Dr. Patricia McConnell is an internationally known zoologist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. In her career, she has worked with dogs on all kinds of serious behavior problems. She was also the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Calling All Pets. And she is a retired assistant professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She is an amazing speaker… in fact, hers was one of the first real dog seminars that I ever went to. Possibly, THE first if my memory is correct. So she is partly responsible for getting me hooked on dog training in the first place.

She is the author of many beautifully written and well-researched books, most of which I have in my house, and her books are among some of my personal favorites that I read over and over. Her first book, The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, was sort of a gateway dog book for me and shaped how I think about dogs and training from very early on. I even have another of her books, For the Love of a Dog: Understand Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, in both hardcover and audiobook format. It’s that good.

Her newest book, The Education of Will, which I have read and will read again (and maybe get the audiobook), is also beautifully written and insightful. It’s a little different in that it’s written as a memoir. She shares stories from her own life and her experience with trauma, fear, and anxiety – something I know a lot of us can relate to. But they are interwoven with stories about the dogs she’s worked with, particularly her own dog “Will” and their journeys with trauma and anxiety. And among those, of course, she includes glimpses into what we know about the science of fear and what we can do about it.

Fair warning, I did cry a little. So just a heads up.

In the book, the theme of resilience comes up. And it’s a topic that really fascinates me. Why do some individuals bounce back after a bad experience and others don’t? What can we do to help our dogs recover quickly after something stressful happens? How can we set ourselves and our dogs up for success?

And that is exactly what we talked about during our conversation.

Handy Links:

And have you checked out our sponsor?

Karen Pryor Academy is the trusted place to go to learn about teaching and training with positive reinforcement.

I should know, I’ve known and worked with these folks for years. I’m both a graduate of the professional program and now I’m also an instructor.

They offer multiple online classes featuring some of my personal dog training heroes, like Ken Ramirez, Debbie Martin, and Michele Pouliot. You can take foundation classes, learn advanced skills, or apply for their professional trainer certification program (like moi!).

In fact, KPA has put together some special offers just for podcast listeners. So be sure to check them out!

Click here to check it out!