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Category Archives for "Podcasts"

German shepherd with cocked head, colleen pelar
Sep 27

Critical Thinking: Ginny Price, CVT, VTS (Behavior)

Podcasts

​Do you think about how you think? Do you employ critical thinking techniques to examine your biases and beliefs? Do you consciously and deliberately explore all the options, perspectives, and consequences of your decisions?

Probably not.

More than 40% of our daily activities are based on habit and pattern. But what about the other 60%? Even there, we're likely to make snap judgments without applying much critical thought.

And, no, not every decision needs to be turned inside out and upside down before you take action, but understanding the elements of critical thinking can help you make better decisions and make process of deciding less stressful.

That's a worthy goal! So I asked Ginny Price, MS, CVT, VTS (Behavior), to talk to me about critical thinking. Ginny teaches in St. Petersburg College's Veterinary Technology Program and includes the critical thinking exercises in all of our courses.

Ginny Price, CVT, VTS (Behavior)

​Ginny is definitely a critical thinker. I suspected that I am not and confessed to that right away.

But over the course of our conversation, I came to see that we all use critical thinking in some facets of our lives.

The ​real benefit to become more intentional about it, to apply it more broadly, more consistently. And to do that, you've got to monitor your thinking.

Monitoring your thoughts and choosing how to respond to them is a topic that comes up over and over on UNLEASHED (at work & home).

It's one of those simple, but not easy strategies for improving our lives. Awareness is the first step, and followed by deliberate practice ​of analyzing options and choosing ​how to respond.

​Sounds exhausting, right? In actuality, critical thinking will help ease your stress.

It will show you how your biases and beliefs affect your behavior, which in itself is an eye-opening experience. Many of our assumptions are based on social constructs that we aren't consciously aware of.

(Check the links below for some paradigm-shifting ideas from training goldfish to questioning the relative safety of an oxygen tank. The On Being podcast with Mahzarin Banaji is well worth your time.)

Ready to try some critical thinking? Here's a starter exercise Ginny suggests. Pick a topic (e.g., why is it common to train our dogs and not our cats?) and write down all the assumptions you can think of about it. Ask other people to do the same.

​Read over your lists. Where's the overlap? Did you find any biases that may not be true? Things that are worth examining further? I bet you will.

​LINKS WORTH CLICKING: 



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somber child with dog
Sep 13

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Samantha Clarke, LCSW

Podcasts

​Our pasts form our present in many ways, some overt and others so subtle that we don't even make the connection. Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are traumatic events likely to have long-lasting impact on our adult lives.

In 1995, the Centers for Disease Control teamed up with Kaiser Permanente for one of the largest studies how childhood trauma and later-life health and wellbeing. More than 17,000 people participated in the initial study.

Samantha Clarke, MPA, LCSW, is the clinical director of Doorways for Women and Families, which provides services for people affected by homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assualt. 

(I'm a new volunteer in the children's program at Doorways, which means I go play with kids living in Doorways' family home (which can provide housing for up to 22 people) to give the parents a short break. This week, I spent an evening playing with seven kids, a big collection of plastic dinosaurs, and Play-Doh. Lucky me.​)

​I asked Sam to talk with me about ACE scores and how childhood trauma may be related to the desire to pursue a career working with animals. Last year, I read Nadine Burke Harris's book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, and it sparked many thoughts for me. I was delighted to be able to explore them with Sam.

​An ACE score is based on answers to 10 questions. Forty percent of people have an ACE score of 2 or more, 20% have a score of 3 or more, and 12% have a score of 4 or more.

​The study showed that the higher a person's ACE score, the more likely the​y are to have ​challenges related to

  • ​Mental Health
  • Behavior
  • Relationships
  • Physical Health

​On the surface, it doesn't sound right that a person with an ACE score of 4 or more is 260% more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). What does one thing have to do with the other? But during traumatic periods, our bodies ​are flooded with stress hormones, which promote survival in the moment, but also cause inflammation and disease over time.

​We can't rewrite history. I asked Sam what a person should do to mitigate these negative effects and move forward.

She said there's a huge value to acknowledging and "owning" your history. This can change the conversation from "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?"

It's vital to form connections, to develop a support system that affirms your worth, supports your growth, and helps you know that you are not alone. 

​Common trauma- and stress-related behaviors include

  • avoidance
  • ​trouble focusing
  • unable to identify feelings
  • low self-esteem
  • poor impulse control
  • aggression

For many people, animals can provide "sanctuary relationships," where the person feels safe from expectations, judgment, or physical harm.

In many cases, people often become impassioned protectors of animals because they know how it feels not to have someone who takes care of them. They can fill the role for animals that abusive or neglectful parents did not fill for them.

​Wondering about your ACE score? The questions are below. 

​Find Your ACE Score


Prior to your 18th birthday:


  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  7. Was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?                        
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison?
    No___ If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: ​______ This is your ACE score.


​Sam shared these tips for supporting friends and coworkers who show signs that they're struggling:

  • Identify what you see. "You seem pulled in many directions. I have some extra time in my schedule today. Could I help you with X?”
  • Ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
  • ​Be careful not to sound accusatory. This can be tricky. When we're stressed, we often misinterpret other people's attempts to be supportive as judgments.
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sad dog, compassion fatigue, colleen pelar
Aug 30

Compassion Fatigue: Kellie Snider, MS, BCABA

Podcasts

​We talk a lot about the negative effects of stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue on UNLEASHED (at work & home). On this week's episode, Kellie Snider, MS, BCABA, shares her experience​ with compassion fatigue while working for 10 years at a high-volume shelter in Texas.

She ​likened the emotional and physical effects to "wearing a lead raincoat."

​Kellie Snider, author of Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly

​As happens to so many animal-care professionals, Kellie found the symptoms built up over time, so subtly that she wasn't always aware of their effects. ​Her friends and family could see changes that she hadn't noticed.


​Are you stuck? 
Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your resilience to the effects of challenging, emotionally difficult work.


​It's time to take care of yourself.


Eventually Kellie ​needed to leave her position at the shelter and take several months off to ​rest and rejuvenate.

Since this interview, Kellie has been hired as the behavior program director for Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh where she's excited to help animals find homes and help the staff stay healthy and happy. ​

One thing Kellie found especially helpful to her recovery was spending time creating art. She's quite talented. You can see more of her work at www.paintedcatstudio.com.

Also be sure to check out www.behaviorunlimited.com for her blog and information about her book, Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly.


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Aug 16

Second Chances: Kim Imel, CPDT-KA

Podcasts

​Second chances. Sooner or later, we all need a second chance and find ourselves hoping that other people will be gracious enough to allow us one.

​Kim Imel, CPDT-KA, and Carol Byrnes, CPDT, are the lead dog trainers in the Pawsitive Dog prison training program at Airway Heights Corrections Center in Washington.

Kim shared stories of grace, redemption, and personal growth that ​came from giving men in prison the opportunity to learn new strategies for changing behavior. These lessons applied not just to their canine students, but to their own lives, how they interacted with each other, with their families, and even how they treated themselves.

​Are you in need of a second chance? Do you know someone who is?

Granting a second chance doesn't mean being a doormat. You can and should establish boundaries with anyone to whom you're granting a bit of grace.

At the same time, ​if you let go of your preconceived notions, you may find yourself in the presence of a miracle.


​Are you stuck? 
Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your levels of fun and productivity.


What are you waiting for?  


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Aug 02

Empathy: Fiia Jokela, DVM, DABVP (canine/feline)

Podcasts

​Have you ever been told to toughen up? To suppress your feelings? To stop being such a baby about things?

​Empathetic people are often accused of feeling things too deeply and made to feel that there's something wrong with their level of compassion and concern.

Sometimes we internalize that message and beat ourselves up for the depth of our feelings. We tell ourselves that we should be able to ​compartmentalize, just put the hardest parts of the job into lockbox and hide it away.

But the best way for us to deal with the challenges of our jobs is share how we're feeling, not hide it!

Fiia Jokela, DVM, DABVP, talked with me about her 28 years of experience as a veterinarian. For her, developing a specialization in behavior helped to rekindle her enthusiasm by virtue of learning something new and by strengthening her collegial contacts. (Our brains love both of these things!)

We are wired to connect. We can't lock our hearts away to protect them. ​Doing so ​​diminishes our positive emotions every bit as much as the negative ones until we simply become numb--and that's no way to live.

​​A few questions for you:

  • Who can you talk to when you are feeling stressed? Who will listen without judgment and help you move forward?
  • What is ​one great thing that happened at work this week? What could you do to make it happen again?
  • What do you feel is missing in your life right now? What's one thing you could do to move toward it?
Jul 19

Celebration: Chris Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC

Podcasts

​Our brains are wired for negativity. That's pretty helpful in evolutionary terms, but sometimes it can makes us awfully cranky. It's easy to get bogged down by all the stresses and strains of daily life. Why should we celebrate when there's so much bad in the world?

If we approach the question from that angle, we've got it backwards.

Let's flip it. Given all the stresses and strains of daily life, aren't warm hugs, gorgeous sunsets, and puppy kisses all the more amazing?

​Doesn't it feel awesome when we're able to connect with and serve our clients? And how great is it that​ their pets have people who love and care about them? ​

Chris Pachel, DVM, DACVB, makes a real effort to celebrate his wins, especially the smaller, daily wins. ​

We all understand big wins, like scoring a promotion, finishing a degree, or reaching a fitness goal, but those don't happen on a daily basis.

But every day, good things happen in your life that you may not notice when your brain is scanning the environment for bad stuff. 

​What constitutes a small, everyday win in your life?

  • ​What's a good commute? ​Arriving in a specific time frame? Getting a set number of green lights?
  • ​When is a client appointment a win? If you shoot for 100% compliance, you're likely to have fewer wins than if your goal is clear communication and the client understanding the treatment plan ​
  • ​What's a win with your colleagues? Getting three people to smile at work? Meeting a task-related benchmark?

Odds are good that you haven't defined your daily wins at this level.

I sure hadn't. ​I'm all about appreciation and gratitude, but somehow I never asked myself what a win would look like with small, daily tasks such as these.

​Listen in for a lively discussion of how you can find more joy in your live by actively, deliberately, consciously celebrating small wins.

​​Learn more about Dr. Pachel's work at  the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR.

​Are you stuck? 
Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your levels of fun and productivity.


What are you waiting for?  

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Jul 05

Self-Injury & Suicide: Sally Foote, DVM, CFBC

Podcasts

​Drumming your fingers against your leg. Twirling your hair around your fingers. Biting your nails. Eating a candy bar in the afternoon. Having a drink after work. 

These are all self-soothing behaviors that can become repetitive patterns. They can move from being something that makes you feel a bit better to something you need to do.

​They can also lose their effectiveness, so that you need more stimulation to get the same level of relief.

​At this point, you begin a downward spiral. Your brain craves the relief of the behavior, but it doesn't come. So you either increase the intensity, duration, or frequency of the behavior, or you start adding additional ones.

"Why, yes, I will have a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream each night before bed. It helps me unwind."

We all have stress, and we all have self-soothing behaviors.

​However when your job requires you to deal with emotionally traumatic situations, you may not be aware of how much the work is affecting you, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

It's common to develop a workaholic's drive: THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO, SO I MUST DO MORE!

You push yourself, day after day, to show up and help people and their pets with really challenging, often life-and-death situations. 

​​It's hard and it hurts.

And if you don't have healthy strategies for moving through the pain and back toward solid ground, you may find yourself feeling deflated, discouraged, and depressed.

That's where UNLEASHED (at work & home) comes in with podcasts and programs that help animal-care professionals feel valued, supported, and energized.

This week ​Dr. Sally Foote joined me to talk about what happens when self-soothing behaviors turn into self-injuring behaviors, such as cutting, alcoholism, drug dependency, and chronic over-work.

​When those strategies no longer provide relief, some people consider suicide because they can no longer handle the pain that they are experiencing.

​It's imperative that veterinarians, vet techs, and other animal-care professionals understand the risks inherent in their work and develop healthy strategies for mitigating their effects.

Dr. Foote shared many excellent tips of her own and also highly recommended Vet Girl on the Run's superb suicide awareness webinar by Jeannine Moga, MA, MSW, LCSW. Check it out.

Sally Foote, DVM

​Are you stuck? 
Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your levels of fun and productivity.


What are you waiting for?  


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Jun 21

Success Strategies: Leslie Sinn, DVM, DACVB

Podcasts

​I recently bought the smaller of two bags of potato chips, even though they were pretty close in price. The larger bag would have been the better deal. ​

​Why did I buy the small bag? Simple. I didn't want to eat all the chips in the larger bag. 

​Oh, sure, in theory, I could have stopped at the halfway point of the larger bag and saved the rest for later.

But if you know me, you know history has shown that I don't do that. I should*, but I don't. I'd even argue I can't​. 

All the rational thinking in the world doesn't help much when I'm smelling fresh, crispy potato chips. The crinkle of the bag. The salt on my tongue. There's a reason Lay's uses "Betcha can't eat just one" as a marketing tagline.

So I set myself up for success by choosing the smaller portion. When I finished my small ag chips, I was happier than I would have been after eating the large bag.

One of the first things dog trainers learn is that many undesirable behaviors are easier to prevent than to retrain.

The same holds true for human behaviors. ​

​Humans pride ourselves on our big brains that allow us to behave rationally. Yet time after time, we go to our default patterns.

What do you do after work? How do you unwind? What do you eat for breakfast? What route do you drive to get to the grocery store?

It's likely that you have default answers for those behaviors and many, many others.

Nothing is stronger than habit. Ovid

​Leslie Sinn, DVM, DACVB, offered some eye-opening insights into why we rely on our default patterns.

​And then she shared some awesome strategies for changing our defaults.

This requires some honest introspection and thoughtful planning.

But who has time for that?

You do. I do. We all do. When we carve that time out and make it a practice. And that happens by taking baby steps toward the goal.

​​And, as all good dog trainers know, the steps for successfully changing behavior will vary from individual to individual. 

There's nothing more annoying that having people tell you, "Just follow these five simple steps." Invariably, one or more of the steps doesn't work for you the way it worked for them.

The key is to find the strategies that work best for YOU.  I love helping people figure that out.

​Once you've set yourself up for success, ​you'll have more time and energy for the things that are personally meaningful to you.

​Are you tired of your default patterns? Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your levels of fun and productivity.

What are you waiting for?  


​Visit Dr. Sinn's website: www.behaviorsolutions.guru

 

​* Be sure to check out episode 20 for a great conversation with Chris Pachel, DVM, DACVB, about how the word "should" affects us!


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May 24

Choice: Jaclyn Rudebeck

Podcasts

​What choices have you made today? And which ones have you ignored? ​Do you often feel you have very few options, that you're stuck in a stressful routine, and can't get out?

Do you avoid taking time off because there's too much work to be done? ​Do you leap out of bed in the morning eager to tackle the day, or hit the snooze button "just once more, I swear" until you can muster the energy to get up?

Jaclyn Rudebeck was the director of operations at Greenhill Humane Society for several years. ​

She's a big believer in the importance of having fun at work. Why should that matter? Well, if you care about productivity and quality, it matters a lot.

Happy employees:

  • Have superior performance and productivity
  • ​Are less likely to experience burnout or compassion fatigue
  • ​Have less conflict with their coworkers
  • Think more creatively and flexibly
  • Move ​into management positions with greater comfort and skill
  • Identify more cooperative strategies
  • Miss fewer days of work and are less likely to quit

​You're making choices all day long. Some of your choices are on autopilot. They're things you decided long ago and have stopped questioning. 

They may be relatively unimportant things like what you eat for breakfast. 

Or these choices may be monumental like where you work, where you live, and how you interact with other people. Forty percent of your life satisfaction comes from your intentional activities.

​One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your life is to take time to think about your choices. Really examine them.

Are your choices working for you? Are you getting the results you want? If not, what could you do differently? 

​Get specific. Start by focusing on what you DO want.

What choices could you make that will move you closer to your goals?

​Are you stuck? 
Not sure how to move forward?

Why not give me a call? In your free, 20-minute session, we'll explore ways to boost your levels of fun and productivity.


What are you waiting for?  


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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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