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Pet separation anxiety tips as kids go back to school

Never punish your dog for anxious behavior that is the result of fear and distress, not disobedience.

MINNEAPOLIS — Azure Davis, Founder and Executive Director of Ruff Start Rescue stopped by KARE 11 Saturday with some adorable adoptables to talk about the Tails for Trails Walk Benefitting Ruff Start Rescue on Sunday, September 17 at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. To learn more, Visit the Tails and Trails website.

Azure also gave viewers some tips on dealing with separation anxiety in a pet now that summer is over and many dogs and cats are spending extended periods of the day at home alone.

Signs of Separation Anxiety 

  • Whining, pacing and trembling as you prepare to leave for work and when you’re gone.
  • Chewing or digging, particularly around doors or windows. Sometimes you’ll find your favorite shoes or the leg of the dining room table chewed.
  • Accidents in the house even though the dog is potty trained.
  • Excessive barking, howling, drooling or panting.
  • Trying to escape, which can put the dog in danger

Ways to Help for Mild to Moderate Separation Anxiety

  • Crate Training

Works for some dogs that have a positive association with their crate.

  • Practice Leaving in Short Intervals

Even stepping into another room for a short time and gradually increasing the time. You can then incorporate counterconditioning in the next step.

  • Counterconditioning

This may sound complicated, but it’s pretty simple. You want the time you leave the house to be associated with something good. So, when you leave the house, give your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with high-quality treats (example: a Kong with peanut butter or treats inside). It will take your dog about 20-30 minutes to finish the puzzle (or if it’s a Kong, freeze it and it will take even longer). Save this special treat for ONLY when you leave.

How to Help Cases of Severe Separation Anxiety

  • For some dogs, separation from owners is so hard that treatment options, like those above, can’t be implemented without the help of medication. However, always rule out other health issues and consult with your veterinarian about medication.

Bottom Line: Never punish your dog for anxious behavior that is the result of fear and distress, not disobedience. Punishment can make separation anxiety even worse.

To learn more about Ruff Start Rescue including adoption or foster opportunities, please go to: https://ruffstartrescue.org.

The two dogs who appeared on the KARE 11 Saturday show were Geralt and Ciri and they are both looking for forever homes. 

Geralt is almost four months old, and Ruff Start believes he is a Catahoula Leopard Dog / Border Collie / Mixed breed. He currently weighs around 30 lbs. How can you not love those freckles? 

Ciri was born on the same day as Geralt, and the rescue thinks she's the same mixed breed. She weighs just over 20 lbs. She's fully potty trained and ready to cuddle. 

Find more information about adopting these two, or any of the other great dogs at Ruff Start Rescue, here.

Watch more KARE11 Saturday:

Watch the latest coverage from KARE11 Saturday in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out