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Does your dog mirror your emotions?

Therapist Joanne Frame looks at four feelings our pet may channel

by Psychologies

Mirror emotions

2 minute read

1. Fear 

We feel afraid when our natural ‘right to be here’ is challenged. It might not be a scary man with an axe coming towards you, it could be a neighbour you are anxious about speaking to in the street. Notice when you feel fear and how your dog responds. Does he bark and lunge? Is he silly or excited? Does he cower?

2. Guilt 

Notice when you feel guilty and if there’s a change in your dog. If you feel guilty for leaving him to go to work, or for not taking him for a walk, see if you can change that feeling to something more uplifting. When I go on a guilt trip, I remind myself how much I enjoy my dogs and what a good life we have together.

3. Shame 

We feel ashamed when our right to be an individual is challenged. It’s common to feel we’re not good enough, because we don’t meet some made-up standard. Do you feel ashamed when you’re with your dog? Maybe when he runs up to another dog, uninvited, and you feel that you can’t control him. Notice that feeling. Does it affect your dog?

4. Grief 

If you cry, what does your dog do? When you cheer up, does his behaviour change? My dogs have different reactions. One licks me, one sits nearby and the other leaves the room!

For more, read our article on Anubis therapy, 'What does your dogs behaviour say about your emotional state?'

Image: Getty

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