In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with canine behaviourist Wren Rowland. Wren is best described as a 'doggy psychologist' who specialises in helping dogs (and their owners) displaying aggression or anxiety behaviours. After adopting her new fur friend 'Boston', Catherine reached out to Wren for assistance with a more harmonious integration into their home. Listen as Wren shares her knowledge about working with animals to improve their ability to relate, be around and work with humans.
In this episode you'll also hear:
– how to help dogs fit in better with your lifestyle
– how you as an owner can adjust your behaviour so your doggo can feel more acknowledged
– why it is important to take into consideration a dogs breed, environment and genetics
– how you can read a dogs body language to understand whether they're tolerating or enjoying your company
– the correlations in human and dog behaviour that is universal
– why it is important to understand what motivates a dog and how that plays into your relationship with them… and so much more!
Join Catherine's membership The Happiness Lounge here
Connect with Wren Rowland here:
This podcast is produced by Nikki O'Brien from Quintessential Being
Hi, welcome to the happiness hive Podcast. I'm Catherine Bowyer, and I am completely fascinated by people and what motivates them. I've spent the past three and a half decades specialising in mindset and human behaviour. And I've helped 1000s of people to create happy and amazing lives. And now I am super excited to be chatting with women from around the world who I have secret. And to be honest, not so secret crushes on their women who inspire me. I'm intrigued as to how they do life and what makes them tick. I want to find out the magic formula that makes them who they are. And at the end of the episode, I'd love for you to say, I'd like a little bit of what she's having. The conversations are real and raw. They're full of passion, inspiration and lots of fun, and nothing is off limits. So grab yourself a cuppa or copper new trackie and go for a walk and join us for today's chat. There may just be that pearl of wisdom you need to hear. So let's shimmy on over and get started. I am really looking forward to today's chat with Ren Roland and I've only met her in the last couple of weeks. But she has very quickly become a very important person in my life. And Ren is a canine behaviourist studying to be an animal behaviourist and we have acquired a new third baby in our family we have adopted Boston and we've had Boston for four weeks and Boston. Whilst he is absolutely beautiful. There are some behavioural challenges that Ren is helping our family with. So I'm so excited to talk with you today about what it means to be an animal behaviourist and also to compare some notes because I've studied human behaviour for many, many years and I can already see some similarities there. So yeah, Ren Welcome, welcome, welcome.
Yeah, pretty good. Yeah. lovely morning today. Cast.
Yes, yes, it's been the customer. We're just comparing notes, Rennes. How sitting and has a couple of she has her dog. And you're also looking after another dog that you said he's a bit miffed that you haven't taken it for a walk.
We haven't gone out for a walk yet this morning. So he's a bit annoyed at me.
Yeah, yeah. So your dog sitting calmly. You're sitting calmly.
Yeah, so Aster is currently fast asleep in her crate. And Caleb is similar. Rocky,
there's Caleb are lovely. Sitting in the background. He's just
doing his own thing. He's an older dog. So not quite as intense.
Cuz you're Esther is a puppy, isn't she?
Yeah, she's only nine months old. Yes.
So we could during this podcast, there could be an emergency stop for both of us. Because Boston, I've set him up with some dog shoes, but he doesn't seem that interested. So tell me Ren what is a canine behaviourist what a canine behaviour animal behaviourist.
So their main thing that kind of behaviour starts. So I think that's probably the best way to short drive it. Yeah, so we analyse canine behaviour. So we go into houses and sort of have a bit of a look around the environments, have a look at the dog, show some of the body language that they're displaying, and see whether we can't sort of help not fixed necessarily, because that's not always possible, but at least dampen some of the effects of, you know, things that have happened as a result of genetics or as a result of trauma in the past, and sort of help them out. So, in a sense, we're a little bit like psychologists, but not quite, I think it's probably the best way to describe this. In a more general sense, a behaviourist is someone who goes in and works with animals to improve their ability to work with humans, or at least be around humans. And everybody's expectation of animal behaviour is different. So, you know, obviously, in your sense, you know, you want a dog that is calm and, and peaceful and, you know, not quite so anxious. Whereas, you know, another person who has a working breed that they want to use, they may need to decrease their dog's propensity towards nipping behaviours, because they're looking to ship too much or something like that. So, it really depends, you know, on the needs of the person. But ultimately, our job is to help the dog fit in better with the people's lifestyle, and show people how to adjust their behaviour so that the dog can fit in more smoothly. Yeah,
I can. And that's exactly why we have you we You've got Boston and for those that may or may not have seen some of my social media, Boston is a Kerry blue terrier. So is an Irish working dog. He was bred as a sheep and cattle dog, or that's the breed and also the chase rodents. Now that is not what we do in our, in our way
to watch though. Yes, yes,
we're we're Boston's third family. So the first family I don't, my understanding is that he was born. I don't know if he was born on the farm, but he was on a farm, but he was kept in a pin. So he wasn't able to. It just wasn't a stimulating environment. And then the next family had him. And my understanding is it was a loving family, but probably not really integrate him into the family. And then they moved out onto a farm. And that's where his cattle instinct, so he kept running away and chasing cattle. And we have adopted him, and probably not really understanding a lot about his behaviours that they said he was very well adjusted, mildly anxious in new settings. Holly Hill, very anxious, new settings. And the thing I loved when when we got in contact with you, when you first came to our place was I saw you observing the environment and observing Boston but you said what are our goals? What do we want, and very much all of our dogs have been rescue dogs. And I have always said, When I die, I want to come back as one of my dogs because they are the most spoiled, spoiled. So I sort of shared with you that it's about integrating him into our family life. And you were able to very quickly observe some behaviours with him. So just tying back to what you said that you very much were about observation of how he interacted with us and how we interacted with him. Yeah,
Yeah, it's yeah,
it's an important part. Because if you're trying to go in and work with a dog, but you have no idea how he interacts in his, I mean, even if it's not his normal environment, because he's just come into it. But if you don't know how, you know, his his behaviour is in that environment, where you know, you're bringing him to a facility or something like that, then you don't get that sort of, I'm going to use a buzzword here holistic experience, where you're sort of hitting all of the areas of possible pain, I suppose. So you know, you're adjusting the environment around him, you might be putting barriers up if he barks a lot, or, you know, things like that. And so it's not just about training the dog, or the people. It's also about assessing the environment that he's in.
Yeah, yeah. Yes. And I also what I observed of you observing him, is that you picked up some very, very nuanced body language, because he's a very, he was a very dog and we couldn't even see his eyes. But you were able to observe things in his eyes that we couldn't even say. Yeah, you know, while I the
whale, yeah. What's that? Yeah, so Well, I, well, I or moon, I prefer the term moon I personally, but it's not quite as widely used. So the term whale I basically refers to when a dog's eyes are open so wide, that you can see the whites or the sclera really easily. And so sort of takes the shape of a moon, why it's called whale I
have big eyes,
whales have huge eyes. And that's probably the best comparison that I can give you. But basically, the idea is that a dog will show that when they are in a state of heightened stimulation, usually in conjunction with anxiety, sometimes when they're about to start playing with you, but usually the body language will sort of compliment and tell you which one that is vast majority of the time, it's going to be anxiety related.
Yes. And we hadn't even because we couldn't even see his eyes and, and I guess that's from your professional observation, but you were able to sort of teach us that as well, which is great. And also picking up like he was panting a lot like he was yes.
Parenting he was pacing his body language was very stiff and uncomfortable. Every time I started petting him, when we first started, his tail would stop wagging. He was tolerating the contact, he wasn't enjoying the contact, which is a really important distinction because a lot of dogs are really patient and lovely. But they don't necessarily at that moment, feel comfortable being patted. So they'll just sort of put up with it until it goes away. I didn't want to have that sort of relationship with him to start off with. So that's when I started bringing in the consent test where if he voluntarily made contact with me, then I'd give him a pat. And then I would stop after, you know, 10 seconds or so and allow him to decide whether or not he wanted me to keep going. So that's a really important thing, when you've got a dog that's a bit uncertain about the new environment or weird around people, it's really important to do a consent test and make sure that they're actually comfortable with you touching and approaching them.
Yeah, and that was something new for me, because I think I intuitively do that with other animals. But you're just helping me to see that. And I can notice his consent. Now he gets very, he's still a bit standoffish. So we've had him for a month now, there's times when he doesn't want to be around. And I respect that. And there's times when he gets quite snugly. And it's that nuzzling in which was, yeah, that was good. Just to even understand more about what that body language is, is saying,
being dogs are autonomous beings. You know, our current understanding of dog psychology is that a fully grown dog is got the approximate IQ of a two and a half year old child. So basically, that is the age where a lot of mental development is happening in children. And if we sort of, not transplant directly, but draw a lot of parallels between the child behaviour and dog behaviour, consent is really important at that age as well, because it forms that basis of I have control over my own body.
Yes, yeah. That's really cool. That's a lot of those links there as well. And one of the things that I've observed is, a lot of you coming in and helping us with Boston is actually helping teach me as well, with and something that I picked up and reflecting on it. And I guess this links with the the human behaviour side of things is I was unsure about. Let me step back a little bit. So Boston, the beautiful, beautiful dog, he seems to be settling in well, but he has, I would say, you know, that underlying sort of anxiety, but when we talked about it, when I leave, when any when he's left on his own, he goes into panic mode. So it's that sort of isolation, anxiety separation, and yeah, the I guess they call it don't think.
So. Isolation, anxiety is your overarching umbrella term. And that underneath it has separation. Anxiety is sort of a category. So isolation, anxiety is a fear of being separated from something. Usually it's just people. But in certain circumstances in separation anxiety, for example, it is the fear of being separated from a particular person. So even if there's other people around, yeah, they don't care that one person is not there. Yeah. panicky. Yeah.
And he's kind of showing a little bit of that, but also, if he's on his own, goes into complete panic mode. And what I've learned from you is, it's about understanding his his kind of body language and what motivates him to help keep him stimulated. And that's one of the things we're finding a little bit tricky, because I think some of his environment is the first family probably didn't have a lot of stimulation, and that's in that early developmental stages. And then I think the second family probably didn't have they said, he just didn't play and he kind of was a bit of a loner. So we're finding it a little bit tricky to find what motivates him. But that's the same in human. Pete Absolutely. People, what motivates them, if we understand what motivates them, it helps to, for people to be more engaged. Absolutely.
Sometimes it's really tricky. So one of the funniest things that I've come across, and I think I talked about this in your session, was this video of an English bulldog. And this Bulldog, apparently didn't respond to any of our normal motivators. So no treats or toys, no affection, he just didn't seem to be responding. And so the trainer sort of asked, is there anything that really motivates him? And the owner sort of thought about it for a moment and said, he really likes spatulas as in the cooking implements? And so what they did was they bought a rubber spatula. And that was his reward. And suddenly his training just took off.
Oh my God, I'll have to get my Boston probably hasn't seen the spatula because I don't do cooking. But I might get the spatula out and see what he what he does. We haven't found
this. It's hilarious. And finding the dogs motivator, helps them then to go, Okay, if I do this, I am awarded. And it becomes a really positive experience, because as I'm sure you probably know, emotive learning is much stronger and more easily retained than rote learning.
Yes, yes. And you see that a lot. Don't you win on the telly when they're training a lot of the drug dogs. And the reward is often just, you know, some random bit of fabric rolled up or something like that. But that's obviously they've associated it's interesting to them. Yeah, that's interesting to them
when they were. So this is a little bit of a sad, but kind of cute story. So after 911, they were using the search and rescue dogs to look through the debris. And these dogs were actually getting depressed, because every person that they found was that Oh, and so what they would do is they would get people to hide in the rubble, so that they could find them and find them alive, and be rewarded for that.
And it's interesting, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. What did depress dogs? Actually, I think I know, but what what were the signals of depressed dog?
That's very similar to the ones in humans. So lethargy, lack of appetite, disinterest in exciting or, you know, so disinterested in activities that they previously were interested in that sort of thing? So yeah, it's very, very similar. It's not very common. No, for me to come across a dog that's depressed. Usually, it's anxiety. Yeah,
because you specialise in anxiety, don't you? And is it the aggression, anxiety and aggression? Yeah. How did you get this? How did you become a Oh, behaviourist.
What sorry, I left around a lot. After year 12. I tried doing reception work for a little while. And at that time, not not a good, not a good choice. And then I was in childcare for about six months, not a good choice. I don't do well with kids, apparently, or at least other people's kids. So then I decided that I wanted to try studying political science and international relations. And I got really, really sick right beforehand. And so I was literally navigating the campus on crutches. And it wasn't, it didn't end well, either. I've lost most of the information that I got from that year of uni, except for all the stuff that linguistics because I apparently really enjoyed that. And then I tried studying it. That didn't stick either. I'm not an office person. And then I became a certified Auslan. Translator.
Did you so I did not know that. My Yeah, mother in law. And my father in law who's passed away, they're profoundly deaf. There you go. The first language was sign language.
What is it?
This is just a they do use Auslan. But his is much more just how he talks to his mum, like this kind of made up stuff. But yes.
I think that's called home sign from memory.
Yeah. I'm very clunky. I'm very the kids and I very clunky with it. So. So you became a cool, I will plant that away for some reference. Thank you.
Thank you. So I am not an interpreter. So there is a difference between the two is I am not as qualified as interpreter, interpreters, you have to go you have to get your deployment of interpreting and deployment Auslan. I'm not that qualified. But for a little while, I did translate for deaf kids in primary schools. So that was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I then discovered that I actually have an audio processing disorder. And so in lab environments, I can't prioritise noises, I can't block out noises. And so as a result, I had to, unfortunately abandon that career path. But I could still, you know, hear the science. I'm a bit rusty now. But yeah, so then I sort of was like, Well, what do I do now? And it was actually my mum who said, Hey, you're good with animals? Why don't you start working with dogs? And I was like, that's a good idea. And four years later, here I am.
So you have your own business, don't you? You've got your business running. So we'll give a little plug bow tie. Your training will get people detailed with that at the end as well. But running your business and your the behaviours in that business. You have other people who do some other training, but you're the kind of
person they call in when there's an issue. Yeah.
So getting back to what we were saying. So you primarily focus I mean, you do a whole range of things that around the anxiety and aggression.
Yeah, Yeah, so most of the time when people call me in it is because their dog has shown signs of some behavioural problem. A lot of the times also I am called in for basic obedience stuff like puppy work and, you know, training dogs that have been adopted and things like that. But yeah, most of the time, when I'm called in is for some form of aggression or anxiety, like behaviours. It's interesting to note, so this is this is something that people may not understand. Most of the time, aggression is anxiety. So yeah, so we call it reactive anxiety. And it's, it's very similar to how humans process sort of really severe fear, where they lash out. So that's that fight response. And so if you have a dog that is aggressive as a result of trauma, or just as a result of something that's inbuilt as part of their genetics, which can happen sometimes, unfortunately. So you know, if you approach them too quickly move too quickly, then they can lash out as a result. Yeah, I have come across two instances of true overt aggression, right, in four years. And that is more than a lot of people will ever come across.
Yeah. And the other stuff is that anxiety, reactive? Yep, I can see that a lot. Even with Boston, he doesn't show signs of aggression. But just that response to the anxiety is, you know, the backing at the front window. And one of the things you showed us, which I thought was really cool. And it's really simple as well, is to acknowledge when he's barking is to acknowledge him to go down to the window, have a look, and then just kind of go get nothing there and not make a deal about it. So it's not yelling at him and saying stop, and, you know, bad dog barking because he's doing the job. He's he's kind of that protecting, but when I go and acknowledge, and that's the same with people, when people are responding to us in a certain way. It's about I guess, getting some insight into why they're doing that. And so then acknowledge, acknowledge them. Yeah,
it's all about that communication. And as long as you're acknowledging that the communication is happening, and that you can understand that they're saying something to you, then a lot of the time the problem will start to resolve itself.
Yeah, yeah. Do you know what I did notice this morning, actually, when he was doing that, and we live in a cul de sac? And I would have said, it's a really quiet street. Do you know what when you've got a new dog Pylea alone is not a stretch. There is a lot of movement that happens in the street. And I noticed this morning that there was some movement up the street. And he was starting to have a bit of a bark, but he looked at me. And I just kind of went not, it's not that there. And he sort of was just like, coming, it was almost like he was saying come and have a look. As soon as I did that. And just said Boston, there's nothing like nothing here. He just stopped and then just went to sleep. So is that good? And have I
salutely He's progressing. So he's starting to look to you for acknowledgement and being like, okay, so I know that you're coming and assessing these things, whereas in the previous families that may not have been happening. So basically, what's happening here is you are breaking your habits. And that is fantastic to hear.
Yes, yes. That's, that's, that's really cool. That's one of the things. I Joe Dispenza, Dr. Joe Dispenza, has a book out called Breaking the Habit of being yourself, and that he's got some really cool information in there. It's the same concept. It's about what are the things that we no longer want, you know, the habits that we no longer want in our lives and being really familiar with them. So we can actually make that change about what we do want in our lives instead. So that's same, same, same same salutely people versus animals. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, look, we might be more complex in many ways. But there are some things that really just translate almost directly across species.
Yeah. And you know what else I was reflecting on it as well is being unsure with Boston because he's got a personality that our other dogs have not had before. And so being unsure of what to do, and what I've learned that you've helped me to learn, Rand is about being clear about what my expectations are and what the rules are, and being confident in communicating them to him. So when I was kind of a little bit on not sure what to do, I was wishy washy with my commands. Whereas now that I'm kind of going, okay, these are the things that I need him to do even when you talked about, you know, on the walking the other day on the lead, you had said that He's just not even concerned with me. He's just I'm just holding him back, even though he was kind of polite, not polite, but he wasn't. He wasn't choking himself hoping himself. But your observation was that all he sees me as somebody that's holding him back that I should be the most important person for him, and he should be checking in with me. So when I got insight into that, it was like, Okay, so my commands need to be clearer, and not wishy washy. And I see that a lot. I work a lot with people in leadership roles. And I see it a lot with new leaders, when they're not sure of what to do. They're not confident in communicating their expectations. So the people that they work with, then are unsure of what's expected of them. Yeah. So that was a very direct the reflection, I could say, Yeah, I can see that with the people that I coach, and it's just given me maybe just a little different example that I can use with them now. Yeah,
absolutely. And I can tell you right now, I've had to develop that confidence as well over time, as everyone does when I step into a role that involves some form of leadership or authority. Yeah, like I there's no way that I could be talking to people in the way that I do now, about dogs. When I first started, like, even after the qualifications that I did, or anything like that, it is just, you have to have that experience.
Yeah, that's Yes. Yes. And when you get the experience, then it's kind of like, you know, realising all the bits you don't know. And yeah, then then it's about getting people to help you with the bits
yet. My uncle calls out stupid ways. So to start off with, I know everything, and then suddenly, oh, hang on a second.
I actually don't know, do you know, and I look back on it, even in getting Boston. And I was very conscious about when we were going to get another dog into the family. It's been 18 months since our last dog passed away. And we're very conscious that we didn't want to happen. We just wanted to have a break. And even just looking back in the process of getting Boston, you know, possibly there will be things I would have done differently. But I didn't. It's about you know, making that that processes as smooth as we possibly can for all involved. What's like the weirdest behaviour you've had to deal with? Like, and we can protect the we don't have to say the dog to protect the identity.
We're just behaviour. I'm not actually sure. Because most of the most of the time when I'm calling it's fairly bog standard for me. But it may look weird to other people. So there are some dogs that will just constantly chew on their leashes. There are some dogs who will dump in Yep. And you know, it doesn't matter what you do, they'll just keep on doing it. Weird behaviours, weird behaviours. I'm trying to think that's
okay. That's okay. I was just thinking. Yeah, I'm glad you didn't say Boston straight up.
But Boston, Boston, definitely Boston.
IVC hasn't been able to change, you know, how you said sometimes there's, you know, harder the braiding or the is there any been any way you've gone? You know, what, I haven't been able to help change the behaviour.
Yeah, so there been a couple of times, it's very, very few times where I've just flat out said, I can't help you. Yeah, because most of the time, we can make some form of improvement through training, and sometimes even combining training and medication together if that's necessary. But there are certain things that we cannot do through behaviour modification. So for example, if you have a dog that is not social, we cannot turn that dog into a social dock. It is like with humans, if you have an introverted person, you cannot turn them into an extroverted person. So in that particular instance, we can go okay, your dog is, for example, reactive on leash, we can get them to the point where they are tolerant of people being in their general vicinity, but there's always going to be the risk that they will overreact if they are over thresholds where they're just not thinking logically anymore. Yeah. So you know that there are certain behaviours that we simply cannot fix. There are certain behaviours that we can't make happen. Yeah, but we can, at the very least improve it. So with genetics, especially when you've got a dog that has a genetic predisposition to anxiety and that anxiety has sort of realised itself, that dogs always going to be anxious pretty much I can I can guarantee you that dog is always going to show signs of anxiety in some form. We can help them to become tolerant of being separated. Yeah, we can give them management techniques and things like that so that they can come selves down. But that dogs always going to have anxiety.
Yeah, yeah, that's a really good point, actually, it's not about going in there. And being a miracle worker for every situation. It's about assessing the situation. And also what's, you know, led to that, and you know, Boston's for with the third family. So there is some understanding that yes, there is going to be a readjustment process, but I think he's going to be one of those ones that, you know, has. And maybe maybe once he's used to us a bit more. Have you noticed stuff since COVID? Have you been busier with COVID? Yeah, it's been a lot of anxiety. Separation
stuff. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Our the amount of dogs that we got brought in for for isolation, anxiety after COVID locked down. And it was insane, because everybody got their COVID Puppies because they were home. And they were able to train the dog and take the time. But they didn't necessarily take the time to do separation work, where their dog is tolerant of being by themselves and learning how to self gain and be alone. And so as a result, when these people went back to work, they'll suddenly develop that isolation anxiety because the routine was completely changed. So yeah, absolutely. We got called in for a lot of those. The other thing that happens is, during the COVID, lockdown, dogs couldn't get socialised. So we had a lot of dogs that ended up growing, you know, because obviously, it's now been two years since COVID, sort of began. So now we're getting dogs that are adults, and are having issues with being around other dogs because they never actually learned those beginning socialisation cues. So then we actually have to manually teach them though. So we use that we use demonstration dogs who have been taught socialisation cues or naturally do it, to play with them so that they can they can teach them. And we also use intervention methods so that if we see the play getting a little bit too rough or one dog or the other dog starts to come become a little bit uncomfortable, then we'll intervene will calm the play down, then we'll reintegrate. Yeah, but yeah, so yeah, those two things really exploded.
What would be just maybe one or two tips for the ice that the isolation the separation anxiety that people could do it for any of our listeners, if they're in that situation? Number one, call you? Yeah, absolutely,
call me call me, I'm always into enjoying talking to you about isolation, anxiety. But the really, really biggest thing, more than anything else, is to understand that it is not your fault that your dog has isolation, anxiety, that's probably the most important thing. Because some dogs, you can not give them any separation work at all. And they will be completely fine when you leave them alone. Other dogs because they have that tendency towards anxiety, and that usually tends to be your poodle crosses. Yeah. So they tend to have that higher level of tendency towards that separation and isolation anxiety, they will then develop the anxiety because they had that tendency towards that built in. So as a result of that, just remember that it's not necessarily your fault that your dog has anxiety, it is just that you happen to have a dog whose tendency towards it has been realised. So that's the really, really important tip. And I think that's because I felt that. Yeah,
I felt, even though I rationally knew that it wasn't my fault. There was elements that I thought, oh, my gosh, I've created it, because, yeah, for a whole lot of reasons that you want to just give a plug for that book that you referred to. Maybe that was that was a good one. Yeah.
The book that I usually recommend that your dog has isolation or separation anxiety is Julie Naismith. I'll be right back. She is an amazing dog trainer. She specialises in separation and isolation, anxiety, that is her main area of expertise. And she basically has written this fantastic book, it is for people who are owners, not for people like me, but I also got a lot out of it. And she basically gives you some really, really good information about anxiety in general. Some of the training methods may or may not work with your dog because obviously, the difficulty with a one size fits all book is that you're working with living creatures, and so one size does not fit all. But her methods are sound in principle, and you just have to adjust them then that sort of framework of understanding.
And that's what I absolutely found when you refer that to us. And it was about, you know, what is the baseline for? When does he shows some, you know, that stress behaviour, and then you have then helped to adjust to be the the training to suit our environment, which was really good. So that was really great. And just really quickly, I want to go on and ask you about some other things that sort of fill your cup. But one is that socialising, I've noticed, I've taken Boston to the dog parks a few times and with varying degrees of success. But what I've noticed is some dogs, barking dogs, and others play quietly. Barking doesn't always, to me, it's almost like in how some people like to talk a lot. And some are more quiet is that? I mean, they never,
it's a very, very vague answer that I can give you.
Because they question.
So the difficulty with barking in general is that it can communicate a wide variety of different things. So when you've got, for example, Schnauzers, I'm gonna go with Schnauzers because they are like the poster child for verbal play. Now doesn't absence. So basically, some dogs play or instigate play by barking. Yes. And so they'll stand in front of a dog they want to play with, and they'll bark, and they'll show play language. But other dogs will bark to create space, and it's all about the tone that the bark is in and the body language that the dog is displayed. So usually, sort of higher pitched rapid bark is depending on the space, it could mean anxiety, or it could mean play. And so yeah, it really, really does depend on the rest of the dog. So I know that my dog is quite vocal when she leaves, but hers are all growls, and it can be very funny.
Yeah. Yes, and my daughter's is my grandfather, baby Mabel. She's a growly player, but she is. Yes, yes. So yeah, so lots of, I guess, just holistic. Checking it out. And just being cautious, I guess, too. Yeah. Tell me before we get to the end. What else fills your cup because you shared some stuff with me, you a beautiful, beautiful singer.
Thank you. So I just to preface this, I have ADHD, so and autism as well, but the ADHD is the main culprit here. I rotate my interests rapidly. So sometimes I'll do wood work. So I I learned how to restore antique furniture. So I'll do that sometimes. Other types
of none like Johnson woodwork teacher, you could go works with kids with disabilities, with healing. Anyway, we'll just park that for
ya later discussion. Yeah. So yeah, so I learned how to restore antique furniture, not anywhere sort of official. It's just literally like Google how to do this. And artwork, I do a lot of drawing a lot of painting that sort of stuff. When I'm in that mood, singing, obviously, I have a lovely friend who is teaching me how to expand my range. So I can get a little bit higher, a little lower. And you know, spending time with my dog, obviously, that's very important. And writing novels as
well. So really creative. What I'm hearing there when is a lot of creativity. Yeah, that you have an outlet for you.
fee and a lot of stuff with the hands. It's very important. Yeah, yes. Yeah, I
think so the kinesthetic creativity. And when did you get diagnosed with ADHD?
Is that two years ago now? So I'm a late diagnosed, I
ask how can I ask how I'm 29? Now 29. So diagnosed at 27 did that.
And maybe autism was a year before?
So what's that meant for you? How how's life change has changed? Or has it just kind of has it has
a lot. So the autism diagnosis didn't make much of a difference? Yeah, I've never really found that it has impacted my life negatively, if that makes sense. In fact, more than anything, it's actually positively in my life because I have special interests. Yes. But the ADHD has been the thing that has been a huge impact on my life in a negative sense, because of executive dysfunction. So I went through all of my learning years, yes, because my special interest was actually learning stuff. I would just absorb everything. I'm like a sponge, but I never learned how to study. And so, when I hit, you know, year 10, year 11, I realised that a I wasn't as interested in learning anymore. And be socialising was way easier. And so my grades went from like A's B's went down in two days, and
lucky we didn't hang out together because I would have been learning was not my thing. Yeah. But
what did you say? Depression as a result, and, and I basically, that was the whole faffing about bit as well, because I was like, Maybe I should do this new, sparkly thing. Maybe I should do this new sparkly thing. And so, you know, it just got to the point where I was like, I don't know what's going on. Why am I having so much trouble? Even as a business owner, I was still having so much trouble getting myself to do the things that I have to do. And so then I went, and I, I actually, I got under Tiktok. And there are a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists who specialise in ADHD caught on Tiktok because that is the platform for people with ADHD serious. Wow. And it's that constant dopamine hit. It's great.
Yeah, interesting. Interesting. But
so as a result of that, I realised that there were a lot of things. I was like, hang on, I relate to that. I relate to that. I relate to that. And so I went and got an ADHD assessment. And I hit 12. Out of the 14. Yes.
And it's quite an involved process, isn't it to be the ADHD assessment and things. So what what's changed for you now, since you've had that kind of
went on to medication? So I actually went off my antidepressants. And that was a huge step for me, because I've been on them for six years. Yeah, sure. The wonderful thing, which I discovered later about SSRIs, is that if you take them when you don't actually have depression, it gives
you depression. Yeah, that would make sense. So,
yeah, I was basically giving myself depressed. Yes, yeah. Yeah. So I went off the antidepressants and onto ADHD medication. And for the first time in my life, my brain was quiet. Wow. I had never had a quiet brain. Wow. Yeah. And suddenly, I could prioritise things, suddenly, I could do the things that I didn't actually want to do. Yeah, but I knew I had to do that. Yeah. And so that is when my business just took straight off.
And that's different. What I'm hearing there is, there is some things like in my business that I do not want to do, and I procrastinate and I fast about, but what I'm hearing from you is that it was really affecting that executive functioning. And that it was almost these are my words, not yours, but that debilitating, not being able to move through it. But the medication and the diagnosis has really been because it is it's a chemical. Brain. Yeah.
So you know, the the two things that people with ADHD don't produce enough off is the dopamine and norepinephrine. And they're both things that provide you with motivation to do the stuff that you need to do. If you can't have if you don't have that motivation. You're basically frozen, you've got paralysis, you've got decision paralysis. And so you just go reach out for the nearest easiest thing. In my case, it's this little finger. Yeah. And you start scrolling through Tik Tok, you start falling through social media, because that gives you little dopamine hits, and then that just reinforces the fact that you're lying in bed and not doing the stuff that you want to do, or that you have to do. And it makes you depressed.
I get that. And I'm really, we could we could check it, you know? Yeah, lots more about that. Because I think that could, you know, help a lot of people in just even understanding just that neuro diversity, and, you know, people's different approaches to things. And, and I think, also, it's a good reminder about not judging, even though we've talked, you know, the beginning of the conversation was about observing behaviours, but it's not about just judging those behaviours. You know, you said it's that holistic approach, and how does it fit with the environment? And when we're, I guess, relating with other people, it's understanding other people and really valuing the diversity that they bring. Exactly.
I mean, I would not be able to do my job half as well, if I didn't have ADHD. Yeah, because I can make connections and spring from one thought to the next. A lot faster as a result of my neurodivergent Yeah, but it does come with some side effects,
yeah, yeah. And oh, that's been beautiful, when that's been a really insightful conversation around your, you know, being a canine behaviourist, but also about us a person. What's next for you? Ren? What's next?
Well, I'm in the process of hiring and interviewing new people. We're getting dog walkers and stuff like that in. And I'm in the process of getting a facility for us so that we have a controlled environment to work in. But it's it's taking a really long time because, you know, ACP zoning laws. Yeah, yeah. So that's, that's kind of what we're working on at the moment. And ideally, what I'd love to be able to do is just do the behaviour stuff, and have sort of other people working, the sort of the walks and the obedience work for them, I can start focusing on other things as well. You know, getting more qualifications and doing more study, and maybe, you know, going out and doing some other special interests work as well.
So I love that. I really love that. So growing the business. And so what is the business just where can people find you?
So the business is bowtie dog training, as in the little thing you wear around your neck is for dogs with manners. Yeah, that's it. So our website is bowtie dog training dot info, or you can catch up with us on Facebook, or Instagram, if you want to. But yeah, that's probably the easiest way to find us.
Yeah. And for those of you that are listening, because the podcast goes out, very excitedly around the world. So when he's here in Canberra with me in Australia, but I'm sure if you wanted to have some advice and a consultation, maybe not a fly. We do offer
video consults. You often do consults and consults over the phone. I prefer video video consults, because then I can see what's going on. Exactly. If it's a particularly complicated issue. We may refer you on to somebody in your vicinity. Yeah, just because it's much easier to work with a dog when they we have them right in front of you.
Yes, but we got a lot of insight from you. Even just with that initial consultation, just learning about things so ran that has just been an absolutely beautiful conversation, hugs and happiness to you. And thank you so much.
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