At Alpha Dog Training of Utah we believe you should not say “goodbye” to your dog or puppy. Even when you leave without fanfare, it’s already hard on your dog. They’re a bit worried and concerned about you leaving and are worked up emotionally.
The tendency for us is to want to connect and communicate with our dogs and tell them “goodbye.” We want them to know we love them and that we’re coming back. We want them to know we’re sorry that we’re leaving; that everything will be okay. In actuality, your dog really doesn’t know if you’re ever coming back. We are setting up the dog to feel abandoned. And the longer you’re gone the more that feeling of abandonment turns into stress which then turns into anxiety.
Even though our intention is 100% positive in telling them “goodbye,” the actual outcome for the dog is the opposite! They’re left feeling confused, worked up, excited, emotionally stimulated. And then – you leave.
They’re left with all the emotional elevation, and nowhere to put it. The contrast, from what you just shared, to what they’re now left with is enormous. And that energy and stimulation you created has to go somewhere. So it goes into all the negative stuff I described above.
You basically leave your dog holding the emotional bag. Your intentions were to calm and soothe, but what you created was suffering.
I know that’s not what you want. And it’s not what your dog wants either. Trust me.
If you really want to help your dog feel better. If you really want your dog to not worry. If you really want your dog to relax while you’re away, then don’t load them up with physical and emotional juice prior to leaving. Just leave. Just make it as normal and non-eventful as possible. Just be neutral. Just go.
Understand that what you’re trying to convey isn’t landing the way you want, and it certainly isn’t creating the positive, comforting reaction you desire. Understand that if your heart is wanting you to reach out and soothe, make sure your brain overrides it. Understand that as connected as we are, certain communications get severely lost in translation.
Even though your human heart may feel cold and uncaring by just leaving, your dog won’t receive it like that. His or her feelings won’t be hurt, they won’t think you don’t love them, and they won’t feel abandoned. On the contrary, you’ll actually be helping them. Helping them to feel more comfort, more calm, more relaxation, and more acceptance of your departure.