Enlightened by Dogs Podcast

EBD258: Your Dog Triggered? Pause> Breathe> Connect

In this episode, we’re digging deeper into what is happening when your dog is triggered, and how to interrupt meltdowns with a pause, breathe, connect technique.

Kathy explores the concept of using the natural biology of connection to help our dogs calm down, emphasizing the importance of meeting both our own and our dogs’ social needs. As social animals, humans and dogs share many needs, including the needs to feel safe and connected. When these needs are met, trust and cooperation flourish, leading to a more harmonious relationship between you and your dog.

Kathy delves into the science behind the autonomic nervous system and how it influences our experiences of safety and connection, drawing from Steven Porges’ polyvagal theory. She explains how our nervous systems are constantly seeking connection, and how this affects our dogs as well. Dogs have a calming effect on humans, but our own stress and anxiety can also impact our dogs’ nervous systems, making them more reactive.

To foster a positive, heart-centered relationship with your dog, Kathy shares the importance of co-regulation, which lies at the heart of all positive relationships, including those with our dogs. By creating a safe and calm environment for ourselves and our dogs, we can build trust, develop connection, and grow a life of cooperation.

Finally, Kathy leaves listeners with a simple strategy for interrupting emotional meltdowns: pause, breathe, and connect. By focusing on a positive memory of your dog and remembering that they need your support, you can help yourself and your dog find calm during stressful moments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Social needs of humans and dogs overlap, leading to a deep connection when both feel safe and connected.
  • Our autonomic nervous system plays a crucial role in our experiences of safety and connection, affecting our dogs as well.
  • Co-regulation is the key to building trust, connection, and a sense of belonging in our relationships with our dogs.
  • Our own stress and anxiety can impact our dogs’ nervous systems, making it important to create a safe and calm environment for both of you.
  • The simple strategy of pausing, breathing, and connecting can help interrupt emotional meltdowns and bring calm to both you and your dog.

Memorable Quotes:

“We humans and our dogs are literally wired to connect; our hearts lead the way to facilitate that connection by sending signals to our body and to our brain that help us co-regulate in a way that creates an experience of safe, calm, and happy.”

“Co-regulating connections invite a sense of belonging and safety, making the world feel like a safe, calm, and happy place by default.”

“Pause, breathe, connect. When you feel yourself getting triggered by your dog’s behavior or a circumstance that is too difficult, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and connect with a positive memory of your dog.”


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

Here are some next steps:

One Response

  1. I enjoyed this information very much. I have a rat terrier and he is such a great companion. But he triggers easily. It made me realize that I am a big part of the problem. I worry so much about his reactions to simple things like walking on a leash,it causes him to react negatively. Thank you so much.

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