Enlightened by Dogs Podcast

EBD251 How to Stay Connected and Avoid Over-Arousal When Your Dog Is Keen On Farm Animals or Wildlife

In this episode, Kathy talks about the importance of creating a deeper connection with our dogs as a way to avoid over-arousal. When dogs are keen about animals, she emphasizes that we should stay present, observe, and communicate with our dogs as we guide and support their development.

Kathy is sharing a segment where she is coaching one of her students who has a young border collie who is showing keen interest in the sheep and horses on her farm. They work out how to best handle the situation right now, and how to prepare for future developments as her dog matures.

She also discusses the importance of adjusting our plan when things change and our dogs become keen to work or show signs of over-arousal. This means paying attention to subtle changes in behavior and body language that may indicate a shift in their mindset.

By staying present, connected, and responsive, you can help your dog feel supported and understood, which ultimately strengthens your bond and improves their ability to be cooperative.

Key takeaways:

  • Staying connected, being mindful, and present is important in building a deeper connection and more cooperation with our dogs.
  • We should adjust our plan when our dogs become keen to work or show signs of over-arousal, and experiment with ways to manage daily routines in a way that keeps both us and our dogs from getting over-aroused.
  • Dogs need our guidance and role modeling to successfully live together with us in different environments.
  • Changes in a dog’s behavior can signal their preferences or interests, so it’s important to stay connected and pay attention to them.
  • Working a herding dog requires patience, consistency, and confidence, but it can also bring excitement and keenness that will level off with time, maturity, and your guidance.
  • When a situation becomes too hard or over-arousing for the dog or the human, it’s best to experiment and find new ways to stay together as partners without getting frustrated or angry.

Memorable Quotes:

“By approaching your interactions with your dog with mindfulness and intention, you can cultivate a deeper understanding and connection that will benefit both of you in the long run.”

“Noticing subtle changes in your dog’s behavior and body language that may indicate a shift in their mindset will help you to better support your dog before their behavior escalates into over-arousal.”

“Once your dog gets over-aroused or you get frustrated or angry, it’s simply not possible to think or learn or teach in that moment. Always do your best to get ahead of that with mindful consideration and planning.”

“When you stick with the plan, ultimately you’ll have a very keen, very confident dog who is also a really solid partner.”

“I need to be really present. I need to know what triggers me. I need to know myself and know when I need to change things in our routine so that it’s really easy for me to be present and able to best support my dogs at that time.”

“We are the hinge pin that makes everything work the way it’s supposed to, so it’s important to know ourselves well enough to plan ahead before something ‘bad’ happens.”



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.

Here are some next steps:

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