When you are working with a dog to build up it's confidence being alone, should you reward it for showing the behaviour you want when you return?
For instance, you leave the dog in a pen and take a step away, and return, then go a couple of steps away and return, building up the distance/time before returning. Upon returning, should you reward the dog for not whining or displaying inappropriate behaviours(would the dog then associate this with the owner returning and good things happening)? or should you just continue as though nothing happened(how does the dog distinguish between I didn't bark and nothing happens, and I did bark and nothing happens)? If the dog does show an inappropriate response, such as barking if you take a step away, I assume this is to be ignored until the behaviour stops, and then start the process again? Is there some way of reinforcing the appropriate behaviour without the dog associating the good thing with you being present?
I understand the theory of getting a dog used to being alone in gradual steps, but I'm not sure how to go about reinforcing the correct behaviour when you are a higher reward than food or toys.
At this stage if an inappropriate behaviour is being displayed I turn my back and pay no attention until the behaviour stops, then I will face the dog and return to it without really interacting with it. Is returning to the dog enough of a reinforcement for the right behaviour and turning your back enough to signal inappropriate behaviour?