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Category Archives for "Podcasts"

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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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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