Something I personally struggle with when it comes to dog training😞 and it may be impacting you too.

Extreme empathy.

I’m a highly empathic person.

It’s served me well through my life and has acted as a survival mechanism during my childhood, but as an adult it can cause more harm than good for me emotionally at times.

As a dog trainer I am manipulating, teaching and un-teaching behavior.

Dogs come to me for a reason.

By the time a dog comes to me, their behavior has reached a precipice of pain for the owner.

They can no longer handle the hyperactivity, jumping, barking, destructiveness, leash pulling, biting, reactivity, anxiety and more.

The dog is then placed at my feet and I must teach the dog that certain behaviors are not allowed anymore. I must teach an animal that is a different species, with different learning processes, different needs and desires of what I want them to do instead.

That’s not always easy.

Guys, the dog training process is sloppy, ugly and stressful sometimes. For all parties involved.

Anyone who tells you “dog training should ALWAYS be fun” is a liar.

Yeah, obviously, that’s the goal, for it to be as fun as possible at all times. But to say “always” is aggressively incorrect.

That dogs anxiety rubs off on me. That dogs hyperactivity where the gears in their head is turning a million miles per hour and they are so out of control they can barely function correctly, rubs off on me. The reactivity or aggressive responses to stimuli rub off on me. And when I go in to change behavior and the pushback you sometimes get and having to remedy that, rubs off on me.

At the end of some days I’m torched. I’ve absorbed so much emotion from these dogs.

So, instead I’ve tried to be less empathetic and more sympathetic.

Empathy is taking in and feeling the emotions from another being.

Sympathy is understanding the emotions from another being but not taking them on as your own.

I’m not saying DONT have empathy, but if you are struggling with training your dog because you “feel bad” during certain necessary parts it may be because you have too much empathy and not enough sympathy.

Do you struggle with taking on your dogs emotions?

Canine Performance Podcast
Episode 40
May 1, 2020

★ Episode details:
★ Additional episodes:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here