When I first started seeing clients, I felt a need to send them home with as much information as I possibly could. How could I deprive them of all the things that they could do to help their dogs? Because I knew that people only remember a relatively small percentage of what they hear in one appointment, I wrote a number of booklets over the years for them to take home and read. The Cautious Canine, Feisty Fido, and I’ll Be Home Soon, for example, were all written as supplements to the information I covered in my early sessions with clients.
But there was always so much more. Dogs who were reactive to other dogs on leash were confused by the owner’s lack of consistent cues. Fearful dogs needed more than classical and operant conditioning when strangers arrived; they needed to live in a family that provided a sense of security, not one of “dominance”. Dogs with separation anxiety had virtually no idea what the owners meant when they said “sit,” and that added to their general anxiety.
So much to teach and so little time! I’d would do my best–explaining that we needed to work together more than one time; sending them home with booklets and handouts, appropriate toys and/or training tools. However, as the years went on, I began to hone down what we covered in the first appointment. Just doing a good intake interview is tiring for everyone. It often took a half hour, or even longer, and after that one could see that the humans in my office were already getting tired. I had asked them, after all, no small number of questions that took a lot of thought to answer. “When did the problem first begin, just even an inkling of it?” “What exactly did you do in the 30 seconds after the first bite two years ago?” “What would “success” look like?” (Side question for blog readers: Would you like me to write a blog sometime about what I’d ask in interviews, and how I’d ask it?)
Thinking through the history of a behavior problem takes a lot of mental energy, and it doesn’t leave a lot left for learning new things. That is why many practitioners ask people to fill out a questionnaire before the appointment. There is a lot of value in that, and I too sent out forms and asked people some general questions on it. But I prefer asking many of the questions in person. First of all, the interchange between us often led to discoveries. (“Oh, that’s right! I forgot… He didn’t start growling at dogs at the dog park until after that big brown dog slammed into him at the front gate.”)
In addition, it gave me lots of time to observe the dog’s behavior, and the relationship between the dog and his owner. Did the Ginger the Golden obsessively sniff the carpet for an entire twenty minutes before settling down? Did Marco the Mastiff avoid looking at his owners’ faces? There is a lot to learn about a dog and his relationship to his owners (and vice versa) in an unstructured, new environment, and I never wanted to lose that opportunity.
That is why I never wanted to rush the intake interviews, and why I settled on going over just a few things for our first appointment. Usually it boiled down to sending them home with 1) Practical solutions for dealing with the problem for the next two weeks–often management, not cure, 2) A handout or booklet explaining how to treat the problem. I would ask them to read it before our next appointment, but not necessarily begin working on it until we met up again and I could go over it in person and, perhaps most importantly, 3) a cue, practiced in the office, that gave the owners the feeling that they really COULD influence their dog’s behavior. It always was based on positive reinforcement, and it always was something I knew that I could teach quickly. Of course, it varied, depending on the dog and the problem, but my favorite was “Leave It.”
“Leave It” usually had nothing to do with the behavior problem directly, but indirectly it had everything to do with it. The owners often perceived that they had no control over their dog, and felt helpless and frustrated. The dog had often been punished for doing something wrong, but had no idea what “right” was. In addition, the dog often suffered from a lack of emotional control, and learning to control her impulses to get what she wanted was a skill that would come in handy, no matter what the problem. The owners would come back to their second session feeling empowered (“I can stop my dog from eating food right in front of her! Wow!), learned the value of positive reinforcement, and the dog learned to trust her owners and develop a modicum of self control. Win/win/win.
[By the way, I describe how to teach “Leave It” in Family Friendly Dog Training. I put food in both hands, one treat being MUCH better than the other. I’ll present the hand encasing the less attractive food, and wait for the dog finally give up sniffing it and turn her head away. When she does, I bring my other hand forward from behind my back and let the dog eat the tasty snack. The dog learns that turning away from something she wants leads to something even better. FYI, Sophia Yin made a great video that includes how she teaches the cue, although it’s a bit different from my method.]
I see that this post is getting a tad lengthy, and in celebration of “Less is More,” I’ll turn it over to you. If you are a trainer or behaviorist, what is your experience? What about those of you who had an appointment or taken a class? Have you been overwhelmed by too many ideas and instructions? Or the opposite–did you leave an appointment or a class wanting more? I look forward to the conversation.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: We all met a new friend this weekend, Disa, an eight-week old Lab/Shepherd mix owned by a friend.
After first meeting Tootsie, who did her usual “Hello” sniff and then paid her no more attention, Disa got to meet Maggie and Willie. After appropriate greetings by all, Disa and the BC’s went up the hill into a fenced area where we all went on a walk.
Maggie and Willie were fascinated by Disa, and tried repeatedly to get her to play. However, they also seemed to understand something about her fragility, because they spent a lot of time just watching her.
In this next photo, Maggie looks like a coyote about to ‘forepaw stab’ a field mouse. If all I saw was this image, I might be a bit, uh, concerned.
But Maggie has great social skills once she’s met a dog, and she clearly went out of her way to avoid hurting Disa and get her to begin to play.
Disa began to make short bursts of play-runs that were too endearing for words. She began to run toward the BC’s and then away. Not much, and not for long, but she’s so young yet I’d expect nothing more. Overall, I can’t imagine how it could have gone better. Thanks to Kira for bringing her over–no question these dogs are going to be great playmates as Disa matures. Yay!
I agree wholeheartedly about the need to “ease in” when it comes to learning complex things.
First meetings in novel surroundings are always sensory deluges in any case. I sometimes forget just how much brain space it takes to navigate the world- walking into a familiar room is nothing – I do it all the time without even remembering why ;-), but something as ‘easy’ as entering an unfamiliar space is full of necessary small observations and decisions- where do I park, which door do I use, how does the door open, where do I wait, do I need to announce my presence, what is my dog doing, where do I want HER to sit, am I going to be comfortable in this spot, is my dog comfortable, what is this new person like, what do they look like, how do they seem to want to relate to me, what are they asking me to say or do or think about, what is my dog doing now, am I sure she won’t pee?
It’s a lot to worry about, a lot to remember, even if taken individually each piece is pretty small and non-stressful. There’s a reason college classes start with a ‘syllabus day’. It gives everyone a chance to get their bearings and do the brainwork of learning the spatial and social navigational landmarks they need to absorb before they can focus on the actual course material.
Speaking of new meetings, what a charming encounter between Disa and the border collies. How sweet that they were interested enough to draw her into play, and how delightful those pictures are. There’s just nothing more adorable than pups still in the toddling stage, trundling around with the lithe and elegant (but willing to be goofy for the occasion) adults.
I don’t get to see my dogs actively play with real babies like Disa very often. Sandy will occasionally indulge in a brief frolic with a young pup, but while she is very reliably inhibited, she is also more likely to be disinclined to tolerate puppy rudeness and sharp (if toothless) in her corrections.
Otis is much more tolerant, even indulgent, but he never, ever, actively plays with pups younger than about eight months or so. In rare cases he might lie down and let a puppy climb on him, but that’s it. He does seem to love young puppies- bee lining toward them, carefully sniffing them over from snoot to tail, giving them an occasional lick, serenely tolerating all bouncing and mouthing from their side, and watching over them attentively whenever they are nearby, but play is just plain off the table- an extreme version of self-handicapping, I suspect.
Paddy Sexton says
Yes please to the interview content blog!
I have often thought I should design cue cards for guardians to use, done in bullet form and filed alphabetically in a small, indexed flip file. Maybe I will get time to do it one day and trial it with a few clients!
Grainne Levine says
Thanks, I am guilty of overloading clients. I have begun to work on a less is more approach, it’s really difficult!
I would love to see what questions you ask. Thank you
As for the puppy pictures, so sweet. This week at agility practice, the trainer had a 10 week old board and train Yorkie puppy. My rottie just loves puppies so we introduced them. Finn was in heaven, lying down and sniffing the puppy all over. The puppy was not intimidated at all, climbing on Finn.
The instructor took photos but said I that she was waiting until the end of.training before giving the owners a heart attack.
Jen G says
I would absolutely love to know what types of questions you ask your clients in your interviews!!!
I work with shelter dogs and most of my sessions are knowledge and skills transfers: letting the owner know what we have already taught their dog. I might not get another opportunity to work with them again, so it is incredibly difficult to know where to cut short. I typically try to hone in on a couple things based on our conversation but it never feels like enough.
Erin James says
Yes to the question of would I like to see a blog post about what you ask and how you ask in an interview!
Monika & Sam says
A post on interview questions would be fabulous! You don’t know what you don’t know and often times it’s not asking the right questions.
Gayle Watson says
Followed your path of dosing clients with TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Lots of honing. I no longer take on people for one session – seeing how hard it is for people to adopt new physical skills and rework their mental attitudes. ( but he should do it…, he knows…. ). Still find beliefs trump actual observation of improvement, and next year will switch to several intensive sessions to get the basics installed and spaced out follow ups to help polish up new methods.
Carol S says
Interviewing clients is an oft overlooked aspect of training. Asking and listening and observing is really hard to juggle, and I’d love to read how you do it.
Chloe De Segonzac says
Yes I totally overload. Yesterday was my third session with a 13 week Havapoo. The main trainer in the house is doing such an amazing job and the pup is SO receptive that they Are way ahead. So we discussed way too many things. Went I went home and sent email and recap for the week it was painfully obvious.
It is so hard to not tell everything I know been so enthusiastic about well mannered dog. But I really need to have a written plan.
This pup Pixel as I said a bit over 3 months old can: come, sit, down, touch,go to the door when she needs to potty, crate trained, xpen trained, car soft crate trained. She fetches too. All that with mostly your book Family training! I am always amazed how easy it is to train young pups versus totally out of control 6 months old.
Oh yes…there is only one positive trainer in our area and she is so eager to impart information that she sends out reams and reams of information including what seems like every article ever written. It’s completely disorganized and totally overwheming. And during class she talks nonstop. I think she is so worried she’ll miss something that she just keeps on and on. I trained Daisy with her – Daisy is an extremely anxious poodle mix who was a snap to train – until she developed her noise phobia, which unfortunately spread to the clicker. But the trainer really was driving me nuts – I had pretty much forgotten how much until we got Rosa, our Bullmastiff, four years later. My husband took Rosa to her class and after a few weeks he was really frustrated by recieving a constant barrage of information but little practical help with a dog who is about the opposite to Daisy in temperament. All he got was more information when what he needed was some assistance dealing with a very powerful and singleminded dog. Rosa is a sweetheart, thank goodness, because we have never learned how to deal with her strength properly. I honestly don’t know what we will do about training when we get our next dog – although it certainly won’t be a Bullmastiff, much as we love this girl.
I would love a blog with interview questions! For someone just starting to do behavioral consultations that would be incredibly helpful.
I took my dog-reactive BC to a behaviorist and eventually to a veterinary behaviorist. Both sent me home with much information but also provided their findings and suggestions in written form with a prioritized list. I knew how to start and how to progress. That was invaluable! Because they explained and demonstrated what I should start with before I left, I did not feel overwhelmed, and I appreciated the option to contact them with questions. That was years ago, and I still refer to their suggestions occasionally for other dogs because their techniques help to prevent problems rather than just helping to solve a problem that already exists.
I have a young dog in a competition obedience class now after being away from it for five years. I found that class overwhelming at first because the instructor is not very organized and does not clearly share her vision of where we are headed or how behaviors connect. Also the students and dogs are at varying stages of skills and development, so that can be confusing. I really think the amount of information is not as difficult for me if it is presented in an organized manner.
Barb Byer says
I love the idea of publishing your interview questions. It would help those who teach classes to understand dogs coming into the mix.
As a public school teacher, I approached dog training classes as an educator. I provided an outline of all the skills we would cover and printed a handout each week of the skills we covered and tips for training. The last time I taught a class I realized that was a complete waste of time. The outlines went in the trash and the handouts were refused. When people had questions, they were often the very ones addressed in the refused handouts.
The last class I took (competition obedience) the instructor was an obedience judge and knew her stuff, but she decided the day of class what random skill she would have us work on that day, regardless of what our personal goals were. The other students seemed quite happy to do it this way.
I obviously do not fit in with this new mindset on dog classes. Personally, I need to be more organized in my thinking. If I don’t have a specific goal, how will I know whether I have met it?
Lisa DeAngelis Lane says
I am a personal trainer for humans. I do the appropriate interview and health/behavior intake. And I send almost every person I interview away with the same assignment as nearly everyone needs the same (seemingly easy) starting homework. I like your choice of “leave it” for the first simple training “game”. I agree wholeheartedly with keeping it simple and acheiveable. When I came to dog training with my first dog,I craved to have acheiveable simple goals for my homework and then the appropriate layering,tailored to my success with the first assignment. I am so easily overwhelmed that my one online choice had me running my wheels seeking the best place to begin…there were so many options for foundation games. I wanted guidance.
FYI. My first homework assignment for humans wanting a fitness program is to get a measured water drinking vessel. Try to replace soda,juice,and coffee intake with more water and have a little daily journal for the number of bottles of water consumed. My reason is that most humans do not drink enough water to sustain a healthy fitness regimen and our body tissues are 80-90% water. The most consistent feedback from my clients was that this was absolutely the most difficult aspect of their fitness program!
Carla Blackmon says
I would love to read a blog about the questions you ask at interviews. I use a new client form that they can fill out prior to our consultation, however I feel like there is sooo much more to ask. I also know that often times when you hand the clients papers, it often goes into the recycle bin or the pile on the table to be addressed at a later date. I remember many of my conversations as a vet tech reminding owners of the instructions we sent them home with and follow up information. The answer was often, “oh, the papers you gave us? Yeah, I don’t know where they are.” How do you combat that as a trainer or do you?
Thanks for all your wonderful knowledge.
Another “Yes, please” for the interview questions! And another “guilty of information dumping.” One thing that helps me minimize it, is to remember to honor all three learning styles: If I explain how to teach the cue, (audio) take their dog and demonstrate teaching the cue, (visual) and then have them practice teaching the cue, (tactile) – it uses up a lot of time in the session that I would otherwise spend non-stop talking.
Barb Stanek says
Yes, less is more. I discovered the truth of this statement when I taught at the college level. While I had the added motivation of a grade and credits on my side, if I wanted my students to LEARN something, I needed to be specific about that something and present that something in many different contexts.
When I began my dog training business, I relearned this lesson in working with clients!
My dogs have helped me learn this lesson, of course. They insist on precision when I define a task for them, and clarity and consistency when I ask for repetition.
I would be interested in the questions that you ask clients and how you ask them and why.
Thanks for the posting, Trish!
Carol Westrum says
I try not to overwhelm dog training clients, and present things in small steps each week for them to practice before we add more. However, I get a lot of clients that want to jump over the steps, then wonder why their dog isn’t doing what they want! (example, I start “stay” with small duration, building up in increments of seconds at a time until duration is solid before adding any distance. People want to jump immediately to telling their pups to stay as they walk away and around, before the poor things has the slightest understanding of what “stay” even means!!)
I’d rather cover less in class and get what they DO learn solid rather than try and push too much, too fast. After all, it took me 20 years to get here! I can’t expect others to absorb everything I’ve learned or can I relay everything I learned into a 6 week class!
Mary Thompson says
Yes, please to the mention of what you ask at interviews and how you pose the questions! I would love to read about that.
I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I think I often forget that people don’t even understand the basics of behavior, let alone thew science behind operant/classical conditioning, extinction, etc, so when you introduce a TON of concepts at once it can totally overwhelm them and make them feel helpless.
I like to end the initial session with one or two cues, management strategies for any problem behaviors, and a clear, concise checklist of what they’re expected to work on and how by next session. Clear criteria makes everyone’s life easier, regardless of if you’re working with a dog or a human!
As a past teacher, I did give my students a lot to consider, and I tempered that with lots of time for them to experiment and lots of demonstrations (I taught pottery at the college-level). My aha moment came when I realized they were doting on every word, and I had to be really clear and careful what I said and how I said it because it all mattered while trying to instill a sense of exploration and creativity and hope that they were willing to let go of things that didn’t work (clay before it’s fired is a very forgiving medium).
As a current person-in-training-to-simply-live-a-good-life-with-dogs, it’s very similar to learning a new language at an age when you’ve lost a little of that brain elasticity. Operant, classical conditioning, desensitizing, shaping, flooding, triggers, R+, R-, etc. It can be quite overwhelming, especially when you have a dog in front of you the likes of which you’ve never seen before (I’m talking about Olive:), and you’re literally feeling like you are an abject failure at something you thought you were actually fairly good at (living with dogs w/o issues, you now realize). Those first few years were tough and trying and transformative.
My aha moment came a few years ago when our vet behaviorist told me to just be with Olive. Take her outside and just hang out. Take my cue from her. It was a revelation to me to realize that we didn’t always have to be learning or practicing or managing. Olive and I sit in the yard, and I feed her little pieces of grass and she licks my hand, and we watch the birds land on the fence, and we are thankful that this is our less.
Renee Amodeo says
To mirror what Brittney said – YES! Would love to see your interview questions. I also am just beginning to do Behavior Consults. I love the thoroughness of Dr Karen Overall (in her Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine) but Im afraid I will lose the clients attention.
Thank you so much.
Paula Steinbach says
Yes the blog
Susan S says
More information or less? Depends.
Somebody had to say it. It really does depend, though, & clearly the trick lies in reading your client. You can add information but you can’t retract it when you see that it’s too much for someone to take in. I’m learning to say less than I want to & hope for good questions.
Julie Rice says
I am continually revising my initial interview because I find that people generally speak in very vague terms about how they want the dog to “liste” and “behave”. Now I ask them to name 3 behaviors that they would like to change and we start with one of them right away. I’ve also given up explaining much about how and why I use the methods I do since most people really aren’t interested as long as it works and works quickly. So I give them a clicker, show them how to charge it and that’s about all I do in the first session.
Chris from Boise says
Perfect timing, Trisha. I’m just setting up a one-night Community Education class to help owners of reactive dogs tap into local and online resources, and your post and the (as usual) very astute comments are most helpful. I’ll do my best to avoid overloading students (though I see no way of avoiding handouts of the reference material we cover).
This class idea came from being asked twice at a local pet store about how to deal with reactive dogs, after the clerk bragged on Habi’s progress over the years. Not making any claims to being a trainer, I could empathize with the customers and how alone, helpless, frustrated and embarrassed they felt. I discussed this with a couple of trainer friends, and it seemed like it would help those people to know that there are good trainers (but alas no certified behaviorists that I know of) in Boise and a terrifically supportive and knowledgeable online community. So I’m giving it a whirl – wish me luck!
As a learner, I agree with Barb Byer above, and would have loved taking her handout-rich classes – but we’re apparently in the minority.
Debra Moody says
ALWAYS interested in what you would ask during an interview/consult. Thanks for sharing!
is you don’t get the answer you want, change the question – a lot is in the ‘interpretation/wording’ of what is asked – some owners have so little ‘dog trainer language’ that we have to start at ground zero –
When I first ordered one of your books and opened the package I was disappointed that it was so small. Later, I was delighted with the rich brevity – so clear, so concise, no wasted words, facts, experience, wisdom, understanding… The details painted the pictures I needed to see, understand, and do.
I work with dogs and owners. I like to write. I like things written down. I started with handouts and way too much information. I soooo want to give people information. What I came to is that the internet is full of information, good and bad. People don’t need more information. They need help applying what’s relevant to their dog and situation. People need help changing what they do and how they think.
Dogs learn by doing. People learn by doing. 1-on-1, I’m trying to spend more time giving people opportunity to do, adding pictures and whys to the doing. I want the dog to succeed and the owner to succeed. I want them to learn new skills that they can take anywhere. Successful doing is amazingly reinforcing for both dog and owner – often with simple changes (teaching first, timing, treat value . . .)
I’m always amazed at how much information dogs give us. Better information than my handouts will ever be. The challenge is what do we do with it.
Yes, to the interview questions.
Yes, I would like the interview questions. I like the idea of “Leave It” as the first task. I did obedience classes 40 years ago with Dick Koehler, but that was not a command taught. When I adopted a very reactive, fear biter dog several years ago, working with that was so helpful. He was smart and easily motivated to learn sit, stay, tricks, etc., but learning leave it was the essential piece. It was very difficult for him and me, and I would encourage trainers to get dogs/owners secure with that.
I’m a retired community college comp professor and former special ed teacher. I encourage asking for physical practice rather than just listening, and also asking students to reinforce with notes, maybe on phones now or in a notebook of their own rather than on handouts I also found my students focused too much on the criticisms I had to make on writing assignments, however carefully I worded them, and ignored my positive comments, which I was careful to make. So I set up some tasks that asked them to read, copy, discuss what they had done well. I think it helped them relax and listen better overall. We have a very self-critical society. In my own experience in dog training classes, I struggle to remind myself when my dog and I are successful, tending instead to tense up about my mistakes. Listening goes out the window then. I would rather learn a few things well, than be overwhelmed by too much information that reminds me of what I might not be accomplishing.
Alice R. says
I’m the learner you are wondering about so maybe I can add something to this discussion. I want information that helps me and my dog. The more I can understand what he thinks, how he learns, and most importantly, how to make him want to do what I ask the better off we are. That means I don’t necessarily need a lot of labels, but anything that helps me transfer the ideas to new situations helps us both. After a while, you begin to understand the commonalities that help you choose an appropriate solution to a new problem, but it takes a while so help me draw those connections. I do read and refer back to handouts. I find the most helpful ones have been the ones that say “this is what we did in class, how we did it, what to use it for, and helpful ways to practice”. Tell me which situations this is helpful for: do I use “leave it”, “enough”, “watch me” in this common situation? Most of all, thanks for hanging in there with us. No matter how clueless we seem, we want the best for our dogs and our families or we wouldn’t be there.
To Alice: Hey, we’re all still learners, but I so appreciate your excellent point about what kind of information is useful. You say “I find the most helpful ones [handouts] have been the ones that say “this is what we did in class, how we did it, what to use it for, and helpful ways to practice”. Tell me which situations this is helpful for: do I use “leave it”, “enough”, “watch me” in this common situation?”
I LOVE this. I agree that the challenge for all of us is to apply what we learn in Context 1 to Context 2. And Context 3. And I think that’s where a lot of training falls down. I’ve seen numerous dog training classes in which the students had well-behaved dogs in class, but not at home. Not because they didn’t “practice,” but because it wasn’t clear how one applies X to Y. So thank your Alice R. for being so helpful and reminding us all what is useful, and what is not.
To all of you who have said “Yes!” to a post on my version of intake interviews, I hear you. I’ve been thinking about it ever since the first “Yes, please!” comment arrived. I realize that I believe that HOW you ask is as important as WHAT you ask–and that’s harder to convey. But I’ll do my best in a post sometime this month.
Sandy McConnell says
I did my first interview as a trainer yesterday. The couple just got a 13 week old Husky puppy. I was like, “OMG! My first client and it’s a HUSKY?!?” I took a deep breath and went in. I had already created an assessment sheet the best I could to gather some baseline info including why they want training for their pup, what do they want to take away from the training, and what, if any, current issues they are having. The thing I focused on the most was importance of the socialization of the pup, especially since she’s a Husky. As tempted as I was to stay for 3 hours, I kept it to an hour and gave them some things to think about. I am anxious and excited about our next meeting.
As a note, I am not related to Patricia McConnell … well not this Patricia McConnell.
kathryn roughley says
Yes please “Interview questions” would be so helpful..:)
Bill Olsen says
Your method of developing a response to the “leave it” command is so much better than the method I had been using. Thank you. I have a question that I’m not sure you can answer directly in this blog, but feel free to use the email I am leaving with this response. I am now in the hospital, going on 3 weeks now and after I was here barely a week, my wife had to let our Boston Terrier go due to a series of mast cell tumors that had become inoperable after two surgical removal procedures. We miss that little brat so much but we have a home that is very much geared toward including a dog in our family and since I have always encouraged families I work with when they let a dog go to adopt as soon as possible, it’s time for a dose of my own medicine.
So I’ve been sitting in the hospital looking through shelter dogs and one just jumped out at me, an adult Border Collie. I’ve trained a few of this breed and never miss an opportunity to work with them. They are amazing creatures. I am well aware that they are working dogs and need a job to do. For a period of time once I get home I would work intensively on obedience commands, making sure that there is a solid response to “come” and some close intervention with leash walking. My wife has met him and they will hold him till I leave the hospital. As far as having a job to do, I will need help while recovering while my wife is at work… taking stuff to the garbage, sorting laundry, simple things like that as well as herding me outside for Excersize.
Do you think that this is a reasonable situation to bring a dog home from a shelter to? If so, what kinds of areas would be best for me to focus on as a priority? I adore this breed and I really hope I can make this work.
YES to “Would you like me to write a blog sometime about what I’d ask in interviews, and how I’d ask it?”
And, thank you for such an insightful article! This is a topic I’ve been having challenges with lately, and it was so beneficial to read your suggestions.