Dancing Hearts Blog

How to Lead with Love & Empathy

How to Lead with Love & Empathy

Whenever a new year begins, we often look deeper into how we are living our lives…As dog moms, we might be thinking about how we live with our dogs.

We partnership-creating dog moms are incredible people. We are strong yet vulnerable. We’re brave, even when we are afraid. We are survivors, but we are not victims.

Our empowerment comes from within.

We want to nurture, guide and support our dogs, and we can’t do that correctly when we’re always being told how to gain power over our dogs.

Obedience training includes things like withholding resources, suppressing or dismissing emotions, distracting from real discomfort, micromanaging with an endless stream of cues/commands … and that has just felt ‘off’ to us.

That is not what we want to do as dog moms who love and respect our dogs as intelligent, social, cognitive family members. Every dog can blossom, but they need to be nurtured with love, patience, comfort, understanding, calm guidance, and the time and space to bloom.

I believe that we dog moms in the Dancing Hearts community embody universal love.

Women are naturally nurturing and loving beings. We also understand what it is like to feel suppressed, dismissed, and to ‘be rewarded’ with resources that we need to survive and feel safe.

We know, in our hearts, that don’t want to do that same thing to our dogs.


“We’re brave, even when we’re afraid. We rescue but we’re not rescuers. We’re survivors, but we are not victims.”


Women and power

As women, we have been culturally conditioned to view power in a way that doesn’t fit us. I recently listened to Brené Brown’s podcast where she interviewed Elizabeth Lesser, the co-founder of the Omega Institute. Elizabeth is also the author of many books including “Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes.”

In the interview, they talked about how we are culturally conditioned to define power. This conditioning has influenced how women view power and explains why many women are uncomfortable with the concept of power. We tend to shy away from power because it doesn’t align with us.

The truth is that Power Over is not the kind of power we want to have over others or our dogs … and so we seem to be left with the choice of ‘power over’, or to remain powerless.

Think about it: traditional dog training practices are based on gaining power over our dog. As dog moms, we don’t want to enforce power over our dogs. We want to love and support them and live in partnership together.


“There is a way to cooperatively live with our dogs as a family group successfully, where we all thrive, and we can all be safe and happy.”


The true meaning of power

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “true power is the ability to achieve purpose and affect change”. History tells us the opposite and that power is associated with domination, oppression, and war.

On the other hand, studies show that women, and females of other species, use their natural power to create a sense of belonging and feeling safe for others in their family and community. It’s about coming together to live, survive, and thrive.

In Brené Brown’s book, “Braving the Wilderness,” she challenges us to stay committed to our values and to lead others with love and empathy. She teaches us to lead with empathy while being brave enough to follow our hearts.


Embracing empowerment comes from within.


We can have happy and calm dogs who love to listen and behave without the old type of power over them. Learning to live in partnership helps us to understand what causes dogs to act out, learn to listen when they communicate with us and be there for them every step of the way, as we figure things out together.

We are role models for our dogs; be compassionate, brave, vulnerable, and empowered and model all of those things for our dogs.

In this week’s podcast, I talk more deeply about how we choose live with our dogs: We learn alongside them, and we thrive together in partnership. It’s not about gaining power over our dogs. It’s about being brilliant partners and learning to live together in peace and harmony.

I’ve been getting great feedback about this episode — I spoke freely from the heart and I think you’ll be glad you listened.

Have a listen, and let me know!

If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrollment!

You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 139, which you can listen to here.

One Response

  1. Kathy, I think you’re an amazing person and someday I would like to hear your life story, not just the dogs part, but how did you grow into the person you are today? You are a great role model and I’m sure women of all ages, and especially the younger set, could learn from your experience.

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