How to Master Your Energy When Working with Your Dog
By Jason Wright
September 5, 2023
Dog training is not just about teaching commands and behaviours; it's also about creating a positive and focused atmosphere for your pet, especially when they are in an intense or training environment. As a responsible dog owner, it’s important that you, the owner, understand the importance of training your dog and how equally crucial it is to monitor and control your energy during training sessions.
Whether you know it or not, your energy can significantly influence your dog's behaviour and response to training. It can also have an effect on your pet during tense situations, whether this be when welcoming friends into your home or introducing your pet to a new dog.
By maintaining a calm and focused demeanour, you can prevent accidents from occurring and create an environment where your dog can learn effectively, stay relaxed, and respond positively, conducting appropriate behaviour at all times.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Energy during Dog Training:
Your energy greatly impacts your dog's behaviour and learning process. Dogs are highly attuned to human emotions, body language, and energy. If you approach training or any situation with anxiety, frustration, or hyperactivity, your dog can pick up on these signals and may become anxious, distracted, or even resistant to learning.
On the other hand, when you maintain a calm, confident, and balanced energy, you create an environment where your dog feels secure, focused, and receptive to training.
Here are a few specific situations when maintaining the right energy can be particularly helpful for your dog:
- Meeting New People or Dogs: Approach new encounters with composed energy. Your dog will sense your confidence, making them more at ease when meeting new people or other dogs. This will help prevent any mistakes or accidents from occurring.
- Vet Visits: Dogs can sense your anxiety, which might increase their stress during vet visits. By staying calm, you help your dog remain calm as well.
- Socialization: During socialization activities, your steady and reassuring energy will make your dog more comfortable and open to new experiences. Reminder, however, that socialization is best done on walks or out in controlled environments, not places such as leash-free parks.
- Separation: If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, a calm departure and return energy can help alleviate their distress.
- Training Challenges: When faced with training difficulties, maintaining a patient and composed energy helps prevent frustration from negatively affecting your dog's progress.
- Unfamiliar Environments: In new or unfamiliar places, your dog will rely on your energy as a cue for safety and reassurance.
Recognizing these moments and adjusting your energy accordingly can create positive experiences for your dog and enhance their overall well-being.
Benefits of Keeping a Calm Energy While Training:
Maintaining a calm energy while training your dog is a powerful tool that goes beyond the surface of teaching commands. Your energy directly influences the quality of the training experience and the outcomes you achieve.
This is why a composed and centred energy is encouraged, as it helps you effectively communicate with your dog and sets the tone for a harmonious and productive training session. Here are some of the benefits that can be experienced by maintaining calm energy when working with your dog:
- Enhanced Focus: Calm energy helps your dog concentrate better on the training tasks at hand, leading to quicker and more effective learning.
- Reduced Stress: A calm environment reduces your dog's stress levels, enabling them to process information better and retain training techniques.
- Positive Association: Your dog will associate training sessions with a positive experience when you exude calm energy, making them more eager to participate.
- Improved Communication: Calm energy enhances your ability to communicate clearly with your dog through consistent cues and body language.
- Better Bond: Building trust and a strong bond is easier when your dog senses your calm energy, as they view you as a reliable and secure leader.
The Impact of Nervous and Anxious Energy on Dog Handling:
Nervous and anxious energy can also affect the way you handle your dog, especially in situations that demand calm and focused responses. This is particularly evident when dealing with reactive dogs or challenging scenarios.
Below are a few ways that highlight just how nervous energy can influence your dog's behaviour and overall training experience:
- Reactivity Amplification: If you're nervous or anxious, your dog can sense it. For reactive dogs, this heightened energy can increase their reactions to triggers. When you tighten the leash due to your own tension, your dog might interpret this as a signal that there's something to be worried about, escalating their reactivity.
- Tension on the Leash: When you're nervous, you might unconsciously tighten the leash, transmitting physical tension to your dog. This pressure can be interpreted as a signal to be on guard, potentially triggering defensive or reactive behaviour.
- Heightened Stress Levels: Dogs are incredibly perceptive and can mirror their owner's emotional state. If you're nervous or anxious, your dog might become stressed as well. This added stress hinders their ability to learn, respond to commands, and remain calm.
- Loss of Clear Communication: Nervous energy can result in inconsistent commands and cues. Dogs thrive on clear and consistent communication, and uncertainty due to your energy can lead to confusion or misinterpretation.
- Deterioration of Trust: Dogs rely on their owners for guidance and security. If your energy signals uncertainty or fear, it can erode your dog's trust in your ability to lead and protect them.
- Aggravation of Undesirable Behaviours: Anxious energy can inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviours. For example, if you're nervous about your dog's tendency to jump on people, you might inadvertently reinforce the behaviour by tensing up, making your dog even more excited.
Recognizing the impact of your energy on dog handling is key to creating a positive training environment. By being aware of your emotions and actively working to maintain a calm and composed state, you can control the unintended consequences of nervous or anxious energy on your dog's behaviour. This self-awareness not only improves training outcomes but also strengthens your role as a confident and capable leader for your dog.
Ways to Monitor and Keep Your Energy in Check When Training:
If you’re new to monitoring your energy, especially during tense situations or while training your pet, you may wonder how. Just as you guide your dog through exercises, guiding yourself towards a composed state of mind is equally essential. Doing so creates an environment that encourages your dog's receptivity and cooperation.
Here are some practical ways to monitor and regulate your energy during training sessions, ensuring a positive and productive experience for both you and your canine companion:
1. Mindfulness and Deep Breathing: Before starting a training session, take a moment to center yourself. Practice deep breathing to relax and clear your mind, helping you stay present and composed.
2. Set Clear Intentions: Define your goals for the training session and focus on them. This clarity helps you convey your expectations to your dog more effectively.
3. Avoid Rushing: This point is huge. Rushed energy can create confusion and tension. Move deliberately and with purpose, allowing your dog to follow your lead.
4. Positive Visualization: Visualize successful training outcomes and maintain a positive attitude. This not only boosts your energy but also transmits positivity to your dog.
5. Practice Patience: Stay patient and calm even when faced with challenges. Avoid expressing frustration or impatience, as this can negatively affect your dog's response.
6. Body Language Awareness: Pay attention to your body language. Maintain an upright posture and relaxed demeanour, signalling your dog that everything is under control.
7. Stay Consistent: Consistency in your energy and approach is key. Dogs thrive on routine, and a consistent energy level helps build their trust in you.
The iTK9 Way: Mastering Your Energy When Working with Your Dog
Mastering your energy while training your dog is fundamental to effective communication and positive outcomes. Your calm and focused energy creates a comfortable and conducive environment for learning, enhancing your dog's ability to grasp new skills.
By prioritizing your own energy management, you improve your dog's responsiveness and foster a strong and trusting bond. If you need help controlling your energy or working with your pet or are unsure where to start, our trained professionals can help. They fully commit to working with your pet through behaviour, obedience training, and continued learning safely and effectively. Our trainers can also help you manage your body language and energy while teaching you about your dog’s body language, helping to give you, the owner, vital cues to look out for.
We do the hard work for you to attain a happy home and a healthy relationship with your pet.
Included in all of our programs are the following;
- In-Person Learning: Midway progress training video, two go-home lessons.
- Online Learning: Owner education course, instructional training videos, iTK9 member community, e-books & additional training resources.
- Owner Support: Photo updates of your dog training with our team and access to our team for questions & support.