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Enlightened By Dogs with Kathy Kawalec

Feb 4, 2019

There is no one on this planet who knows how important a dog is in your life like dog enthusiast Kathy Kawalec of the Enlightened by Dogs Podcast. Just like you, Kathy sees a kindred spirit, a sentient being, a heart and a soul when she looks into the eyes of a dog. Our host makes no bones about her opinion that partnership with our dogs is much better than simply training them. Partnership is based on a deep trusting connection and it’s this connection that breeds the behavior that we want to see from our furry friend. What could be better?


In This Episode, Kathy starts with an engaging quote from Helen Keller, “Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his.” She starts this way to illustrate the connection in Helen’s quote and our relationship with our dogs. Our dogs want to be heard and truly understood by us in our roles as partners and leaders with them.


Dance of Partnership - a special way of communication, decreases need for training, but accelerates learning process. There is a profound connection between all living things especially with our dogs. Through cognition we can learn how to tap into the power of that DNA that we share with our dogs. Dogs are ready, willing, and able to be our joyful collaborators.  This dance is a heart centered leadership within your relationship with your dog. Equanimity is at the heart of this dance.


Kathy mentions author, horse woman and socially intelligent leadership expert Linda Kohanov  who inspired and continues to inspire her in the way she interacts with her own dogs. “To be clear and confident of your own dreams while remaining responsive to the needs and gifts of others you must check your ego at the gate.”  Partnership and leadership will be discussed over the next couple of weeks. Kathy makes clear she will be talking about leadership and the bad wrap it has gotten in the positive dog training arena. Consensual leadership:

  • Given to the individual in a family group who is at any given time is
    • The calmest
    • The clearest
    • The most creative

Propose to create a family group with your dogs and community.  Maintain good boundaries. The entire group has its specialties. Even in the positive training community we have been culturally conditioned and guilty of unintentionally using dictatorial verbiage with our dogs.

  • We house break them
  • We do obedience training
  • We need them to obey our commands
  • We need to correct their behavior

We can avoid this by following consensual leadership. Sometimes the dog will lead: tracking, herding, fetching. Sometimes we are leading. It’s a contemporary idea and research that is amazingly illuminating.  While doing this we can come away with a profound understanding of what it means to connect with our dogs.


“When we are teaching and training from the heart with the best interest of our dogs at the center we will never go wrong.”


“It starts with us taking responsibility for our part of the dance.”


While conducting research Brian Hare and  Vanessa Woods of Duke University said the following:

  •  “A cognitive approach works so well with dogs, not because they have no mind, but because precisely because they do.”
  • “All dogs are skilled at using human gestures.”


“This is cognitive science!”


The Brilliant Partners Workshop!


Enlightened by Dogs Website

More Kathy


Facebook Community    

Kathy's YouTube Channel

Enlightened By Dogs!

EBD Podcast on Lisbyn

EBD Podcast on iTunes    

Linda's Book: The Five Roles of A Master Herder: A revolutionary approach to socially intelligent leadership
Linda Kohanov on Amazon