• Kathleen Kiefer, CPDT-KA

What’s Wrong With “Trust Not Treats”

First and foremost I believe that having a dog is having a relationship. If you don’t agree I may not be the professional for you.

There are many kinds of relationships. There are complex dynamics in relationships. Let’s reflect on some examples listed below.


  • Manager : employee

  • Upper Management : employee

  • Friend : Friend

  • Patient : Dentist

  • Patient : Medical Specialist

  • Obnoxious dorm roommate : You

  • Parent : Child

  • Parent : Teenager

  • Significant Other : You

  • Hostage : Captor

  • Favorite Teacher

  • Good Neighbor

  • ‘Bad‘ Neighbor

  • Teammate


What makes relationships is the quality of interactions and investments of both parties.


If your dog is tearing up your stuff and disrespecting boundaries it feels like that old college roommate who never asked to borrow things and left the house trashed. If you get through that situation with better communication skills then your next roommate experience might be better.

Have you ever had a less than forgiving manager at a job that didn’t pay well? Did you go out of your way to avoid any risk of criticism? That kind of boss just doesn’t make you feel good and is a terrible communicator, the low pay makes it that much easier to leave. Now if the job has great benefits, and pays exceptionally you might be willing to put up with a lot more stress. Particularly if the boss does give you positive feedback every once in awhile.

What‘s left in relationships is how we feel. Are the boundaries clear and consistent? Is the pay worth it? Is the history of interactions deep enough to overcome challenges of attention? Does one party feel like they’re being nagged— or nagging? Food is an easy way to establish positive rapport in relationships. It’s pretty universal for social animals to use food and eating rituals to strengthen social bonds. We have to eat, so do our animals, why not use it to build clarity and trust in our relationships?


There’s skill in teaching my clients to fade the food, but by the time we get there, we’ve invested in our relationship and we still have to feed the dog anyway.


If you have questions about your new roommate with paws send me a note or schedule and we can get started.



Breaking Bread building relationships

37 views

© 2020 Created by Kathleen Kiefer of Louisville, Kentucky USA