Steve White

Trouble is my middle name. But at least it's consistent. We are going to get the ball rolling so that they are motivated when they get here. What is the one overriding question every time they have when I speak? "Why?" Yes, that, but also, "don't give this man a gun". Designated after one speaker because that question will burn throughout your brain for the entire 50 minutes that we're talking. I like to interact with every part of the audience so that we can have fun.

This presentation is not the one I intended, but after talking with Jesus, he said something about Australia. They have created a Stray Working Dog Alliance and they are trying to standardize standards of care for dogs of all type- service dogs, police dogs, etc. To make sure that training is done ethically. It's a very ambitious project. I got lucky, they asked me to come down and do a keynote for the inaugeral conference. Delightful people who have imagined possibilities that everyone says just can't happen. Trainer regulation or self-regulatory organization. I really want to dive into that anyone that wants that sort of risk or takes that sort of risk.

Your dog ain't so special. The third.. is doing something wrong. After having sat in this room yesterday, that applies to academics too. I don't feel so old anymore. Normally I.. have to deal with.. I have the.. not like you have control issues or anything. But I have.. actually going to this conference in Australia showed me that there is common ground. We are here to discuss that there is common ground in what we do.

Some of the things that are getting in the way of unified standards and people making progress. There are two organizations that tried to do the same thing. One had moderate success and the other had overwhelming success and some of the differences about how that happened. I am going to give you a model for taking things where they are to whatever the next step is. With that in mind, are you ready?

If you have been around here long enough, then you will know what this is. It's a silo. There are five of them. Silos are one of the metaphors of organizations working effectively. An organizational silo instead of looking at the corner image, imagine an organizational chart where there's a vice president at the top, or some director of some program, and above that up in the sky is the almighty CEO who can smite thee at a distance with lightning bolts. Down under each one of them is an organization under their control, like people and resources. If I need a hammer, I can order that resource, if I need someone to swing it, I can order that resource too. So what happensi s that people get kingdoms.

This is mine. This is my precious kingdom. I am not going to let anyone else touch it. What happens is that institutional cultures get siloed like this and it gets to be a real problem for effective work in an organization. People just aren't communicating between silos. As dog trainers, horse trainers, marine mammal trainers, there are silos here too. Does anyone here work for an organization that trains, that has distinct culture, this is the way we do it around here? Have you seen one like that? Okay. And then what happens when they see someone else's training in the same field? "We'd never do it that way."

These silos are everywhere. You can have them in families. They are the product of our histories to a large part. The consequence that we've faced through our life, both as individuals but also when you aggregate us. You think you get a lot of police officers together and you think there's a lot of commonalities between them that they have their own culture? Yes. They all go in as idealists as wanting to save the world, and after 5 or 7 years they will become hardened and eat a chili cheese dog at a homicide scene.

The other thing that gets in the way of progress is that we get stuck in silos, we are sure that we are right. Everybody wants to be right. Do you admit it? We are all blind to our own need to be right because in the process of trying to prove that we're right is being driven by our need to be right rather than what has to happen. So there's this pattern of confirmation bias. We will support our views, you talk to people who .. they will find evidence that they are safe, is a dog is going to die, they are going to be the tool of last resort, you can take the clicker people and they will make the same arguments using different evidence. There's no one grand person above who is trusted by enough people to sit there and say I can look at this objectively and tell you the truth. We all have our biases so we all have to step into examination of evidence with that.

The availability heuristic basically says that the picture that is painted for us in our mind is the one that is really grabs us. The evidence grabs our attention. If you see a news account, or you see a big campaign that really jumps out at you, that can overwhelm objective data to the contrary. And it happens a lot. There's an entire culture built around harnessing that and it is called politics. And by the way, politics isn't just what runs government, but it also runs organizations and families.

Conflict is defined by two people in the same house. You are always going to wind up having these conflicts. I am going to show you a video. It's an aggregation of a few things. This shows how deeply ingrained a culture can be that will prompt somebody to do something that we will look at and be shocked, and in fact it's so bad that I blanked out part of the image so that you don't see the really bad stuff. You will see the physical correction at the end. I want you to just put your beliefs aside for a second, and then after we look at this video, we will look at 3 different approaches to the same thing about where effectiveness is and where success is.

Sgt. Charles Jones Animal Abuse Allegations video. "There is simply no excuse for hanging a dog.. that is not training. The way they train is anything but gentle, they say that it's actually fun for a dog." You all have the idea. What was the basic behavior? "out". What is out? Release. Let go. Is that what the first guy was trying to train? No. They were trying to teach the dog to stop biting. The first guy was definitely.. I want you to stop doing. They aren't thinking about the release as a behavior. They think of the release as.. the out is the stopping biting, stopping holding. They never thought of the release as a distinct behavior to train by itself. You will see more later on. The guy with the last guy, Chris, taught release as a separate behavior before putting in the other levels of arousal where the dog wasn't thinking anymore.

Yesterday someone was talking about how animal groups can be conditioned other.. versus trial and error learning conditions had different outcomes when given morphine. The animals with trial/error procedure had degraded performance. Under Aaron's ... they had better performance. Applies across the board. If you have been artificially create a level of arousal with drugs and the performance doesn't degrade.. what does that tell me? Does that carry over into my work with the dog? So I say to myself, I want to see it an errorless learning procedure, let it learn where it makes as few mistakes as possible, where reinforcement is all about what worked, will that carry over into higher states of arousal? My anecdote is that yes, I am not a scientist. I will document my procedures, but someone else is going to have to do the hard work of collecting the objective data. That resonated with me intuitively, so now I'm going to try to see it and see what happens clearly when we start initiating arousal. Is it just us? Are we just dog trainers?

Politicians have disagreement; dog trainers do too. It's not unique to us, we're not the only ones. And I get the sense that this is amplified. There's something about the flow of information that creates consequences where this is getting reinforced. I want to try and figure out ways to work together. I know you may not believe this, but there are many people that I know that use electric collars that in their hearts believe it is the most humane thing to do. We disagree. I checked. I looked. I watched the guy with the largest national franchise selling collars, I looked behind him, and I took off his hat, no tail, no horns, and he looked just like us. We just have to figure out how to get through to him.

I want to talk about some of the things that get in the way of this. I want to show you another video. There are commonalities in different discipline. You're going to see someone engaging in a sport, someone engaging in law enforcement, and someone engaging in a different sport. I am so thankful that someone donated this video, we have great people willing to help get this information out.

There are cues but they are just not verbal. The dog is ready and anxious for a cue. I am not going to talk about anticipation and all that good stuff. This is Quait. Now watch this behavior. Prisoner escort exercise. Bad guys who are in that position are a little hesitant to run when he has his head in his crotch. Here's a different variation where we're not teaching the head turn, where you will see the dog moving with the handler, but the handler's contact with the dog is a cue to stay in position. This was shot in 1998. This was clicker-trained from birth, he had a cross-over experience to a different traner that did not use Martin-based positive reinforcement, then he went back to positive reinforcement. In France, they blended the Mondio stuff and did it with high-risk law enforcement operations. A few years ago there was a French scene where Malinos are jumping through vans and over cars, this is the same team. Look at the difference. They are not forced retrainers, but they made enough of a shift that they are getting stuff out of their dogs. I can still move freely, the dog is not an interference. Bad things happen, the handler can just step away for a moment. The dog knows that if he feels the handler's buttox across the back of his neck, he can drop and take his tactical position. The swat officer can stack up. Now he can go ahead and give the dog a cue to go in a different direction. That is play. That is play play play play.

There is so many things to consider that get into the way of adopting techniques from other disciplines that we get so focused on our objective, "That's really cool for our dancing dogs, but a lot of people depend on our dogs. Lives are at stake." So let me see if I get this right. That law enforcement trainer where they are yanking on that dog, you're trying to tell me that it's safer for everyone in law, for the bad guy, for me, for my backup officers, for the public at large, that it's okay to not.. to stand behind something to stop bullets, or stay there and watch it, this is... we're going to give the title, the tactical something, make sure you got control of the pointing end while you grab their flank and .. so your dog goes, someone else grabbed me, it's like really, that's superior? Give me a break. On top of objectives getting in the way, there's tradition.

We do things because that's the way we do things. I had a chief that made a radical change.. the one thing I loved about him. It's a new guy coming from another city. Why do we do it this way? That's what he asked. The only answer he wouldn't accept is "that's the way we've always done it". There must be a reason. If you let tradition take hold of you then you close yourself off from possibilities. There is a real advantage to being open to what could happen.

Philosophy and ideology is probably the biggest cause of conflict that I've ever seen. As soon as you take the moral high ground, that presumes that anybody who disagrees with you has to occupy a lower position on that morality scale and in all perspectives is wrong. That puts you in a position to tell you what to do. So you shut yourself off from listening to others. Our philosophy is that our dogs primary goal is a scent detection goal. I am 6 foot 2 and 200 pounds, they give me a gun, a pepper spray, hand cuffs, if I want to apply force to someone is there anything that a dog couldn't do better harder faster stronger? But a dog can track a bad guy 5 blocks.. there's not a prayer that guy has. So why is it that we put the focus on what the dog is second best at? Why? Because it's exciting and it's easy and it's the way it's always been done.

So we do this in other sports. Anyone here ever work in a discipline, horses, people, where you have- where you are constrained because people have the expectation of the way you do things. What do you do about it? You try to be a change engine. You look for crazy people to talk to the institution. If you can't get me, then you get some slick talker like Ken. But if you can't get a wild man like me or a smooth talker like that, you can get Dr. Lamb or people who are in the trenches. Dr. Romak.. her school is amazing. You guys have to check out morning side academy. Then for us as dog people, these are dogs we got, and that's the way dogs are, and we have to train... every dog sold to an American police force from Europe are not their best. They all come with baggage. That's why they are getting rid of them. And then we think we have to train them. I am here in the land where... just the phrase poison ... mean anything to you? Do you think that dog has a positive association with the oust cue? And he didn't get it from that cue; many of them come that way from Europe. They know their results are good enough and that's it. They start doing it, and he says GE is the death of excellence. Good enough is the death of excellence.

I am going to tell you the tale of two organizations. Seattle PD K9 Unit and Guide Dogs for the Blind. You are not going to be able to copy it all down. Just try to roll it with me. You need these side-by side comparisons.

Seattle PD K9 Unit: progress trainers named Tim Tieken was my mentor and I was his assistant trainer and .. progressive trainer called Michele Pouliot in the guide dog realm. She did some amazing work in the realm of k9 free-style. But we all started as horse-based trainers.. if you talk about the way that guide dogs used to be taught, she would tell you scary stories. And I would tell you the same about police dogs. In the guide dog organization they were considered trainers. In the police k9 trainers were considered "handlers". It's not just a semantic difference. Why? Is there any such thing as a dog handler or a k9 handler? No. It's only a title. Any time you're with your dog, one of you is trying to train the others, and it's happened whether or not you want it, and if you don't make the conscious decision to train, then the dog is going to be training you. Stuff gets in the way. Like did I turn off the iron, is Honey going to be happy with me, who is going to be the next president, I wonder if I am going to get free healthcare; this all gets in the way of what we're trying to do with our dogs. And the dogs just want to make the primates give me stuff; maybe if I do stuff I can get stuff, maybe I can get attention some other way. Maybe I can just stare at the human long enough. Any of you have been parenting some teenagers? We have a conservative professional culture in k9 police units. Our job is to maintain the status quo, we are afraid of change. The guide dog organization had a pragmatic professional culture. We see something that changes, we try to stabilize something, we drive around for 9 hours per day and try to find fault. Whereas the blind dog trainers just try to figure out what works.

The costs of failure were huge for us because we get sued for civil rights violations. Guide dog failure can cause people to die. So huge costs. Comfort zones- there are high resistance to change in both organizations. We made a whole-sale leap whereas Michele said I am going to do this incrementally in small pieces, behavior by behavior, person by person until I get enough momentum to move forward. Our philosophy in the department was that handlers- or one dog and out. So they spend 7 years to get into a unit for a dog that might last 5 or 7 years, so we didn't get a longitudinal knowledge whereas the guide dog people did.

The handlers didn't want to test on their dogs. So we had one testbed dog, mine. My soldier little girl who was a learning machine. She was a great dog. What's the good side of that? What's the side of a dog that is a learning machine? I am going to pick on her because she's my fave. It's easy, right? What's the bad side? It's easy. It doesn't prepare you for when things don't go so well. Oi, such angst I have. They had experienced trainers and they gave them small repertoires with clickers as their positive reinforcement marker to change a lot of the other stuff they were doing. We offered positive reinforcement trainer as an option, and the first few trainers opted to go through and they had a lot of success. They look at this as an opportunity to explore. They embraced this as an opportunity to embrace this.

Both organizations did this, we did it a small scale and they did it on a larger scale. We get a dog, I have 16 weeks to get it out and put it out on the street as a working police man. The guide dogs have puppy raisers, their timeline is much longer to acclimate the dogs. And then they have one-on-one .. outcome-based timeline. So we took the dogs.. they were more successful than other dogs, but there were unfinished.. whereas instead, they chose outcome-based timeline. We were stuck with 16 weeks. They moved forward as they had opportunity to do so based on the resident expert. And that was the dog. Nobody is more qualified about what the dog is qualified to deliver, as the dog. As soon as the.. don't feel like, as soon as you have that urge, that voice in your head, it's always there, always judging and evaluating, the dog is out there performing and not performing as you expect, because you know it's more likely to happen then, you hear that voice saying... next thing you know, it's coming out of your mouth. It always... performs the way it was trained. So we move on.

We had great initial success. The k9 police unit had a 75% shorter transition. We cut that down by 75%. We did in 3 months what usually took a year. And I'm going to say, because it was a procedure that involved less trial and error, there was a higher ratio of success of behaviors, that had a huge piece of it. The guide dogs- they built subkills, to full skills, they started with key staff and then went on to all staff. And now they are pushing it out to their puppy raisers. What we wound up with was a skill gap. They couldn't absorb enough in 16 weeks to really roll with this and go with it. They wobbled a little bit when trying to maintain it and move forward with momentum. The battled they faced was that they ... and then spread it out, they started with people that knew they were going to be there, they could have longitudinal expertise over time and not be stuck with this deficit when someone leaves. We faced that; as people left, we saw on again and off again progress. Commitment to the process wained and ebbed at different times. Now there are researchers coming back and I'm tickled to see it. The guide dog organization has had steady progress in 14 years. They have done some amazing things.

We got to 85-90% of our goal, but we didn't have a consistent moving to that direction. This letter from Michele.... to me.. talks about their success. And when they started this, they immediately experienced higher success rates in their guide dog training. They had 35-40% but now they had 80% at least success rate. So they pushed it out to the volunteer puppy dog raisers. It's just amazing. They have done wonderful things. Michele is an amazing leader not just an amazing trainer.

The J-curve of change. You've seen this before, probably a few years ago. What we faced at my organization was the impact of the j-curve of change. We implement new procedures, and what happens when you stop being able to do things on autopilot, and your fingers have a mind of your own, the performance goes down. That dip is when people are trying to evaluate the program. This ain't so good, this sucks; and then what happens after that, the people that made the decision to implement the change, they started at a different point, they are in a different place, they started earlier. So when these people are in their dip at the black line at the dip, look at where the people who made the decision on, mentally they are here. That disconnect between the leaders in the organization and the staff, creates a breach of trust. This is the availability heuristic in action. This is where.. leadership have looked at this and said wait a minute we have enough information, don't trust your eyes yet, stay the course. How many times have I heard you say "trust the process"? More than once.

So, when you decide that you're going to make a change, either in your own life, or any organization, start thinking about cultivating a few things. The first thing is open mindedness. When you see something you disagree with, stop the little voice that says "well that sucks". And instead, cultivate another voice over here, tell it to shut up for a second, "tell me more about that, why did you do that, how did you do that". That's all. And especially when you start to be scared; that's the time to ask. Cultivate true discipline. Discipline is not the army yelling at you to run a lap. A disciple. Not in the religious sense; but rather someone who looks for evidence. Pick the right people first; you can teach skills, not character- that's much harder. Pick the right people. When you first start this, it's going to be hard. The purpose of a flywheel is that once you get it going it stores energy and it keeps going. Once you establish momentum you can maintain it with the flick of a finger. It's hard at first; that's the drop in the j-curve. Apply the hedgehog concept ("From good to great"). Pursue your passion, find what you're really good at, and then make money. But I say resource. Make sure you have enough resource so that you can focus on your passion and what you're good at. Find people and cultivate what you're good at and what you're passionate about.

The Japanese have a process called Kizen. You find out how you're doing now, then you experiment, then you test things. The kizen approach is not to bust through things. The kizen approach is little pushes here and there and then you will get the process going. Keep checking and assessing. We're going to wrap up here really quickly.

What do you think I mean when I say embrace duality? Does anyone here? Where's Dolares? Zen yin yang it's about duality. .everything has a dual character, not just the good/bad value, but it is what it is, it is in this way and it is in that way in other context. Embrace that and understand it instead of trying to make value judgements. Pick the right people, be curious, a flywheel is hard at first but in the end it saves you energy.

I have an archival piece of footage. I heard Bob speak about his experience in Hollywood from back then. I actually have some footage of this. He has gone back into the field now. So really quickly.. oh wait a minute, ..... something about Geico and spelling cow the wrong way?