How to Tell Your Dog When You Are Coming Home … and Why

You’re reading this blog, so you’re an animal lover, right? Many of you would go one step further and say your animals are your children, right?

Well, would you leave your children home without telling them when you’ll be back? That right there says it all, but let’s look a little deeper, since our animals actually think and function differently than our children do. In this case, we’ll be talking about dogs.

It has been proven that many dogs know when we are coming home — even if it’s not at the usual time — and are waiting at the door … so why don’t they know that we’ll be back every time we leave? And why does this concern them?

Dogs are super intelligent, we all know that. But they do tend to exist more ‘in the moment’ than we do. So they don’t think too much about what’s going to happen tomorrow. If they have expectations, it’s due more to operant conditioning than to holding the thought, “Oh golly, gee, tomorrow at 8 o’clock a.m. Dana is going to leave me again!” Most dogs are able to settle into a routine, so are also conditioned to a usual home-coming time. But some dogs have extreme separation anxiety and go berserk every time they are left, whether it’s on a regular schedule or not.

That is certainly a major “why” you should let your dogs know when to expect you back — to minimize their anxiety. But common decency is another. Hmmm…. lots of issues for discussion here, but my main goal with this particular blog is to give you an exercise or two that you can use to show and tell your dog when you will be back.

First, please read Talk to Your Animals – Here’s How. This will give you an easy, down and dirty outline as to how to shape the message you want to send to your dog, in this case the day and approximate time you will be coming home. You will be using primarily silent words and mental pictures to convey your message to your dog.

Trust me. If you and your dog are close, just about anything you try to tell him or her will be understood, no matter how you go about doing that. But since we humans don’t tend to believe that, learning to project our thoughts and messages can be helpful. Here are two exercises you can practice that will help you send your messages to your dog more effectively.

1. THE RED BALL.  It’s nice to have a partner for this one, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Let your dog or cat be your partner, or an inanimate object. Sit comfortably in a quiet, relaxed space. Breathe deeply and become as “meditative” as you personally can become. Now visualize a huge red beach ball on the floor right in front of you. Push the ball so that it rolls over to your partner. Watch it move. Feel it roll away from you. Then “see” your partner push the ball back to you and feel its approach. Do this several times until you can really visualize and feel the action. Once you can feel this, put a short message inside the ball, such as “I love you” and practice sending it back and forth for a while. You can then use this red ball to tell your dog when you will be back by sending a message like “I will be back at 5:00 o’clock.” You might also include a picture as well, of a clock face indicating 5:00 o’clock. Pictures always help! 

2. THE HEART-TO-HEART LINK. Again, position yourself in a quiet space, breathe deeply, and center yourself. Then picture your heart chakra with little doors on it that you can open and close. Any kind of door(s) you like will be fine. Open your heart doors and see a laser beam projecting out from your heart to the heart of your dog. Picture him or her with little heart doors as well that will open in order for their heart to connect with yours. See the beam connecting the two of you, and you might initially just feel love and send it along the beam. Then form your message, with words and/or pictures, see yourself setting it on the beam, and watch it travel along the beam into your dog’s heart. This exercise always works, especially when accompanied by lots of emotion. If you show your dog you’ll be home at 5:00 o’clock, really FEEL the joy you will experience when you see him again, and this will help enhance the message!

However you do it, just please tell your animals when you’ll be home. They wait for us, every minute, and is there anything more joyous than our reunion with them? Knowing what to expect really helps them!

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