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Want more “Happy” for You and Your Dog?

December 6, 2018

Amazing!! It’s almost 2019 … where did the year go? It must be true that the older one gets, the faster time passes. And, there is current science that suggests that time IS actually going faster!

One exciting aspect of this ‘fast-moving time’ is that we can see the results of our plans and actions quicker than ever before. That, coupled with the ending of one year and the fresh beginning of a new one just around the corner, means there is no better time than now to set you and your dog up for success in the new year!

So, let me ask you:

Do you want more “Happy” in your life?  (who doesn’t)

Do you want to enjoy each day a little more?  (duh, right?)

Do you want 2019 to be the best year ever for you and your dogs? (doesn’t that sound awesome?)

I have two simple, easy things you can do right now to get that rolling for you. Everyone can do this, it takes very little time, AND your dog will remind you constantly!


Tip #1:

When you LOVE what you already have in your life, you’ll get more of the same.

It all starts with natural laws of our world:  we will attract into our experience what we are in vibrational resonance with. Simply put, everything is energy — you, your dog, your emotions, your thoughts — yep, all energy. That’s because everything is made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are made of subatomic particles…which are pure energy.

Energy, by nature, resonates with and attracts back to it things of the same resonance, or frequency…just like a tuning fork brings a particular piano string into resonance. You’ve likely heard the expression “like attracts like”, that’s resonance. So, if your thoughts or emotions are centered around fear, anxiety, or lack (of anything)…you literally draw those things to you like a magnet.

Don’t want that now, do we?

One great way to turn that energy around, and attract more useful things to you is to feel, acknowledge and express gratitude. Expression of Heartfelt Gratitude is one of, if not “the” most powerful ways to change your life. Teaching myself to practice gratitude every single day is one of the best things I have ever done…for me and for my dogs!

And, when I think about it, I learned this lesson from my dogs. When they’re happy about something, they show it!  And, furthermore, they spend their time anticipating what great stuff is about to happen (cookies, walk, ball, play, dinner, massage) instead of lamenting about what great stuff they wish they had.

So, in it’s simplest form, all you have to do is be happy and grateful for all the great stuff you have in your life, and anticipate all the great stuff that is going to happen soon.

Pretty cool, right?

It’s pretty easy once you get started…the great feelings that flow when you practice gratitude automatically generate more great feelings that attract more things to be grateful for! Start today. Start with your dogs.

Kathy Kawalec and her border collie Luc share a loving momentFor example, TODAY:

I’m grateful that I get to nurture a partnership with my beautiful border collies.

I’m grateful that I can spend time outdoors with my dogs.

I’m grateful that my dogs are healthy and sound.

I’m grateful that if needed, I can take my dog to the vet for care.

I’m grateful that I am healthy and sound enough to work my dogs.

Im grateful that I can make the time to work my dogs.

I’m grateful that I have warm clothes and boots and rain gear that keep me comfortable when I’m outdoors with my dogs.

I’m grateful for the feel of my dogs soft hair and warm skin under my hand as I stroke their heads.

I’m grateful that my dogs and I have F-U-N when we work and play together.

I’m grateful for the honor and privilege of having such a relationship with my dog…whether we win, lose, get eliminated or have to scratch…I am grateful.


 Tip #2:

Get Ready for all the great stuff that you are anticipating!

So, how do you “Get Ready”?

The simplest way to get ready for all that great stuff you’re anticipating is to plan for it. Planning is all about getting your ducks in a row so you are ready when your great stuff shows up.

Planning helps you to get clear on what you want so that you’ll recognize it when it comes. And planning helps you to get ready in baby steps, so you don’t have to rush around like crazy when you realize that you’re not ready. Makes sense, right?

Planning also helps you to get organized with your training sessions and allows you to develop a finely tuned sense of where you are and where you want to go. You will become attuned to your dog each and every time you work/play together and that allows your dog to give you great feedback about your training and handling.

Here’s a simple way to start:

  • Begin to ask yourself useful questions before and after each session…and before and after each phase of planning. Questions like

    “What skills do I (or my dog) need to rehearse in order to become competent at the desired level?”

    “What do I need to change or improve in order to create the results I want?”

  • After each training session, ask yourself:

    “Are we better now than before the session?”

    If your answer is “no”, change what didn’t work and try again.

    If the answer is “I’m not sure”, go back and repeat the same to become sure.

    If the answer is “yes” and if your answer is usually “yes” then you are not challenging you and your dog enough.

    Those words of wisdom are passed down from trainer Bob Bailey. Wise indeed! We can’t get better if we don’t challenge ourselves, right?

To take this one step further, begin to Create Your Plan for 2019.

Start with taking inventory of the skills and the level of partnership you already have with your dog in each area. Then visualize and determine where you want to be…one area at a time. Be quite detailed. See and most importantly FEEL, what it’s like to accomplish your goals. Take in every detail and write them down.

Kathy and Sue Meeker 2012 closeNext, create a plan of action, step-by-step that will get you to your goals. You can do that by the training session, by the week, or the month. Be detailed enough that your road map will guide you well along the way, without bogging you down in too many details. Your details will come into play before and after each session. If you’re not sure, get help from your coach or instructor.

Record your training sessions…in a journal or logbook.

Write notes for each session and for each competition: What went well…what are you happy with? Be specific. Record the relevant environmental details of the session too.

Then, what would you like to change or revise for next time? What would you like to improve? What is your plan for making those changes?

It’s important to focus on a positive outcome and remember it’s so much easier to teach a dog to “DO” rather than “DON’T”.

For example, “DO keep a good shape to your flank” is easier to teach than “Don’t cut in on your flank”.

It’s so important is to nurture a positive mental attitude and engage in self-talk that helps you reach your goals.

Always speak to yourself in the present tense as if you already have the quality you want. “I am calm and confident.” Use positive phrases, (avoiding the words ‘not, won’t, can’t, should’)…such as “I am relaxed” vs “I am not tense”…or “I am focused” vs “I will not be distracted.”

Review your plan every month or quarter, compare it to your training journal, ask yourself those useful questions…make adjustments and move forward. Have fun, be happy every day, and remember tip #1.  😉

And…I’ll leave you with these thoughts to ponder …

“If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you always got.”

“How am I going to live today to create the tomorrow I am committed to?”


Join us for the 2019 Creative Alchemy Passion Plan program…you’ll be so happy you did!!



Are You the Right Kind of Leader for Your Dog?

August 28, 2017


How can you be the RIGHT kind of leader for your dog …without being punitive, and without having to be a non-stop treat or toy dispenser?

One of the core philosophies of my work is that Dogs thrive when being guided by clear, consistent leadership that provides a framework to live by.

There’s a common myth that being a leader means you have to be alpha or domineering. 

That is simply NOT true.

Because we have embraced positive training methods and rejected the punitive approach to dog training and the domineering ‘alpha’ role of leadership that comes with it …

… we have often left our dogs without any real guidance on how to navigate through life.

We end up providing No leadership, or a permissive kind of leadership. And neither of those works. Trust me.

With No leadership that will teach our dog how to ‘be’ calm, responsible, resilient members of the family, we have to be in ‘training mode’ or ‘management mode’ all the time. Indefinitely. Like forever. 🙁

When we are in ‘training mode’ all the time, our dogs are too. Think about that. Instead of having a dog who is a responsible part of the family, we have a dog who is dependent on us for every choice, every move.

We tell the dog when to sit, when to stay, when to come, when to leave it, when to take it … you get the idea.

And then sometimes we have a dog who becomes afraid of missing out on a reward opportunity so they are on ‘high alert’ and won’t make a move without our permission…OR, they keep offering behavior after behavior in the hopes they will hit the ‘right’ one.

How exhausting, right? And frustrating too. For both dog and human!

At the opposite end of the leadership spectrum is being permissive.

That style of leadership gives dogs ‘free rein’ to figure things out. There’s little structure or routine for dogs to rely on, and there’s not much management. So dogs end up like sort of a ‘wild child’ … and since this approach often leads to a lack good social skills, activities like going for a walk or interacting with guests is next to impossible.

This is not the kind of freedom that makes us or our dogs happy. Quite the opposite. We are overwhelmed and the dog is overwhelmed, over-aroused, perhaps even anxious or frantic.

Just like children who are raised with guidance, structure and active parenting, our dogs thrive when we master a loving leadership role.

So … if your dog thrives with guidance, but you don’t want to be alpha and domineering (which we know doesn’t work, and has been thoroughly disproven, despite what we see on TV) and you don’t want to be permissive…

What choice do you have?

Loving Leadership that leads to a collaborative, attentive and responsive partnership with your dog is the answer.

It’s part of my foundation formula for partnership.

Watch the video below where Kathy teaches you about loving leadership.



Starts September 6th, 2018



How to Help Dogs with Fear of Thunder and Fireworks

June 29, 2017

Fear of Fireworks blog fb

It’s that time of year.

If you have a dog who is afraid of thunder and fireworks, you know just what I’m talking about.

Panic, pacing, panting, drooling, running away. Those are some of the symptoms that tell you your dog doesn’t appreciate the beauty of mother nature’s storms or the city’s annual fireworks display. Should we even talk about the neighborhood kids who find pleasure in making the most possible noise with their firecrackers and M-80’s for days surrounding 4th of July?

This is part 3 in my series of Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer. If you missed Part 2 it’s here: Hidden Dangers That Can Quickly Kill Your Dog. And Part 3 is: To Shave or Not to Shave? What’s Best for Your Dog?

Over the years, I’ve had my share of dogs with sounds sensitivity, and have found there are definitely ways that we can help our dogs be more comfortable during these stressful times.

One of the most important things we can do is keep our dogs safe. More dogs run away in a panic and are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. Don’t take any chances…keep your dog safe.

5 Best Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe and Calm during Fireworks and Thunderstorms

  1. Don’t take your dog with you to watch fireworks...or have your dog outdoors during a storm. Your dog’s ears are incredibly more sensitive than yours. As is her nose. Leave dogs at home when you head out for fireworks, and don’t ignite fireworks around dogs. Don’t leave your dog alone in your yard during storms or fireworks. You’d be amazed on how fast and how high a dog will jump/climb when they are in a panic and adrenalin is fueling the desire to get away from the scary stuff. And, you never know when your previously unaffected dog will become frightened.Aside from sounding scary, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, and unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  2. Be sure your dog has a well-fitted collar or harness with identification. Even if your dog is normally so perfectly behaved she doesn’t need to wear a collar, a thunderstorm or 4th of July is no time to take a chance. Keep a collar with ID tags on your dog…and you might seriously consider microchipping your dog too. More dogs run away and are lost because of this fear than any other cause. Always leash your dog when you take them outdoors, even in your yard to potty if they are afraid. Don’t take any chances.
  3. Provide a Safe Haven for your dog. During any event that frightens your dog, like thunderstorms or fireworks, be sure your dog can get to a den where he feels safe. Because thunderstorms often create a static buildup on your dog, many dogs prefer to lay next to something that will prevent the buildup, like the toilet, the bathtub or next to a metal radiator. Fireworks or other loud noises make the basement a good choice for some dogs. Others prefer a covered crate in a cozy room they like. Play music just loud enough to help muffle the scary sounds. Close the curtains and turn ON the lights to soften the contrast of the lightening or firework flashes.
  4. Use Calming Products and Techniques. There are some great products that are designed to help calm anxious dogs. A Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Treatment is one of my favorites. They work with the ‘swaddling’ principle and are quite effective. A simple t-shirt can be really helpful in a pinch too. I also like to apply/diffuse some high-quality Aromatherapy blends designed to calm. As a long time certified TTouch practitioner, I use body work techniques with my own dogs and client dogs to teach them how to relax and release their anxiety.
    Some of my clients and students have had success with using a cannibis product like CannaGurt by Steve’s. Or a yummy calming treat like True Hemp. It’s possible to get the benefit of calm (without the high) by using these products made for dogs. Give one or more a try!!
  5. Be Your Dog’s Safe Haven. One of the things I teach every one of my dogs is to run TO me when they are frightened so that I can help them get safe. This is a life-saving technique every dog should know.

What to do when Fireworks or Thunder starts:

At the first sign of my dog showing stress due to fireworks, thunderstorms, gunshots and other loud scary events, (or before, if I know in advance) I reach into my holistic toolkit. Click on any of the pictures or bold words for more information and to order the products.

1. Apply calming Lavender essential oil blend.

Place a couple of drops into your hand and rub your hands together. Then gently pet your dog, along their back and top of their head with your hands.

You can purchase the oils online here

The bottles last a very LONG time. There is a reducer cap, so you can control how much oil comes out.


2. Put on a Thundershirt or a simple Ace bandage body wrap, or a t-shirt, for a calming hug. A long-time practice, studies show that this gentle pressure has a calming effect that helps about 80% of dogs and cats. It works!!

4. Set up and assist my dog to their safe place. (see above tip)

5. Do TTouch body work to calm my dogs. Ear slides, and ttouches can help release fear, tension and stress in dogs who are afraid of thunder and fireworks.

6. If my dog is able to play and eat treats…then we have a partay!  Lots of fun, play and treats in the house with some fun music makes a dog forget about their fear.

Be Prepared – Order Your Holistic Calming Products Today!

Links are my Amazon associate links – thanks for supporting my work. 🙂


Sam enjoys playing with the water hose

Click the Banner to Download Your Free Book and get on my VIP Subscriber list for the latest tips and insights:

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This FREE guide will teach you 5 Core Principles that will help you:

  • Identify and Solve Your Dog Training Challenges.
  • Get the Performance Results You Want.
  • Be a Fun, Confident, Attentive Trainer that Your Dog Adores!


The Joy and Struggle of Life with Dogs

February 14, 2017

Joy and Struggle

There’s the joy, the fun, the adventure…the stuff we love, and the very reasons we are so devoted to our dogs in the first place!

And then there is the struggle. The challenges:

  • Our dog seems to be defiant, and we feel frustrated.
  • Our dog is a ‘problem child’ and we are exhausted, trying to ‘fix’ our dog.
  • Maybe our dog is anxious, stressed, reactive, fearful…and we feel overwhelmed with worry and concern.
  • Sometimes we are embarrassed with the way our dog behaves.
  • Or we don’t understand why our dog who does great in practice is distracted or won’t listen at competitions.

You can you relate, right?

I’ve certainly had all of these experiences at one time or another with my dogs over the years. It’s made me a better person, that’s for sure.

More than once, I have said to myself as I look up into the sky in a moment of impatience, “do I Really need to work on growing my character Again? Really?”

Ah, yes, such is life.

Well, if you are anything like me, (and I know you are) you’d like to minimize those big challenges that force us into a new and better version of ourselves…and instead, plan for the growth, so the ‘new and more brilliant us’ blossoms in a less painful way.

That’s where the whole Partnership thing comes in…and where Cognitive Dog Training started, and the Foundation Formula too.

I wrote this on a page on my website:

At the heart of it is … the process of acquiring profound understanding and knowledge about our dogs, about ourselves and how we interact and respond to one another.

I just read it again, and I still love it…the significance of it. I love the ‘profound understanding’ part. It’s part of the foundation that is so important for building a trusting partnership with our dogs. Seeking this deep understanding has influenced how I train and compete with my dogs over the years.

Luc at the WWSDA 2012 Labor Day Trial

I’m thinking of Luc as one good example.

When I started his sheepdog (herding) training, he presented me with a challenge that I had not come across. He was clearly talented, and we had a solid foundation, a budding partnership. At a year old, I enjoyed working and training with my little man.

He was willing to take my direction, to listen, to please me. The challenge came with finding balance when he got closer to two.

When his instinct (which had perfect pitch) argued with my instruction, he believed he had to choose. He had to disregard his instinct and do what I said. Or, he had to disregard what I said and follow his instinct.

Wow, that was quite a difficult place for such a young dog to be in, right?

So, my challenge was to figure out a way to keep the communication flowing between us. I had to figure out how to allow my instructions to be taken as ‘clear guidelines’ but not as ‘must do commands’. I had to develop our partnership and communication, without taking away his initiative to follow his good instincts.

It was hit and miss for a while as we worked it out. Sometimes we nailed it. Other times, he was looking at me instead of the sheep … sometimes he was ignoring me, focusing only on the sheep.

Sometimes I was filled with joy with our progress. Sometimes I was frustrated at our imbalanced partnership.

The thing that got us through this new and challenging period was our foundation. Our trust for one another. Our partnership. It just kept growing, getting better and better.

Ultimately, our partnership became brilliant! One exciting example of that: We were Finalists at the USBCHA Nationals.  Luc and I worked our way to the championship final round, the famous double lift. It was quite an experience and I am both humbled and proud of our accomplishment as partners.

Take my little story about Luc, and imagine yourself and your dog in our place, in any context at all. The same struggle story applies to life skills, agility, rally, anything that you do with your dog:

Just imagine this struggle between your dog’s natural instincts and desire to please you and do what’s right.

Now imagine the successful outcome you dream of…

Here’s what I imagine you want to ask me:

Q: OK, I want that too! How can I get this kind of partnership with my dog?

A: Through the 5 step foundation formula that I have been teaching. Step-by-step. You’ve heard me talk about baby steps a lot. It’s the only way to go.

Partnership is really all about ever-increasing levels of good communication. Getting deeper into understanding. Deeper into what I call the ‘dialog loop’…an active exchange of thoughts, feelings, words, expressions, actions between me and my dog that informs my next move, my next choice of how to go on with the lesson my dog and I are learning together.

This is the “Partnership” that I tell you about. An interactive, collaborative relationship with our dogs that transforms struggles into joyful possibilities.

Follow these 5 Steps to work your way toward partnership with your dog:

  1. Start with an intention to actively communicate with your dog. To dialog. To truly listen with all of your senses, all of your being, to what your dog is telling you.
  2. Strive for clarity as you interact with your dog. Get really clear about what you want, and about how your dog needs you to teach this skill.
  3. Be a loving leader in the dance of your life together. The dance requires you and your dog to be competent at being attentive and responsive to one another.
  4. Foster a deeper, heart-to-heart holistic connection with your dog. This means that you become as balanced mentally, emotionally and physically as your dog.
  5. Develop a foundation of collaboration with your dog that becomes your cornerstone for easily transforming any struggle that crops up into brilliant possibility for success.


Click the Banner to Download Your Free Book and get on my VIP Subscriber list for the latest tips and insights:

Ebook-Promo-Banner-headingExperience Success in all you do … sports, performance and every day life.

This FREE guide will teach you 5 Core Principles that will help you:

  • Identify and Solve Your Dog Training Challenges.
  • Get the Performance Results You Want.
  • Be a Fun, Confident, Attentive Trainer that Your Dog Adores!

The Holistic Toolkit for Dogs

February 11, 2015

Holistic Toolkit for Dogs online workshop with Kathy Kawalec

Kathy Kawalec with Lacee and dog Max in 1986.

Kathy with her horse Lacee, and her dog Max, enjoying a snowy winter day in 1986.

My First Dog: Max

When I was a young woman, the first dog that I had the honor to share life with ‘on my own’ was Max, a black standard poodle. What an amazing dog he was. After he died at 11 years old, it took 2 full years before I could speak about him without breaking into heart-wrenching sobs. Just writing this chokes me up, more than 20 years later. (read a bit of Max’s story here)

As is always the case, when one door closes, another opens.

It was losing Max that started me on the holistic path.

MaxI quickly devoured all the information I could find about natural and holistic living for dogs and for people. I changed my own health dramatically, simply by changing the way I ate…which cleared me of daily and intense headaches cause by allergies of all kinds.

I changed the way I cared for my dogs. The way I fed them, vaccinated them, the vet I used…nearly everything.

This holistic mindset, a way of living, led to a complete overhaul of the way I trained my dogs, the way I communicate with them, the way I joyfully live with them.

Much has evolved for me in the past 35 years, as I continue to learn and make new discoveries…but the core philosophy stays the same:

The body, mind, emotions and spirit are all interwoven and cannot be separate and we need to balance ALL parts of ourselves and our dogs.

Wow…has it been an amazing journey of learning. Years of holistic study, courses, certifications, workshops, seminars and personal experience has brought such a richness to my life. Not only has my own life been enriched, but my family, clients and students as well.

I love teaching classes and workshops and one of my favorites was my two-year study program in holistic animal modalities. Such fun!

Dogs have emotional struggles too.

One of the more challenging things that I have helped people with over the years is when their dogs have fear, anxiety and stress…causing their quality of life to be diminished.

None of us wants to see someone we care about unhappy, distressed and fearful. Especially if it’s our dogs.

I’ve found that there are a few simple holistic tools that anyone can use to help their dog become more balanced and happy, along side the other work we are doing.

I always view transformation as a holistic process and I utilize my full system for the best results…but here’s a Sampling of what you can learn in my Brilliant Partners Academy program:

  • How understanding the Mind-Body Connection and physical, mental and emotional balance can be a real life changer for you and your dog.
  • The importance of your dogs physical condition and conditioning and how that influences your training, work, play performance and competitions.
  • Learn about the Emotional Effect…how your dogs emotions change behavior, training, performance…and how YOUR emotions greatly influence your dogs emotions!
  • How to use Hands-On Help anytime your dog is hyper, anxious, reactive or fearful so that you can help to restore calm, attentive and responsive behavior to your dog.
  • The best way to use TTouch and Body Pressure to calm your worried, stressed, hyper or nervous dog.
  • Learn about one of my favorite holistic tools: Flower Essences, and how you can easily use these plant helpers to remedy anxiety, fears, learning difficulties and so much more.
  • Discover how your movement, posture, facial, verbal and emotional expressions, breathing and personal space are very effective communication tools to teach your dog almost any skill and support any training or behavior struggle.

Three of my favorite essential oils that I use to help change fearful, anxious and stressed dogs…into happy dogs.

Stressed, Anxious or Fearful Dog?Peace & Calming essential oil

One of my favorites is a therapeutic essential oil blend called Peace and Calming. This is a gentle, fragrant blend that helps calm tension, promote relaxation and a sense of peace. A few drops rubbed behind the ears or along the back can really help a stressed or fearful dog rebalance emotionally, making it easier to learn and transform  perspectives.

I would start with a couple of drops of the oil in the palm of your hand and pet your dog along the back. Once per day, or any time your dog is likely to get stressed or anxious. This is a great blend if you get nervous at trials too! Click here to order.

More Help for Anxious Dogs who Lack Confidence or are Unable to Cope:

Valor photoValor is another therapeutic blend that I often use. Valor helps to enhance feelings of strength, courage and self-esteem in the face of adversity. I have found this is often helpful with fearful or anxious dogs, helping them to cope and feel good about themselves. I sometimes use a rotation of both of these oils for maximum transformation.

My favorite combination whenever there is anxiety, fear, lack of confidence is Peace and Calming along with Valor. P&C helps bring calm, and releases the energy of anxiety. The Valor helps with personal confidence and flexibility in handling life and life’s circumstances. It’s also balancing.

How to use the Combination:

I would use the Valor and P&C every day. Click here to order.

Start with the Valor, rub a drop or two in the palm of your hands and then stroke behind your dogs ears and down the back.

Then, repeat that with the P&C.

Do this once per day for two to three weeks. It would also be ok to do this twice per day, for the first week.  In addition, I would use the P&C immediately before any ‘event’ that might cause your dogs to be anxious/agitated.

After the 2-3 weeks of Valor/P&C every day and P&C when needed…I would drop the Valor, and begin to use the P&C every day, twice per day for 2-3 weeks.

Then reassess…possibly just use the P&C as needed for a while.  Or, I might start the rotation all over again, with the daily Valor.

Your Dogs Not Getting Along?

I especially love using a blend called JOY … both for the exquisite scent, and for the promotion of emotional balance. This blend is calming and balancing, which is exactly what some dogs most need! Joy is also useful in multi-dog households where there is some friction. All dogs, and the humans wear it in this situation!

I would start with a couple of drops of the oil in the palm of your hand and pet all of your dogs along their back. Once per day, and any time you notice stress building.

JOY smells delightful, and is even great as a perfume for you.

I would also consider using the Peace & Calming/Valor combination mentioned above.

Click here to order.

One *very important* element when there is building tension between dogs is to be a proactive and loving leader by not allowing any snarking to start in the first place. Be sure to interrupt and redirect any eyeballing or posturing instantly, before it escalates into anything further. You may need to separate the dogs and manage them so they are not together for a while. You are working on establishing a new pattern of behavior, and that can take a while.

Events, such as a home coming, are common circumstances for snarking/fighting amongst dogs. Any time there is a high level of excitement, like a visitor arriving, or dinner being prepared, treats being dispensed etc are times when mild tension can quickly escalate into snarking, growling, or worse. It’s up to you to keep your dogs safe by being proactive.


Penny-Wise and Dollar Foolish: Use the Right Grade of Oils

A cautionary tale I’d like to share is to beware the quality of oils. Most oils are not pure and are likely to carry toxins with them right into the body. I only use therapeutic grade oils for myself and for my dogs. They are a bit more expensive, and our health is worth it!

The bottles last a very LONG time. There is a reducer cap, so you can control how much oil comes out.

How to Relieve Your Dog’s Itchy Skin Naturally

December 5, 2014


Scratch, scratch, scratch. Thump, thump, thump. Chew, chew, chew.

Are those the sounds you hear from your dog as the indoor air gets drier and drier over the winter?

I’ll do just about anything to help, won’t you? This year I have an senior that’s about 13, and she is soooo itchy! I’m not the only dog lover who is battling dry itchy skin, evidenced by the frequency of requests for help I’m getting from my community.

Heck, even my own sensitive skin gets itchy in the winter, so I know how distracting and bothersome that is…poor doggies!

Now, there are many possible underlying causes for dry itchy skin, so the first step is to have your holistic or integrative vet check your dog just in case there is something serious going on and get that taken care of.

There are a few simple things you can to to help alleviate the frantic itching, no matter the cause, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today. Follow the links in the tips below for reference articles and more info.

5 Easy and Natural Tips for Relieving Itchy Skin:

  1.  Humidify the air.  That’s a simple one that you likely already thought of, but just in case: be sure you are adding humidity to your dry heated air every day. If you don’t have a furnace humidifier or a room humidifier, you can: set out pans/bowls of water to evaporate, boil a big pot of water every day, make soup, cook pasta noodles, take a shower. Get creative and add humidity! Your dogs will appreciate it and so will your body!
  2. Feed moist food. I hope you’re feeding a wholesome raw diet to your dog, since that is full of moisture and lots of other health benefits. But if you’re not, add warm water or broth to your dog’s kibble with every meal. And, of course, keep plenty of fresh, pure water available for your dog to drink.
  3. Make bone broth for your dog. Homemade bone broth is sooooo nutritious and good for your dog and your dog’s skin and adds moisture when you feed it too! You can use chicken, turkey, beef…it’s all good! Make plenty so you can have some yourself. And, the making of the broth will add lots of lovely moisture to your house. Here’s a video too.
  4. Give Coconut Oil. It needs to be organic, unrefined, cold-pressed raw coconut oil. Coconut oil is awesome for relieving troubled skin! And it is one of the most nutritious foods for us and our dogs: enhancing skin health, metabolic health, immune system, digestion. Dr Becker says to feed 1 tsp per 10 lbs of weight per day. And, she even recommends applying it topically, then bathing for max relief.
  5. Give your dog a Spa Treatment! Start with a bath using a gentle soap like my favorite: Rescue Soap Bar with organic neem oil and organic fresh aloe vera gel. Or make your own gentle lavender shampoo. Then apply a simple Apple Cider Vinegar/Green Tea rinse for longer lasting itch relief.

There you have it!  Try these simple and natural tips for helping relief your dog’s itchy skin so you can all relax and enjoy cuddling this winter. Let me know what you try…I’m doing all of the above for my dogs!

Is Your Misbehaving Dog Begging for Help?

March 12, 2014

Is Your Misbehaving Dog BEGGING 600px

Remember the last time your dog ‘got distracted’, ‘blew you off’, or just  ‘didn’t listen’?

• Maybe the last time your dog broke her stay?
• How about when he left you to sniff the ground or pee on a post?
• Wasn’t that just last week that she leapt right over the A-frame contact?
• Aren’t you still smarting with embarrassment from that trial where your dog chased sheep down the field?
• How about the time when your enthusiastic greeter slapped muddy paws all over your neighbor’s dress clothes?

These training and performance challenges and others just like them are the source of frustration for so many of us. We think we’re doing a good job training and handling our dogs, and yet we are still experiencing these problems. Maybe just once in a while, or maybe a lot. Looking back at our training and trial preparation, we just don’t find the answer to where it went wrong. So we train harder, train more often. Still the problems crop up.

When we can’t ‘train away’ the problem, we might ultimately conclude that our dog ‘has her own agenda’.

And, I completely agree with you. But not for the reason you think. After 35+ years of training and showing horses and dogs, I’ve discovered that our dogs DO have their own agenda, and here it is: Dogs THRIVE when they are a contributing member of well functioning family. Dogs are social beings, like humans. We have a lot in common, and that’s one of the main reasons we get along so well. Dogs LOVE to please us, in the same way we love to please people (and animals) we care about. Like us, dogs SEEK harmony, companionship, and a way to contribute to the overall well-being of their family group. That’s their agenda.

The reason that you are having these training and performance issues is that your dog does not understand what you want.

Every time your dog ‘makes a mistake’ or ‘blows you off’ or ‘gets distracted’ or ‘doesn’t listen’: It’s FEEDBACK. Plain and simple.

Your dog is communicating to you. She’s saying: “I don’t get it.” Or: “This is really hard.” Maybe he’s saying: “Could you please be more clear?” Or: “I could really use some help with this!”

Here’s a perfect example.

Sue turns range yearlings at the BluegrassLast week, a woman and her young border collie were here at the farm for a herding lesson. They are novices, and are making great progress in their herding skills and teamwork. The lesson of the day was to learn how to handle three very flighty sheep by staying calm, focused and carefully reading the sheep. The first couple of attempts didn’t go so well because the dog was tense, fast and tight, causing the sheep to run even faster. All my student wanted was for her dog to gather the sheep, bring them to her and settle the sheep there in front of her…but instead the sheep just ran from place to place in the field. Even though we thoroughly discussed in advance what might happen and how she should respond in a helpful way, the handler got frustrated and threw up her hands, saying out loud that her dog “wasn’t listening and he wasn’t even trying to do it right”. She then declares to me in exasperation: “He’s running past balance, over-flanking and he won’t lie down when I tell him.” Whew.

My intention is to teach my students the process for understanding, problem solving and making valid choices…to help them to become great dog trainers...not only to listen to my advice, but to be effective trainers even when I’m not there with them.

So, we discussed the situation. Here is what we concluded: The handler was not closely watching her sheep, nor was she doing her part to contain the sheep in front of her when her dog did bring them to her. The dog wouldn’t lie down where she wanted, because she was asking him at the worst possible time in the worst possible place. That caused her dog to become very tense because he couldn’t do his job properly. The more tense he became, the worse things got.

The solution: The handler needed to take a deep breath and relax. Then, assess the big picture. The set up was too hard for her dog. How could this be made easier, ensuring success? We repositioned the dog, and the handler moved into a more helpful position too. We made sure that we sent the dog to gather the sheep in the direction most likely to be successful. The handler was to contain the sheep without pushing them away with rough movements. And she was to carefully watch the sheep, not asking her dog to lie down until he was at balance. (fyi: balance means the exact place that controls the sheep in the desired position)

The result: Perfection! The dog calmly brought the sheep to his favorite woman. She calmly communicated to the sheep, containing them in front of her. The dog lied himself down at balance, she didn’t even have to ask him. It was a beautiful and perfectly executed gather. They then repeated that in several places around the field, and it was perfect every time.

Summary: This dog was begging for help from his handler. All he had on his agenda was to bring her the sheep like he knows to do. He needed help, not a correction. He needed information, not an accusation.

Is your dog begging for help?

Think of the last time your dog ‘made a mistake’ or ‘blew you off’ or ‘got distracted’ or ‘didn’t listen’. Then follow my Formula for Dog Training Success. This formula applies to any type of dog training, any dog sport, any venue, any level of expertise.

Kathy’s Formula for Dog Training Success

1. Assess the big picture — what exactly is the lesson?

2. What feedback is your dog giving you, precisely?

3. How can you set up the lesson easier, ensuring success?

4. What information does your dog need from you, in order to be successful?

5. Get Help. Have your trainer/coach watch, or even a friend. A video camera is perfect! You can review, and so can your coach.

Then go ahead and try again. Make adjustments as needed…you may need to go through the steps several times until you become fluent in the process.


Click the Banner to Download Your Free Book and get on my VIP Subscriber list for the latest tips and insights:

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This FREE guide will teach you 5 Core Principles that will help you:

  • Identify and Solve Your Dog Training Challenges.
  • Get the Performance Results You Want.
  • Be a Fun, Confident, Attentive Trainer that Your Dog Adores!

How to get what you really want

December 21, 2013

Kathy Kawalec's 2014 New Year workshop

My Top 3 Tips

for getting what you really want in life.

And a special invitation…

Did you know that YOU hold the key to unlocking the kind of life you really want. More freedom to do what you like. More fun in all you do. More success. More of all you love. It’s pretty simple, once you know how!

Here are my top 3 tips for getting what you want in life:

1. Get clear about what you really want.

Clarity is at the top of my list, for sure. Most of the time we only think we know what we want…but we haven’t taken the time to connect to what is really important to us. There’s a lot of should do’s, have to’s, need to’s in our life, but not enough: ‘I really, really want this’. Take some time to listen to what’s deep inside your heart, not your head. You might be surprised.

Here’s a hint: your feelings are your best guide for this. How do you want to feel in a certain situation or relationship? Loved, competent, smart, passionate, secure? Then ask yourself: what might be an easy way to feel that way in this situation? Start there and follow that path.


1. You think you want that promotion. But what you REALLY want is to feel like you are making a valuable contribution, that your work matters to the greater good somehow. So ask: how can I easily create that feeling in THIS job that I have right now? And, where might I go from there to further satisfy my true desire?

2. You think you want to train your sheep herding dog to do a better outrun. But what you REALLY want is to feel calm and confident, trusting your dog will efficiently gather sheep without upsetting them. So ask: how can I easily create this confidence and trust now, at the level my dog is today. And, how might I go from there to satisfy my true desire?


2. Chunk things down into small, do-able bits.

It’s pretty easy to become discouraged, frustrated, to give up when what we want seems impossible. Too big can be overwhelming. So, look at small steps. How can this big thing be chunked down into small, successive and progressive bits that will take you where you want to go? One step at a time, and the next thing you know, you’ve reached your destination!

Here’s a hint: think one day at a time. If you take action, no matter how small, you will get there. One pound at a time. One mile at a time. One good flank at a time. One perfect running contact at a time. One small act of kindness at a time. One choice to take a deep breath before speaking at a time. There is no greater way to be reinforced than to chunk things down like this. Just ask your dog.


1. Using our ‘promotion’ example: Today, I’m going to learn how my work has a positive influence on each of my coworkers, and imagine how their life is better because of the great job I do. Next week, I’m going to learn how my work has a positive influence on our customers. I’m going to imagine one customer, and then imagine how their life is better because of the work I do.

2. Using our herding example: Today, I’m going to help my dog ‘feel’ the bubble of the sheep close at hand, and I am going to be calm and trust that my dog wants to feel it too. Next week, we’ll work a bit farther apart, while I stay calm, help my dog develop his feel, and trust that he wants to learn this too. I’ll be sure to expand our distance mindfully, never going beyond the distance that causes me to loose my calm, confidence and trust.


3. Fill up your head and your heart with grateful.

You know that dog training concept: ‘your dog can’t jump on you at the same time she’s sitting’? It works for us too. Your mind can’t be occupied with worry, fears, anxiety, and endless ‘what if’s’ if you are in the middle of being grateful. It’s through appreciation for what we already have that we get what we want. I know, it might sound weird to you, but trust me, its a known law of the universe. It works.

Here’s a hint: start with thinking and feeling grateful for the things you love in your life every morning before you get out of bed and every evening in bed before you go to sleep. It’s an old concept called ‘count your blessings’. There’s nothing like it for changing your perspective on life and making each day a little better.


1. Today, I am grateful that I have this job, that I am healthy enough to do my work well, and that I am having a positive impact on my coworkers and our customers.

2. Today, I am grateful that I was able to be calm while I worked with my dog, and that my dog is so willing to work with me as we work towards full field gathers, one step at a time.


Your special invitation to make 2014 your Best Year Ever

and a thank you…

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For the last 12 years, I’ve been leading a New Year Creative Alchemy workshop…sharing the things I’ve learned over the years for creating the life I love. There is a simple formula, but it’s not always easy to execute. Life happens, if you know what I mean.

That’s where the workshop comes in…we form a great community of folks who love dogs, animals, nature. And who want to make a better life for themselves, and for their dogs and their families. They want to be happy. Just like you and me. It’s an awesome group every year, and many have joined our group every year since the beginning!

The workshop happens via webcast, so you can attend from anywhere…in your jammies! It starts December 29th…a day devoted just to you and your dreams. A day of amazing and powerful creative fun! And everything will be recorded, so if you can’t make the classes, no worries, you can watch later.

I’ve put together a great program that will support you ALL YEAR, with a really, really special price as my ‘Thank You’ to my subscribers and clients. I want to make it easy for everyone to come. Save $50 for you or Save $100 when you enroll a friend until December 22nd.

I believe in you, and I believe every person is on this earth to express their hearts desire…and in doing so makes the world a better place for all of us!

If you cannot afford this low tuition, but want to join us, send me an email and we’ll work it out.

Whatever your dreams are for 2014 and beyond, this program will help make it real for you. And it will be so much fun!

I really hope you’ll join us!

Click the banner for more information and to register:

Kathy Kawalec's 2014 New Year workshop


The Cognitive Dog Training Infographic

August 29, 2013

This fun infographic showcases Kathy Kawalec’s Cognitive Dog Training system: Important Dog Training principles, How to Communicate with your dog, The effect of your dog’s emotions on behavior, training and performance. Check it out!


Cognitive Dog Training Infographic


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