You have more power than you realize. In the case of your dog, you need to mind your own business before you can hope to have a dog that listens…

…because what is your dog listening to anyway?

The state of your mind affects how you feel and your dog picks up on that feeling. ​Your body language and chemistry are totally different when you are stressed or sad or excited or joyful. The changes can be subtle.

But your dog doesn’t necessarily know WHY you are feeling that way. They guess based on past experience and their own feeling and reactions.

That lack of clarity can cause your dog to become excited, happy, confused, concerned, fearful, anxious or a host of other emotions. How your dog reads a situation can affect whether or not they can listen to what you are saying or listen appropriately. They may become completely distracted by their own emotions in reaction to yours.

Think about how you can tell as soon as you walk into a room, whether or not you are welcome. Likewise. your dog can tell how you feel.

Visit this thought in your mind for a minute… close your eyes and imagine you are late walking into a conference room and everyone is looking at you! Those in the conference room may be annoyed because you are late or thrilled to see you because they were worried about you. Can you tell? Do you feel welcome? You can usually sense the energy in the room instantly. Can how you feel affect what gets accomplished at the meeting?

Now, imagine you are a substitute teacher walking into a math class with a group of rowdy teenage kids on a beautiful Spring day. What’s the mood of that room? What if they look at you like fresh meat?! LOL Or what if they don’t look at you… at all? How do you feel? What is the energy in that room and can you follow through on your plans for the day?

You don’t necessarily pick up on every eye squint, posture change or smirk but overall, you have a sense of the energy and it can affect you.

Your dog senses your energy and mood in the same way. Maybe even more so. The longer you live with your dog, the more in sync you can get and your dog learns when to be more cautious or sometimes when to “ignore” your mood. Just make no mistake… your dog feeds off of your energy and bad energy makes it harder to focus, listen and learn.

Watch the video above and then try this exercise: 

  1. Think about something that annoys you or upsets you, like the upcoming election or some one you are struggling with at work and then train your dog a simple skill. Watch their body language and be aware of yourself too.
  2. Then later, try it again, only this time, first think about things you love or are looking forward to like a vacation or your favorite meal or even put on an upbeat song that you just love and makes you want to smile… and then train your dog the same skill in the same place in the same way.

Do you see a difference in yourself? In your dog?

Watch the video and let me know how the exercise goes for youin the comments below.