If you round up one hundred dog lovers in a room, one hundred of them will tell you stories about how their dogs recognized their pet parents’ pain, sickness, and sadness, and immediately administered a canine brand of comfort. Of course, when a pet parent displays elation, exuberance, or even laughter, their dog will eagerly respond in kind. The bottom line is, that dogs do have empathy: the ability to feel and share another’s emotions.

Regarding your dog, and considering affective empathy is the ability to understand and react accordingly to another’s emotions, your dog will react to both positive and negative feelings.

So how does this apply to training your puppy? Emotions that you may not think are outwardly obvious, like frustration, nervousness, anxiety, and even mild annoyance can manage to travel down the leash and into your dog. The more agitated you become, the more agitated your puppy will become. You don’t have to yell at your puppy to affect your puppy emotionally. The tone of your voice and the body language you demonstrate are all contagious to your puppy. The calmer you are around your puppy, the better. He will listen more intently if you use a calm and soothing tone of voice, and your body language is relaxed and confident but not tense and excitable.

Working with your puppy or adult dog should be like a dance routine. Sound funny? Just picture it. Picture how smooth two dancers or two ice skaters are in sync. They’re partners. They move together in unison. There is a harmony to walking with a well-trained dog or dog that is being trained correctly.



So, what do emotions have to do with walking my dog or working to train my dog? Everything! You and your dog are a partnership. You need to be in tune with each other and work as a team. Keep your negative emotions in check. If you become frustrated or angry, literally shake it out or step away and wait till you’re calm and relaxed.

The truth is that high anxiety pet parents have dogs that demonstrate higher than average anxiety. Additionally, dogs that show signs of aggression or aggressive reactive behavior usually have overly tense pet parents, that are agitated, fearful, highly emotional, and exhibit impulsive reactions to common situations. 

The word neurotic has a negative connotation; however, we are all a bit neurotic about different things. If emotional behavior becomes extreme when dealing with daily events, a person is considered to be neurotic. They have a stronger reaction to stress. often feeling anxiety, fear, hostility, irritability, and anger. This over-the-top expression of negative emotions can cause that person’s dog to become neurotic as well. Unfortunately, a dog is limited in ways to channel their emotions and often become aggressive.

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