Second Chance: Please Don’t Leave Me
Dear Pet Column,
My dog gets kind of freaked out whenever I have to leave him – what can I do to get him to chill out and know I will be back? – Anxious Doggie Daddy
Despite being a recent author of the Pet Column, my staff here at Second Chance have asked me to take up the keyboard again as I can relate to the angst that your dog feels. I experience that too. Separation anxiety is common in lots of dogs, luckily our people can help us get through it.
Although I am not destructive or overly “freaked out” when my people leave, they have gotten used to my milder call for attention through some whining and chattering. But the thing that best helps me to chillax is getting in some good exercise and interactive periods before being left alone, letting the natural post-exercise pharmaceuticals such as endorphins and such do their job.
Fetch, tug-o-war, obedience training, or buddy time, all of which I super enjoy, are excellent outlets for separation anxiety. Also, you should work on developing an association for your pooch between being alone and positive things like a favorite toy or canine puzzle like Kongs stuffed with peanut butter and tasty treats. These distractions help us forget we are alone.
Cozy places also help me relieve my anxiety. My staff make sure I have soft bedding to kick back on while soothing music is played throughout the Dog Den. For dogs new to a home, crate-training offers a safe, calming place to go when alone as well. (Just make sure, however, you don’t use the crate as a “time-out” space for bad behavior.) And it is important to keep your own behavior in check – don’t make a big deal of it when you have to leave or when you return – the calmer (and less guilt-ridden) you are through the change, the calmer your dog will be.
So despite my mild separation anxiety, I am a highly adoptable girl. As mentioned a few Pet Columns ago, I am some form of Argentine Dogo Border Collie mix (Argentine Bocodogo) of only a year. I certainly act mature for my age, with my easy going attitude and nurturing roll (role?) towards younger dogs. In our shelter play groups, I fast become buddies with almost any dog that comes through the door.
But my real love is people. My soft smile and kind eyes lure you in and before you know it, you are caught in a trance with a 50 lb. pup in your lap soaking up all the love you can offer. Heck, you’ll be the one with separation anxiety when you can’t be with me…
Unlike me, adorable shelter cat Cutie, suffers much less when his people leave. A much more independent fellow, he prefers to spend his time sneaking around the house, his fluffy tail bouncing steadily behind him while he moves with stealth. His sleek cream and chocolate coat charms all, but his large curious eyes hint that there is much more going on. Scratching posts and high places are his idea of a happy place to be. Even though he tends to run his own show, Cutie will benefit greatly from a little TLC from a caring home.
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org
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