Episode 4 – Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie has worked with dogs for the past 38 years. She has written two books to help humans understand dogs and their behaviors. In her books, she shares experiences and the knowledge she’s gained through the different positions she’s held in the field. She believes that once you drop your fear of the animal and handle them with love and understanding they become less afraid and less reactive. Being prepared for anything and staying calm with all dogs is all it takes.
Website: http://www.human-dog-connection.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanDogConnection/“Welcome to the Animal Trainers podcast, where our goal is to introduce you to amazing trainers and behaviorists who are helping animals. This podcast is proudly sponsored by Doobert.com. Doobert is a free platform designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only place that automates local rides and transports. Now, on with our show!  Lynne Marie has worked with dogs for the past 38 years. She has written two books to help humans understand dogs and their behaviors. In her books, she shares experiences and the knowledge she’s gained throughout the different positions she’s held in the field. She believes that once you drop your fear of the animal and handle them with love and understanding, they become less afraid and less reactive. Being prepared for anything and staying calm with a dog is all it takes.  Hi Lynne. Welcome to the show. Hello. Hi. I’m really excited to have you today and learn a little bit more about what you’re doing and what your background is. So why don’t you start me there and tell me how you came to be in the animal training industry? Tell me a little bit about your childhood and your background. Oh, well, I knew when I was about four or five years old, we actually had a dog that my parents had gotten rid of. I thought they had her put to sleep, and at that point, I knew my life was gonna be in dogs. And from you know, I was raised with dogs. I’ve always, we’ve always had a dog in the family, and I also was raised with horses. So I learned a lot with the horses to begin with and then onto the dogs. My parents divorced when I was 16. And I got my first job at a boarding and grooming kennel. And from that point on, I just went into multiple different fields in the dogs for the past 38 years.  Yeah, that’s quite the history, right? I always find it fascinating when people tell me they knew at the age of 4, 5, 6 years old, that that’s what they wanted to do. And that it’s fascinating to me because a lot of people think kids don’t know what they want to do, right. They have this dream, and firefighters and astronauts, and all of those things. And I’ll tell you the more and more I talk to people, the more and more I find that kids do know what they want. Right to your story. At five years old, you knew there was something inside of you that was pulling you down that path. 38 years later, 38 years later, here you are. Yeah. And I mean, you know when that, you follow your passion, and it was my passion. Dogs are my passion and I didn’t allow anybody to stop me, I was going to do it. I just want to say thank you for sticking that out.  And you’ve done a lot of different things, right? Groomers, borders, working at organizations, shelters all sorts of different things. And so talk to me about what you’re doing today and what that journey has been like for you. Well, you when I first got into dogs, always thought Okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna help dogs. I’m gonna do everything I possibly can to help dogs. Well, you know, being in the business, all of them, you know, showing dogs, working as a vet tech, all of the positions that I had. I learned that it wasn’t the dogs that needed the help. It was the humans in their life. So that’s what I’m working on now, getting to, you know, into the humans. You know, I did it with my businesses that I had, always helped the individuals with their dogs. Well, now I would like to, you know, span that out and get more people you know to teach. I’ve written two books. The first one, “Understanding Behavior”. That one goes into specific, you know, why does the dog bark? Why does the dog dig? Why does the dog tear up things?  And then my second book is “Fantastic Creatures”. And the first chapter is on deciding when you get to that point where you’re gonna decide about getting a dog, how much do you think about it? What are you thinking about? What breed? Are you getting a breed because somebody said it was nice? Or is it something that you want? And then the second chapter goes into what to expect at the different ages. Did you bring a puppy into your home? You’re teaching that puppy the moment it walks in, about human existence because it’s only used to litter experience, being in with its littermates and with its mom. Now it gets to experience the human family. And you know what you io is what you’re teaching them. And then it goes into, you know, dealing with death. We all have to deal with death at some point. And when is it time to let them go? And are we hanging on to them for us or we doing it for them? A creature that is unconditionally loved and they deserve the same. Humans get their ego involved with it and, you know, unfortunately, people use terms like dominance and Alfa and that is not necessary. You know, it’s a family, a family system. That’s what you’re bringing that dog into. You have a mother, you have a father and you have siblings.  You know, that’s who the dog is gonna learn from. All they learn from is by pattern. So Mom treats the dog one way. It’s gonna learn that pattern. Dad treats them another way, it’s gonna learn that pattern and so on and so on. So the behavior is a reflection of the family that they live in and that’s what I’m teaching people. What are you teaching the dog? You know you’re not, a lot of humans aren’t aware that just their own behavior and the patterns that they set, is teaching the dog behavior pattern, you know? And then the main thing is, you know, aggression, aggression. You know, so many dogs are labeled aggressive. Well, I’ve got a giant Schnauzer here that I rescued at 10 months of age, that was gonna be euthanized for aggressive behavior. And this was from the vet. The vet recommended it, and the one training class kicked the puppy out because they said it was too aggressive. When she moved in here, she hadn’t, she wasn’t aggressive. The dog was living in total fear. So, you know, it’s explaining to people that dogs aren’t aggressive, they’re defensive, they’re defending themselves. Depending on how the human has treated them, they’re gonna be more and more defensive, depending.  And it’s the same in grooming shops, in trainers, handlers, anybody that’s in the profession that is dealing with dogs, to understand that they’re not aggressive. A fear biter in a cage is a fear fighter. They’re not biting out of fear. Any time a dog shows, what humans call aggression, it’s fear-based, you know. And Bailey, the giant puppy she, everybody loves this dog. She is just awesome. But, you know, she was raised in and you’ll see in my book, if you know, they read my book, “Fantastic Creatures” from the age of, you could guess they probably got her at 8 to 9 weeks of age. From that age on until I got her at 10 months of age, she went to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s in a new home with a family. And this is, this is the dog coming from a breeding kennel that had a home with dogs and other dogs. Gets put into this home with humans, with two children, two dogs, two adults. You know how holidays are. They are hectic as all get out. So there’s no telling what this puppy went through during that time period. And so, yeah, she was afraid. She came here, she would see a child, and she would bark at them and snap her teeth together. Now if she saw an adult, she just barked at them. It wasn’t the same bark. But the child, now look at what happened. When a family brings a dog, a puppy into a home with a child, the child goes and pulls the puppy’s ears, puppy bites, the child screams, who gets yelled at? You know, he was just defending himself. But the puppy gets in trouble because he bit the child. You know, that’s where the parents and the humans, you’ve got to be more observant. You’ve got to, a puppy cannot just be let free in a house, especially around children.  Yeah, there’s something. There’s something to be said about that, right? I think we do blame the animals for their behavior when in reality, the humans have to take some accountability and some responsibility. There is that human element in there for sure. And so I appreciate your approach. It’s not just about the dog’s behavior, right. It’s about human behavior and understanding as well. Right. I mean, I forgot to mention that the book, “ Understanding Behavior” is also, its understanding behavior, the human effect. Because the humans have all the effect, all of it. A dog’s behavior is a reflection of the humans in their family, the whole family system. You’ve got to take responsibility. And in my book that I, one of the books, I can’t remember which one was in. But  I say, if you’re angry about a dog and you’re upset about a dog’s behavior, instead of yelling at that dog, go look in the mirror and yell at yourself because you created it. It’s the patterns you set. It’s action-reaction. And what is the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And that’s what humans do. They yell at them. You can’t continue to yell at them. That’s not teaching them, you know. You gotta teach them what you mean. You know you want to teach them the English language. That’s it. Simple.  Yes. So one of the, one of the things I wanted it to touch on briefly, as you had mentioned right, the fact that they’re scared not necessarily that they’re aggressive. And while I do think that there are some aggressive dogs out there, um, I agree with you in that much of that aggression comes from them being afraid, right, likely from their past or other situations that they’re pulling from. Created by maybe other humans, not the one that they’re currently with. It’s hard to unlearn that right? And so, to your point, it’s really about teaching and encouraging them with new positive behavior. And so how do you, as somebody who works with dogs, how do you teach them? You had mentioned teaching them the English language. When you have an aggressive or a fearful dog, how do you go about changing that behavior? Well, I mean, again because, you know, I’ve seen it. I understand. And you have your belief and my belief that there’s no such thing as aggression because dogs don’t have anger. Humans have anger. Dogs do not have anger. They don’t have negative emotions. They only have positive emotions, except for fear. So once the fear is instilled in them, we change the pattern of our behavior. Okay, that’s why I’m saying, you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, that’s just, you know, you can’t validate a dog’s fear, but you can validate the behavior that they are behaving, out of fear.  You know, grooming dogs for as many years and the vet tech industry, you know you’re reaching into cages, these dogs are afraid. You know, it’s fear, they’re not aggressive. And so by dealing with them, you just take an approach, like, okay and I’m gonna use an example for how I get a dog out of a kennel. Okay. It’s so simple. You know, people are afraid to reach into a kennel. Always put a towel down, make sure you have a towel in that kennel that that dog is sitting on. You have a fearful dog, in a kennel, reach underneath the towel and grab their leg and slide them out. If they bite your hand, it’s not gonna hurt. And if you stay calm and don’t scream and just say it’s okay, I’m not gonna hurt you. You’re all right. And you drag them to you and you put him in your arms.  I’m not trying to throw a loop over their head, which is going to get them freaking out, you know because you’ve got this lead. You’re trying to talk over their head and try to loop them and then drag them out or dump them out of the kennel. You know, all of that stuff is just going to validate their fear. We want to take that fear, and you have nothing to fear. It’s OK, you know? And that’s how you change for the fearful one.  One of the ones that I had here that was deemed aggressive. He would bite and run because you can bet you know. Well, it happened to him. How did he learn that behavior? He bit and got smacked. So he learned the pattern, I’m going to bite and run. I can’t get smacked. So, you know, my response was not to even respond. I just didn’t, I just ignored it and he came around and, you know, if he did bite, you know, I don’t smack. I don’t hit. I don’t do anything like that. I take my thumb, I put it in their mouth on their tongue, and I hold their bottom jaw. I just I’m not pulling it. I’m not dragging. I’m just holding it. And I’m going, no, no. We don’t bite. Easy, you know, be easy. And that usually takes one time. They don’t bite again because I’m not getting angry, you know, I’m not the energy. The energy that you bring into it is gonna be reflected. A dog can sense your energy. If you’re afraid, we’ll guess what? You’re gonna get bit. You’re gonna get bit. Yeah. And you do hear that from people, right? And you know, it’s the same thing with horses. And I think your background with horses definitely plays a part in that. They can definitely sense your emotions, right? How you’re feeling in that moment. And so I agree with you and that it’s really important to not overreact and not get angry because they do. I don’t know that they feed off of that, but they can certainly sense that. So I think it’s a very valid point.  One of the things that you had mentioned Lynne in your book is that you talk about reading their behavior, and I know this is such a big thing for people in the training industry. It’s not just teaching them, but it’s learning to understand what they’re telling you right. They’re nonverbal. And so it really is the small things with their behavior that you need to pay attention to. And I think sometimes dog owners forget that. And so that has to be something that I’m assuming you really focus on, now that you’re kind of leaning towards the education side of things as well as really getting them to understand what those certain behaviors are. Whether it’s a curled tail or licking the lips or twitching. No, I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe, I don’t go by the, I can’t think of the name, but they call it, um, calming signals. Okay. They’re considered calming signals. OK. And yeah, they have. But is that something that I watch? No. I watch the total dog. I watch the behavior and you can’t just look at one incident. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. Okay.  I can tell you, I had a dog in my home with this girl and I started to see a pattern that when she would be eating, the dog would attack my dog. If my dog walked near that area, he would attack her. And this happened multiple times and he was meaning it. He broke open her skin and everything. Sure. But what it associated for me was, she had a fixation with food. He could sense that. And when anybody went around, that’s when he would attack. Because of the energy, you know. They say dogs, you know, people say service dogs, emotional service dogs, sense energy, all of them. Especially with somebody that if they sleep in their bedroom because you gotta think when you’re sleeping that’s your rested rate. A dog knows what your rested rate is. They know what your heart rate is. They know what your respiration is. They can sense all that. They can sense when your energy is calm, cool, and collected. But once you’re awake and you’re agitated or something. The dog’s gonna pick up on that, and their behavior is going to reflect it.  And a lot of times, like crying. Um, you know, a dog will try to go up to the human and console them. The human, a lot of time because they’re upset or whatever the case might be, they’ll shove the dog away. So here’s the pattern that the dog gets, you know, you see the pattern, it starts to form. Okay, mom feels like this. She doesn’t want me around. I need to run. So now we have the association to this energy. And what behavior I need to do. The same with anger. You know, people that come into their home and they yell at the dog every time they come into the home. So they come home. And they say the dog knows, he’s acting guilty. No, it’s not. It’s acting fearful because every time you come home, you yell about something. So that’s the pattern the dog has set itself up for, even if they didn’t dump something on the ground. But something was on the ground. They got yelled at. They didn’t do it, but they got yelled at. So now something goes on the ground, they’re gonna go run. They’re gonna run the opposite direction of the human. Gonna get away.  So one of the things I really liked that you said is that you’re looking at the whole picture, right? Not at one specific action or behavior of the dog. I think it’s really cool, and I don’t know how many trainers out there do this, but you’re looking at the entire situation, right? The entire scenario. What were you doing when that dog reacted the way that he or she did? And so I think there’s a lot of value in that, because even us as humans, it’s a situational thing, right? It might not be one specific thing, but more of the entire situation. So I appreciate that you said that. And I think that you know, that’s a very truthful statement and one for me that really resonated.  Yeah, I mean, because it is. It’s not just once incident, the dog could learn this behavior somewhere. So let’s go back. Where does that pattern begin because that’s all it is. We live by pattern when you know our life is patterns. We say we have rules of the house. No, we have patterns of the house. And when the patterns are not followed through that’s when we get uneasy because we’re used to the pattern. When somebody comes and visits, they knock our pattern totally off, and we are just totally lost because now we’ve got to change our pattern of living to bring them in. A dog is the same way you know their by patterns of living. When you have a family together, okay? And then, you know, the major thing is when people would say, Oh, my dog started doing this. Okay? So let’s look back. Go on a timeline. When a new pattern of behavior begins, go to when that pattern began. What happened at that time? A lot of the cases where people were having dogs defecating in the house, just out of the blue, their daughter or son went off to college. Okay, so now that pattern, that dog’s patterns changed, it doesn’t know what to do. It’s used to that daughter getting up, walking them, feeding them and them going, Well, now that daughter’s gone. Okay, so now what do I do? Right. So you see that.  So, with almost every change, with every major change in the household, it’s almost like you have to retrain them. Would you re-teach them? Would you say that’s an inaccurate statement? Well, you it’s not like re-teaching them. You just have to start another pattern, you know, because, you know, that was, like, recently, somebody I know had gotten, broke their hip and they were in the hospital in rehab. Well, luckily, the rehab allowed dogs, but they asked me if they felt that that was good or bad to bring the dog up there because this dog was their dog. And I’m like, bring the dog up there. You know, the patterns already broke. You’re not home. We’ll start a new pattern. The new pattern is I get to come to see such and such amount of time and then I go home. So that’s the positive pattern instead of the puppy, you know, being at home going, well, where is Mommy? You know. When is she gonna be home? It’s very fascinating to me, the whole pattern thing is an angle that I hadn’t really considered.  I’m not a trainer. I don’t deal with dogs in my daily life. And so that’s an interesting, what I would consider, way to look at things. I think we’re just so used to hearing training and obedience and all of those things. Where it really becomes about behavior and patterns. I myself am a very pattern-driven person, right? I like a routine. I like a schedule. Um, and so it’s just a fascinating way for me to think about that. So I appreciate you sharing that with me and giving me another perspective.  Yeah, I mean, and that’s it. You’ve got to look at everything in every perspective you can possibly imagine. You know, because not everything is going, not every dog fits in this basket. Not every behavior, you know, a dog could be behaving. Oh, let’s say you want to say, you know, biting. And then there’s another one that is urinating here, you know. And it’s each one, it’s the same thing, to be honest with you, they lack confidence and they’re in fear. So that is their behavior, that they’ve learned how to deal with it. And it’s a pattern that the human hasn’t done anything to change, so they’re going to continue to behave that way. That’s when you start bringing in more positive, positive energy. Always praise the good. No matter if that dog is a puppy or an adult. Praise when they go potty outside and you happen to be out there. For one thing, they become too dependent on the human and to do that, then they become you know, they’re not confident with themselves because they depend on the human or they depend on another dog in the house.  Too many people use that littermates syndrome. There’s no such thing. It’s human. The human feels, Oh, they’re littermates. They have to do everything together. So they take them out together and they do this together and you’re caught, you’re creating a situation where they are dependent on each other. So that’s why when you have close ones like that, one passes, the other one pines himself to death. It’s because humans have created it. You’ve never separated those two. How could they act independently when they’ve been a couple of the whole time? Sure. I mean, it’s the same with just bringing in two puppies from different litters into your home. If you do the same thing, you’re gonna have the same result. They have to be treated independently, doing things separately. That way, you don’t have that kind of pining over each other. You take one out of the kennel, the other ones screaming bloody murder. You know, it happens all the time.  Lynne, I’ve learned a lot just in our short conversation. I really appreciate my time with you and learning people’s perspective on things, and I feel like as humans, we can learn a lot from each other, right? If we just listen and go into a situation with eyes and ears wide open and willing to hear the other person on and I feel like that’s what I’ve learned from my time with you. I feel like you’ve brought me a lot of perspectives and I appreciate your time. And so is there anything else, that maybe we didn’t get to that you want to share before we wrap things up? Well, I mean, just basically, you know, it’s the same as the way you know, the way you treat a dog is the same as a human, you know. You treated another human or you treat a child the way you raise a child. You know, again, you know, seeing the whole picture. And you know, if you really sit down and look at the behavior and then what did you do? How did you create it? I mean, I did it all the time. I had dogs that bit me while I was grooming them and I would sit down and go, OK, what did I do? Because they didn’t do anything. They were defending themselves. They felt like they needed it. And that’s the same as a human or a child. You know, they felt the need to defend themselves. Whatever the case may be, you know, you gotta again, we bring up that, you gotta look at the whole thing. And you know, every time that I looked back and looked at, what did I do? I could see what I did. And it could be something as simple as taking your attention off. Because once you take your attention off of something, you have disconnected that energy field, and now you have to start all over, especially with a fearful dog or a fearful child or whatever the case may be, you know? So, you know, staying in tune with them, staying in the moment. And that’s what it’s about staying in the moment in everything that you’re doing. Get out of your head. Whatever you have in your head, you can’t do anything about right now. You’re in the moment, with that dog. Stay in the moment with that dog.  I think that was, you know, again, the perspective and what you bring to the table with 38 years of experience. Um, that’s hard to touch, right? So I appreciate you sharing that knowledge. And again, I want people to know that we’re gonna list your information on the podcast publishing when that happens. So we’ll be sure to link to the books and any other information and sites that you have out there. So if people have questions or they want to get in touch with you, they’ll be able to do that through the podcast publishing as well. Again, Lynne, thank you so much for your time today and for sharing your story. No anytime.  Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. Please make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and be sure to give us a review so we could help even more animals. Don’t forget to sign up on Doobert.com to join the tens of thousands of Dooberteers across the country and around the world helping animals and the organizations working to save them.”
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