Zen Warrior Leash Handling

There are so many parts two strong leader ship. One that is hard to master and grasp is strong clear Leash communication. It’s not just similar to how horses need to be communicated with through their reins
Think about it in terms of clear lines and angles. Nothing is messy. The way you hold the leash. The way you stand. The way you move. It is all done with clear lines.
That’s why I spend so much time on how one hold the leash because if it’s messy and garbled – that translates down to your dog and how your dog hears your communication to him
That’s why we must always practice in a no/low distraction setting first. We must become fluent on the leash when we are not triggered and when the dog is not triggered and then we slowly move up to the trigger environments. That can take months even years to master. It’s like being a Zen warrior walking through a war zone.
You are unaffected by your environment and in tune with the being beside you. You are able to clearly talk with dog through streamlined leash communication.
Actually it’s not so different than how we should walk through life – present in each moment, internal and not external. Observation. Discernment responding rather than reacting
Ninja Zen warrior leash handling. Let’s all strive to attain that enlightenment🙏

The cost of over engaging with my dogs

I’m guilty. Both of my dogs have been over engaged. Patrick especiallyand then Bernie followed. They are so focused on my interaction with them on walks and hikes that they are losing the joy of exploration. Patrick is deaf. Deaf dogs are called Velcro dogs because they over attach right away.
Patrick showed me early on that he had a love for big rubber balls and that is how we bonded the first few months Well now eight years later….
Patrick is fixated on the possibility that I might tug and throw his green rubber ball – he often has blinders on to the beautiful world around him. (unless it’s other people he adores, then he wants to bring the rubber ball to them!)
Bernie is so emotionally attached to me that all of her joy comes from play with me. I am her everything so our time together on walks is often about checking in every few seconds, tugging on some thing ,and instigating play.

Now don’t get me wrong this has benefits – my dogs are natural followers. I rarely had an off leash reliability problem. They are quite compliant when it comes to commands and they truly truly see me asleader so when I say NO – they listen and stop what they’re doing.

So this strongly bonded relationship is rich with love and devotion. We are a unit of 3. We go everywhere together. We do almost everything together and there is safety and connection in all that we do.

I should have ignored them a bit more on walks and hikes. I should not have catered to their every need for acknowledgment and play. This is the one area of weakness for me. I honestly think I project stuff onto them. When they look at me and ask for play – it’s like a little girl in me says- “acknowledge me , tell me I am special”

It’s never too late to change. Yes, My Habits are ingrained. Yet on my next hike , I’m not going tobring out the big green rubber ball. I’m not going to bring out a tug toy. I’m not going bring treats.
Instead I’m going to remain quiet and present to nature.

Your dog loves you but may not respect you

Did you know that dogs sense weakness? You can see it all the time at the dog park!
Happens in almost every social interaction in acknowledgment, greeting, and play. It’s not always pretty. Your young punk dog bullies the insecure one. The dog who likes to be chased suddenly has 4 pummeling him. The dog with his tail tucked attracts immediate attention from every dog in proximity.

And your dog senses YOUR weakness. There’s no other way to say it. You give him unlimited freedom. You let him bark at the mailman every time he steps on your porch. You cuddle him endlessly on the couch while watching TV. You don’t follow through with corrections. You let him break his down command often. You explain away his nuisance behavior with a sad story about his past. You can’t imagine crating or tying him down. You barely ever leave him at home by himself.
You’re creating a monster. Your dog will love that you are the one that feeds him because he gets unlimited resources
but when it really matters – he will have zero respect for you. When there is no respect – bad things happen.
I’m being super blunt tonight because every so often we all need a wake up call!

Present moment leash communication

Training has always been about becoming so present with the dog that communication comes through me, the very deepest part of me.When I ask to take the leash from the owner- The energy transmuted from the dog to me and then back to the dog is exactly how I learn what he needs. This is not some existential magical anomaly. It happens to all of us when we are fully in tune with a task, our gift, a hobby, a devotion. We become so aware and at one with what is in front of us that “no how to “ book is necessary. All of the knowledge exists from the energy between us.This is not meant to sound woo hoo spiritual. It is simply what happens when we get so quiet in our minds that knowledge and wisdom is revealed to us without thinking.It is so so hard to teach any of my clients this. It actually must be directly experienced. We are often so caught up in fixing a problem that we lose the most precious gift of awakened connection , through paying attention without an agenda.

Training your difficult dog can be triggering!

Dog Training is a very personal business.  I am invited into people’s homes with their beloved dogs.  They often call me because as much as they love their dog, his behavior is also causing a lot of stress.  Anxiety, aggression, reactivity.  It affects an entire families’ wellbeing and lifestyle. and they really really want me to fix it asap.  I come into their home and can immediately see the relationship weakness between human and dog that is contributing to the dis-ease. Oftentimes, over coddling, excuse making,  and projection cloud their ability for leadership.  I also see the breed and drive characteristics of the dog that the owner usually does not want to admit is there.  All dogs are predators. and when under stress, or stubborn, or fearful, or prey driven- they will act in violence.  It is shocking to admit to the aggression  inside our beloved family member. It is often explained away with a story- a bad past or someone else’s fault.

So owners want me to fix their dog. What they do not want me to do is assess their part.  and ‘part” means their thinking and  their feelings.  Adults also do not take easy to being in a student position.  They can be doctors, lawyers, business owners – who are so excellent in their skill and trade..so they come to the student dog owner position not so humbly.  I was in a recent session with a shy pitbull.  He did not want to go on walks in his neighborhood since July 4 fireworks. I was in the zone…feeling intuitively what he needed as I held his leash. I was excited and conveyed this knowledge to his owner.  She had her back to me, talking about extraneous things…I calmly asked her to turn around and watch.  She continued to talk over me and not pay much attention. Fast forward to later in the session- another critical part to help with boy learn the down command.  She interrupted me to talk about her cat…I stopped what I was doing and said. ” are you listening to me, because I get the sense I am not reaching you”.  She was agitated and angry right away and replied ” I don’t need you to call me out, I am a grown woman”.   The rest of the session was awkward and painful, probably for both of us.

Truth be told, I am approaching a place of burn out. This happens every handful of years.  It is when I know I must do more self care, set boundaries, and take more time off.  I feel drained by some people’s energy and projection on me ..and I know it is  imperative to recharge so that I can feel inspired again…as this is my life’s calling

I thought alot about this session in the days after..and of all the sessions where I spoke up in this way and it was not received well.  I am so driven to support difficult dogs and their families. I have a God given talent ( one of the only ones lol) to enter a home and know exactly why the “bad” behavior is happening and how we can make great stride toward a joyful existence with the dog.  From point A to Z- the path is NOT easy for either being…but more so, the human.  Rarely do they realize that It is a path that can trigger self exploration, and I often will inspire it in my observations to them. Many revolt against me. Some even temporarily dislike me. and a few run away.  For those that stay-  transformation is very possible..and it is a glorious step forward in one’s awakening.

Ponderings of an old Dog Trainer

If you have a strong desire to be a great to superb dog handler or perhaps a dog trainer one day – here are  five traits you must either inhabit or cultivate.  There are probably many more, but this is what came to me in a flash
A. Willingness to find a teacher that you listen to wholeheartedly without wanting to interrupt. Questioning is great! I have found that regular interruption is a whole different energy and negates the process of learning
B. Practice practice practice. Mind body connection with leash and with the dog is not an easy feat. Daily practice – make it a hobby, a ritual, a consistent habit -you go to every day. Make it become your meditation that you truly look forward to and not just look at as a task to complete
C. Put aside you past and preconceived notions about how good you were with your old family dog , how much you learned elsewhere, how much you have read online …and start with a fresh clear attitude, especially when working with a brand new trainer. We all come with some foundation. We all come with an attitude that wants to prove to someone else how much we know about dogs.  
Come from the Student Mind and truly listen. Be very present, even if in your lesson you don’t think it resonates with you or applies to your dog- put aside your assumptions and listen anyways. I would listen to my teacher Alon. He might repeat something I’d heard 100 times the week before – but the way he said it and how he connected it to a brand new dog – it was always, without question, an aha moment ,every moment. It’s rare for me to find students that take in this kind of knowledge this way.. and when I see them truly listening – I say to myself – they are meant to work with dogs

Otherwise ,The ego gets in the way.

D. Work with dogs that are easy first. I can’t express enough how hard it will be to easily develop an excellent mind-body skill set on leash with a reactive strong dog. . Or if you can’t find a calm dog to work with, because your dog IS reactive- work first in the quietest of Settings. You must HONE your skills in areas and with dogs that quiet your mind before you can go in to the loud world. Too quickly can ruin the learning, leave you overwhelmed and judging the dog wrongly.
E. At the same time – after you have practiced for many months, with a solid trainer behind you.

Not everyone is meant to be a superstar dog handler or expert trainer . Not everyone has the timing, presence, intuition. Find where you excel -When you walk with the dog down the street with your personal skill set ,and it makes you truly connected to him – stay there for a while. That’s your sweet spot. Relish in this moment 🙏
Kathy Kear

It was all meant to be

Each of my dogs were divinely meant to be my family. . We were meant to find each other in this lifetime. It was divine intervention. I’ve rescued / fostered hundreds of dogs in the last 25 years but From them – these seven were meant to be my family
Each individual taught me a deep life lesson in all aspects of Mothering.

Coda- introduced me to what it means to be a mother and nd the responsibility of loving and caring for  the most innocent, amidst the chapter of my life that was wrought with wildness and excessiveness- she always pulled me back home.
Benjamin- to be a mother and take an abused dog and help build him into a dog that experienced  the WHOLE world differently because of  Loving leadership. My son who lead me to everything I am today. A true teacher of expansion.

Lucille to mother a complicated emotional being and learn how to unconditionally honor her emotional needs, by putting aside my ego. I learned how to radically accept you which brought more acceptance to my own wounded self
Madeline – to mother a being who was wiser than me. To serve as mother to a supreme  higher soul and lean on her soul for comfort and grounding
Abbey- to mother a little girl, the apple of my eye. To love and protect the pure goodness of a child. And see in her the little girl in me and love her too
Patrick- to mother a divine soul with unconditional play, sensitivity and open hearted ness. To fiercely protect and nurture the most sensitive of my children
Bernie- to mother a mother. Bernie the mama dog whose entire essence is softness and sweetness. This girl has propelled my heart to soften and expand amidst all the worry and anxiety this current life chapter has brought

I honor and love each of you forever. My children, my teachers

There is and will never be 100% guarantee, because of you

I’m feeling really frustrated today I got an email from someone and I’m going to share parts of it here. This was a potential client I worked with months and months ago and they said they would be back in touch to start working together. This dog is a vibrant slightly fear full large hound girl. I never heard from them again until this email this morning and frankly I am enraged that they put all this on the dog, they’re threatening to give up the dog in not so many words and they want “ hundred-percent “guarantee from me.

Where is the responsibility people?!

Hi Kathy,

I am sorry that we are getting back to you so late, it’s been a very hectic summer/fall for us. We are both now working full time and we have moved to a new house with more space. Addie is not adjusting well and we are (once again) at the end of our rope.

Two incidences in the last two months have been of particular note. In the summer, she bit my brother’s hand very badly when he came into the house when I was at work, and just yesterday she bit a neighbor who was reaching over the fence to give her a treat while I was doing errands this weekend.

As I mentioned before, the compressed air and treats do work pretty well, but A and I don’t think that just “managing” her for the next 10 years is reasonable. We can’t be there every second of every day, and the few times that things have gotten out of our control, she has lost control. Our new neighbor has two small kids, and I could not live with myself if she hurt them. I hate to say that I am giving up before even trying your program, but I don’t think I will ever feel safe with her and other people again and having her be 100% dependent on me or A for all of her needs at this stage in our lives is also impossible. She is entirely unpredictable and we can’t travel, we can’t leave her at home, we can’t go out with her in public. We are stuck being hermits with a dog that needs two hours of exercise a day.

What I need to know from you is, even if we go through your program, will I ever feel 100% safe about Addie when I am not there to be with her? Is there any way to be sure that she can live a life outside of her crate that doesn’t involve me or A being with her 100% of the time?

My response :

H A and S – I’m so sorry to hear about these incidences. I’m going to be very straightforward here- both of these incidences were your human error.
You have never gotten any in-depth training for Addie for this aggression and because of this she has no comprehension how to handle being surprised by someone coming in the front door or Hands being flipped over the fence. She just did what many dogs would do – reacted to surprise that happened to be on her territory.

She’s gotten no clear in-depth instruction because there’s been no comprehensive program. You guys have just been winging it since we met several months ago.

The hundred percent guarantee I can say is she 100% needs training from someone seasoned in reactivity and aggression

I have no idea how far she would go in the program because it’s about 25% about the dog and 75% about the humans that actually follow through 100% on my commands, daily instructions, including affection, exercise, correction, obedience, structure in the home, skill set handling that is above average.

Because every human being I work with is extremely different – some malleable while some resistant. Some open-minded while some confrontational – there is never going to be 100% guarantee about any dog training program and if a dog trainer tells you that they’re full of crap
It Comes down to the owners personality and attitude and secondly the dog.

I’m only taking one a few select cases anymore with highly motivated, highly realistic, ready to diligently practices and listen to Me without argument ( I welcome healthy discussion)

I’m taking two new cases on for December
. If you’re interested in working with me I’d be happy to schedule a phone call to get all your questions answered .

The single most important bit of advice I can give you right now is to not put her in any situations where she does not feel ,safe until you have a strong consistent skill setthat you learned from a seasoned trainer. If you do that then I can guarantee 100% she won’t bite anyone

Do we ever just love a dog that doesnt have the responsibility to meet our self centered need?

I take issue…with driven sports that are very popular in Ca. Bite sports, Agiity, AKC Obedience, Fly Ball, etc-

The handler/owner LOVES their young vibrant dog when it is performing well. Most of these sport dogs are bred purposely for the sport. These people rarely to never pick from a shelter or rescue group- they want the best of the best. I call it the Eugenics in the dog world.
They express so much love for their working dog while he is competing. They eventually put their other dogs, often rescues, below the hiearchy of importance in their home.
and sadly, when the dog continues to under perform- they quietly stop raving about them on facebook, continue to look at their other dogs( rescues or non performing) as not that important-
What is the continued solution? Breed another and another until we find the “perfect sport dog”. I fuc@#$% beg to differ that these sentient creatures are only here to be bred for your ego.

Meanwhile their dogs at home become just pets that live a lonely life. Afterall, they don’t matter as much as a potential superstar.


My GREATEST priveledge has been tending lovingling to a old dear precious dog that trusted me to her dying days…no matter how well she performed.



The Touch that matters

The Touch that really matters.

People always get so concerned in initial consultations when I talk about affection. Tonight I met with a couple that constantly pet their very nervous reactive shepherd mix while she often thought about biting me simply for standing up or moving.
It’s very important to understand when affection and touch is a good thing and when it is a very wrong thing to do.

To put it simple – Too much mindless on -going affection is seen as weakness from a dog. Even if they love you and adore you- They see you as weak. They don’t trust that you can really take care of them when it matters. We give our dogs endless amounts of affection because it makes us feel good, without thinking of how it affects their state of mind when they are under stress. We do it more for us than for them. This is the truth.

If we become very very present with our dogs – you will come to see when touch and affection is the exact right thing to do. It’s truly an energetic response to a need that creates calm rather than anxiety

Let me see if I can give you an example.
My dogs get loads of exercise and then I come home -I put them in downstays on their beds , after their dinner and while I have a multitude of tasks to do before relaxing in front of the TV. As I walk around the house – I see that they are alert watching me but not leaving their downstay. After about 30 minutes I come over and sit with them and lovingly pet them for about five minutes each and immediately they go into a full relaxed state of rest and sleep. They simply needed my reassuring touch to enter deep relaxation.
If we become very present and intuitive about touch – it’s almost like you can read your dogs mind to know when he needs it and when it is not in his best interest. It’s really a profound experience of awareness.🙏