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D2005-16

Dear Daisy Dog

Barc-Lee, our English springer spaniel, has unique ways of saying hello and goodbye.

When we walk in the door, he greets us with a toy in his mouth, and he moans. His tail and back end wag uncontrollably. When we leave, he barks as if saying goodbye.

What does his behavior mean?

Daisy Responds

Barc-Lee sounds like my brothers, Sam and Jack, who cannot contain their joy when our family returns home. I am equally happy, but I am more reserved.

Barc-Lee may be barking when you leave simply to say goodbye, as you surmise, or he might be trying to distract you and keep you at home longer.

Either way, bid him farewell quietly, without fanfare, and leave promptly.

Sometimes well-meaning humans contribute to the development of separation anxiety in their dogs by leaving and returning amid much emotion.

When our people whine at us dogs on departure, and squeal with glee on returning home, we become anxious about being left alone. We palliate our anxiety by chewing up pillows and relieving ourselves in the house.

You can help prevent Barc-Lee from developing separation anxiety by keeping departures and returns peaceful.
When you arrive home, give him very little attention until he quiets down. Don’t feed or play with him until he is calm.

If Barc-Lee is like my brothers, his exuberance will endure, but it’s unlikely that he will develop separation anxiety.

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