Why Does My Dog Shake When I Yell At Them? (Trainer Explains)

Why Does My Dog Shake When I Yell At Them

When we bring a dog into our lives, it’s usually because we want them to become our faithful companions. This means that we want to share our daily lives with our dogs. We want them to hang out with us when we have guests over, and sometimes we even want to take them with us on vacation!

If you ask anyone who has a dog, they’ll likely say that training a dog is a lifelong task. While there are many different types of training methods, sometimes it’s just natural to yell when you’re feeling frustrated, like when your dog chews up something he shouldn’t. If you’ve ever yelled at your dog in a situation like this, you may have noticed that he immediately began shaking.

So the question is – why does your dog shake when you yell at them?

Dogs can shake for a variety of reasons, including stress and anxiety. If you’ve recently yelled at your dog, causing him to shake, it’s possible that he may feel scared or anxious. Just like humans, dogs can be sensitive to sounds, so any loud sound, like yelling, has the potential to scare a dog. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons your dog may shake when you yell at them, and we’ll also discuss some different training techniques to prevent situations like this from happening in the future.

Why Does My Dog Shake When I Yell At Them?

Dogs can shake for a number of reasons, including being cold or in pain. When your dog is shaking in a situation after being yelled at, it’s safe to assume that your dog is shaking because he’s scared and stressed.

Just like with humans, dogs have the ability to feel fear, and they can get scared. Yelling at dogs involves a loud tone, and that can be scary for dogs. Since dogs are a nonverbal species and may not understand the specific words we’re saying, they react based on our body language. Loud, yelling tones coupled with an angry or frustrated stance looming over the dog that often accompanies yelling can be scary for a dog.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Yell At Your Dog

When you share a home with a dog, it’s inevitable that there will be times that you get frustrated at your dog. Dogs, especially younger dogs, have the tendency to get into mischief and can cause problems, like getting in the trash or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes.

When something like this happens, your first reaction is frustration and anger, and it feels like second nature to let that frustration out by yelling at your dog.

However, as we’ve already discussed, yelling can cause our dogs to feel scared, fearful, and afraid. We don’t want to cause our dogs undue stress in any way like that, so it’s best to try not to yell at your dog.

Let’s unpack the exact reasons why you should try to maintain your composure and not yell at your dog, you can also check this helpful video!

Reason 1: Yelling Is Scary

As we’ve mentioned, yelling is scary for your dog. Loud tones can be startling for your dog, especially if they don’t understand what’s happening. There are many ways to communicate with our dogs that don’t involve causing them to feel any fear or anxiety.

While shaking is an involuntary bodily response when your dog feels scared, your dog may display other body language signs indicating his fear as well, such as cowering, yawning, lip licking, avoiding eye contact, and pinned-back ears.

Reason 2: Yelling Is Stressful

It’s safe to assume that if something is scaring your dog, then your dog is also experiencing an increased level of stress. After all, no one enjoys feeling scared!

One study suggests that yelling can have long-term negative effects on our dogs and cause our dogs to feel pessimistic and live in perpetual stress. This study found that dogs that experienced mild punishments, like yelling, had increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva after the negative encounter.

Even if you train your dog using the preferred, modern positive-reinforcement-based methods, it can be difficult to contain your frustration when you come home and find your dog has chewed a spot in the arm of the couch or peed on the rug.

This study helps to demonstrate how important it is to our dog’s overall mental well-being that we maintain our composure and walk away from the situation instead of yelling at our dogs.

Reaosn 3: Yelling Doesn’t Tell Them What You Want

While you may not mean to yell and scare your dog, sometimes it just happens. It can be difficult to contain these emotions in certain situations. Most people find it easier to be aware of their own body language and how they’re interacting with their dog when they understand the importance of it.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that yelling doesn’t teach your dog anything. The loud yelling noises truly just have the negative effects of scaring and stressing your dog out but yelling doesn’t have any benefits because it can’t even teach your dog anything.

Studies are showing that training your dog with positive-reinforcement based training techniques is the best way to train. In a nutshell, these methods use a reward system when your dog does something right or performs a nice behavior.

Training with a reward helps motivate your dog, and the more they get rewarded for a behavior, the more likely they are going to continue performing that behavior. A good principle to follow in a good dog training protocol is to always set your dog up for success, teach them what you want, and reward that nice behavior!

When you yell at your dog, you’re likely just scaring him with the loud noises, but you aren’t telling him what he should be doing. While dogs are smart and can be trained, they are on a comparable level to a human toddler. To put it simply, dogs don’t understand the words you’re saying when you’re yelling, so it’s not helping them learn or behave differently in any way.

Instead of yelling, try taking a few breaths and walking away from the situation. When you’re able to calm down, you can work on good training techniques to teach your dog what you want them to do instead.

Reason 4: Yelling Impacts Your Relationship

As we’ve established throughout this article, it’s pretty clear that yelling at your dog doesn’t provide any value. It doesn’t teach your dog what to do in any way, and in fact, it just stresses your dog out and scares him.

As humans, we don’t like to be in any kind of relationship where the other person is always yelling or loud or trying to be scary. We can assume the same for our dogs!

Yelling at your dog and causing them to be scared and anxious can actually be detrimental to your relationship. This is teaching your dog that he can’t trust you or know what to expect. Those loud yelling noises aren’t comforting to your dog at all, and in fact, he’ll likely try to get away from you.

Reason 5: Yelling Can Teach Bad Behavior

While we mentioned above that yelling at your dog doesn’t teach him anything good, it’s important to note that yelling can actually teach your dog bad behavior.

If you call your dog and he takes a while to respond, yelling at your dog when he finally gets to you may actually have the opposite effect you want – it may teach your dog not to return at all.

After all, who wants to come running to someone only to be yelled at? Instead, it’s important to alter your training and set your dog up for success. This could mean setting up training scenarios where your dog is less distracted when you’re calling him, and remember to reward your dog when he comes to you!

In instances where you come home from a long day at work only to find something on the floor that your dog destroyed, it’s important to note that yelling here still won’t teach your dog anything good.

Your dog isn’t able to connect the dots between your yelling and the toy or your favorite pair of shoes that he chewed up hours ago. To your dog, it’s possible that he may just become fearful every time you come home because he’s expecting you to yell at him, and he doesn’t understand why.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Does Something Bad?

As a dedicated dog owner, you just want to ensure your dog has a good life. Chances are you don’t want to yell at your dog because you understand the negative effects it can have, but instead, your dog is just being naughty and causing you to feel frustration and anger.

When your dog is being naughty, or you come home from work to find your dog has been naughty while you’re away, try to follow these steps to make sure that you’re not scaring your dog and are actually training him in an appropriate way:

Take A Few Deep Breaths

Opening the door after a long day at work to discover your dog peed on your favorite antique rug can be incredibly frustrating, but it’s important to remember to remain calm. Taking a few deep breaths can help you calm down quicker.

Quietly Clean The Mess

Chances are, if you’re feeling angry enough to want to yell at your dog, then it’s likely that your dog has created a mess of some kind that needs to be cleaned. Let your dog outside for a potty break or clean up the mess and then take a short walk.

Your dog won’t be able to understand your yelling has anything to do with the mess he created hours ago, so it’s important to just clean up the mess quickly and quietly.

Refresh Your Training Skills Together

Consider training refreshers and teach your dog what you want him to do. As we mentioned, training is a lifelong activity. If you notice your dog is getting into trouble, consider signing your dog up for an obedience class as a refresher. Remember, it’s important to teach your dog what you want him to do by rewarding him heavily.

Final Thoughts

We bring dogs into our lives because they enrich our lives in a unique way that human friends and family want. As much as we love our dogs, there will be times throughout their lives when they do bad things that cause us to feel frustrated and angry. Since yelling at our dogs can have long-lasting negative effects on our dogs, it’s important to remember to train them regularly by rewarding good behavior.

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