Enlightened by Dogs Podcast

EBD244: Revealing Stories of Reactive Dogs: “Maya”

When we dig deeper under the surface, the REAL stories of reactive dogs are revealed. We too often negatively label dogs as reactive, as if that was a behavior they chose. Maya is a perfect example of a dog labeled as reactive, whose story revealed a much deeper understanding.

Maya’s first three families thought she was untrainable … a hopeless menace.

“How bad could this dog’s behavior really be, at only 7 months old” was Kathy’s first thought.

The problem? She relentlessly chased anything and everything that moved: kids, bikes, cars, cats. sheep, cows … you name it … if it moved, she chased it. There wasn’t a fence or a leash that contained her, so she basically terrorized families and neighborhoods everywhere she went.

In this episode of Enlightened by Dogs, Kathy shares the inspiring story of her dog, Maya, illustrating the power of partnership and opening  your mind and your heart to deeply understanding your reactive dog.

Kathy reveals her strategies on how she worked with Maya to start building trust right away. Her communication, management and mindset approaches are shared, including when she introduced her dog to what she calls “the dance”.

Within months, Maya’s old story of being a reactive dog was transformed into a new story of partnership, with a very happy ending!

In this episode:

  • Why digging under the surface of a dog’s behavior reveals their true story
  • The inspiring story of “Maya” transforming from reactive to remarkable.
  • Tips for working with your own ‘reactive’ dog


I did not even think about putting her (Maya) into a situation where her chase instinct would be triggered, where she would be able to rehearse her habit of disconnecting from her human. 

I focused on our partnership and our relationship first. So building trust and confidence was top of my list all the time.

It’s important for us to first have a foundation that is built on trust and confidence and communication so that we know how to dialogue. If we don’t have that, then it’s really difficult to move forward without relying on transactions for everything.

Without having a solid trusting partnership, everything becomes transactional. And we don’t want that. That’s not why we have dogs in our life. 


Become a calm and confident Dog Mom with a cooperative, happy dog … without obedience training, or relying on treats or arousing games, or corrections of any type.

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