Shared Blog Post – The Role of Dopamine and Cortisol in Dog Training

Several chemicals within our dog’s bodies affect how they learn and react under stress. Two of the most fundamental are Dopamine and Cortisol. In this blog post from January 29th, 2023, the National Institute for Canine Ethics (NICE) explains how this neurotransmitter and hormone affect our dogs.

You and every pet care professional (dog trainer, canine behavior consultant, veterinarian, “behaviorist”) working with you and your dog needs to understand how this works. If they don’t understand Cortisol and Dopamine, they are not qualified to help your dog and may do more harm than good.


Don Hanson lives in Bangor, Maine, where he is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( and the founder of, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. He is a Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (PCBC-A) accredited by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) and a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), serving on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee and chairing the Advocacy Division. He is also a founding director of Pet Advocacy International (PIAI). In addition, Don produces and co-hosts The Woof Meow Show podcast, available at, the Apple Podcast app, and this blog. The opinions in this article are those of Don Hanson.

© Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved

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