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Category Archives for "Podcasts"

May 10

Listening: Laurie Schulze, DVM,

Podcasts

​How well do you listen? If you're like most people, you don't listen very well at all. Much of the time, we're thinking more about what we're going to say next rather than what the other person is saying to us.

​Does that really matter when you are the expert and the other person is the client? Surely they're paying for your opinion not to hear themselves talk.

Actually it matters a lot. As Laurie Schulze, DVM, shared, careful, effective listening skills will help you identify exactly what's going on in this pet's home. And that information is vital to know before jumping in with recommendations.

Laurie Schulze, DVM

​Laurie Schulze, DVM

You'll not only find that you can give better recommendations, you'll also discover that client compliance goes way up too.

People are much more likely to follow directions when they feel heard and understood. ​

If clients feel rushed or judged, it's easy for them to assume you don't really understand their special situation, and they'll tweak your guidelines to suit their preferences. Not because they don't care about their pet, but because they don't feel, deep in their bones, that you fully heard their concerns.

In this interview, Dr. Schulze shares some great tips for improving your listening skills. To learn more about Dr. Schulze and her behavior work, visit ​www.ProtectTheBond.com


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Apr 26

Play: Rise VanFleet, PhD

Podcasts

Are you having any fun today? If not, why not?

​​Play is important. It eases our stress and ​actually improves our work.

​Caring for animals is serious work. ​You've got a never-ending caseload, and the demands of the work often wear you down physically and emotionally.

A playful spirit can transform your mood and others' even in the midst of the stress and urgency.  


​Rise VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC

Dr. Rise VanFleet is a play therapist and president of the International Institute for Animal-Assisted Play Therapy. In this episode, she shared some of the many benefits of play:

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    ​Increased creativity and flexibility
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    Better physical and mental health
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    ​Improved performance and productivity
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    Stronger relationships
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    Emotional contagion in a positive direction (instead of being dragged down by someone else's negative emotions)

​If your workplace isn't very playful, Rise recommends starting slowly by interjecting small bits of affirming humor (never sarcasm!) into your interactions. She says everyone can be playful, but it can be uncomfortable for some people because somewhere along the line they were penalized for it and learned to suppress that side of themselves. As with all behavior changes, start small and reward baby steps.

Rise's book, The Human Half of Dog Training, also offers lots of strategies for ​making tough conversations less stressful (not necessarily playful, but definitely easier). Check it out. You may also be interested in Rise's Facebook group, Animals and Play.

What are your best tips for ​finding more play in your life? How do you think play can be an asset in an animal hospital or other animal-care workplace?

Share what you do and how it helps you in the comments below.


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Apr 12

Personality: Neika Smessaert, RVT

Podcasts

I had a great conversation with Neika Smessaert about the importance of understanding your own personality traits and those of the people around you.

News flash: we aren't all wired the same. You knew that, of course, but have you ever really thought about why you respond to some situations differently than other people? ​

Neika worked for 20 years as a vet tech at an extraordinary animal hospital in South Bend, IN, before leaving to focus full time on her dog-training business, Vet Tech Coach. The owner of the practice ​was committed to helping each team member work toward their strengths and become a stronger team. 

In fact, the animal hospital even did Myers-Briggs testing of the employees so they could learn more about their personality types. The Myers-Briggs assessment looks at introversion/extroversion, how you like to handle information (sensing/intuition), how you make decisions (thinking/feeling), and your preference for structure (judging/perceiving).

Neika is an ESFP, which means extrovert/sensing/feeling/perceiving. Basically she's the fun lover of the group! As she described in our interview, having tendencies based on your personality type can explain behavior, but never excuses behavior. She can bring the fun without being a flake!

Neika Smessaert

​Neika Smessaert with Fry (l) and Gwen (r)

How did knowing more about behavior help the hospital be more productive? Well, it made everyone more self-sufficient, decreased conflict, prevented gossip, strengthened teams, and helped people understand how best to approach one another to get the results they wanted. That's a pretty big return on investment--and all it comes from a place of self-awareness and growth.

​What changes would you like to see in the way your team interacts? What chronic issues seem unresolvable? How could knowing a bit more about human behavior help?

Questions like these fascinate me. I love exploring the answers, looking for subtle insights, and helping people find practical solutions to their problems in my programs.


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Dog digging
Mar 29

Dedication: April Kung, DVM

Podcasts

Dr. April Kung

​April Kung, DVM, talked with me about dedication—specifically how pursuing resilience skills requires the same kind of focus and dedication as academic achievement (or a dog trying to get the last bit of peanut butter out of a Kong).

I love Dr. K​'s book, On Becoming a Veterinarian: What to Expect, How to Prepare. It's the first book in an eight-part series designed to set veterinary students ​up for success in the workplace. For many, it's a bumpy transition.

​Dr. K shares my passion for filling that gap by teaching people the resilience skills they'll need to truly thrive in the challenging field of veterinary medicine. 

Here's the thing ... when you are stressed out, a lot of the ​advice you'll receive can seem glib or trite.

"Breathe? Really? Clearly I am breathing. It's not helping."

It can be tough convincing someone to give these strategies a try. Don't be fooled, however, by the simplicity of the activities; they have plenty of scientific evidence to back them up.

And, quite frankly, just because they are simple, it doesn't mean they're easy. The mental, emotional, physical, and social strategies that I teach in my workshops and coaching sessions and that Dr. K espouses in her book can take time, patience, and, the theme of this week's episode, dedication to master.

​​To learn more about Dr. K and her books for veterinary students, visit www.realize.vet.

​If you'd like ​to receive my free guide, 10 Ways to Recharge When You Don't Have Time to Take a Break, click here.

You've got to start where you are. Baby steps can get you moving in the right direction. ​

What is one small thing you can do today that would make you feel even 1% better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

1% better every day = 37.8% better in a year

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Mar 15

Flexibility: Sherrie Yuschak, RVT, VTS (behavior), KPA-CTP

Podcasts

How flexible are you?

I'm not talking about yoga or your physical flexibility.

​How flexible are you in terms of examining the results of your behavior and deciding maybe it's time to try something new?

​It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that nothing can or will change. But we can change!

Sherrie Yuschak, RVT and faculty member of the Karen Pryor Academy, talked with Colleen Pelar about having some flexibility in our responses can make us feel happier, healthier, and more in control of our lives. www.colleenpelar.com/13

​Sherrie Yuschak, RVT, VTS-Behavior

This week, I talked about flexibility with Sherrie Yuschak​, a registered veterinary technician and veterinary technical specialist in behavior, who is on the faculty of the Karen Pryor Academy. ​

Forty percent of our daily activities are based in habit--things we do without thinking. How's that working out for you?

​According to a 2010 Gallup study (by Rath & Harter), there are five essential elements for well-being:

  • ​Career well-being
  • ​Social well-being
  • ​Financial well-being
  • ​Physical well-being
  • ​Community well-being

​Only 7% of people are flourishing, that is, doing well in all five areas. Sixty-six percent are languishing, doing well in one area. Yikes! That's terrifying. It's definitely time for us to try some new things to find greater satisfaction in all areas of our lives.

Sherrie had lots of thoughts about the benefits and challenges of being flexible in a veterinary clinic or other animal-care workplace where there are so many competing demands on your time, energy, and attention. ​​It takes a bit of courage to try something new and a lot of self-compassion to keep at it when we struggle. There are many benefits to becoming more flexible at work:

  • ​Increased productivity because you see creative solutions others miss
  • Reduced stress and a greater sense of control
  • ​Improved communition and responsiveness to others' needs
  • ​Expanded opportunities by embracing change
  • Better reputation for problem solving and teamwork

In addition to inspiring flexibility and resilience at work, Sherrie ​is also fostering those traits in her mule, Daisy, who is gradually learning to shape her world through deliberate choices as well. Daisy thinks it's difficult, but worth it. What do you think?

Daisy, the mule


​What are your best tips for stretching your comfort zone and trying something new? How do you think being flexible is an asset in an animal hospital or other animal-care workplace?

Share what you do and how it helps you in the comments below.


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UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast episode 9: Resourcefulness
Jan 18

Resourcefulness: Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA

Podcasts

Melissa Winkle

How resourceful are you?

After Hurricane Harvey, a photo went viral of a dog named Otis carrying a large bag of kibble down the street. Now that's resourceful! ​

​Occupational therapist Melissa Winkle ​is one of the most resourceful people I've ever met. She finds ingenious ways to help her clients meet their goals--often by enlisting a dog to help!

Seventy percent of Melissa's clients are children. What could make going to therapy more fun than working with dogs? I can't think of anything.

With her team of canine assistants, Melissa creates individualized activities that engage her clients and teach them the skills they need to thrive. 

Dogwood Therapy dogs

​Clockwise from top left: Lucy, Clementine, Woody, & Gertrude,

​I asked Melissa if she would share a few videos of her dogs in action. Check out Clementine learning to use a snuffle ball below.

​And here's Woody and a novice trainer learning to make beautiful music together.

​Wait, is that a pig? Yep, Elvis auditioned for the dog band. To see a video of a cacaphonous an enthusiastic band of five dogs and trainers, The B-Dog Woofers, click this link.

​To learn more about Melissa Winkle and her work, visit www.dogwoodtherapy.com. Also check out her books on Amazon!

UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast episode 9

​Are you enterprising, creative, scrappy, and resourceful? What helps you look at things in a new way?

Share what you do and how it helps you in the comments below.


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Dr. Patricia McConnell discusses emotions with Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at the behavior of dogs and of people.
Dec 07

Emotions: Patricia McConnnell, PhD

Podcasts

Dr. Patricia McConnell discusses emotions with Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at the behavior of dogs and of people.

Dr. Patricia McConnell has spent her life studying her two favorite species: people and dogs. I invited her to come on UNLEASHED (at work & home) to talk about emotions.

In this fascinating discussion, she shared many great insights.

  • Why do we have emotions? What are they good for?
  • ​How do dogs' emotions compare with human emotions?
  • When do emotions help us? When do emotions get in our way?
  • What should you do when you feel your emotions taking over?
Dr. Patricia McConnell discusses emotions with Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at the behavior of dogs and of people.

One of Patricia McConnell's many gifts is her ability to take complex scientific information and relate it to real life. 

I nod off while trying to read articles published in scientific journals. I'm so grateful there are scientists doing important work, but I'm particularly grateful for the folks who'll plow through all that dry material and then share the key takeaways with me. 

Life is too short to be bored, and Patricia McConnell is never boring! 

We talked about the value of observing your emotional state. It can change in a split second, and when your emotions change, your behavior changes as well. She ​mentioned how challenging it can be to spot an emotion when it pops up: "Oh, hello, fear."

I shared a concept I've found helpful--the 3 N's. 

  1. Notice. Often people aren't really aware of their emotional state and the physical sensations that accompany it. Take a moment to notice how you feel.
  2. Name. Identify which emotion you are feeling. You can start with the basics (happy, sad, angry, anxious, disgusted) and, as you get better, begin to notice the nuances (e.g., content and elated both fall within the happy category, but don't really feel the same).
  3. Navigate. Make a plan for how you want to respond to this emotion. Far too often, we react without thinking and then spend our time replaying situations over and over in our heads. That's exhausting and unhealthy. Far better to take a moment and make a plan.
The 3 N’s of managing your emotions: notice, name, and navigate. Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at behavior.
Dr. Patricia McConnell discusses emotions with Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at the behavior of dogs and of people.

Patricia McConnell ​writes about dogs, people, and life. She blogs regularly (to an audience of 45,000) and has written many books. Some of her most popular titles include

She also shared some thoughts about Wild: An Elemental Journey, by Jay Griffiths, in which the author argues that by focusing so much on our cognitive abilities, humans are losing touch with some of our more instinctive knowledge of connection to one and other and to the world.

Dr. Patricia McConnell discusses emotions with Colleen Pelar on the UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast. Learn how emotions help us and how they can trip us up. A fascinating look at the behavior of dogs and of people.

How does an awareness of your emotional state help you?

Share what you do and how it helps you in the comments below.


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Oct 26

Consent: Leslie Stewart, PhD, LPC

Podcasts

​There's an important distinction to be made between consent and compliance. There are many ways to coerce people into doing things they're not entirely comfortable with, so you can't always look at what people are doing to know what they believe.

Dr. Leslie Stewart

Dr. Leslie Stewart, an assistant professor of counseling at Idaho State University, shared her ideas about what truly consent means and how having a better understanding of consent can help us develop stronger relationships--with animals and with people.

​Meet Leslie's animal partners

Sophie is convinced she knows more than Leslie ever will.

When Star hears "Let's chat," she hops up in a chair and strikes a listening pose.

Killer

Hazel


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Oct 10

Feedback: Theresa McKeon

Podcasts

​Clarity. It's all about the clarity of the information provided to the learner. Whether you are teaching a dog to walk nicely on a leash, coaching a gymnast to vault through the air, or teaching an employee how to file a monthly report, what you say--and don't say--matters a lot.

Theresa McKeon


​P.S. Don't forget to listen to episode 1 about humor and episode 2 about cooperation ​​ too! Many more UNLEASHED episodes will be released in the weeks to come!

Theresa McKeon's dog, Penny

​Penny teaches Theresa and her family to have calm discussions.

Theresa McKeon's horse, Prozac

​Prozac puts Theresa in timeout if he thinks she's being unclear.


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