In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with the Skylos Ecology Team, Tracey Lyten and Fiona Jackson, to discuss how to work safely around wildlife and livestock.
What are your expectations/goals around detection dogs and wildlife?
Safety is top priority! Teaching the dog that the animal is there, they can acknowledge them, but not disturb them We don’t just want the dogs to bother wildlife, but we want them to be able to work around them as well It’s important for the handlers to be prepared for any and all hazards that you may come across.
Why is appropriate behavior around wildlife important?
- Safety for the dogs and wildlife
- Ensuring the job can get done and proper data can be collected
- To give clients confidence in the method and remain professional and ethical in the business
How do you select a dog that would be able to learn these skills?
Testing dogs natural instinct around other animals It takes a lot of work to teach a dog to not chase if they have the drive for it, but it is possible. Their life at home will have an impact on work.
What are skills taught to dogs to work in the conservation detection line of work?
- Emergency stops and recalls
- Wait, out of sight stays
- All skills from a distance
- Car/road safety
- Good manners around other domesticated animals
- General wildlife interaction training, aka just existing with them and not chasing, etc.
Links Mentioned in the Episode:
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Hello, and welcome to the canine conservationist podcast where we’re positively obsessed with conservation detection dogs join us every week to discuss ecology, odor dynamics, dog behavior, and everything in between. I’m your host, Kayla Fratt. And I am a co founder of canine conservationists, where we trained dogs to detect data for researchers, agencies and NGOs. Today I am here with the Scaleless ecology team Tracy and Fiona and we are going to be talking about predatory behavior and our detection dogs and how to work safely around wildlife and livestock. So we’re going to let Tracy and Fiona introduce themselves or maybe introduce each other if that’s what you prefer. And then we’ll get dive right into it. Let you introduce yourself.
Tracy Tracy Liten. Yes, Director and co founder of Schuyler psychology with Fiona Jackson.
Yeah, yeah, my name is Fiona, you’ll be able to tell the difference between us and our accents. So yeah, I’m I’m Fiona Jetson, and are you doing a little bit of background about us it?
Yeah. Okay. Good. Well, Australia, which is a great place to be with conservation dogs. I come from a background of started with urban search and rescue, volunteering for many moons, which is dog handling in another way, but a lot of similarities. And also, I guess, the conservation background of 14 years with the National Park Service, Dan Victoria in Australia. So I kind of meshed my, my passion for working with my dog and my conservation. Passion. Dr. Athos linked them together. And yeah, the rest is history.
Yeah, and I’ve been in Australia for over five years now I came to do to learn how to be a conservation detection dog handler with Tracy Tracy, showed me the ropes. Way back in 2017. And before that, I was I guess, maybe a bit more of an academic background. I was doing animal welfare masters when I learned about conservation dogs and was fortunate to have Megan Parker as my thesis supervisor and started off as an academic background and then quickly learned that I needed to learn all the practical skills to do this as a career. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 3:40
I it would be really cool at some point to get together all of like Megan Parker’s you know, academic or professional children and grandchildren. I feel like we all have some. Yeah. Everyone in this field currently has like, there are a couple big mentors that most of us can trace back to at some point. So yeah, yeah. Hats off to Meghan Parker. Yeah, yeah. So why don’t we also talk a little bit about a couple of the dogs that you share your lives with? And I don’t know actually your structured you have kind of org dogs that get traded back and forth, or do you each own your individual dogs? Is it kind of a mix? Yeah, tell us a little bit about your dogs and what that setup is
like so you go five dogs, it’s guileless, that are own dogs. Well, they are tracing my dogs. And then we, we that with those dogs that we have handlers, who can work those dogs, if they go through the training with that particular dog. We have a couple that are really good at showing new handlers, the ropes. And then we also have one of our handlers, who has her own dog who is currently in training and doing fantastically. That’s Lauren Freddie air And but yeah our five their, their parenting dogs in terms of their, their breed and their mix of dogs that we’ve had from pup and then also two of them we’ve had from pup and then three of them are rescue dogs. So there’s a bit of a mix in terms of how became skylo Stokes as well. Yeah, very
Kayla Fratt (KF) 5:23
cool. Yeah, I think we’re and we’ve talked about this on social media multiple times, but we’ve got a pair of doppelgangers with barley and Oakley
and Oakley is
Kayla Fratt (KF) 5:36
very, I mean, all black and all black and white border collies look a little bit alike. But these two are really like, I think we’ve all done.
And I Oakley the doppelganger is probably our best flea trainer. He brings on the newbies and this is, Stan, but he
looking at barley at your door. It’s not even just Haley Luke. It’s also their mannerisms. When I look at videos of barley, and like, hopefully does that yeah, you know, even the other day you’re saying Barley was given you had to find your present when you came home? That’s like, that’s another thing, at least similar.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 6:17
Yeah, yeah, as soon as any amount of emotion spikes for barley, whether it’s positive or negative, he’s got to have a stick in his mouth. And that’s I actually I use that. I’ve used it in the past, when I was working a lot with reactive dogs and aggressive dogs, and Barley was kind of my neutral dog. As I taught him that if another dog barks at you, you grab yourself a stick or a pine cone, and we’ll play a little bit and that was kind of how I got him through that that neutral dog work. And he he still will now do that as like a way to self soothe. It’s nice. Yeah, yeah, it’s very nice. Yeah, so why don’t we as I as we said, up top, we’re kind of here to talk a little bit about predatory behavior, prey drive wildlife interactions, I, you know, I don’t quite know how to summarize this cleanly. So why don’t we start off with talking? Like, what are some of the things that you think about as your core goals with your dogs around like wildlife and livestock interactions,
I think I think what we actually call it is animal interaction. So and that’s, instead of kind of focusing on the drive or predatory behavior as such, we, we focus on about how they interact in the natural environment. And for the animals, wildlife livestock, what we’re saying before we were talking about that wouldn’t be a survey that didn’t have an animal of some description in it. And so we want to make sure that they interact safely. And, and I guess, that’s, I think, the focus for us versus harnessing their drive or
Yeah, and it’s, it’s, it’s about them, knowing that they’re there and acknowledging it. And that’s probably why we do call it not like, you know, avoiding them, or anything, it’s just it’s interacting, it’s hoping they safely interact and not disturb the animal and, and maintain listening to their handler throughout the survey, and to be honest, is to continue to work and not be not be distracted by them. I think that’s, that’s pretty important for us, like traces, seeing particularly on our wind farm work. You know, we’re always around, sometimes quite curious livestock, as well as birds, rabbits, boxes, kangaroos, there is a lot, there is the potential for a lot of distraction in that kind of environment. So it’s more just that the dog registers there. If they need to listen to us, if we need to put in an instruction we will or otherwise, they can just carry on about about their job.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 9:14
Yeah, yeah, that makes perfect sense that I think that’s a really lovely and important distinction is it’s not it’s not just that we don’t want our dogs to harm wildlife. And it’s not just that we don’t want our dogs to chase wildlife or livestock. And it’s not just that we want them Yeah, it’s not just we don’t want them to chase but then it’s that we actually want them to be able to continue working in the presence of these other animals, which I think is a really important kind of three tiered distinction that maybe, you know, I think when I was a brand new baby conservation dog handler, I was pretty focused on at best, the fact that I didn’t want dogs to be chasing wildlife And I think at my maybe more naive areas was even just oh, I don’t want them to harm wildlife. And it’s like that that’s not quite the bar that we’re going for anymore. I mean, those those. Yeah. And luckily, I wasn’t in charge of training plans at that point. So it didn’t matter that I was quite that that you
don’t, we don’t want them to chase or what we’re there to protect. That’s a really important aspect of what we do. But we also, they’re not robots. So you know, we don’t want them to be out in the field and go, there is no animals out here. It’s like there is and they will see them. And they will rate and smell them if they’re upwind of them. But, but yeah, it’s not about showing us controlling it. It’s about working them working with us and us working with them. And having that common understanding of what what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it out what we’re doing together and why we’re doing it out there and how the animals fit within the landscape.
I think, I think there’s definitely safety reasons in the sense that you don’t want the animal, an animal to get harmed. And you also don’t want your dog to hurt itself if it starts chasing something and loses its brain. So there’s two, absolutely both parties, there’s a definite safety aspect, but there is coming back to our job is we’re out there collecting data. And if the dog is too busy seeking out and other animal chasing it, then then they’re not working and you might be missing something. And so, yeah, there’s a couple of reasons why it’s really important that they are focused on the job.
Yeah. And on the on the human as well together.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 11:47
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, if again, if nothing else, for safety, like I want my dogs to be able to have half an ear towards me, if not a full year towards me, so that I can give them an emergency down cue or a recall cue or whatever it is that I may need just yeah, for safety, or, you know, even just being able to call them and say, hey, check over here, you’re giving a little bit of feedback on their search.
And in the, in the natural environment, it’s really dynamic, you know, we we might be stepping over a tough to grass that has a rabbit that bounces straight out in front of you. And that’s when those instructions like your emergency stop, or you recall, a vital or even if you’ve got an injured livestock, we come across all kinds of things in our survey area where we have to put them say in a wait while we go intent to an animal. And so there’s there’s all of these kind of working with them to understand that, that as we believe our dogs are sentient beings, that these other animals in their survey area are also sentient beings, and that we need to be respectful in that in that area with them.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 13:04
Yeah, are there any other you know, if I ask, you know, kind of the the dummy question of why, why this is important. Is there anything else that comes to mind that we haven’t covered yet? As far as you know, it’s, we want them to be able to collect this good data. We don’t want them to harm wildlife, we don’t want them to harm themselves. Are there any other good reasons we need to cover? I mean, I don’t know if anyone in our audience needs to be convinced on this one. But
I think that if we’re going to be respected as a survey methodology, we need to make sure that we have got the beard the respect of researchers, scientists, land managers, and having having that kind of debt having that kind of what’s the word?
Well, it’s just yeah, that often we do have people out walk watching us. So it is about being able to manage your environment and manage the dog. And that is a that is also a lower tier. But that is also another another reason
that client cut client confidence in what you’re doing, and education as well, if you’re good at what you do, and your dogs are good at what they do. And they can see that I mean, there’s been times I’ve had kangaroos jump, you know, two meters out in front of have a dog in front of a client and being able to put them in an emergency stop and the client go, wow, that that means that they will, they’ll get you back because they know that you have put the time and energy into what you’re doing. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 14:45
yeah, absolutely. I mean, there is that element of professionalism. You know, I, I think you could conceivably, in some study areas make an argument where You know, if my dog chases like the 10,000 Urban squirrel, that gets chased by 1000 other dogs a month in, you know, an urban park you know, ecologically speaking, that’s not necessarily the worst thing but professionally speaking within the field and within the organization, like I would still absolutely want my dogs to be able to recall and down and you know, ideally even kind of default not not go after that urban squirrel again, even if that urban squirrel does kind of get chased as the neighborhood dogs hobby regularly, and that’s not necessarily like, gosh, not that dogs chasing wildlife is ever something we want to support. But I’m thinking like these really truly urban animals that it’s a regular part of their lives. It’s still not enough.
This poor squirrel.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 15:54
Yeah. I’m just thinking back when I went back when I did a lot of pet dog training, I definitely had clients where it was like, that was their daily activity was they took their dog to the park and you know, they just, we just chased the you know, they just chase the squirrels with their dogs for 40 minutes every day if the dog didn’t like fetch or whatever it was. Yeah, that’s certainly it’s still not something that I would like my conservation dogs to be doing. So okay, so what are Go ahead?
Oh, I was just saying that yeah, it’s a different world that kind of when people are exercising their dogs with them with other animals and wildlife and yeah, I think from my point of view, it’s the minutes and it shows that if your dog isn’t listening to you, it’s a lack of Yeah, a lack of training which is not professional at all.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 16:48
Yeah, absolutely. Have you Have either of you ever come across a dog that you are hoping to work for in this line of work or as maybe as you’re selecting you’re coming up with this as a criteria you know, whether we’re going to call it prey drive or not, like there are there’s a variable amount of kind of natural interest in chasing wildlife or full on harming wildlife How do you view that as both like a selection criteria before the dog is in your in your program? And like have you ever had to wash a dog out because of this? Not having much success with it or Yeah, I think that’s a very common question that I get is How do you deal with this on the the dog selection side of things before you even get into the training too much?
It’s it’s a huge question and we’ve learned lessons along the way know what we do we do have a process now. We like to rescue dogs now primarily for this reason in that we like to rescue an adult who’s kind of that fully formed being who has a personality and has the character traits and you get to kind of chat with their foster carer and and get to know them you can ask for videos around different wildlife I really good and you know have them on trial as well but they they they kind of are develop dog at that stage. And that saves a lot of a lot of time and effort if you can rescue a dog who’s already great around animals. That’s perfect.
That being said, Yeah, we have rescued dogs rescued dog in the past that used to want want to chase and and I think it’s really important to know that there is it takes a hell of a lot of work. But it can it can be done
yeah. Yeah, that that dog so that was my his his name is Jimmy. Some people might Jimmy but he he was a dog than I rescued when I was first came over to Australia so maybe five or six months into to me being here and I was still very green myself and actually saw was when we rescued this dog. It was the first rescue dog for that organization. And I think it was more the choice was maybe made more on breed than doing these tests that I’ve that I’ve just spoken spoken about there. So we yeah, we’ve had that in the past with with with Jimmy and Jimmy knows the dog. I think that there’s a video somewhere up on our social media. He’s that there’s a video of him with with a whale grab it. And I didn’t know the rabbit was there. I thought it was a rock. And Jimmy is telling me that there’s a rat bid there and he’s looking at me and waiting for me to to guide him, I suppose and help them get around this rabbit that he’s not wanting to disturb is also in that video, that same video he’s got. He’s getting belly rubs with a whole mob of kangaroos around them. But there were there was a whole journey for Jimmy Jimmy has his journey and like Tracy saying, it takes a heck of a lot of hard work and training. And it takes a lot of time and patience and, and development on the part of that dog.
Yeah, it’s and it’s not just in training, or in field work. It’s also what is the life like at home? I think it’s that kind of it’s that kind of building the relationship. So he understands that Fiona and now I handle him primarily now and I he is rock solid, I trust him, I trust him implicitly. And he, he’s my goodness boy, now, and that that relationship, building his freedom was really important to him, he come from a place where he was really locked up a lot and didn’t have the ability to kind of burn brightly. So he, when he was kind of initially hear it, he just got his blinders on and just saw the world and, and now and now he sees us is very much part of the picture. And so how do you work with dogs? And it is working with them? It’s not a one way Yeah, dogs, dogs doing what we tell them to do. How do you get that kind of relationship up, but they understand that they’ve got a really important role with you, and that you’re going to meet their needs, and they’re going to be safe and, and that you’re going to continue to do this work and that they don’t need to they don’t need to chase. So it’s been it’s been it’s been a lot of work and giving him a life as well, like a life and a family and, and, and so many other things has just made him the most incredible boy, he’s the goodest. Boy is my angel. So it can be done, but it’s much worse.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 22:33
Yeah, gosh, I have so many different directions. I want to go now with Jimmy, I think, you know, maybe maybe the first that we can dive into because it might be the shorter one. I mean, both of these questions aren’t a whole cans of worms. So we’ll see if we can if I can remember both of the tangents. Knowing what you know now and how you screen dogs and how you select dogs. Do you think that you would go through it again with another dog knowing how it’s turned out on the other end with him? You know, it sounds like he was worth it and worth that effort. But would you? Would you do something differently on the dog selection end of things nowadays?
Yeah, I guess we we would. And we do. I mean, we’ve rescued two dogs, and two is Rex and Sonny. And we did do that kind of vetting process with them. And I mean, I’m only saying that because of how busy we are in the fact that we have five dogs and the amount of effort and energy that it takes that and that it did take with Jimmy. And given our schedule and our workload and everything I think trying to dedicate it’s not that you can’t do is just do we have the time to do it. Whereas yesterday, Sunny and Rick’s they were up and running in four to six months, which is what was needed for us.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 24:00
But yeah, that makes perfect sense.
It absolutely can be done. And I think it’s just whether someone has the knowledge and the dedication and the time and the resources to earn the support and the support to do it. Yeah, that’s true. But yeah, I’m glad I mean, I’m glad. Yeah. Jamie’s just a beautiful feeling. And we’re both very glad that he’s in our lives. He’s muscle dog. So yeah. Glad I didn’t really
Kayla Fratt (KF) 24:29
I mean, it reminds me that’s what I want to circle back to is, you know, some of the stuff you did with him and to going through his journey because I think that might be an interesting prism to about see what you’ve what you’ve done with one dog that struggled with us and then we can talk about, you know, stuff that we would do differently or, you know, and I’m happy to talk about my my guys as well, but it reminds me a little bit of when I’m listening to podcasts or watching people who are in kind of this Sport of canine knows work. And I see some of the beautiful, exquisite, brilliant training plans that are being put into place. And the amount of work that’s being put into place to get some of these dogs up to titling at these elite or summit levels. And I’m watching it and um, some, like a lot of the times I’m watching these people coax these, you know, like a whip it through, like the elite level of titling and nosework. And I’m just watching these trainers. And I’m like, God, I would love to see what you could do if I handed you barley for six months. And I think you know, what you said about Jimmy kind of resonates in that where I think there are people maybe maybe this might be more common in the sport world or early working dog, folks, when you only have one or two dogs. And you can, you can do that brilliant, exquisite, challenging training to get through to the other end. But at some point, yeah, if you’ve got five other dogs and all of these projects lined up, maybe it’s easier to just hire the dog that is ready or for the job. Is your that does that resonate? Yeah, it
does. It does. Yeah,
I mean, yeah, it is. It is almost a time thing and a bit of a shortcut thing of learning lessons, and how could we get a dog up a bit quicker, but
but all dogs come with, you know, whether it’s the chasing or all that, you know, especially in a in a rescue situation, you’re not quite sure what the history is. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of unknowns as well. So you still regardless of what you do, you’re still working through things. It’s just what thing? Yeah. What, what priorities? What are priorities for you, in your experience and working? What can you manage? Or not with your resources? That sort of stuff? Yeah, but yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 27:07
I mean, it sounds a lot like, you know, talking to people about getting married. It’s like, you know, what, what are you willing to live with? And what, you know, what are the things that you can live with? Because there’s always going to be something
very true. Yeah. But, um, in regards to, we can talk a little bit about what we did with Jimmy, because it’s, I guess, a little bit about that. When do you want to talk about?
Yeah, I mean, yeah, we, obviously we had a bit of a chat about this, of course, before we came on, and we said, you know, do we want to talk about Jimmy who, you know, opened do we want to be in, we actually felt like it was really important to talk about his journey and the lessons. And we can also mention that the training is probably the foundation and one very important part. And it was a lot of controlled exposure and positive reinforcement training with us. And making it kind of giving Jimmy a choice was very important. And for me, when we’re introducing any dog to doing any animal interaction training, whether it’s one of our dogs or someone else’s, it is that thing of giving Jimmy who probably didn’t have much freedom and much choice in his life, giving that to him, and the option to make the right decision, that the reward is going to be way better, then, you know, an animal’s rich training is always done in a long line than just, you know, hanging out at the end of the long line, that if he turns away, or it comes back to me, that, that that’s a reward pairing with when he started to learn his job, that the job is the reward.
And so and also, the the other component of that is the building of the relationship and the trust between us and Jimmy YEAH, there’s kind of like, there’s all these different pieces that fit into it.
And I think that’s what you were saying before about when it becomes not, not just training, training, I mean, trainings got to be constant and regular and well managed. But then it is, if you’re talking about trust with with a working dog, and as your teammate, it becomes it does become more holistic. And he had to trust me that I was going to look out for him look after him. And that’s, we all know that’s a 24/7 thing with with any dog and dogs as well. It is so that yeah, that kind of bond building and trust and watching, Jimmy, Jimmy’s development into A dog that he could become was Yeah, super rewarding to watch. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 30:10
Yeah, well, and that, and that sounds like what you’re describing as well incorporates both, you know, there’s all these different frameworks in the dog training and behavior world of, you know, whether we’re talking about like Sarah strumming and the four steps to behavioral wellness. And it sounds like you’re talking about, you know, he needed to have those exercises and enrichment needs being met. And he needed to have that communication that trust with you. Before you could even really start having success with a training plan. So you know, that’s the Sarah strobing framework. And then there’s the Susan Friedman humane hierarchy framework, where again, it’s you know, that very first step is making sure that the dog is healthy, and they feel safe in their environment, and that they’re pain free, and they’re adequately nourished. And then you start setting up the environment so that they’re likely to be successful. So you’re talking about having them on long lines, you’re talking about, probably, you know, working in a controlled scenario, whether it’s livestock behind a fence, or you know, whatever it is, I know, I’d love to talk more about kind of the specifics of setting these up, because I think that’s where a lot of people get stuck. And then yeah, the positive reinforcement and actually rewarding him. But you’ve got to do, there’s, there’s so many steps before you even get there. And again, like going back to my pet dog training days. You know, I think so many people are like, well, the trainer said, or the trainer before you said, or the internet said, to give my dog a treat when he looks away from the squirrel. But he will never look away from a squirrel. And then you look at the training scenario, and you’ve got a dog who was in the crate for eight hours and just got out for its first potty break of the day. And they’re standing on a six foot leash three feet away from the tree that the squirrel is up, and it’s chattering at them. And they’ve got a pocket full of stale milk bones. And it’s like, wow, you know, you’ve got the right idea. But I can see why this feels like it’s not working. I mean, it’s not working.
It’s funny, because again, we’re talking to one of our handlers, Laura, and she, about this and that we were doing this podcast, and she used the phrase, you know, setting them up for success. And that’s that is everything word for dog training, of course, but it’s the same. Yep, that’s exactly what you’re talking about kilos, it’s the same, you’ve got to you’ve got to set it up, right and set them up up for success when whether that’s distance and distraction or reward or them both. To be honest, it’s about good communication and being able to properly communicate to your dog. What you’re after. And yeah, working, working together.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 32:48
Yeah, so what would one of those training scenarios and, you know, we can keep picking on Jimmy or if you want to talk about what it would look like today with one of your, with one of your dogs? What would like an early training session look like? Maybe just kind of free? Yeah, like your average dog. We’re not talking about the dogs where you’re really having to fight that natural inclination, inclination to chase. And we’re not talking about those dogs that you know those rare javelins where they’re just kind of like, buddy, I guess. Yeah, I guess that’s fair. But I don’t care, like kind of your average dog that that is interested. But
well, well, I mean, I think one of the one of the major ones that we do, of course, is just exposure, so lots and lots and lots of different animals flooding, and getting them getting them around so that they become it becomes normalized. Big shout out to Kevin farm right now. We used to go up into the desert for a gig every month. And they have a menagerie of everything. Like everything that goes Oh, yeah. peacocks, donkeys, camels, of course, dogs. I’m sure it does. It’s just huge. And these animals are all over the property. And so we go up there every month, we stay there for a week, every month. We go for walks. And they just feel like they can’t get away from it. They just can’t get away from it. It’s just it’s it’s wonderful because they they go okay, okay, there’s going to be stuff around me and that’s going to be cool. We’re going to be fine about it.
Yeah, and I think for Jimmy It was early on with Jimmy was, for instance, if we knew that there was kangaroos in a paddock it was popping him on the long lane and knowing what reward I was going to use with him which would have both like food and ball and just taking him out there to the kangaroos. And it is that that moment of just waiting for him to doesn’t even you didn’t even need to look all the way back at me but he just needed to drop his attention. For a second me to, to reinforce that, and then work on either get closer with her or distance or trying less than the time that he might be stood there staring at them working on that initially and having the dog come back and for him, it was mostly rewarding with ball that was his kind of highest reward. And then slowly working on sometimes, of course, just your different your varying sort of rewards but working on distance or then getting them off lead, then just working hard, it becomes a thing then when you when you get to a certain stage where he doesn’t need a reward, and he doesn’t need to come back to me. And he can just get a praise reward because he’s ignored them. And he’s carried on. And I think that’s what we’re talking about work as well as that work. As long as they understand the game of work and the game of working with me. That then becomes far more interesting to them than the kangaroos over there.
The other part with Jimmy is now he’ll come back and you’ll be able to sit with him and watch and cuddle and it’s just a lot. It’s in the energies. It’s like you’ve kicked a couple of logs out of the fire. And it’s starting to, to load if that’s how I can describe it. And now it’s Yeah, yeah. All kinds of, you know,
can this harmless with it?
Kayla Fratt (KF) 36:30
Yeah, he doesn’t. Yeah, he doesn’t need to have that super high level reward anymore. Because it’s just, it sounds like it’s almost you’ve gotten to the point now where it’s just not as tempting to pay attention to these animals or chase them or whatever it was. Is that that kind of accurate?
Yeah. And I think it’s again, it’s that here, it’s that working relationship again. And that’s when I brought up that that video of the wild rabbit, his first kind of instinct is he wasn’t even staring at the rabbit I think he’s looking at he doesn’t even want to look at it. Bless me he wants to look at wants to look at me, it’s it’s, it’s about looking at the handler for guidance about what to do with the situation. Rather than any kind of interest in the animal itself, if there’s more of an instinct to okay, what’s what’s my human after here? And how are we going to navigate this?
That’s exactly what it is.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 37:28
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. So yeah. So you’re kind of starting out. I mean, again, we like we always are starting out with the very basics of that working relationship and the nutrition and the comfort and the safety with with our canine partners. But then you’re, you’re going into these scenarios, where you’ve got this this amazing farm, I mean, how cool i’ve already like brainstorming being like, Okay, I’ve got friends with chickens. And the place I used to take riding lessons, they’ve got a bunch of different livestock, like, you know, thinking through the different places, I could take my dogs. And yeah, practice in these kinds of controlled environments. Did you have any kind of other intermediate steps or other exercises you like doing either, again, with with Jimmy in particular that you’ve done with other dogs, like I know, I’ve done some work where, you know, we start practicing with recall away from toys. And disengaging from a toy is kind of like a really, really controlled way to start that skill. Is there anything like that, that you’ve kind of experimented with?
Yeah, so we should say, for all our dogs before they even put out in the field before they’re working and deploy, they have to pass what we call is our safety and welfare assessment. And they do that before they then also pass or detectability assessment check that they’re on track with what they’re looking for. But your safety and welfare assessment has, is broken down into three different parts. And the first part we used to call control and now the control assessment now we call it communication and cooperation. And that’s all what we call our safety instructions, which is those recalls in familiar and unfamiliar environments with different distractions. The emergency stop that we talked about and the an emergency stop with us again with distractions with us throwing a toy in their direction that that they need to either they can either take off and we can stop or they stop right away when we when we throw it. So there’s all these kinds of ethical communication and cooperation because we do feel like that’s a two way two way street again, we need firstly, as handlers we need to make sure we are Are we are we properly communicating with them? Because if we’re not then that’s on us. And then Federation if They do understand the communication or they think cool greeting. And then, and then the second component is what we’re touching on No, which is or what we call it, or interaction assessment, which is actually not just with animals, it’s with people and vehicles as well. But yeah, so we have, we definitely put a few, a lot of training and then a few tests on the dogs before they’re even thinking of hanging out with with animals.
Unknown Speaker 40:33
My name is key. And I have a two year old working cocker spaniel named Cooper. Cooper and I are new to this field of conservation detection dog work. So I am loving being a Patreon of the canine conservationist, we get to meet once a month via zoom with people all over the world, and watch each other’s videos and give input. And it’s just been such a wonderful learning opportunity. And on top of that, I’m really excited about something that’s about to start, which is a book club, that we’re going to be going through a scent book that I tried to go through on my own and realized I really needed some more help. So it was perfect timing for me. And I’m really looking forward to that. Just being able to meet people and talk through issues and better understand the whole field of canine conservation work has just been such a great thing. And Kayla and the canine conservationists have played such a huge part in that happening for me. So thanks, Kayla. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 41:37
wow. Yeah, I know, I’ve actually I think at some other point on some other podcast, or maybe in a conversation with you, you’ve talked about these assessments that you do kind of just internally. And that’s that’s a Skyla specific thing. That’s not like Australia, the Australasian conservation dog. Group. That’s, that’s geillis.
Yeah, this is this is our own document that we weave. Yeah. With that. And it’s always a working document, to be honest, that so we’re always of course,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 42:09
As a Troodon. That being said, I think that, yeah, of course, is at the end, they are doing their own, I should do this, their own guidelines, that is it covering that as well, it just
ponents of components of it. So the rolling up their own guidelines. But I guess what we’ve done is this document has evolved through, you know, stuff that’s come out of search and rescue stuff that’s come out of other, like, for example, New Zealand has, as an assessment standard, so standard, Incorporated, what we felt was beneficial in that. It also looks you know, from a selfish perspective, it also looks at the handler, it not just the dog. So can the handler actually, yeah. Okay, really big. And have the fitness levels depending on what the what, what the job is. And yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s something that we have developed internally and continue to improve and develop, and I’m very proud of that. It gives clients again, our clients, we can show video evidence or everything that we do, and give some some sort of confidence in our professionalism and, and the work that we do with our dogs. The other thing we can do if a client really wants to do it, the client is welcome to assess us themselves. And we can give them that framework, the way it’s written, it’s, it’s done in a way that any ecologist or land manager can pick it up and see, it’s a competent or not competent kind of process. So it can be really, yeah, something that they can do if they want to have that extra rigor involved as well. But we do it internally as as just a general rule. And that’s great, because you are growing and developing as we go along. And we always say that, you know, we were saying it’s the progression over perfection, and we constantly work on it as much as if not more than then the same thing.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 44:19
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, I’ve been in a little bit of a training rat for the last I was gonna say, couple of months, but I guess have been in Kenya for the last seven weeks. And I’ve been training a lot there. But with my dogs, I’ve been in a little bit of a training rut for the last couple of months, because both of them as far as their their scenting and detection stuff. I don’t have any issues with where they’re at right now. It’s not that they’re perfect. It’s not that they’re done, but just you know, we don’t have anything that needs to be happening there. And I think I’ve been in a rut for a while to kind of forgetting about some of these other aspects that are really important on And, you know, I had the realization actually, when I was in Kenya working with these dogs and watching them do some of their kind of fitness safety drills with the dogs, I had this realization of like, gosh, I’ve been in a rut for months, and I haven’t bothered niffler still doesn’t have an emergency down. I still haven’t taught him that. And I can see where even on a really minor level just having that document for or a document like that for myself or for the canine conservationists, it would really help us. You know, kind of be like, Okay, I don’t I don’t have anything I feel like I’m working on right now. Oh, yeah. Okay, that is, you know, having like a reminder of the stuff I could be working on. Absolutely. There’s always plenty to do.
There is always in we’ve found even with a lot, you’re always that maintenance training thing of, you know, one month the dog could have an outstanding stop coming towards you. And then a couple of months later, it might have dropped off because it hasn’t been you just noticed a little bit that performance maybe dropping off a bit and you got up. Okay, I get when you I thought that was perfect. And it was a couple of months ago, but
Kayla Fratt (KF) 46:11
Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Let’s do a safety and welfare training session. And they love it. Yeah, I love it. Because, you know, they build it in and have fun. And you know, it is it is hard, you can get into ruts, you really can, especially when you do this professionally and you’re out, you know working in the field day after day, and then you’ve got to come on, and you’ve got five, five working dogs under six. And you don’t have a day off unless you have training. Otherwise, it’s insane. So you might as well just get up and do two hours of training with them. And
Kayla Fratt (KF) 46:48
so then you can have your day.
And you can sit down and watch a movie. You know, but but I think I think it’s really, it really is important to have a good plan on what you want to do where you want to go and why you want to do it. Like everything in our safety and welfare assessment is feel based. If it doesn’t, if it isn’t something that is completely transferable over into the operational environment.
We don’t do it. Yeah, yeah, we give examples for everything. So yeah, the, the weight at a distance from the handler, you know, these are things that we do on a daily basis. And we just put why we why we do them in the operational. Yeah. And it was impulsive where we’ve done. Yeah, we don’t do more than what we need to in terms of that stuff. But we do the basics, and we do them well to keep everyone safe. Yeah.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 47:47
Yeah, like if I want to teach my dog a trick for fun, I’ll try to teach them a trick for fun. But like that can be separate from from this and yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. What are some of the other so you’ve got you’ve got these emergency stops you’ve got recalls. You’ve got the animal interactions. What are some of the other things I didn’t share as much I don’t know how proprietary you are with this information. Like I’m just fascinated with this document and I’m like can I get a copy of it? I like I will pay you you should sell this as a PDF make it an ebook. We will all buy it from you. Like we look at this
what it is it’s not because it’s pretty yeah rudimental but I guess some of the other things are like we were saying it’s in three parts so your communication and cooperation what we yield up Yeah, recall emergency stop you use them the most. We do say you’re a big fan of them say
I do I’ve had too many mobs of like too many hurt like sheep mamas sheep. That’s right. Like way more than like what am I doing with kangaroos and other sheep being moved in on me by farmers when they move in sheep in and so getting a being able to get a dog to side I’ve had hundreds of sheep around my dog and I and being able to just kind of stand there strange things happening so so really despite and all vehicles are coming through we’re constantly in the in the industry environment so we’ve constantly gotten cars and all sorts of stuff so being able to again this is a very search and rescue thing but being able to get your dog into a spot where you’re safe the both of you so sides important way yeah
Kayla Fratt (KF) 49:36
yeah the with the way that a distance one I think we like another that that example that you use before of an injured wildlife and you don’t want to have a dog near it and stress it out anymore. So if you can get your dog to wait over there, even though say whilst you go, take care of what you might need to take care of. That’s that’s really important. Yeah, good manners around other domestic animals as well, because that’s quite constant. And other people, I had a farmer come up to me today. And, and Rexy was a good boy and just sat and we did as a farmer, talk to me. And he had a couple of dogs in the back of the zoo that were going off a little bit. And it’s just important that my dog then doesn’t react to that and scratches you.
And the other one, and the other day I had, I had, again, a farmer using a dog to move sheep. And I was standing there with my dog at my heel, watching them. And then and as soon as they were out of the way, started working my dog, and I was kind of thinking, Isn’t this cool? Like, there’s two working dogs here doing completely different jobs in like paddocks next to each other. It was one of the fans, and they both just doing the work. And I just, it makes me really love dogs. Dogs are cool. And they do.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 51:00
Yeah, we are so lucky. Yeah. Yeah. And then do you, you know, as you’re, you know, working through these things, like I know, I’ve certainly fallen victim to this and it’s top of mind because I just was thinking about it with the team in Kenya. We were doing some again, kind of these agility, obedience safety combo drills with one of the dogs and Percy the Malinois. And she, I was just absolutely floored it was the first time I’d watched them run through this exercise of how snappy, they were able to get her to recall off of a throne toy. And just I mean, it was it was just beautiful, exquisite training. And what I was talking to the handlers about is okay, this clearly has not yet transferred over to the higher axes and the diptychs. You know, how do we how do we start moving from, from these stepwise progressions, and I think that’s where, like the, you know, what we’ve talked about earlier with, you know, practicing with livestock and long lines and some of these sorts of things. But I think sometimes people get stuck in that intermediate. Next step phase, is that something that you’ve seen or something you’ve experienced, where it’s difficult to translate it over into an actual field? Environment?
Yeah, it’s, it’s, you can always train for a test. That’s what I would say about it. You can always train a dog to do a function, and then does it translate into animals, or the operational environment, and I guess we’re very fortunate, we are in the operational environment a lot. So we get to author on an emergency stop, just because and so it becomes an automatic thing, or just part of what we do in a search. And there might not be any reason to do the emergency stuff. It’s just kind of, yeah, let’s see it, let’s go. And so when it when it happens, it’s a it’s a, an automatic thing versus a, you know, oh, hang on, you’re saying and stop. There must be something around here what’s going
Kayla Fratt (KF) 53:19
in the ball throwing, I guess, you’re right, it doesn’t nest, it is something that it doesn’t directly translate, but it does teach a dog how to stop in full flight. And that’s that, because often, if, if something bounces straight out, I mean, that their instinct is in front of them, and you’ve got to be able to drop them straight down. So, so they’re having that experience of how they can, how they can stop when they’re moving. Because adults are often like, you know, you know, moving in quite a speed naturally as they sit as they’re searching and quite fun. Yeah.
So they can be working yet quite a bit ahead of us that whatever the animal might be, or the car or what have you, it’s potentially closer to them than we are. So yeah, it’s important to practice that as well. That yeah, the distraction may be closer than than the the handler
or the habit or as I’ve had I’ve had vehicles definitely come through my search area and Oakley has been on a transect and I’ve just had to down in really quickly as His blog is long and that’s it’s all it’s and that’s what I think no you can we talk about interactions being animal interactions or just interactions in general and and that communication and cooperation with you and the dog and training for it’s it’s all it’s quite as you were saying quite holistic it’s it’s a bigger picture thing versus Yeah.
What do you how do you train? It’s like, how do you stay safe?
Kayla Fratt (KF) 55:07
Yeah, no. And I mean, my hat’s really off to you for all about the, the effort you put in into it and the amount of thought you put into it, because I think, you know, there’s a lot of variety in this field that I’ve seen and heard from others about kind of the degree to which people consider themselves to be trainers and the degree to which maybe it’s the dog’s responsibility to be able to step up. Or maybe it’s just finding a dog who’s HYDrive enough that you can get through anything as long as you’ve got a ball in your pocket. And I really admire and respect and like your approach as far as really thinking about it holistically and focusing on the partnership and building up. I had a question that is less related to my just effusive praise for a minute there. But um, what do you as you’re kind of working through with a new dog, and you’ve got kind of these, this goal of the these assessments in mind? Do you use that as a tool to kind of check what you need to be working on next? Or are you kind of constantly? I mean, yeah, kind of constantly being able to readjust and think about what gaps that Id dog may currently have.
Um, yeah, it would depend on the dogs. I’m thinking they’re like, Sonny’s, uh, if I’ve understood that the question rates and he’s quite a good example that he came without, you know, those the issues that we’re talking about today in terms of interaction, but he had a pretty, pretty poor recall, to be honest, non existent, non existent, he would just take off and kind of turn around. And I think for him, perhaps previously, that thing of maybe coming back to human wasn’t a positive experience for him. And we clicked, clicked on that pretty early on that, yeah, all those other aspects of the safety and welfare assessment are finding love to stop. Loved away. But the rig that for some reason, that recall, just took time to patients and talking again, about dog training, and those kind of small baby steps that we needed to take with him. So for him, and then, and then again, talking about relationship base, and trust. That’s, that was the big one for Sonny when he learned to trust that you passed around a little bit. And yeah, when he learned that he could trust us, and that coming back to us, was a good thing. And that not only a good thing, and that he would be, you know, positive reinforcement would happen when he arrived. But of course, now I don’t need to give him anything. And it’s more than that working together. Understanding the job and the partnership again that he loves to come back check in and off he goes again. But your case give me some days. Yeah. Well, for him, we that that was the he took a little bit longer to get in the field. And it was for the recall, which sometimes it’s very easy and basic for a dog but but not for this particular one. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 58:20
yeah. It’s always going to be a little different from dog to dog as far as what they need to work on just as, just like all of us like, I’m a great writer. I’m a very fast writer, but I’m a terrible proofreader. You know, we’ve got really got some stuff to work on, I got the number of times I have published something on Instagram, but the wrong date. It’s just abhorrent. So you know, it is what it is. Yeah, so as we’re kind of wrapping up here, is there anything more we wanted to talk about? or dive into on kind of these animal interactions? Safety, welfare?
Yeah, I’d like to touch on when we talk about managing it, and I think that it’s really, really important. Yeah, we need to think about the hazards and plan for them before we even get out into the field. So being really really mindful about when you go out what what are the potential risks that may be involved for you in the dog and I mean, there can be anywhere from the the wildlife or interactions here in Australia, snakes are a doozy. And other other hazards, like, you know, boats here in Australia, or suspects boats from wherever. So there’s, there’s all these kinds of poisons, potentially also in agricultural areas. So it’s really important that we, that we think about, really sit down and go into detail planning and thinking about what the hazards might be before you even go out. So I would just really strongly recommend people think about that before they take their dog out. Because there’s been times when, when, and this has three lessons, you know, I’ve I’ve gone out and all of a sudden, there’s a hazard there that I hadn’t considered, might be there and, and it’s changed everything in alignment. And, and these guys, I mean, they’re our family. They’re our co workers, they’re there, they’re our life. And they need us to protect them, as well as their as well as they are doing what they’re doing. But they need us to, to do our job. And our job is to make their world as safe as possible.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:00:48
Yeah, no, absolutely. And, yeah, being aware and being, you know, being aware, ahead of time and pre planning. And then, you know, being vigilant, when you’re out and adjusting to the conditions you’re seeing and preparing with your dog ahead of time and having those, you know, having a long line available if you need or, you know, whatever it may need to be in order to Yeah, keep yourself safe. Keep your dog safe. Keep every you know, everyone else in the environment safe. It’s all good stuff. Yeah. And so anything else? Anything else we need to jam on circle back to? I don’t think so.
I think they can, but anything, do you think we’ve covered and yeah, just lots of flip flops of time into them. But they they have so much to teach us.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:01:43
Yeah, and I think you know, have some sort of a roadmap of what you need to go with the dog and figure out what you need to do to get there and then get creative about those. Those steps. It’s something Sara strumming said this at some point on her podcast, and she may have been quoting someone else when she said it. But she said often, when you’re seeking advice from another trainer, what you’re really looking for is help with splitting. And help with figuring out that intermediate step between where you are and where you’re failing. And I think that’s something that is often a really big part of these animal interactions, is figuring out how to make that intermediate step happen.
Yeah, and I would say that, it’s really important to reach out to other people. And, you know, we do that through the observation dog network, we put in calls to other dog handlers, if we’ve got questions. And we have people call us that might have questions and, and being open and sharing and, you know, open for learning and open to share, which is
Yeah, and that does require often taking the ego out of it and asking for advice and asking for help. Really important to do that if you are stuck it at some point and not just try and hammer through it. But maybe there’s someone else out there who’s been through it and can help you out.
Yeah, don’t be afraid to ask.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:03:09
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. No, I think that’s, that’s really an important especially I think this is, this topic in particular, is something that is so important, and therefore can also be really emotional. But I think we need to be honest about the fact that it is something that takes work. And it’s not just that you need to find the magic dog. And then it it’ll be easy. And yeah, I don’t know, I was going somewhere.
Even even every dog, you know, not not every dog is, is appropriate for this, this kind of work. And that’s okay, too. And make being able to make that call it once you have put the effort and the work in and to say, You know what this is we aren’t we aren’t we’re asking a lot of these dogs to go out and search in the natural environment, but also and have that kind of drive for their job. And at the same time to have the the character of traits and the ability to ignore what’s out there that we don’t want them interacting with. So it is good. Not every dog can do this. And that’s all that’s okay, as well. And it’s absolutely, about being honest with yourself and your dog. And if you can get there great. And if you can, that’s that’s also going to be the right decision.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:04:42
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, yeah, I think dog selection is definitely a really big part of that. And that’s why I wanted to start there in this conversation because, like, I mean, part of the reason that I personally really gravitate towards Border Collies is, while they do tend to be they’re highly visual, they’re chased motivated, they’re herding dogs, you know, they want to see things and control its movement and, and, you know, but they also are bred to be highly responsive around stock. And, and you know, like those genes can work in your favor and I like working with dogs for that can work in my favor. I’m sure there are ball crazy Jack Russell terriers that I would love to work with, but it would be a lot more challenging on on the, you know, on the animal interaction side of things. And again, I’m sure it would be doable with at least some dogs, but you can stack the deck in your favor with the right breed and then the right individual within, you know, the breed or the motto or whatever. But you can, I think there’s just so much ego and there’s so much. I think there’s a lot of fear of admitting that this is something that’s hard, and it is something we need to work on. Because if we admit that and the wrong biologist, or researcher or land manager hears that, and then they’re like, Oh, God, dogs chase wildlife. I don’t want to use that method anymore. I think that sometimes leads to again, this, this topic getting avoided at times, I don’t know if that is just my, my perception of it.
Yeah, it’s, it’s really, really important. Everything is about as we were saying safety. And one of the key things about safety is being very, very honest about what the risks are. And if your dog is potentially a risk that needs work, then you need to work that you can’t, you can’t be oblivious to it. And, you know, I think you know, Fi coming V and I coming on here and being open about that what some of our thinking and steps have been with with dogs. We’ve done that. So that it’s not just the oh, you know, our dogs are great. We choose this because this is the way we go. And And this means that we completely a military skin and taking that kind of how do people learn from that? Besides, yeah, they’re in the moment now. And this is what our ploy Laura was saying last night to us, like, how does how is that encouraging or helpful to people who might be really passionate about doing this? And that might have some trouble. But how does that help them work through the issue? So yeah, I think it’s really important to be
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:07:38
I think, acknowledging, yeah, absolutely. And acknowledging that we’ve struggled with this and that the dogs don’t come out of the box. Perfect. I know, I’ve talked to plenty of aspiring or green or somewhat novice conservation dog handlers, who feel really guilty or concerned about their fact that their dog has some amount of interest in wildlife. And they’re like, I just don’t know if this dog is going to be able to do it. And it’s like, oh, I, I think pretty much all of our dogs have had to work through some of this at some point. And again, like, it’s not that every every issue is going to be surmountable. But I think a lot of times, there’s a lot of anguish over this question and wondering if you’re going to have to wash a dog. And like, on one hand, animal interactions are one of the number one reasons that I would wash a dog out of my life, my program, but it also, you know, some amount of interest and some amount of work is absolutely expected. Well, it is 1030. I think we’re going to wrap up here. I know it’s not quite as late for you, but you’ve had a long day anyway. So where, where can people find you guys online? Do you have um, I think this episode is going to go live in late June or early July. So if you have anything that maybe in the works that people should know about after that timeframe, you feel free to mention that as that now as well.
Well, we do have that workshop coming up in August, but I think that will kind of be Yeah, I know already. By then. And I would say anyone listening in Australia or further afield. We always like to promote the ECDN And absolutely, the conference that’s coming up. So and then other than that, we’re just always plodding along with our different different projects. So
yeah, they can follow us. We’re on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Like all the standard, socials, and yeah, we’ve got we’re actually we’re actually pretty excited next week being we’re in Maine may now but but from May to early June, heading up into the desert to go and look for a little marsupial critical inquiry and we’re Excited about that. So we’re just going to be out of bed for a while and go camping in the desert. I’m pretty excited anyway.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:10:10
Yeah, that sounds lovely. I did. I just got back from the desert. And it snowed here in Montana today. And I’m so happy. Like, I’m not gritty. I’m not Sandy. I don’t have any thorns in my feet. This is a big, big, big improvement though. I’m sure in like three days, I’ll be sick up the snow again. Yeah. Cool. Oh, my gosh, we’ll have so much fun. And we’re excited to you know, hear more about that project and all of your other projects. You guys. I don’t know how you keep up with all of this. And with the A CDN and or the eight. Australia ocean conservation dog. Conference, the network? ACTN. I had it right the first time. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:11:06
Yeah. But anyway. Yeah. Thank you both so much for coming on.
One. Thanks for having us. It was always a it’s a. Yeah, we talk about a lot anyway. So it was nice to Yeah. Nice to chat with you, Kayla about it. So thank you.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:11:22
Yeah, no, I’m always happy to dig into it more. And, you know, it’s something good. We’re kind of always thinking about, I’ve got one dog who’s easier and one dog is a little more challenging with it. And you know, it’s always it’s always a question, and it’s always different from God. And this is something we didn’t even get into. But you know, from environment to environment. One of my dogs struggles a lot more in kind of open scrubby environments, and actually has a better time in denser environments, because birds are his big distractor.
Kayla Fratt (KF) 1:11:54
there’ll be a part 235 10 over the coming years with with animal interactions. I’m sure this is this is a big one. So this was a great primer. Thank you both so much for coming on. For all of our listeners, make sure to check us out at Canine conservation, Isadora you can buy T shirts and sweatshirts and all that good stuff. You can also join our Patreon that’s canine patreon.com/canine conservationists. And yeah, you can find us on all the socials. Let us know what you think about this episode. Dropping any questions you’ve got for us. And yeah, definitely let us know if you like it and if you want us to do another one. Thanks for coming back guys.