One of the best ways to create an anxious, hyped-up, destructive, barking, whining, howling, crate breaking, separation anxiety filled dog, is to share a long, over the top, emotional “Good bye”.
Even when you leave without fanfare, it’s already hard on your dog. They’re likely already somewhat worried and concerned, worked up emotionally, so the last thing you want to do is make something that’s already difficult for your dog a thousand times worse.
The tendency is for us to want to connect and communicate to our dogs that everything will be OK. We want them to know we love them and that we’re coming back; that we’re sorry we have to leave them. But that’s exactly how you actually make everything not OK.
Even though the intention is 100% positive on our part, the actual outcome for the dog is the opposite of what we are trying to convey.
They’re left feeling confused, worked up, excited, emotionally stimulated and then you leave. Now the dog is left with all these emotions and has nowhere to put them. The contrast to what you shared and what the dog is actually left with is enormous.
And that energy and emotion that we unintentionally created has to go somewhere. So it goes into all the negative things I described above. Your intentions were to calm and soothe your dog, but what was created was an emotional wreck and an overwhelmed dog. And that’s not what either you or your dog want.
Trust me, if you really want to make your dog feel better, if you really want your dog not to worry, if you really just want to have your dog relax while you’re away, then don’t load them up with physical and emotional words and actions prior to leaving. JUST LEAVE. Just make it as normal and non-eventful as possible.
Understand that what you’re trying to get across isn’t working the way you want and isn’t creating a positive comfortable reaction in your dog. Even though in our human heart it may seem cold and uncaring just leaving, trust me, your dog will not see it that way. Their feelings will not be hurt. They won’t think you don’t love them or hold an emotional grudge. It will be the exact opposite. You will actually be helping them feel more relaxed, comfortable, calm, and more at ease with you leaving.
And that’s exactly what you want.
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Have a great day!