E163: Marjie Alonso - "Building the Positive Community"

Marjie Alonso, executive director of IAABC, joins me to talk about a little bit of this, a little bit of that... including the Pandemic Handbook, positive training, and what it is she does all day for IAABC.


Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-quality instruction for competitive dog sports using only the most current and progressive training methods.

Today we'll be talking to Marjie Alonso.

Marjie is the Executive Director of the IAABC, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is also the co-founder of the Somerville Foundation for Animals, which hosts the Somerville Dog Festival each year.

Marjie has a whole list of alphabet soup — she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) with IAABC; a Certified Training Partner of Karen Pryor Academy; a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers; an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Before taking on her current role, she spent several decades as a professional dog trainer, behavior consultant, and owner of City Dog Training in Somerville, Massachusetts. During that time she also served as Training Director, and then behavioral consultant, for the New England Dog Training Club, the oldest AKC club in the U.S. And, in case that wasn't enough, she was also a member of the American Humane Association's Advisory Board for Companion Animal Behavior and Training and is a member of the Fear Free Advisory Board on Behavior and Training.

Hi Marjie, welcome to the podcast!

Marjie Alonso: Hi there. I'm a little upset that most of my certifications happen at the beginning of the alphabet. I will now be looking for anything by zoos that certifies. I don't have any z's at all.

Melissa Breau: We'll have to find you some. To start us out, can you share a little bit about your critters and what you're working on with them?

Marjie Alonso: I'm down to one critter now. I have this accidental Beagle. I am convinced that Beagles are not dogs. I think they are part dog, part cat, part raccoon, and possibly a little goat. And so I have this wacky, wonderful Beagle.

My two sons went away to college at the same time as my two Swiss Mountain Dogs had both died, and it was pretty lonely and pretty empty in this house, and a "friend of mine" said I could foster this absolutely hideous Beagle. I mean, she was just a hot mess. She resource guarded, and she bit, and she had horrible separation anxiety, and she had no fur from her back ribs down. She was just a nightmare. Shockingly, three people returned her. And also they said she was 5, and if she's 5, I'm 21. Which, by the way, listeners, I totally am. And thin and blonde and rich.

So anyway, when she was returned for the third time, it got harder to get rid of her every time, so I said, "Fine, dammit. You're mine." So I have this dog who turns out to be absolutely wonderful.

Melissa Breau: How long ago was that? How long has she been with you now?

Marjie Alonso: Today is, I believe, her three-year Gotcha Day. Could be four, I have to look, but it's relatively recently. And she's filled this gigantic hole with her enormous personality. I have a blog about her, if anyone is interested. It's called Dear Goddamned Dog, and it's deargddog.com.

I was amused by the question that you have asked, that you have coming up probably next, about what I'm working on with her. The answer is "Nothing." You don't train this dog at all. She no longer bites, she's wonderful, she doesn't even really resource guard. She does, but it's completely without a heart. She does it just because she feels like she should, but she doesn't mean it. And she loves all people and she loves all kids, and I've done that, and she can be alone for hours. But the dog can't sit. Not what mattered to me.

Melissa Breau: You took care of the important stuff.

Marjie Alonso: Yeah. The rest I don't care.

Melissa Breau: Speaking of training, how did you originally get into this crazy world of training and behavior?

Marjie Alonso: As I said recently, back just after fire was invented, in the late '70s, I was living in Manhattan and I wanted to be a dog trainer. I had gone to the New York Restaurant School, I was chef-ing, and I had a couple of dogs.

I decided to get dog training lessons from somebody in New York, and I looked in the Yellow Pages — which was like Google, but it was made of paper — and I found a guy who turned out to be a former canine trainer for the Mossad, which should have been a clue.

I took lessons from him several times a week for a while, until the day he put me in a big straw suit in the middle of a huge fenced-in field and I said, "Why am I doing this?" and he said, "You'll see." Out of this building came this monstrous Doberman who knocked me flat on my back, took the wind out of me, grabbed the bite sleeve, was running around with the bite sleeve and hitting me in the head with it, and I'm like, "I don't want to be a dog trainer anymore." But I did. I just didn't want to be a dog trainer with this guy.

So I kept training my dog, obviously, and I lived next door to a really great trainer who was just a great trainer. She wasn't professional. I was taking lessons in Queens, New York, and we would walk around in circles while some man told you to do things like sit and stop, and your dog would sit. You didn't have to sit.

But that was actually when I understood that behavior was a thing, because we were walking in a circle and there was a Collie in front of me and my dog, and this Collie — and I will say "out of nowhere," because that's what it felt like and that's what people often say — bit the leg of the Jack Russell that was in front of him, and it completely changed everything, because that was obviously naughty, but it also really obviously affected me hugely. Suddenly, dog training was not just "What fun things can we do with the dog?" but it became something about behavior, something about that this was serious. These were people that loved their dogs. The Collie owner loved the Collie, and the Jack Russell owner loved the Jack Russell, and yet there was all this going on. It changed the way I looked at a lot of things, as I suppose it did for everybody in that room.

But at that time we didn't have behavior — which is probably the most ridiculous sentence I've ever said, and that's really saying something. But we didn't have behavior as a concept with dog training. We had training.

Melissa Breau: I know you mentioned the Doberman guy. It certainly doesn't sound like that was a very positive method.

Marjie Alonso: I was positive I didn't want to do that again! I get asked this a lot, when did I get into positive reinforcement training, and the answer is either "Never" or "I always was."

I'm not somebody that faints at tools. I would be happy if most of the aversive tools that we worry about disappeared off the planet. I know that we don't have a need for them. But I don't have what people refer to as that … whatever that is … that seminal moment or whatever it is that one is supposed to have, where you read a certain book or watch a certain thing and then — bink! — "I never did that again." That's not at all what it was like.

We trained, and we trained to be effective and good. Unless you're a particularly brutal person, you didn't do … I was never somebody that would ear-pinch a dog to get them to take a dumbbell. I think that there's something really messed up about that thinking. It's not uncommon thinking, but there's something definitely pathological about that thinking.

But what I found, as I popped and jerked and did all the things we were supposed to do, was first of all, the dogs were fine, for the most part. Some dogs weren't, but there aren't a whole lot of junkie dogs in streets and alleys, shooting up and talking about the time they were popped with a collar. But also that when one trains using positive reinforcement, it is, in and of itself, positively reinforcing.

I refer to myself originally as a narcissistic learner — "This feels good to me, therefore …" But it wasn't conscious. It was simply that I liked training that way. I could feel how it affected the animals. I could see how it affected the animals. It was a very reinforcing and nice way to train. And especially as … I had a lot of jobs as well as dog trainer. I wasn't just a dog trainer until I adopted my sons, when I couldn't find a job that let me single-parent two sick babies and earn a living, oddly.

But we've ruined dogs in a lot of ways. Those horrible backyard breeders actually made great dogs. When my dog got out of the house and your dog got out of the house, there were these awesome puppies. Those were wonderful dogs.

We managed to stop all that, but we haven't managed to stop all the dogs that are really struggling. As those dogs became more prevalent, as training became a more common thing for households, rather than in obedience as manners training, I saw more and more and more desperately sad dogs, super-anxious dogs.

I live in the city, and the city is not a great place for dogs in some ways. And the more we restricted their ability to be dogs — dogs roam, dogs scavenge, dogs chase things, and they can't do any of that — almost none of their natural behaviors can be practiced at this point.

As we did that more and more and more … I had job security, I guess, and I saw these dogs that were already struggling, and the idea of popping a collar on a dog that's struggling is just not something that I personally could really see. I mean, yeah, if he's going to bite somebody, you're going to pull on that leash because you're not an idiot. But other than that, these animals, and the people that cared enough about them to take them in for training, really deserved better.

And then the world changed and there were suddenly things like positive reinforcement training as a thing, and clubs and tribes and covens.

Melissa Breau: If I asked you to describe your current approach, or the way you think about training now, in a nutshell …

Marjie Alonso: I'm not good at nutshells, but my current training now, my current thinking on training now, is that we absolutely must use positive-reinforcement-based training, but we also must use critical thought. Or, and we must use critical thought. So if the dogma becomes more important than the dog, we've got a problem.

Which is not a way of saying, "So we should be using aversive methods," or anything like that. It's a matter of seeing what's happening with the animal and being able to adjust that, over first worrying about methodology and then the animal. But they're not mutually exclusive. Good trainers train well.

Melissa Breau: How has thinking about things that way impacted your approach to other things in life — working with people and training and outside of necessarily just the dogs?

Marjie Alonso: I am not much of a traditionalist, so … I know, it's funny; hardly anybody picks up on that … but I think that wandering into things through organic development has its benefits. I think that academic study also has its benefits. I don't think it's an either/or.

But I do believe that understanding that each situation is an individual situation, and that everybody needs their own approach to the same goal, is an important thing. It applies to working with dogs, it applies to working with people, it applies to working with groups.

Right now I basically manage hundreds of volunteers all the time in various ways. Volunteers. People that are giving their time. Often very difficult or tedious or repetitive or challenging work. That's pretty amazing, and you can't not appreciate people like that. You have to say, "What is going to make this group go in a direction that we need it to go in and remain cohesive?" And I'm not sure that you could do that by having strict rules that everyone has to follow or else. Good luck with that.

Melissa Breau: I hear that. There has to be somebody on the line if you're going to tell somebody "or else."

Marjie Alonso: I'm not rich enough to be a full bitch. I have to be a demi-bitch. If I had a lot of money, all bets would be off.

Melissa Breau: I want to switch gears a little bit because I want to talk about this thing that you do, IAABC. I think some of our listeners are probably familiar with it little bit, but there probably is a portion of our audience who haven't heard of it before. Can you share a little bit of background on what IAABC is and what its role is in the industry?

Marjie Alonso: I did not name it. That's the first thing everyone has to know. The IAABC was started, I want to say maybe fourteen years or so ago, by a woman named Lynn Hoover, who understood that training and behavior and thinking abut the "psychology" — I'm using air quotes, which you can't hear — of all of this mattered and needed to be a cohesive field or area of thought.

It did what groups do. There was Founder's Syndrome, and Sturm und Drang, and all sorts of drama, but eventually what settled in the dust was this organization that is multi-species, multi-practitioner, we have veterinary behaviorists and we have dog walkers, and we have parrot people and horse people and cat people and zoo people, and everybody is coming together to say animal behavior is a thing. It doesn't have to be an academic pursuit. It's very much in the field and the streets and the barns. And how can we talk about these things? How can we normalize thinking about behavior as a thing?

I still run into people that think behavior doesn't always exist. It's like gravity doesn't exist. It's equally … drop a brick, let me know how your foot feels, and then we can argue about gravity. And every single thing that we do is behavior, whether we mean it or not.

IAABC has now grown to be in about thirty countries. We have consultants and trainers that help people with their companion animals primarily, but also with some zoo animals and other animals. It's a pretty gratifying group of people to work for. These are, for the most part, really dedicated people. Nobody's doing the easy thing.

And so we help people and their animals to get better and to do what needs to be done to have hopefully a happy life. And we also keep people safe. "My dog growls at babies and I'm due in three days" is not an uncommon call for us. It's like, "Gee, that sucks." But there's a lot of very serious stuff and a lot of very fun stuff that goes on.

Melissa Breau: Do you have any thoughts on what you'd like to accomplish with IAABC while it's under your leadership?

Marjie Alonso: I really want us to have a unified field. Tribalism is different than tribes. I had a recent discussion with somebody; tribes meaning groups that people can belong to and be proud of, great. Fenzi: excellent tribe. IAABC: excellent tribe. But I'm not in favor of tribes when that brings in tribalism. I cannot be an answerable and honorable tribe if I have to feel better than your tribe.

Even if we disagree with methodology, even if we disagree with approaches, it's not OK to be vitriolic and mean and shunning. I feel a whole lot right now that people are pushing off of others in order to get higher up, and that's terrible.

So, after ten years of work, I finally found great co-thinkers in KPA and CCPDT and APDT, and we joined in together on the joint standards of practice, which is an ethics and consumer protection. It's a standard of practice for people who are trainers and behavior people. And it's a floor, because we need a common floor. KPA has very specific requirements that they want people to follow, and that's absolutely fine. You take the joint standards and you add something to that, you've got a great construction there.

What I would like to see happen is that everybody agrees to that same floor, and then people can move off of that. But I think unless and until we have those standards of practice, we can't consider ourselves a real field in training and behavior. It's still a bunch of tribes. And I would like to see that happen a lot.

Melissa Breau: Tell me just a tiny bit more about those joint standards. I'm curious what's in them.

Marjie Alonso: It's our Code of Ethics, and it says things like you can't lie and cheat and steal, and you have to be as good as you say you are, and other outrageous things. Back when I was a kid — I'm now shaking my fist and telling you to get off my lawn — back when I started, and in competition, in sports, people were measured by the same ruler. You did or did not cue, and that's by exactly the same standards no matter who you are, or what kind of dog you have, or where you live.

With behavior and training, pet dog training, that's not the case. People can say, "I am good enough according to me," and then take people's money for doing that. I do think that there should be something, some consumer protection, that says, "If you hire me to teach your dog to open a beer, then I should be able to do that, and you should feel confident that I can, because I adhere to these standards."

Now if there's something that prevents that dog from opening a beer — doesn't have a mouth or whatever else it would be — then that's something you would say ahead of time. You wouldn't agree to do it. And if you don't have the skills to teach it if it is possible, that's a problem. We have to stop moving the line according to our own skills and start saying, "No, everybody has to be able to do what they say they can do."

And that's what this is. It's simply a standard. It's a skill-based standard. LIMA — Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive — is a skill-based standard that's complicated. But all of these standards in the joint practice say, "You will use the most positive, least intrusive … which might mean not intrusive. People are always like, "Why does it have to be intrusive?" It doesn't. "Least" does not imply "some." But the least intrusive, minimally aversive, most effective way to get the behavior. And that means getting the behavior. Not, "I know you said you wanted your dog to open a beer, but instead I taught him to lie on the couch." It's like, "Oh, OK, if you say so."

And so that's what that really is, is saying that we acknowledge that we have to have a certain amount of skill, that we have to live by certain ethics, and professional ethics. I'm not talking about morals. I'm talking about professional ethics that say, "In order to practice, I agree to these terms and these standards, and I will do the work that is required to abide by them."

Melissa Breau: To pivot back to IAABC for a second, for those who are involved, what kind of benefits are we talking about for members?

Marjie Alonso: There's a lot of benefits. We really put the "non" in nonprofit, but we still manage to provide our members with some incredible stuff, including tons of free C.E., because we do require continuing education units.

Our members have access to many, many videos from conferences and things like that, because we do understand that not everybody's a millionaire. We want people to continue to grow and to learn, and we will make that as financially easy as possible, including free, when we can. So we have discounts on courses. We create quite a bit of education, and so we have discounts for that education, we have free webinars, we have free videos from conferences for members.

But we also have this community that is — I think Fenzi's community is like this too — it's just a really great community in the real sense. So people help each other, and people get into interesting conversations, which is not like an Up With People rally every time everybody speaks. It's not that everybody always gets along or always agrees, but it is, I would say almost always, ninety-nine percent of the time, respectful, productive, interesting, it's got some depth, and people are learning from each other and supporting each other. It's not uncommon to see people say, "I'm stuck on this case, can somebody help me?" and everybody comes in.

And it tends to be evidence-based. There's not a lot of "Hang a crystal and get some Rescue Remedy and circle three times and paint your west wall blue and this will happen." I mean, if that makes you feel good, go ahead and do that, but that's not what's going to fix this.

So people will be just really great. And people will pivot. People will say, "Oh, I never thought of that before," and it's really gratifying to watch and to be part of.

Melissa Breau: From your bio it's clear that you're a chronic underachiever, Marjie, a real underachiever, so what exactly is it you do all day as Executive Director at IAABC?

Marjie Alonso: I saw this question and, like, I have no clue. The days just go away. Answer e-mail? I don't know!

We have so many projects. We have so much we do to try to further this mission of positive reinforcement effective behavior and training consulting throughout the world.

We have a Spanish Language Division. It's like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Somebody had to do all those dance moves backwards in heels, and I think that's what it's like for the Spanish Language Division. They work so hard to recreate or duplicate all this material that we have, so we have this incredible Spanish … Latin America and Spain have … there's a real hunger for good education and training and behavior, and it's a privilege to be able to provide that and to give some meaningful content. It's not that there isn't any, and there's some good schools and some great trainers, but there's a dearth of it, and so it's a privilege to be able to provide that.

And we have a lot of outreach that we do. When Hurricane Harvey went through, Maddie's Fund reached out to us and said, "We have a lot of these animals that are now homeless or being fostered. Can you help?" I think it was ten minutes when a hundred and twelve of our members volunteered to do remote consults with all of these foster people for free. In minutes. "Yes, we'll do that for free."

We get involved with citizen science projects like Darwin's Dogs, which is a huge genetic project online about dogs and diseases and mutts. They're using mutts, which all the other genetics projects haven't done. In fact, if anybody wants to have fun, if you go to … maybe it's just my idea of fun, but if you go to muttmix.org, that is the offshoot of a huge study that we did — I think we had half a million answers or something — seeing if people could guess what dogs were in these mutts. It was pretty interesting. And the answer is no, and trainers aren't any better than the public, which was just horrifying to everybody. But it is fun to do.

Now we're in this pandemic, and the first thing we did was say, "What can we do to help our people?" Today, which is the 16th of April, we are launching our Crisis Response page, which has the Pandemic Handbook, which is fifty-something or more pages of how to do remote consults, how to deal with the government — primarily in the U.S., but there's more coming, how to get loans, scripts for talking to your landlords, scripts for talking to the utility companies, worksheets and planners and things like that, to help people survive this.

We really want to help our people, and we have a Dog Trainer Handbook, which is a full puppy and a full dog curriculum based on doing remote consults and geared to be both for a trainer and a client, so that you could say to your client, "Download this book. We'll work through it together," and "Here's a lesson and then we'll go on Zoom," or you can put up a video on YouTube or however one wanted to do it. Everything from body language exercises and videos to real-life video examples from, again, our members volunteering this information, saying, 'Here, you can have a video of me doing a consult, so that people can see what it's actually like." Because it's very intimidating to think about doing it until you see it and go, "Oh, I could do that."

This has been three-and-a-half weeks of tens and tens and tens of hours, of people, volunteers, putting this together for our community. Today we launch that, and I hope it's going to be really helpful for people.

And also a downloadable list of thousands of contacts throughout the government for can you help first responders, first of all, by taking care of their animals, and when this is over, can we be the first … we want them to literally trip over us before they go to anybody else for work. So, oh hey, I'm your speed bump.

So all those things take a lot of wrangling and a lot of herding.

Melissa Breau: Lots of herding cats.

Marjie Alonso: Lots of herding cats. And then all that other pesky stuff, like running a website, running commerce, doing all the different stuff that director-y types do.

Melissa Breau: I wanted to ask you specifically about the Pandemic Handbook. Can you dive into that a little bit more? Is it open to everybody? Where can people go to find out more about it? All that kind of stuff.

Marjie Alonso: If you go to our homepage at IAABC.org, it will be right there in the front. The address is IAABC.org/crisis-response, which is less easy than just going to the homepage. It is absolutely open to everyone. We want to help everyone, if we can, and anybody that finds this useful should take it.

You can download the Dog Trainer Handbook, you can download the … I don't know why you would, but you can download the Pandemic Handbook — which, by the way, has the best cover ever, because I have a very tolerant community who lets me create insane-looking things, and then a very lovely graphic designer who goes, "OK, I'll incorporate it." So it's the most fun I've ever had, next to the Lemonade Conference. That's the most fun I've ever had.

So we have, as I said, a lot of videos there, with more coming, more information coming. Anything that we can do that helps people. If people write to me, we'll try to get it there. My e-mail is execdirector@iaabc.org, and if there's some information that people think would be helpful to have there, we'll try to get it. I may ask you to gather it, so you might be careful before you write. But yeah, we're just trying to be a beacon. We want to be a lighthouse in the storm that says, "We can all still drown, but there is this light here that we will do our best to protect us." That's what we're trying to do.

Melissa Breau: For all those trainers who are out there, and obviously a lot of them right now are really struggling with the current realities of the world, I was wondering if you had any tips or thoughts or anything you want to get out there.

Marjie Alonso: I think people should be drinking more. I think that's very important. I've noticed that I don't start drinking until way too late in the evening. I have maybe one. I think that's a huge mistake.

There are things to do to stave off the wolves at the door, and it's a lot scarier to do it if you're trying to do it alone. That is the best advice I can give anybody is don't try to do this alone. There are people that know things that you don't, you might know things other people don't, and even if you know nothing, you're welcome to join this community while we help each other through.

If your landlord is throwing you out, or if you're losing your — name it — your business, if you didn't have any money in the bank anyway, it's not the pandemic's fault, but now you're really screwed, so what do you do? There are people that are exactly in the same boat as you, there are people that are in different-size boats, and we are going to do this together.

When you come out the other side, which we will, we will still have a lot of broke trainers, just like we did before — which, people, stop that! — but I think that we'll also have a better-educated group of people and a tighter community.

I also think that we will have changed how training is considered. I think that remote consulting and remote training is not something just for emergencies. It is something that allows clients and trainers to do stuff a lot quicker. There's no travel time. If you have a dog that's terrified of a car, or that is super-reactive, or whatever it is, why are you taking that dog in a car and going somewhere? There are things that we can do together remotely that may not be all that we do, but we can certainly utilize this, as many of us have been doing for some years. But I think now we're really seeing how much can be done virtually and that there are ways to do it.

I'd like to say one thing about everybody's freaking out about puppy socialization right now. Remember back just after fire, when I was starting, nobody socialized puppies. We had great dogs. Every puppy is going to be fine unless we make them crazy. So if you have a puppy and it's not being "socialized" — there's more of those air quotes you can't hear — the way we think would be ideal, your puppy will be fine.

Go set up — and we have this in the Dog Trainer Handbook — go set up a weird thing in the backyard, if you have a yard. Move some of your furniture out there. Make things weird. Do things that are different. Hang out with your dog. If you live in the country, drive to the city. Put on a mask. And, by the way, desensitize your dog to masks; that's in the book too. And if you live in the city, go to the country. Show them a horse.

Do things for your dog that show your dog that there's a big, wide world out there. But your dog will be fine if you don't socialize it according to whatever recipe you think needs to have happened. It might not be ideal. It will be OK. You're still going to have a great dog.

Melissa Breau: Awesome. I've got a couple of questions here that I usually end every interview with. I want to go through those, and then we'll call it quits.

Marjie Alonso: I'm so nervous. OK, OK …

Melissa Breau: That comes across. Totally comes across. The first one is what's the training-related accomplishment that you're proudest of?

Marjie Alonso: The thing I'm absolutely proudest of, and it's training related but not necessarily, I keep thinking, is the trainers that use more punitive methods that I have invited into IAABC and said, "Come on in, the water's fine, give us a try," who are now using completely positive-reinforcement-based training. Without exception, it still gives me goosebumps to think about that. I'm really happy about that.

Melissa Breau: What is the best piece of training advice that you've ever heard?

Marjie Alonso: It is "It depends. "It depends" is the best piece of training advice, and the correlate, it's a study of one. That is absolutely the best training advice always. You must look at who you are, who this creature is you're training — husband, child, dog, cat — and it depends. There is no right answer. Or there is no right answer that applies to everyone. There's always a right answer for that individual.

Melissa Breau: The last one is who is somebody else in the training world that you look up to?

Marjie Alonso: I am a little bit allergic to training stars, the fangirling around some extremely fangirling-worthy people, by the way. It's not that we don't have these epically great stars. It's that I don't like the fangirl.

So I think, honestly, who I look up to the most are the people that have done the hard work of becoming measured and assessed at what they do. Who have said, "'Good enough according to me' isn't good enough," and who have gone out and gotten some sort of certification or education that is applied and practical, because they've been brave and they've been insistent that they are good enough. Those are the people that I really admire, and there's an awful lot of them.

And then those people that then contribute to the community by helping others — oh, total fangirl.

Melissa Breau: That's worth fangirling on.

Marji Alonso: Yeah, like, throwing my bra. Which is, by the way, a horrible thing to do to people right now. When I was younger, though.

Melissa Breau: Oh, man. All right. Thanks so much for coming on, Marjie! This has been fantastic and a hoot.

Marjie Alonso: Thank you. It's fun. And thank you for having me and for listening to me blabber. Feel free to cut the bra part.

Melissa Breau: We'll leave it in there. And thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. We'll be back next week with Julie Flannery to talk about transitioning from using props in training to getting those same behaviors without the props.

Don't miss it. If you haven't already, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or the podcast app of your choice to have our next episode automatically downloaded to your phone as soon as it becomes available. 


Today's show is brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Special thanks to Denise Fenzi for supporting this podcast. Music provided royalty-free by BenSound.com; the track featured here is called "Buddy." Audio editing provided by Chris Lang.

Thanks again for tuning in -- and happy training!

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