What Are You Feeding Your Dog?
You can become your dog’s emotional food.
A dog that begets a doting owners constant affection all weekend, will later, when left alone during the work week, be left frustrated and hungry for his emotional food. His insatiable appetite for your attention can make him crazed when it becomes non-existent throughout the work week.
Depending on how well your dog deals with stress, your dog will behave in whatever manner relieves him of that emotional void: chewing, pacing, panting, drooling, destruction, etc. Every dog is different. One will self mutilate, drool, or whine, while another will act out, destroying his crate and teeth in the process.
Watch how much doting you are doing on the week-ends! Too much unearned affection can wreak emotional havoc on your dogs state of mind. Remember, petting is a reward. It should only be given when the dog is exhibiting the behavior you want. Be mindful to balance the amount of affection and rules. When one outweighs the other instability will set in.
Another way to prevent the addiction that is you is by putting your dog in Place when you are at home. The Place command lets your dog be a part of your world but not be all up in your business. Practicing 90 minutes or more of duration away from you will work wonders on his state of mind. When this command is met with non-negotiable rules (he cannot come off of it), your dog will quickly realize all he has to do is chill-lax! Conditioned meditation.
Avoid high octane good-byes and hellos! Loading them up with emotional departures creates frantic anxiety that the dog has no way to release other than through pacing, panting, barking, whining, and other potentially destructive behaviors. Just leave the room as neutrally as possible. No talking, coaxing, or petting. You want your dog’s energy to be CALM when you leave, not hopped up on emotional juice. Use your brain before your heart. The way we humans feel about good-byes gets lost in translation for a dog. You may feel this is cold and uncaring, but it’s actually the direct opposite. Try to think of your dog’s well being in the reverse of what your heart may feel. Help them be calm, relaxed, and comfortable by staying emotionally neutral.
Whatever emotional state you would like reflected from your dog, you should be crafting within yourself. Your dog will mirror your energy.