Enlightened by Dogs Podcast

EBD284 Building Trust with A Fearful Dog: A Look Back at My Journey with Haley

Kathy is replaying this important episode featuring the journey she took with her sheltie from fearful to confident.  In this heartwarming and enlightening episode, Kathy reminisces about her journey with her Sable Sheltie, Haley, from the early 1990s. Beginning with a look at Haley’s profound fear of strangers, the narrative evolves to reflect on the transformational nature of their bond. 

Despite the obstacles they faced, like Haley’s unexpected chase after horses, Kathy employed her deep respect for animals, intuitive training methods, and a departure from conventional wisdom. 

Over the years, Kathy’s philosophy has come full circle. While obedience, even when taught through positive reinforcement, was long seen as the gold standard, Kathy believes it’s not the most compassionate way to connect with our dogs. She emphasizes that positive reinforcement training isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning. Introducing her progressive concept: partnership-centered cooperation. This method prioritizes living harmoniously with dogs without the confines of obedience training. 

Kathy’s vision is clear: she sees this becoming the new norm and is on a mission to revolutionize the dog-human relationship, especially for dog moms who value cooperation over obedience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teaching My Dog Not to Come When I Called: How a Bad Decision Led to Loss of Trust
  • Beyond Positive Reinforcement: While positive reinforcement has its merits, it’s merely a starting point in the evolution of harmonious living with dogs.
  • Partnership-Centered Cooperation: Kathy’s innovative philosophy emphasizes a life with dogs where obedience training takes a backseat, replaced by mutual understanding and trust.
  • Patience and Time: Even when faced with challenging behaviors or situations, given enough patience and time, positive change can happen.
  • The 95% Rule: Only ask your dog to do something when you’re 95% sure they can. This rule, inspired by Haley, helps in ensuring success while building trust.
  • Recovering From Mistakes and Standing Up for What is Right: Haley’s Lesson To Us

Memorable Quotes:

“True harmony with our dogs begins when we embrace partnership and cooperation and leave obedience training behind.”

“I believe in a future where we prioritize partnership-centered cooperation over obedience training with our dogs.”

“It’s vital to recognize the distinction between mere obedience and genuine cooperation, letting our dogs walk beside us in true partnership.”


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:

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