Ep. 35: Supporting, Crowding and Hindering

Jun 24, 2020

When we are doing Scent Work with our dogs, what WE do as handlers can have a large impact on whether our dogs can be successful or not.

In this episode, we discuss the topics of supporting, crowding and hindering with Michael McManus, in an attempt to better nail down what these concepts truly mean and how we can all be better handlers and teammates to our dogs.


  • Dianna L. Santos
  • Michael McManus


Dianna L. Santos: Welcome to the All About Scent Work podcast. In this podcast, we talk about all things scent work, that include training tips, behind the scenes look at what your instructor or trial official may be going through, and much more. In this podcast, we're going to be talking about support, crowding, hindering, and how all those relate to what you're doing with your dog in scent work. Before we start diving into the podcast episode itself, let me do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I'm the owner and lead instructor for Scent Work University, Dog Sport University, Family Dog University, and Canine Fitness University. These are online dog training platforms. They're designed to provide high-quality dog training instruction to as many people as possible, and we're very fortunate to have a client business worldwide. For Scent Work University, in particular, we provide online dog training courses, seminars, and webinars that are focused on helping you in any point of your scent work training career. So it can be first starting out, if you're developing more advanced skills, or getting ready for trial.

Dianna L. Santos: So just a little bit more about me. Let's step into the podcast episode itself. So, in this podcast episode, we're having a discussion with Michael McManus, trying to really decipher what it means when we're talking about support, crowding, or hindering our dogs. So, we started off the conversation with myself asking him to give a definition of what he considers to be support.

Michael McManus: I think part of the problem with defining something like support or crowding, for that matter, is that people want to latch onto something concrete that they can use. And there isn't something concrete to latch onto. How do you know when you feel crowded by one of your friends? I mean, you know when you feel crowded, but what is it that makes you feel crowded? Because sometimes people show you a lot of attention and that's a good thing, and sometimes people show you a lot of attention that's a really bad thing. So to me, support is an attitude. You can try to be supportive, but come off wrong to your dog. And so, what's more important than feeling like you're supporting your dog is judging whether your dog feels supported or unsupported. And I think it's one of those things, it's more obvious when you're doing it wrong then when you're doing it right. When you do it right, nobody really notices, but when you do it wrong, you see a dog who's in distress, who needs help, and trainers who are telling you any number of things in trying to communicate that the dog is feeling distressed.

Michael McManus: So, if I'm going to narrow it down to a simple definition, supporting is being there when your dog needs you, and not leaving your dog without a safety net in a way, I guess.

Dianna L. Santos: Okay. And that makes sense. So then, if you could juxtapose that to what people often hear when they are working with trainers or they're at a trial, you were crowding your dog. Okay. So now I have a kind of an idea that what I should do when I'm supporting, but now I'm being told I'm crowding. I thought I was helping. What do I do?

Michael McManus: Yeah. So if we latch onto this idea that support is a mode of being and an attitude and not how close you are to the dog, then you can recognize that they're not telling you to get closer to your dog. I can support my dog from a long ways off, and supporting my dog is really addressing my dog's needs. So knowing crowding is the opposite of supporting. It's you did not read what your dog needed from you in the moment and what the dog needs from you is to give them space. So sometimes moving away from the dog is supporting. So, I would like to think of support as instead of support your dog, it's you're either supportive or you're being unsupportive. You're hurting your dog or you're helping your dog. So, that way, crowding is definitely being too close to your dog, but sometimes your dog needs you close and sometimes your dog needs you far away. If you can read which one your dog needs from you, then you can be a better handler when it comes to supporting or not.

Dianna L. Santos: Okay. So, I understand all the concepts that you're talking about, but now I think about my little baby handlers who are still very stuck on, okay, do you want me two feet away, three feet away, four feet away, five feet away? And so let's say that I've convinced them, okay, let's give our dogs as much space as possible. And now the dog has gotten themselves into a situation where they need more support, as in, they need their person to be a little bit closer. They then move in to offer that support, and then they get stuck because now they feel they have to be closer because now they have to be able to tell what their dog is doing. How do you tell people to balance the I need to help my dog, but I also have to be able to tell what the hell's going on.

Michael McManus: Yeah. So, I think one thing is to give people permission to suck at something when they first begin. When you're a new beginning handler, you're going to do things wrong and that's okay. It's partly the errors you make, that's how you learn to do it better. So, don't be too worried. On the other hand, the next thing I want to help people understand is that you can support along multiple dimensions. Most of the time, when we talk about supporting the dog, we're talking about something you do as a handler, but you could also support the dog by being a better trainer. So your dog needs you close. Maybe you could take a look at some of the things you can do as a trainer to make the dog not need you to be so close. And what exercises can I do to give my dog a confidence to be further away from me?

Michael McManus: Because if we're talking about physical closeness to the dog, like how literally close you are to the dog, there are advantages to being further away. You're disturbing the scent picture less, your physical pressure has less of an influence over the dog. So there's definitely advantages to being further and further away from your dog. If you need to step in close to support your dog, then do it. But, from a competition nose work standpoint, or even from an advanced nose work... Let's say competitions are off the table, but you want to get to the next level in your nose work, then you want to be a little further out from your dog whenever you can. So, what can I do as a trainer? Now, in the moment, instead of waiting for someone to tell you, "You're crowding," why don't you learn how to read your dog?

Michael McManus: So, literally set up exercises. And it doesn't even have to be in nose work. It just be wandering around your house or on your daily walk or you're doing the training. And get up on your dog and look at your dog when your dog says, "Hey, why are you so close to me?" Literally, learn what your dog's body language looks like when you're putting too much pressure on them. It's kind of fun to say, but we learned this about other humans. We can tell when we're getting too close to someone in line at the grocery store and we're making them uncomfortable. If you can't tell these things, then maybe you have bigger issues.

Michael McManus: You need to develop the relationship with your dog so you know when your dog's telling you, "I'm crowded," and you need to know what your dog is saying when the dog's saying, "Help. I don't feel comfortable this far away from you," or "I don't have the confidence to push into an area without you." You need to learn how to read your dog saying those things. Then you will, if you understand what the dog is saying, then you will, it just automatically start moving in the right ways, and it should be intuitive. It shouldn't be methodical. It shouldn't be an algorithm.

Dianna L. Santos: And I think that's a really great point that you bring up that... And again, it's so common for people to get stuck in these tiny little bubbles. I'm doing nose work or scent work and therefore everything must happen within there, and it is a static vacuum and things only happen within that realm. But that's not true. So the thing that you pointed out was that if your dog needs to be plastered to you, that could be a sign that maybe your dog just needs a little bit more confidence, or perhaps, that you have also been building that in, completely inadvertently, not on purpose, in how you interact with your dog. So, the way that you've explained it, that you can look outside the context of scent work to address some of these things that then could benefit scent work is, I think, a very important thing for people to understand.

Dianna L. Santos: And it's not something that a lot of people really wrap their heads around because as human beings, we are very single-focused. This is what's happening at this point in time. I'm working on scent work and that's it. But these things don't happen in a vacuum. They're all related. So, I think that's extraordinarily helpful for people. So now let's say the people are like, "Okay, I'm trying to work on these things. I'm trying to not be so myopic in my view, but how do I then know whether I am supporting my dog while they're searching, or if I'm taking over the search while I'm searching?" because that's another feedback that I get from my instructors of my trial officials, and I see online and I'm so worried. Michael, what do I do?

Michael McManus: Yeah. One thing when your dog says "Help," some of us are going to be clueless and not know what they're talking about, but some of us are going to want to save and rescue the dog. So, I think the conversation I personally want to have with my dog, I have a commitment to my dogs that I will never ever help them find odor. That is their job. I will be there for them. When they find it, I'm going to be cheerleading them on. And if they're worried about going into a space, I'll show them that that space is nothing to worry about. So, there's a very big difference there for me cheerleading in the background as being support. If I want to put it into a metaphor where we anthropomorphize it would be the difference of a parent on the sideline of their kid's sport game, cheering them on saying, "Go get them. It's a hard game, but you can do it," versus running out into the field, pushing their kid out of the way, and doing it for them.

Michael McManus: That is completely inappropriate in that situation, and I think we need to see ourselves as cheerleaders, and that is the primary way we support as opposed to showing them how to do it, by demonstrations, almost. I know it's very easy and tempting to take over for them, but that is never... It's never supporting your dog to do it for them.

Dianna L. Santos: Okay. So let's go down this rabbit hole a little bit more, and I'll just say, I completely agree with you, but there are plenty of people who don't.

Michael McManus: Yeah, I know.

Dianna L. Santos: So let's say that we have a dog who is... There's a hide in the corner. It's a very busy corner. The handler recognizes that the dog has an odor, but the dog is not able to get to the hide. So the handler then has several options. What do you think would be the action the handler would be taking that would be slipping away from supporting to now taking over the search?

Michael McManus: Yeah. So, my students know in my classes I teach them there's three ways you're allowed to help your dog when your dog's struggling. The first way is to do nothing. Let them figure it out, which is the hardest to do in a class. And it's nearly impossible to do in a competition. But my point of view, if you're in a competition, your dog is struggling, you've already failed. You should be entering competitions above the requirement of what you're going to encounter. So, you've already failed. So, what happens in trial is irrelevant at that point. But let's take a training search. So, in a class, I understand there are class time limits and things like that. But at home, we got this hide in the corner. The dog doesn't want to get to it. Step one, sit down, turn on TV, let them figure it out.

Michael McManus: It's their home. They're comfortable. They can leave the problem. They can come back to the problem. Let them have the time they need because 90% of dogs when they face a problem, all they need is time to work it out. And there's nothing wrong with that. The second way they're allowed to help their dog is to increase the motivation by adding food, or pairing it, or increasing the amount of food if they're on primary. Now, when I do this, I don't want to do it in front of the dog. I don't want to... Usually, in that case, the dog already knows it's in the corner. They've already found it. So from a nose work perspective, I'm done because they've already found it. Now I want my dog to get to the source so they can collect a reward.

Michael McManus: So in that case, I'm going to put the food there, but I'm not helping the dog find it because they already know where it is. I'm not making it any easier for them because I haven't changed anything. I've just added food. So in a sense, I'm bribing my dog to get in there. I'm okay with bribes in certain contexts. I'd rather do it when the dog wasn't looking, just in case. But if the dog already knows where it's there, then it's not a problem. The third way that my students are allowed to help their dog is to put the dog away and then simplify the problem. So let's say, this hide in the corner, the reason the dog doesn't want to go back there is because there's... I don't know, a fan in the corner that's blowing and the dog doesn't like the wind blowing on their face.

Michael McManus: Okay. So, we put the dog away, we pull the fan out, or we turn the fan off. So the fan is still there, but it's not on or it's further away. So it's blowing them. It's not blowing, so we simplify the problem, but I'm really hesitant to simplify the problem in front of the dog. I don't want the dog to ever look to me to make problems easier. So I'd rather put them away, simplify it and then let them out, and then, "Hey, look at that. I don't know how it happened. It's a little easier," and then progressively make it more difficult. I don't want to be caught doing that too many times. I think that's definitely order of preference. Preference number one, let the dog figure it out. Preference number two, add motivation. Preference number three, make it easier.

Dianna L. Santos: So if you were trying to do this as a handler and it's not a familiar place, you're out practicing, and now you've encountered that the dog is like, "Oh dear lord, I couldn't possibly go in there. There's that fan." So would the order of preference of what you would do change because it's a different location?

Michael McManus: No. If I have time, I'm still going to give the dog time. And, of course, if my dog is showing extreme stress, then my training goals change entirely. I'm not doing nose work anymore. Now I'm socializing. I'm doing obedience. I'm doing whatever confidence building I need to do. But all my nose work stuff, it gets dropped in that scenario. So, in a new location, I still am giving the dog time if I have it. I'm still adding more motivation if that works and, in the worst-case scenario, I'm putting them away. And then I'm thinking, "Okay, what do I need to do?" In fact, I just did a class recently. It was a virtual class and one of the students set a hide at a park and it was a five-hide search. There were five hides out at once.

Michael McManus: It happened to be this dog was on primary. The dog goes out, finds four of them pretty easy. The fifth one, dog cannot find. It's struggling, struggling, struggling. And so I'm like, "Don't worry about it. The goal of the training has been served, just put the dog away and then we'll save this hide for later, and after class, you can let the dog have the time it needs." So anyways, she puts the dog away. I move to another student. In the meantime, off-camera that I don't see, the dog slips off his collar, which that's a bad thing in and of itself. But, the dog slips off its collar, runs back to the search area, starts working the problem, and solves it.

Michael McManus: You couldn't ask for a better training scenario except that it was an equipment failure that made it happen. It's actually funny, and I know a lot of people don't feel this way, but in my experience, putting the dog away can be one of the most drive-building experiences the dog has, that they lose access to working the problem, that that makes them want to work it even harder. So this is a great opportunity for puppy to get... It was a young dog, in this case, and he beautifully worked out the problem after that.

Dianna L. Santos: So basically he knew that there was something else out there. He wasn't able to sort it out. He got taken out of the search area and he said, "I want my cookie."

Michael McManus: Yeah.

Dianna L. Santos: And then he went back in to go get his cookie. I think that's great. And it's something that is very, very difficult for people to do because... And this is where, as an instructor, I struggle because it's not something that I want people to do willy-nilly. I don't want them cutting off their dog when they may have been about to solve it, but because they think they've been searching for 10 hours, but they've only been searching for 10 seconds, I don't want them putting their dog up. So it's something that I think is a good thing for people to be wary about.

Dianna L. Santos: But you're absolutely correct that if the dog knows that there's something else out there, that putting them up, giving them that time will actually encourage them to want to go and work more if they weren't already in distress. If they were in distress and they're about to lose their mind, it could very well go in the other direction. So, with all of this, I think what is important for people to understand is that what you're trying to explain is that the dog needs to be able to work it out and that they shouldn't be working out for their dog, even if they think that they're helping their dog, that that is not actually supporting the dog. So doing the problem for the dog is not the same as supporting the dog. Would that be a fair statement?

Michael McManus: Yeah. I would even go further to say it's the opposite, that you are hindering your dog's progress into the future.

Dianna L. Santos: Okay. So, we have people thinking about all these things now, and they're like, "I don't know if everything that I do is supporting the dog or if it's hindering the dog." So how do I go about reviewing my videos, or having someone watch me train or working with my instructor? How can I go through and really make sure that what I'm doing for my own individual dog in each context is truly supporting and not hindering? Is there a way that I would be able to figure that out? I know, for you and I, yeah, read your dog, see what they're telling you, but when people also have a difficult time reading their dogs, is there another way that they would be able to figure that out?

Michael McManus: Yeah. Well, and look, I don't care how much experience you have, getting someone else's eye on the training is a super valuable thing. I have my young dog that I'm starting up, Catfish, and I take some of his videos and I send them to my respected trainer colleagues for critique. So, it's not like I am immune to this problem, and let me teach you lowly beginners how to do this. No. Everyone suffers from the same problems. The solution is very simple. Video, and send it to someone. Dianna, you have a beautiful service on your website where people can do just that. I have curated trainers who will take a look at your video and review it for you and point out things that they notice. And that's definitely something I'm very aware of when I review people's videos is, "Well, you see how you stepped in there? See how the dog wasn't moving in that direction? Well, you took the lead over from your dog. You didn't even realize it." That's the kind of stuff I'm pointing out all the time.

Dianna L. Santos: And that's something that I hope that everyone can really take to heart, is that there is no one person out there who is just the sage on high who does everything absolutely correct, and everything is just beautiful. It doesn't exist. And if someone says that, they're lying. So, and everything will change from dog to dog.

Dianna L. Santos: So the one trend that I've noticed over the past few years is I'm really an outlier being, particularly a dog trainer, that I only have one dog. Most people have multiple dogs. So you have to develop all these skills for each individual dog and it could be completely different. You're supporting for dog A may actually be a complete hindrance to dog B. It may be completely inadequate for dog C. It's an ongoing thing that I hope that people can learn to appreciate that that's part of the journey and it should be something that you enjoy and look forward to, that it's interesting to see. My dog is able to do this, this, and this, but I also do have a role to play. I'm not just a dope on a rope. I am part of the team, but figuring out what your role is should be part of the fun part.

Michael McManus: Yes. Yeah. Absolutely.

Dianna L. Santos: So, as far as what you see at trial as an official, what would you say are some of the big trends that people may be able to look out for as we are starting now to offer trials again, after the COVID stuff. So, as far as trends from a handling standpoint of the dynamic between supporting, crowding, hindering, not knowing, being clueless, being nervous, what are some of the things that you're noticing that maybe people can at least keep an eye on and they would be able to maybe address going forward in their training?

Michael McManus: Sure. There's a couple off the top of my head that I'm thinking about. And the important thing to recognize is that when you begin crowding during a nose work search, it's usually indicating something. So, for example, when the dog begins to source a hide, people can read that. Now, you may not acknowledge that you can read that in the moment. You may act like I couldn't tell he was on odor. It's like, "Well, then why did you have the distance to your dog?" Right? So you were 10 feet from your dog and your dog started sourcing and suddenly you were five feet from your dog, and you claim you didn't notice. I don't think you consciously know, but somewhere in your subconscious, you recognized the dog was sourcing and you moved in to get a closer look. So, notice changes of distance from your dog.

Michael McManus: When you suddenly change distance and you don't know why, maybe the dog just changed direction and suddenly they're closer to you, but maybe you stepped in because, subconsciously, you're reading something. And sometimes, we're crowding exactly in that moment when the dog's sourcing. And that is the worst time to step in and crowd. So, one of the things that I am always harping on my students about is step back, give the dog more space. Give the dog more space, especially if you think they're sourcing. So, that's one. Another is notice changes of pace. So, a change of distance and a change of pace in another situation when you hear the 30-second warning or when you feel time pressure. So, a lot of people, when they hear that 30-second warning, they step in and start taking the search over from the dog. They start moving faster. And I have a very simple, logical argument for people, which is either your dog works better, faster, or at the pace you were just going.

Michael McManus: So when you hear 30 seconds, let's say you sped up, you started moving faster. So, either your dog works better when you move faster or they don't. And if they work better when you were moving faster than why weren't you moving faster the entire search? If they don't work better when you're moving faster than why are you suddenly moving faster now? And so, the point of that logical argument is to point out the absurdity of it. Why would you change your behavior at the 30-second mark? Like that's going to help. It's not going to help. The only thing that's ever going to help you in nose work is to let your dog work in the way that they work best. If you aren't doing that, then your dog's going to struggle. So, don't change the way your dog is working because you feel stressed. And I know that's really hard to do. It's easier said than done, but I think the more I highlight the absurdity of it, the less likely people are to do it.

Dianna L. Santos: Perfect. And I think that's actually a really good thing for people to keep in mind. I have been given the 30-second warning multiple times and because I've really... I don't know why I trial. I don't care about it. I do it just for an experience for the dog and whatever else, but I really could care less. So the 30-second warning means nothing to me because I'm like, "I get the cue. I don't get the cue. I really don't care. I'm just watching my dog work." But I've had people tell me, they're like, "It's so weird. They give you the 30-second warning and it just doesn't seem to faze you." Because it doesn't. The dog is going to find it, or the dog isn't. The dog has probably already found it. I just haven't called it because my head is up my ass.

Dianna L. Santos: What is going to do, exactly what you said of now I'm going to frantically run around the search area and point at things. That's not going to do anything. And so, I think it's really helpful for people to understand that when you are getting this type of feedback, which is, again, I think the crux for this topic for today is, again, the things that people hear, in particular, when they're going to trial is you need to support your dog, you were crowding your dog, you were hindering your dog. All this sort of stuff. You're getting this feedback at trials, not that it's not helpful, but it may be highlighting that there are deficiencies that you have within your training. That doesn't mean that you and your dog are bad. It just means that there are things for you to work on, but the trial is not the place to do that.

Dianna L. Santos: You're not going to be able to solve any of this stuff at a trial. So if you find yourself in a position where you are right on top of your dog and they cannot seem to get away from you, no matter what they try to do, and you're also in the middle of doing a search at a trial, you know what, you're kind of stuck. So don't try to fix it right then and there. It's probably not going to help. But, I know that you've talked about this before. Maybe we'll wrap up this episode with this piece, and maybe I've heard this incorrectly and correct me if I'm wrong, but that you do expect people to try to address issues that they find while they are trialing in the moment. And I know I had someone mention to me this before, where they were a little confused about what you meant by that. So, what exactly do you mean that if someone is in the middle of a search at a trial, "Oh, Dianna always harps on if it's screwed, it's screwed, you have to fix it in training. What am I supposed to do at a trial?" So can you talk about that a little bit?

Michael McManus: Sure. I mean, I think there are lots of different possible things that can go on in trials. That's a very complex scenario, but if I discover a training flaw, I'm just in a type of environment I've never been in before and my dog is not prepared for the odor picture, what's going on. Then, as a handler, if my dog is not in distress, then I'm just going to help my dog or allow, whichever word connects with your brain better, allow my dog to work in that environment because sometimes those environments are things I don't have access to in normal training and I'm never going to get access to it again. So just let them spend some time wandering around sniffing it. You're not going to hurt yourself doing that. Yes, you should be fixing these problems in training, but, again, provided your dog's not in distress, there's no reason not to... Hey, my dog has not gone into this one corner. Go into that corner. Take your dog into that corner. There's nothing wrong with that. Just know, I had to take my dog into that corner and that is a training flaw.

Michael McManus: I'm struggling to think about what I could have meant by something like that because you should be fixing those problems in training. Absolutely.

Dianna L. Santos: So I think the corner thing that you just mentioned is probably something along the lines of what you probably meant, is that if you do come up to a problem that you know that you could actually potentially solve, that you could. It's not as though you should just throw your hands up, be like, "Okay, well, forget it," and then just leave. You should allow your dog to try to work it out if they're not in distress. But I think that the key part is that you still, even if you did get that cue, even if by doing whatever it is that you did, you did qualify, that doesn't mean that you're now absolved of still sorting out and perfecting the skills in training. You got by, by the skin of your teeth. That's not something to celebrate. You may have gotten your title even so, but that doesn't mean that you and your dog have the skills to go on to the next level and do it again.

Dianna L. Santos: So, I think it's important for people to understand that very important dynamic of just because you do happen to pass the test, being a horrible test taker myself and I was still able to get accepted into college and to all that other stuff, which is amazing, know that that doesn't mean anything. You could just be skating by, and it will catch up with you at some point where all of those skills that you didn't have, that you, as a team, didn't perfect, will all have to come together at some point. And if you don't have any of them, that's when you're going to be languishing at some level, at some point, and then you're going to be blaming yourself and you'll be blaming the dogs and be awful when you could have just addressed, "Okay, I did have to step into that corner to get my dog in there. We were able to find the hide within the time limit, but I really need to get working on this in my training so that I don't have to do that, so they know to go into the corner themselves." Does that kind of make sense?

Michael McManus: Yes. And something that I occasionally like to point out to my students is because sometimes we get trapped in this training world where all problems are training problems. And that's true in a training world that we're in, but not all training problems, so to speak, are training problems in the professional world or in the real world. And I think sometimes there's a value to pushing yourself to accomplish a goal. So, for instance, if you have to go find a bomb in a school and your dog's struggling with it, that's not, "Well, I guess I should go home and do some drills." It's like, "No, there's still a bomb out," and you have to find the bomb and your best tool for finding that bomb is your dog, and pardon me if it offends you to call the dog a tool, but the dog has a skill set you don't have.

Michael McManus: So replace it with the word partner, whatever. The idea is, I feel it's a very powerful experience to here's a job and it has to be done, and there's no safety net. There's no going back. There's no training drill. There's just this task right now. That's something I learned in herding. You do all these training drills inside these fenced arenas. And then every now and then the instructor would throw the sheep out on the mountain and say, "Bring them back in." And sometimes you'd be out there the whole day. And sometimes you'd be out there and say, "I got three. I couldn't get the fourth one." And they have to go take their dog out and finish the job for you, and it's humiliating. That experience was hard and frustrating. The amazing thing was after that, the next week or something, you notice your dog has this extra edge to them where there's a stronger urgency and purpose to it.

Michael McManus: And also, there's a stronger urgency and purpose to myself where I realize, "Okay, we got caught up on this type of terrain. We got caught up on this direction and that I need to drill." So now instead of just doing drills because it's training, I had drills that I could put exactly the moment where I would need it in the real world. And sometimes, we don't get enough of that in those works, sometimes it's too safety netty and just too much of a drill that there's no real need for it. This is why I do dog sports with my dogs, otherwise, I'd just do tricks in my living room. I do dog sports with my dog because we go out there and we struggle for survival and connect with our wolf and primate roots, however silly that sounds, but I think that struggle for survival is what brought dogs and humans together to begin with and what will keep us together now.

Dianna L. Santos: So basically the sense of urgency that you have to be able to complete this task, and if you fail at it then, okay, well now I really need to be able to succeed next time. Is that basically what you're talking about?

Michael McManus: More or less.

Dianna L. Santos: Okay. So, and I think that's a good thing for us to end on. Just things for people to think about that you can, first of all, make sure that you are reading your dog, knowing that you're personalizing it to the relationship that you have to your individual dog. If you have multiple dogs, you may have to have different approaches for each one, that there is a huge difference between supporting your dog, crowding your dog, and hindering your dog, but that when you're doing your training, it needs to be individualized. But, perhaps, adding in these moments of urgency, which could be argued is what trials are, is something that you should be going into every single trial looking for what it is that you can learn. That doesn't mean, oh, I just started scent work yesterday, let me go enter into a trial because I'm going to add some urgency. That's not what we're saying. I still want you to be prepared. But if you do notice that there is something that's missing, that's information. It shouldn't destroy you or your dog. That's just something for you to then work on. Did you have anything else you wanted to add for this conversation?

Michael McManus: No, that sums it up. I think there's a lot there beyond what the little we talked about it on, and it's a lifetime journey learning how to do this. So, give yourself time.

Dianna L. Santos: So I hope that you found this podcast episode helpful in having a better understanding of what it truly means to support your dog, how crowding could potentially be an issue, and how our goal should always be to figure out what our own individual dog may need in any given moment for our search. Thanks so much for listening. Happy training, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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