Enlightened by Dogs Podcast

EBD291 Digging Under the Surface: Understanding What Your Dog is Really Communicating

In this podcast episode, Kathy Kawalec talks about the importance of communication in building a beautiful and cooperative relationship with our dogs. She starts by expressing how living with dogs is a gift, despite the challenges that sometimes come with it. Kathy emphasizes that communication with our dogs isn’t just about giving commands; it’s a two-way street. It’s about exchanging ideas, feelings, and understanding each other’s intentions. She points out that dogs don’t just act out or misbehave without a reason. Instead, their actions often come from a place of need or misunderstanding. Understanding this can change how we respond to them.

Kathy dives deeper into the concept of intention in communication. She explains that knowing the purpose behind our dogs’ actions can help us understand them better. For example, a dog not coming in from the backyard when called isn’t trying to be uncooperative but might be busy or wrapped up in something. Kathy encourages dog moms to see behavior as a form of communication and to look beneath the surface to understand the real message our dogs are trying to convey.

Throughout the episode, Kathy advocates for a partnership approach in our relationship with dogs. She stresses the importance of being attentive, responsive, and respectful to both our needs and our dogs’ needs. By focusing on building a consensual and collaborative partnership, we can create a deeper bond and a more harmonious life with our canine companions.

Key takeaways include:

  • Communication is Two-Way: Building a relationship with our dogs involves listening and understanding their needs and expressions, not just giving commands.
  • Understanding Intentions: Behind every action of our dogs is an intention. Understanding these intentions can help resolve misunderstandings and strengthen our bond.
  • Behavior as Communication: Dogs communicate through their behavior. Recognizing this can help us respond more empathetically to their needs.
  • Partnership Approach: Building a partnership with our dogs, based on mutual respect and understanding, is more effective than focusing solely on obedience.
  • Respectful and Consensual Relationship: Our interactions with our dogs should be based on mutual consent and respect, considering both their needs and ours.


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.

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