his in the next section, but I want to suggest that we stop taking him. Yeah, it is in here. Stop taking him to places. Yeah, we the only time I usually ever do is, you know, like say the vet or like if we go there's a dog place that we get their nails trimmed because it's

But other than that, I don't really take him. And I'm very much open to, like I was, you guys had put, leash walking might not be their thing, which I'm fine, which that was one of my questions was just like suggestions on then what, you know, what to do to kind of wear them out. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So let's talk about that then. So that's where I...

what something I call is meaningful exercise. Structured play is another really piece of that where it doesn't have to be the leash walk. Now you certainly can slap a leash on them, work one at a time and get some good leash skills around in the backyard. They're gonna be triggered from the barrier, just hearing things. So I think that if we're gonna, if leash skills are our priority, we wanna find an indoor place to start working on that.

Um, but lots of play, especially for these two chasing. I would definitely look at maybe doing a flirt pole, maybe doing like a good, what's that? I have one that they love that. Oh, good. Perfect. So I, you can absolutely combine that with other obedience cues. Now, not every dog needs quite that much during their meaningful exercise. I think these two would probably love it.

you could get some little agility course to set up in the backyard and run them through that, you know, anything, anything that is working their body and their brain at the same time for me is like really all it takes. You know, I have a dog, another foster right now that's on crate rest because of recovering from heartworm treatment. So he's not taking leash walks. We're burning so much mental energy in like a tiny little space. And sometimes we do it inside and sometimes we do it outside. But

It's about it being meaningful in terms of what it's burning off. And for dogs, physical, mental, and nose, like all three of those are really important. Okay. Sorry, I'm taking notes on everything. No, it's great. Did you have something to add about the structured play, Jerry? No, I just, just to encourage you. I mean, I, yes, I take walks with my dog, but that's for my goat mostly. And also because I don't like to sit in the same spot, but I also don't like to walk my dog on leash.

because I think that it makes a, let me see, for Enzo, who's normally off lead and has this kind of agency and freedom to choose, but also to interact with me in the environment because I have the space to do it, I get that. I don't think he really cares to be on the leash. I think it's kind of, if he's on the lead, he's on a drag line.

So he still has that choice, but just to put the leash on him and walk around with him and go on walks and stuff, I think he's like, okay with it. But I really don't think he even likes it that much. So instead of that, I will take him to the baseball field like today. We, you know, took our little goat on a walk, but that's for the goat. And then we went to the baseball field while I worked. And instead of just sitting inside and him having to wait for me to be done, I scattered his food in the baseball field, which I could close the gates to.

So no one, you know, yeah, I mean, they're such a great place if you have them locally, like just the little league fields, just the smaller fields in your town. And then I can work, I can have shade and sit in the dugout and he's doing his scatter feeding and then directly after that we do structured play. So I have a toy and we play tug and do all of those things. And he's way more worn out after that than when I take him on a walk. It just, there's something in our culture.

very performative about walking your dog. And I don't even think that we realize that it's not really very natural to walk a dog around like that on a lead. So don't feel bad about it because there's just so many other things that you could do. I mean, healers are definitely not designed to work on leads. There, you know, so I think that there's something to be said for that, that dogs that are designed to either not be on a lead,

or to have a very strong oppositional reflex, leash life isn't always the best for them. Right, okay. I think doing a combination of tug, if they're tuggers doing tug and doing a good out or drop command, fetch and using, I like to use stationing with fetch, not our passive decompression place, but a more active place where.

They have to go to their place and kind of just take a deep breath and lay down and then you release them as you're launching their ball. Oh, high intensity. And then the goal is to I have a video I can send you. I just made it. I made it for the apprentices, but I can drop it in here for you. And it's just detailing what she just went over. So yeah, pretend like you're an apprentice and I'm talking to you the same way.

using the flirt pole the same way that you would use fetch in that way. So have them station and then release them to chase the flirt pole and then have them disengage from the flirt pole for a little bit of food. That is going to give them the fulfillment that they need for us to be able to work on them, like on that prey drive. Like that's giving them the outlet in such a safe way. And it's going to be so fun. It's going to be so fulfilling. And, you know, add in cues, tell them, chase, like, tell them what you want them to do and then.

reinforce in that context. And then we can start working on in other contexts when it would not be appropriate for them to chase, asking them to do something else, like asking them to look, asking them to find it, asking them to do a different alternative behavior. It doesn't have to be sit and hold still, it could be sniff. Sniffing is actually my new favorite alternative behavior for like everything. I don't know why it never occurred to me. Everything. Everything, instead of barking, sniff, instead of reacting, sniff.

I have a barbell with her son, who's a barbell Connie Corso, they're a bonded pair, and she was incredibly reactive on leash, had a lot of like fear-based aggression. And she took to sniffing as an alternative behavior like that. Like once she realized that she could, once she realized that she didn't mean to worry, and it wasn't her job, and she would be advocated for, and she could literally turn her back and sniff, she was happy to do it. So yeah.

You'd be surprised and scatters can do that. What I want to avoid is doing scatters in common spaces. I just think that we just don't do that ever. Um, I would be careful even doing it in the backyard because you forget one little kibble down in that grass and put the boys out and we have a whole situation. So I think that's something we do like on a long line somewhere. That's a little bit more neutral. The thing that's so funny about them is they will take treats right next to each other. Never had a problem. They will take.

I mean, I could bring out two steaks and lay them on the ground and they'd be totally fine. It's only at that like specified meal time, like their breakfast and their dinner that they're both so weird about it. I don't because I've scattered in there. I mean, they're totally fine next to each other with the scatter even. And like you say, I don't I don't know. I close my mind. It's something with the bowls and they have to both know where each other are and see each other. And it's strange. Maybe we need to like.

stop having mealtimes and do like snack times throughout the day and not do this like big dramatic mealtime event that they have these weird feelings about. Right. I know. Maybe we can even separate them even more like different rooms, different floors, you know, where they don't see each other. Right. And I tried that, you know, before, you know, before I got with you guys.

And, you know, I put Koda out here and then I put Milo in our room with the door closed because, you know, he's scared of getting attacked, obviously. And neither one of them would eat. They wouldn't touch it. They're like, we're so worried about where the other one was that they wouldn't even like, okay, well, I can't win with you. Yeah, yeah. That is a little bit perplexing other than the fact that they just, I don't know, they seem to have a very strange dynamic between them where they've fallen into like a comfortable routine with one another.

But not every piece of it is healthy, but it fallen into it. So it's like, it's, it's, it's the patterns and they're going to repeat them and they're going to intensify because that's just what happens. I like your snacking idea though. I wonder if that would maybe help just so it's like you say, not a whole thing. And it's just kind of, yeah. And maybe, um, getting some type of like X pen or gate to even just like, have another level of management in between them when you're doing this.

would just further advocate for those boundaries of like, I'm still not even 100% sure who is more, like obviously Milo is worried about Koda coming in, but Koda's having reactions as well. So is Koda trying to finish his and get Milo's because he's worried about his getting taken, you know what I mean? So it's like, there's definitely unhealthy kind of like spiraling there, so.

I think finding a way to create some safe separation to be able to work on that would be good considering separating them entirely creates some sort of shutdown, which is a bit dramatic, boys. I'm just dramatic. Yeah, they are all for the dramatic flair. Okay, so yeah, I think the best places to start would be the barrier reactivity in the yard.

Well, actually start inside because it's all going to be sound and it'll be a little bit more muted inside. Do they have a visual from the window? They so they have from the sliding back door, they can see obviously the yard and they can sort of kind of see where the neighbor dog is if they angle right. Okay, so let's cover that. I did and Coda ripped it down. He pulled it down and started shredding it apart.

I literally never. I told you he's dramatic. Okay, you gotta put it on the outside. You gotta put it on the outside. Oh stinker, oh stinker. I've never, and I've had dogs like throwing themselves at windows. I've never had a dog do that. And I recommend this to clients all the time. Get it, like ripping us, like, are you kidding me right now? Yeah, dumb dogs don't do that stuff, Serena. They just don't. They just don't think that many steps ahead and figure it out.

Like, this is what happens. You got a smart dog. I did put like a table, but I am gonna order some film on Amazon to put on the front window. Cause obviously you can see like when people walk past or you know, dogs and even- It's a really good solution. It actually lets a ton of light in and it's gonna do a lot to isolate it just to the auditory trigger. And that way we know it's not a visual thing. And that's a really easy place to start. Okay, awesome. And easier.

and possibly more important place to start. Anything to add there, Jeri? No, I was sending over that video right now before I forgot. So we got it done, yeah. I do think that eventually it will be good and healthy to do some specific resource guarding training with probably Coda, but like honestly, they both need to be involved. So...

it would be partially doing some resource guardian training with Coda and then also doing some voluntary sharing between them to really teach them how to not enter each other's space like that when food is being offered. And what it does is actually encourages them to give cues that means that the other one will get fed. It's a very, very cool activity. I had to do it with my dog and my cat. But I do think that that's sort of a slightly down the road.

goal because we have decent management in place. We don't seem to have active issues with the resource guarding. I know that there was an issue with them recently, but that wasn't like a resource issue. That was some type of trigger stacking event, we think. I do think that Coda, more so than Milo, is just really struggling with the breed specific, the breed group specific.

Chaos is really uncomfortable for him in any way. And so giving him the outlet for that, I call it lawful energy, that is a really important thing to do. And then we communicate to him at other times like, not your job guy, like you're off duty. And we can do that by initiating a decompression protocol. It doesn't have to be like a no, like this is not your job. It's just like a, you get to relax. You don't have to do that right now.

I love that analogy. Like I was just talking to my husband about it this morning. I said that couldn't be like a more perfect way to describe, you know, like just the way he acts with everything. It's like, it's not funny. It makes them so uncomfortable. Like, I get it. I'm probably the same way. It's like, there's dogs that are the micromanagers of the dog world. You know, they're micromanaging. What are you doing over there?

you doing over there? I don't like that. And it's that same kind of need to have everything be as it should be so that I can be okay in this moment. It's kind of the same with people. And I don't know why one healer gets that personality over another. I've seen it really strong in some of them and then not so strong in some of them. I think probably Milo isn't. I've seen the females generally be a little more easygoing.

I think that Milo isn't just because Koda is. They can't both be totally control freak. Yeah, there you go. Yeah, there you go. I mean, it's certainly a survival tactic to kind of make the situation be okay so that you can just be in it, where some dogs would maybe go in a void. Enzo's an avoider. And he's also not, he can hear me, he's not the smartest.

You know, he's not pro. So I don't know. That's why I do that. Yeah. He's not like you. I was laughing when you said that. I was like, Enzo would have never put that much effort into something. Please. Definitely not. All right, Serena, what other questions do you have for us? I know it was a lot and there's still a lot in the plan. You know, it's not something that you take it all and you do everything on day one. This is meant to be used over.

know, weeks and months, which we will get you more information about kind of what the next steps are. But what questions do you have? Let's see, I think I asked most of them and you guys answered. The only other one that I had was something that I guess I didn't really put in there that I'm noticing happening more and more kind of with that stacking is, I don't know if you guys have videos or any suggestions on just kind of like door manners where they're not

when we wake up in the morning and we open the bedroom door, they just charge right out to go. Oh yeah. I have two videos on weight and then teaching threshold manners. I can send those. Yeah, that's exact. Same with the back door. If one of my daughters goes to let them out, sometimes they'll just plow right through her. Yeah, I'll do it right now so I don't forget. That's definitely a big one that I think would help reduce because then they get out there and then they're not on the lead and then they see whatever.

they're being advantageous. I don't think that they're maliciously taking advantage of your daughter, but they pattern on that too. They recognize that pattern too. Every time that one goes to the door, it's money. Nothing's going to happen and I'm going to blow past her. That's a whole association with your daughter that they can just kind of do whatever when they should really be a little bit more mindful about her personal space.

Um, cause you know, nobody wants to be plow because that could translate to a lot of other things going up and down stairs and somebody getting hurt and stuff like that. Right. All right. I just dropped those two videos in there as well. Thank you. Yay. I think one is still loading, but it's doing its thing. Um, of course we are still available in Slack for questions and things like that. Um, and like I said, at some point this week, I will, you'll, you'll hear from me on kind of what the next steps are.

Sorry, I'm just tapping into my spy vision to check on Samson. Okay, he's good He's on great rest I just feel so bad for him like he's a cattle dog Probably like pit bull mix and he's just like he's got the cattle dog Intensity and the way that he moves and that like but he's also got that Yeah Go and I just feel so bad. So it's been like I've been pulling him out

four or five times a day to do as much brain work as I can. He's also sedated a little bit to help him sleep when I can't be doing that. I really need him to just be calm. Mm hmm. Well, guy, well, you know what? Anything you're doing is better than life on a chain underneath a trailer in the mud. So is he one of them from the place you guys went? I have two of them. Yeah, he is. He was like the most confident one there, Samson, and he was on a chain for almost five years. I have a picture of him.

from 2019 from their Facebook page. So we know he's been there and they almost didn't wanna give him up. They were like, but he's our favorite. Like, well, yeah, he's cool. And then there's TW, TIEWIRE. He was the least confident. He never came out of his barrel. The whole five days. He never came out of his barrel. They had to literally like dump him out. So. And he has a blanket now. He has the first time ever. So many blankets. And

Yeah, we still have like 40 some dogs, we actually are going to have a call Coco and me and Jen from Second Chance tonight to try and do another push because Second Chance is paying to board like 40 dogs. It's been weeks now. Little pricey. It's not cheap. And these dogs are losing their minds. So it's time to get them into rescues. Yeah, I've been spreading the word. So thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right, you'll hear from me again this week. But if you have any questions, just drop them in the Slack. Okay.

All right. Thanks, Serena. Thank you guys so much. Thank you. See ya. Bye.

Unpacked was created by Jerry Sheriff and Madison Simpson and edited and produced by Josh Wasta under the supervision of Straight Up Dog Talk, LLC and Emily Breslin. See you next time.

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