Non Eventful Comings and Goings =The 5 Minute Rule
Here’s the protocol. It’s easy to emotionally overload our dogs when we come and go but it does them no good.
What are they to make of our dramatic return from the office or and errand, or a day of shopping if you throw yourself down and hug them as though you have just escaped prison or won the lottery!
If you do act like that your pup or dog in training is saying to themselves… “good grief it must be dangerous out there… look at her…. she is acting like she thought she had never seen me, or ever will be coming home again.” So avoid the histrionics and increased arousal!
When you come home, open the door say a quiet loving hello to your dogs and then get on with your life for at least 5 minutes. I know, I know…we really do practice this at our home even it sounds cold and unemotional. But is it really?
Don’t you greet the people that you truly love with warmth and affection without trying out for an opera or the next Broadway show? You can be loving and truly happy to see your dog or dogs, without being overly dramatic about it.
So when we come home we look at our dog Minnie and say “Hi Minnie, I touch her chin in a ritual greeting ceremony as I say Hi,” I am full of how very much I love that sweet little girl and how glad I am to see her, but I am not an emotional tornado.
I try to smile with my whole face and speak with a very calm warm loving voice acknowledging her, if you have more dogs acknowledging each of them fully works well…. it just doesn’t take very long, and it’s not going to be very dramatic ,
Got it? Good! I don’t think histrionics makes your dog feel more loved. That just ups the arousal level, and might create an emotional overloaded dog who starts chewing on the couch 5 minutes before you are expected home.
So keep your leavings low key as well as your comings. No need to feel overwhelmed by leaving your dogs.
Most applied dog behaviorists agree that if an owner is highly emotional or anxious about comings and goings, pets pick up on all that emotional energy and more.
That generalized arousal might lead to a pet that has a harder time about being left alone for a while and I think there’s a good reason to suggest that we all stay relatively calm when leaving and returning, simply because your behavior just might signal whether it’s a big deal or not.
One last thing… I’m not saying you have to be a cold and non loving dog parent when you (come and go) there’s a clear distinction between love and warmth versus a very dramatic high arousal display.
They both have their place, just be thoughtful about it, and considering the wild silly antics we like to display at times, they are fun, but save those for later when you finally invite your dog to come over.
Whether that’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes,or 20 minutes. After you settle down from your day, calmly invite your dog over and let the loving begin!
Hope that helps you in phase one of your 5 minutes or more rule!