One of the most important parts of dog training is doing what you can to make sure your dog does not get separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is hard on both your dog and you, as it is one of the most common causes of damage to your home and one of the primary reasons dogs experience stress and anxiety.
To ensure that your dog does not get separation anxiety, it is important that you never excite your dog before you leave your house. Dog owners that shower their dog with attention right before they leave the house almost guarantee that their dog gets severe separation anxiety, because the energy they have before being left alone turns immediately into anxiety.
Dog Training Basics
Another aspect of dog training involves not rewarding your dog for bad behavior. If your dog barks at you because it wants some of your food, you should never give it any of your food, otherwise it will be more likely to bark at you in the future. This is another basic aspect of dog training – rewarding your dog for any bad behavior is more likely to increase the bad behavior.
On occasion, a dog may show physical aggression when their owner leaves the home. This is most common if you stop your dog from running at the front door, and your dog starts to bit at your feet, hand, or leg when you try to move it away.
This behavior is completely instinctual. Your dog is not actually mad at you – they are simply biting out of fear (a very common instinct for dogs) and are likely unable to control themselves. However, when this physical aggression appears somewhat severe, you are faced with a difficult choice. You can either verbally reprimand your dog, as a way of reducing the chance of your dog becoming physically aggressive again, or you can ignore the dog altogether despite its bad behavior, and risk your dog doing it again.
Both of these options represent several problems. The first is with reprimanding your dog. If you yell at your dog it may reduce the behaviors, but you have now also given your dog attention. You must now leave your home, otherwise you are rewarding your dog by staying inside because it showed aggression. Yet you have also cause your dog additional excitement and fear, so the chance of it getting anxious is now very high.
On the other side, you can ignore it. Ignoring it is not a bad option. For one thing, if your dog is showing aggression, chances are it is already experiencing some anxiety when you leave. Similarly, dogs do not learn that well from yelling. Still, ignoring the behavior is difficult, and reprimanding your dog – while not that effective – will still make it more likely to reduce the behavior slightly.
There is no right decision. Ideally the best decision is to ignore it, but ignoring it is extremely difficult and doesn’t do anything to ensure it will not happen again. The only thing to remember is that if you do yell at your dog for its aggression, you must still leave your home despite the likelihood it will increase your dog’s separation anxiety. You do not want to reward your dog by staying home because of the aggression.