Travel thoughts E3: Superbetter

Today’s episode has nothing to do with dogs – it’s about Jane McGonigal’s Superbetter game, and how I’ve used it for myself. If you’re not familiar with the concept of gamification, you may want to watch Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk before watching/listening to my video. If you’re here for the dog training, you might want to skip this episode!


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Berne, Eric – Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis

Brown, Brené – Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brown, Brené – Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Brown, Brené – Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

McGonigal, Jane – SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully

McGonigal, Jane – TED Talk: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Lerner, Harriet – The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

Lerner, Harriet – Mothers and Daughters: Breaking the Patterns that Keep You Stuck

Epic win – check!

Travel thoughts E1: dog/dog sociability

I had fun with The Brindle Girl series, and decided to do more video-style posts. I’m hoping this will tie me over until I go back to speaking in front of groups of people. I was going to record these while driving across Guatemala and Mexico – but it turned out that the AC blasting and the car were too much background noise. So I’m only recording these post road trip. They are still travel thoughts, so I’m keeping the name!

The first video post below is my musings about dog/dog sociability. After recording this, I remembered that I recently learned something that contradicts my anecdotal experience: dog breeds, it turns out, are much less predictive of an individual’s behavior and personality traits than we conventionally think they are.

How do we know that? As of today (May 27, 2021), the Darwin’s Ark project has analyzed 3,056,323 answers provided by the owners of 29,233 dogs. At the 2021 Lemonade Conference, Elinor Karlsson explained their approach in a captivating talk that was amazingly understandable even for someone like me, with zero training in data analysis or statistics. If you get a chance to catch one of her presentations – make sure you don’t miss it!

Based on what Elinor Karlsson and colleagues have found, you should take my video musings with a grain of salt! So before you watch my video – here’s the scientific caveat:

In relation to predicting sociability, we’ve learned two things from Darwin’s Ark:

  1. An individual dog’s behavior and personality traits can not accurately be predicted if all we know is their breed.
  2. Dog breeds have some subtle differences in behavior and personality when compared to all (pet) dogs.
    However, these differences are not clear for all factors examined in the Darwin’s Ark project. For example, there are no statistically significant breed differences when it comes to factors like agonistic threshold, and dog sociability – two factors relevant to my musings below.