E325: Deb Jones, PhD - "Canine Cooperative Care"

Have a problem when you want to do your dog's nails? Or maybe for you it's some other aspect of grooming or vet care! In this episode Deb and I talk about cooperative care training — what it is and why it matters. 


Melissa Breau: This is Melissa bro, 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 I have Deb Jones here with me to talk about cooperative care. Hi Deb, welcome back to the podcast.

Deb Jones: Hi Melissa. Thanks for having me back. I always enjoy being here and chatting with you.

Melissa Breau: I always enjoy chatting with you too! To Start us out. Do you wanna just remind listeners a little bit about you, your current canine crew?

Deb Jones: Okay. I'm Deb Jones and I just recently realized I've been teaching at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy for 10 years, which sounds like a lot when you call it a decade in particular. So almost from the very beginning and it's hard to believe, but it's, it's been a long time and it's been a lot of fun and we've evolved and done a lot of classes, workshops, webinars in that timeframe, podcast, all this stuff that's happened. So I've been teaching here and that's pretty much what I do now.

I've retired from my full-time job as a psychology professor, but I did that for 20 years. My current canine crew is a Border Collie who's 12 and a half and her name is Star and she is perfect in every way. Just ask her. She will tell you she's the perfect dog. Most of us would agree. And then I have a two and a half year old Koolie named Wizard.

And Wizard is a very sweet dog who I haven't trained nearly enough. He's relatively feral in many ways, but he is a great dog. He's one of those like great dogs around the house, just easy dog to live with. And sometimes the dogs I've had have not been so easy to live with, but they've been a lot of fun to train.

So you kind of have a mix here. We also have two Shelties Pixel who is like five now anti, who's about seven. So we have two big dogs, two little dogs, and it's a lot in a household to have four herding dogs.

Melissa Breau: I bet. So I wanna talk cooperative care, and I just wanna start off by kind of ensuring we're all on the same page. So can you just talk a little bit about what you mean when you're talking about cooperative care and what kind of behaviors maybe that you include within that heading?

Deb Jones: Yes, definitely. Because people are sometimes confused about what it actually is, and we make this assumption that some, somehow people just know. But the idea is that, first of all, cooperative meaning that the dog is a willing participant in this training process that we're doing.

So that's the cooperative part. And the care part has to do with physical care for veterinary procedures and grooming. So we're working towards dogs that are willing and active participants in their own care process. We work very hard to help dogs become comfortable with all the things that we have to do to them and for them and with them when we need to make sure that they have good physical health, good quality of life. And we work really hard to build up trust from them, that the things that we do, they know that we, the things that we do to them are safe and that we are not going to do things to them that are going to be harmful or incredibly unpleasant. And we'll talk about the fact that sometimes you do have to do unpleasant things, but we build up to that. So it's, it's the idea that we really want the dog to be a big part of this learning and training process as we go through it so that they become very comfortable with all the things that are going to have to happen to them in life.

Melissa Breau: So you, you kind of teased the uncomfortable bit there. Why would a dog kind of opt in, do a procedure that either they don't like or maybe they even find painful?

Deb Jones: Yes, that's, and that's, people don't believe that that can happen, right? They just absolutely don't think that that can be true. But if you work up to it. So if we build a strong reinforcement history and in particular a strong reinforcement history for physically handling them, for touching them in a number of different ways for holding them, restraining them, all different parts of their body being manipulated, we build up that history of whenever this happens to me, then something good also happens. So tons and tons of reinforcement for what I like to call all the weird things that people do to you. And we do a lot of weird things when we handle our dogs just because, because you never know what's going to happen. So we want to, to sort of ingrain this habit in them that they've learned that just letting us do what we're gonna do, it's really the best way to get reinforced. And they become pretty compliant because it always pays off well for them.

And then there will probably be that time when something unpleasant has to happen and we have absolutely no choice in it. But that's one small blip in that, you know, that whole bigger picture of all the hundreds and thousands of times if we've done our work right, that we've prepared them for this, we build up a lot of trust with them so that they, they don't panic, they don't become frantic. And that's like 99% of the problem most of the time is not that it hurts, but they're afraid. And if we can lessen the stress and the fear, then everything goes much, much more easily, even when it's somewhat uncomfortable or unpleasant that can, we can get through that they can learn to get through that they can bounce back, they can be resilient. We go back to working again on building up their trust and their reinforcement.

As soon as we get through something that has been unpleasant for them, and I've seen it happen over and over again, that they have to go through something and you just have to do what you have to do, then we get back to training and they can, they can not only tolerate it, but they can, they can get over it and they can move on and they can be okay about getting things done.

So it can happen, but we have to start working on it. It can't happen when an emergency occurs. We have to start working on it ahead of time for it to happen. Right, Right. So somebody is, you know, new to the topic and maybe just getting started with cooperative care, are there particular behaviors that you kind of recommend starting with, you know, something that's maybe a little bit easier for 'em to dip their toe in the waters? Yeah. Yes. I'm very much a believer in steps and laying your foundation and working in an order. And so I've spent a lot of time thinking about where you have to start to be successful and the steps that you should move through in the order that you should put them in.

And I've, I think most people come to find that the first thing we need to do is build value for the dog for simply holding still. And that is not easy for a lot of dogs. Holding still isn't natural to them in any way. So we go through what we call zen exercises or zen work, which basically mean we're just getting the dog to be still long enough so we can reinforce them for that stillness and then we can extend the duration of that stillness as we work through the exercises. So we have a whole series of zen exercises and a lot of people have done very similar things with impulse control work that we have, like the Zen Bowl and food on the floor. And we do a slow treat exercise and a mat teaching them to lay on a mat and be still.

So all those kind of stationary duration things that we can work on and simply standing still, which is actually probably the hardest thing of all is to teach a dog to just stand still. But I'd like to start there. I like to start working on that a little bit first. And the other thing that I, we work on is teaching them, having a place where we're going to do most of our training work with them for this, for cooperative care and teaching them to love being in that place. So, I'm teaching the cooperative care class right now and we just got through the first week. And the first week–much of it is about feeding your dog all kinds of amazing things for being in the place that you're going to do your work so that they cannot wait to be there.

And that it takes on really, really good emotional connections and associations with being there. Then we add in the procedures, the physical handling procedures we're going to do. So we have to start, if we don't start with those foundations, it's kind of like, you know, then you're wrestling an octopus to try to get them to hold still and stay in one place while you start to try to work.

So if we can get a little bit of stillness and we can get them to love being where we want them to be, then we move on to some of the working on the procedures. Like anything that involves touching them and handling them and restraining them. We teach them things like a chin rest. That's a very common, you know, kind of basic behavior that we want to add in, which also encourages stillness in the bigger picture. So there's a lot that we can do to start with, I'm, the biggest problem that I see is that people have jumped past all of this, didn't even know they needed it or didn't wanna take the time to do it. And they've tried to start way too far down the line in the middle, like doing a procedure when they don't have the foundation stuff yet. So I really encourage people to go back a little bit and then you can move forward again.

Melissa Breau: Something to be said for that. Just like the idea that you can always move backwards and sometimes it really does help you move forward faster and better.

Deb Jones: It really does. It really does. Nobody wants to go back and I understand that 'cause I don't either, but it's almost always the right answer when we're talking about having issues with training a dog for some, for anything. Go back.

Melissa Breau: Yeah. Yeah. So I know you've been, you know, working hard to make a variety of resources available to help folks kind of learn more about cooperative care. Do you wanna just talk a little bit about your latest, your newest, your shiny new book? Oh, I'm so excited about my shiny new book. I'm always excited about new projects and they are always so much fun. So yes, I, we just last week. Is it only been a week? I think it's only been a week that It has, it's only been a week. Yeah. Published my first book in, in electronic book format only. So there won't be any hard copies. It's all an ebook that you can download. It's called Help I Can't Do My Dog's Nails, which I figured was a pretty descriptive title because it's true. And the total focus is on that particular procedure, being able to trim a dog's nails, being able to shorten them. I just started writing and by the time I got done it was 79 pages.

So I feel like it's a pretty comprehensive guide. There's always more that could be said, but at the same time you don't, you know, there's a point where, you know, enough's enough, you wanna kind of get straight, you wanna get to the point, you want to give useful information and just enough so that hopefully people can use it.

This book I was excited about because I put it together myself with the graphics and there's lots of cool little pictures in there. Graphics, checklists, you know, tips and tricks, steps to follow. And I've used a bunch of different formats for people who are very visual. I think it helps to see it in different ways. So I, I really actually, much as I'm a person who likes words and learns from words, I think that the visual is really important to, to a lot of people as well. And so it's like a whole bunch of little short segments within the book that look at the different parts of it. Starting back with, you know, using food and training and, and how do you know how is my dog learning and how do I start touching the dog? 'Cause if you can't touch your dog, you're not gonna be able to trim nails. And so we, and and a lot of times that is the problem. It's not that you can't turn the nails, you shouldn't even be at that point yet. You should be at the point where you can touch the dog's paw and pick it up. And so I go back through all of the steps to do those things.

And so I'm hoping that people find it to be a really helpful resource. 'cause I think it is, I see nails as the most common problem. When people ask for help, it's gonna be nails. I, I, I would bet a million dollars that that's gonna be the thing that they ask about. And I've always tried to give lots of advice, but it's kind of been disjointed. It hasn't been organized or in a comprehensive fashion. So I just wanted to put together everything. I would tell somebody and put it all in one place. And then when people ask, what can I do if I can't do my dog's nails? I'd say it's, here it is. I've given you everything I've got on this subject.

So, you know, take this work through it. If you work through it, you'll, you'll get better, you'll improve. Everything will get better from that. I have no doubt. Okay. But then there's the part where you actually have to work through it. There's some training involved. Yeah, there's a lot of training involved, but it's not terrible training.

I think it's really fun training. So I'm hoping that people find it and start using it and find that it's useful. 'cause that's, that's my whole goal with that is just to, it'll be helpful to people and it will stop some of the conflict that people have with their dogs over this. 'cause it gets, it can get ugly.

Melissa Breau: Yeah. Yeah. Why, why do you think nails are such a big thing and so hard for so many dogs and their people? Oh, there, it, they really are. And I think there are a number of reasons I think people don't even realize sometimes, unless you've had dogs for a while, that you've gotta do the nails all the time. That they continue to grow and you've gotta do something about it.

Now some people leave it to a groomer. And if you go to a groomer regularly, that's fine, but you can't leave nails for months and months and expect it to be okay. And some, I don't think anybody tells people that. I don't think they realize it. And so, you know, you get to the case where nails get incredibly long and then you really do have some issues.

So people don't know they should do anything about it. So they don't train their dogs in any way for it. They just assume, oh, I gotta cut, I've gotta cut their nails. They grab a paw, try to cut, the dogs start struggling. They usually end up cutting the quick. And now we've got blood and yelping and we've got a bad experience.

And now the dog struggles even more and the person struggles even harder to get it done. And nothing good can ever come from that situation. And I think it happens a lot and people are traumatized when I talk about this. The people are traumatized and so are the dogs. So we've made very quickly made this into a terribly unpleasant situation where it was a,it could have been a mildly unpleasant one. Now it's really bad. I think just the awkward way, we don't think about how we handle legs and paws. People haven't put in that, that groundwork first. And they don't understand what a nail looks like, what the structure of it is, what it looks like inside, how the quick grows. So I included in the book some illustrations on that because I think it's important to be able to visualize it.

And then you have a dog with, with like hard, thick black nails where you can't see a thing. And so you're just hoping, but then there are ways you can cut around the nail or around the quick that people don't tell you about it will just hack straight across and then again, gushing blood and nothing good comes of it. So I think it's a very easy thing to go wrong and people don't realize it until it has gone wrong. And now we have to fix the previous bad experience as well as, and still in the dog that getting their nails done is not the worst thing in the world to happen to them when they truly believe it is. And, and they're feeling really, really scared and unpleasant, uncomfortable about it. And we can tell they're uncomfortable by how much they try to avoid it. So I think this is the one place, that's why we see it all the time. This is where everything comes to a head. You might be able to sort of force other things and put pressure on your dog to get things done, like brushing or, you know, cleaning their ears or whatever. But when it comes to all those nails that you have to do regularly, it just becomes a struggle for everybody.

Melissa Breau: Yeah. So, we mentioned the Nails book. You've also created a cooperative care certificate. And I know we've talked about it before, but I wanted to chat about a little bit today. Do you wanna just share a little bit about what it is, what behaviors it includes?

Deb Jones: Yeah, yeah, sure. I can tell you the basics about that. I had this idea, and I don't know where the idea came from that, that we needed to do this cooperative care certificate. It goes along with the FDSA team titles. And so I set it up so that there are 10 essential behaviors, there are 10 behaviors that I think are the keys. They're absolutely necessary for comfortable cooperative care so that we need to, to work with our dogs. And now we're up to four levels. We just recently added level number four to this. So you can go through each of the levels and they build on each other. So for me it's, you know, as I set it up, I'm looking at, okay, chin rest is one of the first exercise. So I'm looking at what do I need to teach first, that's in the level one title. What do I need to teach second, how do I add more complexity to it? How do we add more function to it?

So now we have the chin rest where we're examining their eyes and ears. So we add onto each of those things as we go through the levels, they get progressively more complex and more useful. So we have things like the chin rests, as I said, the dog lying on their side so that they can be examined, wearing a muzzle, wearing a cone.

Those things are going to likely happen again, things we know are statistically pretty likely in a dog's lifetime that they're gonna wear a cone. And the muzzle is just helpful for many, many things. Getting blood drawn and being prepared for that. Taking medications, again, that's a big struggle sometimes where we have to force the issue when we might not want to, you know, looking in the eyes and the ears, doing the nails as I mentioned, handling and, and physical restraint because in a vet's office, they are very likely to have to hold them still to do a lot of the procedures. And again, if we can get them to, to think that restraint is not scary, that's so much easier.

Everything is easier 'cause you don't need three people to hold your dog down to do a simple procedure now, you know, looking at the mouth, brushing the teeth, all of those kinds of normal things. So I tried to think about things here that either the vet's going to do on a normal regular visit or the groomer or we're gonna need to do for grooming on a regular basis.

And those are the things that went into the certificate. So you can, you can earn a certificate at each of the four levels with your dog. And people have done a really, really nice job with, with what they've done here. They submit videos and, and they're judged and people do lovely work when they, when they do this. And it can only help.

It can never hurt to work on these things. And so I figured, you know, a little motivation along the way and a little reinforcement for the person in the form of a certificate couldn't be a bad thing either. And it kind of breaks it apart and organizes it for people as well so they know what to work on next. Because sometimes it just seems overwhelming.

You say work on cooperative care, it's like, well that's a million things and I don't even know what to do first with anything. So I've tried to break it down so that people know, oh, here's these 10 things you can make a checklist out of it. Here's what I need to do on the first one, the second one, the third one, and then here's how I need to add on to them as I go along. So hopefully people will find that as motivation to continue working on cooperative care with their animals.

Melissa Breau: Yeah, just a little bit of R plus for the people, right?

Deb Jones: Yes. We always need it.

Melissa Breau: Yeah. Yes. People love, you know, it's nice to do that.

Deb Jones: It's nice for somebody to notice that you've done work and that you've worked hard with your dog on something. We all appreciate that.

Melissa Breau: Heck yeah. So for the certificate, I believe it's always the owner doing the handling. Right?

Deb Jones: Right. Yeah. So what work needs to be done then to begin to kind of transfer those same skills to other people in other contexts? So like actually letting the groomer do it or the vet and how would you approach that?

Melissa Breau: Yes, and we have talked about if we go on with any more levels in it, that that was the next logical step because that's really what's going to happen. It's not that the owner's going to be able to do the handling, but a lot of it is going to to be,

even if the owner's there that somebody else is doing work with the dog. And in the, in my, my basic cooperative care book, I talk about this as kind of the end point of a lot of training is transferring it to other places than, than your home and, and the place that you've normally done your work and to other people adding people into it.

And so I always suggest starting with a bystander, somebody who is just there while you're doing the work. So they're, they're stand, they can even, we work with 'em at a distance, we get them closer, we get them to the point where they're hovering around the dog, but they're not actually physically touching them yet. Because for many dogs, another person is either, oh my gosh, I gotta go visit them, they must wanna see me. And then they, we can't get them to hold still or a stranger danger, you know, something terrible is happening and so I gotta get away from it. And we don't want either of those reactions. So I like the neutral stranger, you know, a lot. I like the idea of somebody just being there but not actually doing anything to ease them into it and getting the other person closer. And then they can start taking over some of the things that we do. You know, they can either do the feeding or we ask them to do a particular kind of, of handling like touch the shoulder and then I feed, you know, or lift up the foot and then I feed how, and we can go back and forth and mix that up a little bit. So getting them, getting another person involved. And it can certainly be a person they know and trust to start with, but then we have to, you know, expand a little bit and make the effort.

And even when I get to the point where I'm taking a dog to the vet's office, I'm always asking the techs to feed my dog and I'll do something and have the tech feed and then when they do something, I'm feeding. So they get used to this idea, oh, we go to this place and this person gives me food and sometimes they touch me and then somebody else gives me food and it all works out and it's okay in the end.

So we try to ease them into that and getting used to that, if you can do, you know, a lot of people now do happy or social visits at their vet's office where they're not going to be doing anything, anything except letting you go in, familiarize your dog with the space, feed them a lot, maybe have one of the techs, you know, talk to you a little bit and, and give the dog some cookies. That kind of thing is perfect. And I did that even with my groomer with some of my dogs when they were younger. I would just go in to say hi and take the dog in and they'd get a bunch of cookies and so a quick short visit and then we're out and nothing happens.

I mean, most of my puppies love going to the vet when they're young because why wouldn't you? You know, you get more cookies than usual and there's more people to admire you. So we want them to always think that that's a good thing that's going to happen, you know, and always be hopeful and optimistic that good things are going to happen to them when we go to these places.

Melissa Breau: Right. So if folks want more help than just the Nails book or kind of working through the certificate, what other options are there?

Deb Jones: Okay, I've got stuff.

Melissa Breau: You've lots of stuff. I've got lots of stuff that I've been working on and I've tried to put together some good resources and a mixture of free resources so that, you know, people have those to start out with and to go to. So the first thing I would say would be my Facebook group, which is Cooperative Care with Deb Jones. And it's turned, it's, it's getting bigger all the time. I think we're coming up on like 22,000 people in the group, which amazes me crazy because I remember thinking that like a thousand was amazing when it started.

Yeah. So I'm really pleased with the group. It's thoughtful, it's supportive, people are helpful and, and all the information that you get and all the advice that you get is going to be based on positive reinforcement, based on being gentle with the dogs. So you're not gonna get advice to do anything that's gonna be painful or harmful in any way.

So, that group is where I would start. And then I also have a YouTube channel also called Cooperative Care with Deb Jones. And it's got a bunch of random videos of different procedures. So you can just search for anything that you're interested in doing with your dog. And you'll find some free videos there that you can take a look at work that I've done, I mentioned the original cooperative care book, it's Cooperative Care Seven Steps to Stress-Free Husbandry that's available on Amazon. And that book will lead you again. I talked about some of the things to do early, like, you know, holding still and, and liking being on table. The book lead you through that step by step and I think gives a lot of information on how to start on pretty much everything.

The cooperative care website, the cooperative care certificate website has information and videos, lots of videos of the different exercises on there. I think we have at least two videos for every exercise, if not more. And then we show people who go through the whole thing. So if you're just looking at how to do things, you can feel free to look at the videos.

We have a set of Vimeo videos that go along with, with the certificate program that you can take a look at to see how to train for some of those things more specifically, have I missed anything? The new ebook? I think that's it. Think that's it. I think that's very preclass.

Melissa Breau: I think the only thing you didn't mention was the class itself. Do you wanna talk a little more About that?

Deb Jones: Oh yeah, that's right. And I'm teaching it right now. I should remember that. It's like, get to the front of my brain and I haven't thought about it. Okay. So the class, like all Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Classes, is the six week big class that we go through all of the basics, but because we go through a lot, we can only, we can't go deep into anything. It's like a survey class would be in college. Here's a little bit of everything. And where we've just gotten finished with week one, as I mentioned. So we did the zen work and we did the place training. We're starting to introduce touch and handling in week two, we're, we're going to be getting into all of the procedures like eyes and ears, nails, teeth, all the basic stuff. And we do talk, you know, I do talk and, and we go over at the end of the class introducing other people into your work and taking your dog other places also to do your work and talk about generalizing things and how to, how to help that process go along smoothly. So it's, it's a good overall general introduction to all of the things that you ought to be doing with your dog so that you don't miss any major thing. Any weird thing can happen physically to your dog and, and they have an injury or they're going to need eyedrops or they need, you know, their ears cleaned regularly.

So we might as well do as much as we can to prepare for those things and try to get it to be all as pleasant or at least as least unpleasant as possible that didn't actually come out right. But you know what I mean, as, you know what I mean, neutral, neutral, positive.

Melissa Breau: Exactly.

Deb Jones: And in class I talk a little bit about some of the underlying things, like the fact that we're using a lot of classical conditioning, some people care about that, some people don't care at all, and that's fine. But I've got, you know, lecture on what classical conditioning is and why it's so important here and how it differs from operant conditioning where we're teaching behaviors, which is a lot of what we think about when we think about positive reinforcement work, but we're, we're approaching it much more from the dog's emotional state and making sure that's right all the time. So we have lectures where we talk about that as well and we're always kind of gauging the dog's comfort levels as we go through and making sure we're not pushing anything too far and we're not making them too uncomfortable in the training process. So I love teaching this class. It's a lot. It's a class that's a lot of fun to teach because you see really nice, you know, quick progress in a lot of the dogs as we go through it.

Melissa Breau: You've obviously spent a lot of time on this topic and created lots of resources. So do you wanna just share why this is such an important topic to you? Kind of what led you to focus on it?

Deb Jones: I really, I really kind of fell down the rabbit hole of it and, and never came back out. And so it's probably been about 10, 10, 12 years now that I've been working in this area. And when I first started it was just not even a thing. Cooperative care wasn't anything anybody had ever heard of.

But of course what happened was, I had a dog who developed a fear of the vet and it became a pretty serious fear of the vet very quickly as Star, my Border Collie. And so I knew that we had to do something because she was young and she had a lot of years of vet visits and being handled in her life.

And she got to the point where, you know, she would growl if you tried to touch her. She would resist all anything, including, you know, having her feet touched was the worst. So we had a, I had a lot to work through, so I thought about how I would approach it and what I would do and what she needed.

And I knew that she needed to be comfortable. I knew that it was fear-based and I knew that it was a very stressful for her. And she wanted, she needed my support. She didn't need me to force her to do things. She needed me to help her be comfortable with the things that had to be done. And so that started me down this path and I've always been somebody who kind of looks at the bigger picture, what do I want the outcome to be? And then I have to go back and start breaking it down into all the, all the steps that are going to get me there and all the things that I need to do to get to the place I wanna be along the way. And so that started me and once I began to realize what a big issue it is and saw how many dogs out there, highly trained dogs, well trained dogs have problems with some sort of cooperative care procedure or all of them that it's, yeah, and it's, it's like, oh, this is really a quality of life issue for many, many dogs and we can do something about it. It's, and it's more important than a lot of the things that I spent a lot of time training.

It's like it's, it, it became more important to me than obedience or agility or rally. I mean, those are all fun things to do, but they're, they don't matter as much to the dog's quality of life as doing the cooperative care work does. We just always know they're gonna be unexpected events that happen in a dog's life. A dog's going to, you know, Star ate a corn cob, which, you know, I never expected that Star never set a foot out of line her entire life. And so here's this dog, you know, at 10 years old who is, who doesn't like the vet very much and now gets to have two surgeries to have the corn cob removed and to deal with the aftermath.

So if I had not done all that work with her ahead of time, I don't think she would've handled it well. And she handled it very, very well considering, you know, how, how serious the issue was and how sick she was. And she was able to bounce back, which is like amazing because then she just recently had to have another major surgery and same thing.

I worried about it, but because I've done all that work all these years, she tolerated it really well and she bounced back and she's like, okay, I'm good. You know, I could deal with this. And I think we all have to expect the unexpected and prepare the dogs for that. I just think it's good. It's just part of being a good owner that we do these things.

So that's why, you know, and once I started looking at the area, I just kept finding more and more and more to teach and more and more and more to talk about. And you know, we've, we've barely scratched the surface even talking about it now because there's still so much more that we could discuss. But I'll leave it at that for the moment.

Melissa Breau: Well, any kind of final thoughts or key points that you wanna maybe leave folks with as we wrap up?

Deb Jones: Okay, I can do that. So the one thing that I always say, and I say it a lot and I don't, sometimes I feel like I'm screaming into the void with it, is slow and steady. Take your time. There's no rush, but don't stop working. Just keep doing things. You don't have to do a lot, you don't have any arbitrary time limit for getting things done with our cooperative care work, but keep moving forward with it. Keep adding to it. Doing a little bit, lots of short sessions. When I say short, I tell people a minute, a session is a minute, train for a minute and then take a break and people are just like getting warmed up. It's like, no, my minute and I am done. And then take a break for a while, come back for another minute, take a break, come back for another minute. But breaking it up like that really does make it easy for your dog to learn what you want them to learn.

And it makes them look forward to these little sessions as opposed to when you drag it out for 10 or 15 minutes and then they're like, so done. They've had enough. And especially when we're working with something where they're, you know, there can be kind of emotional issues, there can be some stress, there can be nervousness. We, we, we can't push that and I don't wanna push that. So I think it's especially important to keep things short. Plus, I I say if you keep it short, you're not digging a bigger hole. If things are going badly, you are only doing it wrong for a minute as opposed to 10 minutes. That's a huge difference. So keeping sessions short, I think that's, that's the other thing that I've been saying a lot lately to people and when people, my short is very different than what people think that, so I tried to clarify that. So those are things, don't be in a hurry, but keep after it and keep it in a lot of little sessions and you'll be really amazed at the progress that can happen and the change and the difference that can happen.

Melissa Breau: Awesome. All right. Well thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Deb.

Deb Jones: Oh, thank you. I always love talking to you. You know, it's always fun.

Melissa Breau: Back at you. And thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. We'll be back next week. 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.


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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