Ryan is the founder of Animal Training Academy. For the past 13 years, he’s been working as a professional animal trainer around the world, including in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the US. Ryan has trained teams, developed animal training programs, been published in leading industry magazines, spoken at international conferences, and delivered presentations in a University on animal behavior. Through the Animal Training Academy, he connects hundreds of animal behavior & training enthusiasts with a large (and growing) library of lessons and tutorials delivered by renowned animal experts.
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Hey, Ryan, Thanks for coming on today. Hey, my pleasure. Thanks so much for the invitation. Looking forward. Toa this conversation. Yeah, me as well. So tell us who are you? What do you do? Tell us a little bit more about you and your journey so My name is Ryan College, and I live in New Zealand with my dog, Phoebe, my wife foods from the UK or two kits. They has kits, so every house I live in, I turn into a giant enclosure on my backgrounders. And Zeus must be indicated as an employee in zoos. So we’ve got to cat enclosures attached to a house. One out. The back gets Kanitkar. They can enter through a cat door in the kitchen, and they’re now bathroom window, which is elevated couple of meters off the ground, has a cat door in its kits. Kids can climb off the structure outs on coming up, offering window, and then the whole front balcony have built into an enclosure as Wells Livermore to get in mine. I’m a 10 week old baby human Hlynur Summer. So we were based in New Zealand, and I run a online learning platform membership called Animal Training Academy, and we’ve got our import car show where we interviewed trainers will not restrain us for people that can assist us, be more efficient. Human. Lennar’s in narrow, so we talk to trainers. We talked business people and talk about marketing because as You know, Chris, people in our country and so skilled when it comes to some of those business complainant present company included on. And then we talk about how to effectively communicate with each other. Well done. Any episode on something called Crucial Conversations Good episode coming up next week about the growth mindset. I’m not sure you’re familiar with the growth minds it Griffis fix months. It, which I think is something that’s gonna help cow audience frame potentially the way they see themselves and and others and how they can. You use what growth months. It teaches us to be better animal trainers, and we’ll keep officials. Alas, focus was on lily 10. I should say Who is a illustrator who lives in California? But here illustrations really transcend the gap between people home used positive reinforcement, training techniques and those who don’t. And I don’t like to talk about the get like we’re all just human winners and really at different stages about you need. But I do feel that there is this this kind of divide between schools of Fort about how we train animals. So I love getting people like the late 10 on the show who draws his little kids illustrations of dogs to describe their body language. And they just reason they will everyone. So I’m really passionate about finding tools and in ways that we can just become effective. It helping people who care for animals, understand what the science teaches us. But more importantly, because we don’t expect people to read scientific papers, I don’t know how the critic a scientific paper myself. I lived it up to my metals, and then they break it down into layman’s terms, jumping into the bucket that on labelling is Lehman, And then we’re the ones who going practically apply that. So someone like Lily who can illustrate this in a first time dog owner can go. I understand it like the bed is super about. It was all I want to use the podcast to spread information about people like Lily and our goal with Animal Training Academy, which the business side of it hasn’t paid. Membership goal is just to help animals in their humans and what understanding and then applying difficult animal training in behavior management principles. We do that by creating content with people like religion in the world’s most proficient animal training and care professionals on. And then, most importantly, we’re about membership. We create a community around their knowledge so that we can help individual members with their goals. But there would be training their animals at home in the zoo or becoming more proficient trainers for their clients, of their servicing. A local geographical area as adult trying to reports trainer with a pair of trainers who appeared professionals today, it’s a little bit about kind off what motivates me and gets me out of being at 5 a.m. every day. A swell as my 19 month themed baby human might have something to do with that really does. She does tending Putin it opposite 4:30 a.m. This morning. So yes, she does nice. So take you back to the point when you started that training academy, I mean, what was the problem? What we’re hoping to solve. I worked on the zoo’s foot for electricity, decayed for me. It was I always saw the value that I brought like I knew what skills I haven’t what skills I don’t in the heat organization, I went and I ended up in roles where I was kind of coaching staff in developing programs for that, even though I started off in, I just kind of end up in the zoos where I moved around the world for about 10 years since would end up in the river, are Islamic and I’ll stay for a couple of years and in Google. And it’s the lifestyle that I was leading and always ended up in the truck. So I’ll go to a zoo and I know the belly that I would bring now Zoo’s conservation organizations. It means his staff. I wasn’t able to provide for me and my wife and was now my growing family, and I knew that I wasn’t gonna be able to provide on the incomes. And I also knew how hard that whipped. And I just had this feeling after this time that if I’m going, Teoh put all that time and effort into dessert. And if it was a family run Z, what happened with the conservation? But it’s also making someone else’s dreams come true. I was like, I’m just gonna wear come ourself to make my own dreams country, Sarita And if I can say it weighed on this pockets. And so there’s a pocus called unemployable, and the whole concept is that you can get a job, but you’re just not gonna take him. So we lift Queenstown, New Zealand. We were living at the time, and I was employee in a partly. We moved to one intend so my wife could study. She just finished here four year degree in social. Wick and I had worked at the zoo in the city before, but I just decided that I was unemployed. What? That’s that. And so I was just gonna figure out how to help animals and make our dreams come true as well as a family, because I have a while is gonna be working equally as her. So there was kind of my motivation, and then I just followed what my heart was. Nowhere this in my head now singing. But that sounds horribly cheesy. Yeah, I just followed where my passion was when my heart was. And then it was just spreading information about what we phrases most positive, least intrusive ways of training. Animals. Animals are enjoying it, and I have is much choice in control over the training. They’re free to leave there’s no force. There’s no pressure up to the best of our ability. Most positive based interests have. Your animal gets into a situation where safety is at risk. Obviously, we’re gonna intervene as we need to. But as the situations allow were always only for most positive, least intrusive. And I’ve, you know I’m might be labeled by Some is successful now of animal training Kennedy, but that’s on the back off years or failure off what one might label failure. But those were great listens for me to make me make Peter decisions. Next time I try to implement something to move Animal training Academy along. So there was no vision for a membership. There wasn’t a vision for a podcast. He was just a desire to spread this information. And what you see now is basically I say, the memberships been dogged by the members because they told me, fire their behavior. And from a business perspective, I their wallets, what worked and what didn’t. And so we’re trying to design something? No now, and my whole focuses on just helping out neighbors and just ensuring that everything I do on a daily basis is design to help them. What their own personal journeys. I see them all as superheroes. They’re all Bettman’s and Sigmund’s and Wonder Woman’s. And I’m like Robin say I have yeah, I have guide them and I have awful a little tidbits here and I coordinate connections. Was industry thought leaders in facilitate opportunities for them to Canadian to put all the pieces to give up? I’m curious, So you kind of at a loss some of the different types of people that are in your organization. And be honest, I really thought about all the different types of trainers and behaviorists that there are in the world. So tell me a little bit about the demographic that you’re serving. One thing that comes to mind when you ask that question is online poker show. My poor guy show sees similarities to yours. And so much as Al episodes tend to be about the individual person rather than or every episode being about the latest training information in things people are trying, although we do have your best effort on that. I like to hear people’s stories, and I’m a big fan of learning and teaching through stories, so we start off value episode by asking people where they started, and we just have some topic of interest to the guests in the middle. And then we always in that the episode of asking what the guests want to see happen over the next 5 to 10 years in the animal training world, or whatever particular nish that particular guests might be involved in in in 2018. I think we’ve done about 80 episodes by that stage and what was presenting at a conference in Australia called The Future of Animal Training something along those lines when thinking about what to present for my 15 minute slot that I had to garden share somebody it I was going to call. How do we define the future of animal training? And I thought, What my podcast kissed have been trying to define that for the last three years. So we took about 75 people’s answer to that question that what they want to see happen and we condense it into 12.5 minute video, and we shared it with this audience. I think we ended up selecting about 24 of those gifts this year in 12.5 minutes. So what I really liked about that as we have this floor, different accents were people from France and Australia and America and Neverland. So you would be listen to one person and a bit of stark contrast with the excuse that come on because they have a completely different exit. When we had vits and then we had zoo professionals, we adult trainers and horse trainers and para trainers. And so we had all of these people from all around the world working with all of these different species working in all of these different industries. But what really came through in their 12.5 minutes for May was that its global is diverse with industry and species. But everyone was singing the same song. Everyone is doing what they can to move towards most positive in Mason traces and one thought that I remember from now this is a couple of people who were talking about teaching Children Syrian this information with Children, having Children understand how learning occurs on planet. If for all their things set humans being learners the same as my dog next to me, I will work for positive reinforcement, I will repeat behavior that ends up in good results. May and I will modify and suppress behavior that ends up in undesirable consequences for May. Where says the same is my dog. So the end of the day, I think we’re all we’re all working of letters and the vast majority of us are working off human letters. The favorite trainers of one of those who understand that can can apply is skilfully to human winners, positive reinforcement and the other tools that the science our behavior analysis gives us as they can to their dogs with a parrot in their horses. That is an area that really excites me. And I think I try to get guest on the show that demonstrate that. Yeah, that’s interesting. So where do you take this now? And you’ve been doing your podcast for four years now. Yeah, I think 37 2016 say none of us can. Where do I take it now? So last match and daughter was born on the 16 for match and I are member going to antenatal class antenatal classes before she was born and saying in the bathroom it out. Local community center in that local community covered sons. Please put your hands on that. It was at the New Zealand thing and then we will go in the hospital just about two or three cases of covert and use it on and left in my finances. I was in the elevator in It was a case in Wellington we were living in as a car. Can let my wife know this because we’re in hospital two days after we left hospital. I think Wellington Hospital completely changed everything and they were only allowed one support person. And that person wasn’t allowed to stay with you. And you’re alone. Only that one visitor to like a few days later you will have the new visitors. Yeah, baby was born just before all of it. The whole labour in the beers and everything and now his mother stuff going on. So I was kind of remove 14 days and I came back to my desk and the whole living They lead in New Zealand’s and locked out that what does Heavens, Her name is a mystery to me, gang. Ah, you know, lost all my income and I was like, Oh, my God! So we wanted to learn how we could best support armaments me and my wife and then you say down and we had lots of conversations about it. We ended up offering all members of animal training can. I mean, it’s about 500 people that have access to the membership. We offer everyone free one on one course or may. I wanted to support people, but I also wanted to listen, and I wanted to know where everyone was that so we did, and there were 20 minute cools. But I think the strongest one was probably still over an hour. I’ve done about 60 of them in the last two months, so I think I can’t commit that. If we put them back to back up in talking a 88 minutes nonstop for about five days. That’s a long time. It’s a lot of conversation. I mean, it sounds like you really learn some things from this, though I think I learned where I would like animal training. You get me to have its footprint over the next at least 12 months, and that is springing and helping to facilitate and coordinate on a connection with thought leaders and people whose work helps connect people together. I think I’ve identified along with others, that that potential us versus them mentality that exists for people who are trying to disseminate information about the most positive and least intrusive ways of working with animals. But get between how to share that with someone who might be using a visits. And how do we process our emotions and our thoughts when we come into interaction with those human learners? And at the end of the day is all behavior science. If we want different behaviors from the human minister, we know the science. But this emotion there were emotional beings. And so people like religion. I was talking about before who had doing work just organically, that I already doing some 20 find these people and that that’s something that I really want to contribute within 12 months from now or 24 months, and now people can say I’ve helped people reframe what might have for them bean and us versus them mentality. That is something that I can’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Yeah, like you’re approaching really trying to serve in and help you our customers, right? Like your members. Those are the people that you’re spending the time to really understand. What does the future look like? So lay it out for somebody like me that’s not very experienced in this field, you know? What is that? Nirvana? What is that perfect future for how this can expand and grow and mature? I think that it’s just us in the work of practically applying the science. So there’s I have on understanding that there are different levels of analysis when looking at the animal’s behavior. So we might have neuroscientists looking at behavior we might have anyth ologists looking at. You know how this is. Why does this animal behave from a natural history perspective? We might have physiologists and veterinary professionals thinking that had us and what I understand have behaved from its physiology. And then we’ve got people that look at the animals relationship with the environment. This animal was behaving in order to get access to this reinforcement my bullseye. But he said, we have a dartboard. Um, I’m borrowing a metaphor. One of I mean tolls. Dr. Susan Freedman. If we have a dartboard, my bull’s eyes, behavior analysis, but I’m gonna lovers out of rings on my dart board, which are all the other levels of analysis of behaviour. But I’ve got a community of people that I can reach out to if I want to leverage those different ways of looking at behavior. So I believe, for people working with training, how level of analysis is sitting up the environment for animals to perform the behaviors we want and positively reinforcing and putting in check and plans to teach them the values that we want them to do. I said The future is us doing that really well, I think, and we can just like you will express to me in this parkas in their conversation beforehand. You are insatiable appetite for learning and growth Way talked about briefly, and I think I mention it in this episode, the growth more and see it we can come if we look it. I’m thinking about one of my mentors. He’s been training animals for longer than I’ve been alive. I can’t get the and I can’t develop there. But what I can do is just consistently work on myself and do the biggest that I can and leverage feedback from others in a way that helps may and helps me reach my potential. So I just see us just approximating out Elway Lee and celebrating all of those little ones that we have and focusing on that. That’s where we want the focus to be. And that’s where I tried to be the example that I want to be. I tried to celebrate approximations and show that to our members. And to be honest with you, not thinking too much about that because that I feel that has the potential to overwhelm us and what I feel there is value, maybe reframe that differently. I feel there’s value and continuing a conversation about how do we build a celebrate the little ones that we’re having now and just be really good at what we’re doing now? Because if we do that and we consistently improve, then we have our clients better and they watching us, doing what we’re doing and the ripples step flow rather that will kind of create that change organically in the way. No, I don’t think I get your point. It kind of a pay it forward, right? I mean, I’m of a similar mindset, which is I don’t know where everything is gonna lead to. You know, one of my favorite quotes was one that Steve Jobs made it a commencement address, right? That you can’t connect the dots looking forward after connecting, looking backwards. And so you have to trust that somehow they are gonna connect. And that’s kind of my philosophy as well. Which is I’m gonna try this if it’s gonna help. Great. I’m not worried about how I get compensated for it, How it benefits me. It’s more about putting out there. If I could say the good in the universe, right? And knowing that you’re helping, that’s what makes me happy, Right when I started my suffer, I mean, six years ago, it started with zero people. And now to know that we’re helping out hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of people, that’s great, right? Like that makes me happy to know that something I build. So it sounds like you’ve got a very similar philosophy, which is let’s focus on what they need and how we can help and see where it leads us. Yeah, and I mentioned the way the repose just now and in repose is like I think communities and memberships have their little terminology in vocabulary in buzz words that they use within their forms. Sir, Ripples is when they We used us to talk about the things that we do and how the thing you do today. You might not realize it, but it might touch the opposing this. It’s a pathway to like, potential world or something. But we have a monthly acknowledgement off. One about members we do called recognition of ripples, where we just say, Hey, like we’ve observed that you have done these things in their being huge. I give my don’t realize it. So we sent an email to someone this morning to one of their members and just say, Hey, we just want technology for the training that you have done and we want to recognize your rebels. When we get a little bit of information, we ask him some questions, and they were there a little bit of taking back. And they say, Well, my miracles that you’re course cause you know so much, maybe a bit, And I for my riffles l. A doctor. Susan Friedman’s Ripples who b F Skinner scribbles like the ripples like they’re not confined to one piss, and they’re constantly a result of previous reports putting ripples out there. What have you learned about yourself along in this process? And you’ve been doing this for a while. You’ve been doing your pipe cast for a while. What have you learned about you? I think the biggest listener, Lynn from minimal training Kennedy was Teoh show up. So I feel that going better. Before I became unemployable when I was an employee, I was studying press great deployment in business. I remember going to exam room in Queenstown, New Zealand, sitting down for three hours and writing furiously and, you know, came out and got an A grade. And they said Kuehl wrote, Ryan, you know you got an A, which demonstrates that, you know, toe 80 to 90% about four piece of marketing. And then two years later, I found myself implementing that miserably. Yep, and I win. How it around that island is a big difference between rule based learning and contingency learnings. Or what I mean by that is we I can tell you, and you can read in a textbook. Don’t touch the hot stove. But there’s a very different experience and actually touching the hot stove. And so when you’re out there practically applying things, intending back to what you would just say nearly as some times, they end up with the consequence being positive reinforcement, sometimes they don’t. And that’s what we do with dead information, I think. And if we can use it to learn from into dear four make better decisions next time. I think I’ve learned and consistently Lynn. And maybe heaven actually learned anything about how to process that and the vulnerable place myself in positions where I might fell on might be open to criticism and the courage that comes with that and also acknowledging that respecting that and literally telling people that you appreciate their courage when you see them doing it as well because we’re about vulnerability and courage. I don’t think we go anyway. It seems like you found your path. You found your calling. You found you know, the journey. And this is one that you’re gonna be on for a while. Yeah, I have this feeling like I just got started. Yeah. We’ll see that some of the interviews takes you. Yeah, exactly. Just like I mean, this is Danny loose and taken. Prevent that from happening, I think is I feel like I’m coming from a place of privilege. I mean, I live in New Zealand, you know, way live in a very excellent her wealthy, safe part of the world. So maybe someone has seen to this from a slum somewhere in numeric is or Africa or Asia somewhere might be like. Yeah, well, that’s easy for you to say, buddy, but I feel daily in person that can really prevent any of these things from happening is myself. But party shifts over the team week old baby. Now, sir, at the end of that, I’m gonna do what it was. Basically, priorities change. She might be able to stop me, right? This has been really great to talk to you, to learn more about you and what you’re building. Is there anything else you want to mention before wrap things up today? Does wanna suggests that if your internal training and this has been a value Teoh, then think about what you’re learning about. Positive reinforcement and just become curious. Become curious and observe held Their information applies to all those things including yourself ending including your wife and including your your husband on your Children and your boss and your co workers in your piece. And I tell him to people Teoh use that curiosity TOC. How they can create reports is I go around their days. Well, I mean, I really like that. I’m gonna be applying that both in my day job and in my do Bert team because I agree through those ripples, and you don’t know how far they’re gonna go right? And the effect that they’re gonna have and where they’re going to intercept. So it’s really interesting visual to think about. Yeah, I love it. And it is an organization called Aubrey Daniels International. So we recently hit one of their stuff on our show as well. And they’re all about applying all of the stuff we do about dogs within big corporations, into leaders and literally to intervene and behavior and create employees behave in ways that keep them safe within their organizations. So this stuff is applicable to all those including us. There’s something that excites me. Recall. Well, rain. Thanks again. I really appreciate you coming on today was really great to talk to you? No, I had a glass. Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. Be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform and feel free to leave us a review so we can help even more animals. Also, don’t forget to sign up with Joubert dot com to join the tens of thousands of duper tears across the country and around the world helping animals and the organizations working to save them.