For no particular reason, this week’s topic is Arousal.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter. We’re not talking about sex here. We’re talking about behavior. But if you are a behavior nerd, the topic of arousal IS pretty sexy.

It’s a word that gets thrown around a LOT in dog training circles, it shows up in conversations about behavior in many different contexts – shelter dogs, working dogs, performance dogs…

High arousal. Over-arousal. Low arousal. And one of the problems is that we often mean different things and are coming from different perspectives.

What does arousal mean? What does it look like? What do we do about it?

In this episode, returning friend of the pod, Lindsay Wood Brown and I attempt to explore this crazy complicated concept.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  1. Why are we so interested in arousal?
  2. How arousal as a construct – a label, not a THING.
  3. The possible fallout of using a label. Constructs can’t cause behavior!
  4. Why operational definitions are so important when playing in high stakes environments (animal shelters, working dogs, behavior consults, competitive sports).
  5. And finally, what we can do about it with our training.

Lindsay Wood Brown is a board-certified Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) with a master’s degree in Animal Behavior and I just love her. Did I just make this awkward? Oh well. With a stacked professional portfolio, Lindsay has a long history of leadership and building high functioning teams within animal shelters, is no stranger to teaching workshops and also serves as a faculty member for Karen Pryor Academy and Clicker Expo.

Links Mentioned:

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