EBD146 Trigger Exposure is the Worst Way to Help Reactive Dogs


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By Kathy Kawalec. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

How can you truly help your reactive dog?

I feel really passionate about this topic. Why? Because I hear so many stories of dog moms and dog families struggling with reactive dog training that just doesn’t work for them.

Often, the advice from the dog training world isn’t helpful. It can result in dog moms feeling demoralized, guilty, or even like failures. But I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way!

In this episode of Enlightened By Dogs, Kathy shares a new approach to reactive training and the story of Ros and her two reactive Vizslas, Phoebe and Myrtle. Ros thought she was doing her best to help them with traditional training, but it was only when she took a more contemporary approach that they could truly live a safe, calm, and happy life together.

In this episode:

  • A BPA member's journey from reactive to safe, calm, and happy
  • The challenges of life with a reactive dog
  • Why reward-based trigger conditioning training fails
  • How your emotions affect your dog's behavior
  • What embracing trust could do for your partnership

Read the blog post on this topic.


“Creating a circle of safety and trust is what helps our dogs to accept all things.”

“Exposing our reactive dogs to their triggers is the worst way to help them.”

“When we stay calm, present, and are a loving leader and a solid role model, our dogs seem to magically respond by calming down and following our lead.”

“I want to inspire you to rethink the old, outdated methods around repeated exposure, hyper-vigilance, and getting dogs used to things that trigger them by distracting them from how they really feel.”

Want More of Kathy?

To read the blog post on this topic and to explore other episodes, click here.

164 episodes