;

Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Going Dog Wild

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Help!!! My dog Delilah is a wonderful companion when I am home with her, but when I leave, even for a short period of time, she apparently goes on a rampage. She chews furniture, gnaws on the wood baseboards, knocks things over, and my neighbors tell me that she barks incessantly. I have no idea what to do. She is so good when I am with her. Someone suggested medication for anxiety, but I hate to give pills to a dog until I have tried everything else.

Sandy

Dear Sandy,

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common problem and can be frustrating to deal with, but it can be resolved. The most effective treatment for a dog with separation anxiety is to accustom her to very short periods of time alone. At the same time, you must pair the experience of being alone with something wonderful, such as her favorite treats.

Here is a step-by-step method to do this:

For this exercise, you’ll need some hollow toys into which you will stuff tasty treats; these are readily available at pet supply stores.

Just before you walk out the door, scatter a selection of toys around the room.

Step out the door and wait for no more than 30 seconds to one minute.
Come back in. If Delilah is still working on the toys, excellent!

Remove the toys so she learns that she only has access to them when she’s alone.

Repeat several times each day, gradually increasing the time you are outside the home. Periodically revert back to shorter times so that Delilah is forever hopeful that you’ll be right back.

Take things slowly!

You should initially increase the time you’re away by only seconds, and then work up to minutes. When you hit 30 minutes, begin to take jumps of five minutes.

When you achieve two hours, take jumps of 15 minutes.

When you can be out of the home for four hours and your dog stays relaxed, you can probably be gone for a full eight-hour day.

Continue to leave food toys that will occupy Delilah for at least 20-30 minutes.

When not training her and, until you have the problem resolved, try to arrange for someone to be with Delilah at all times when you are away, so she does not have a chance to fall back into her anxious behavior,

And don’t hesitate to discuss this issue with your vet. There may be medications available that will help a lot even while you are going through the training process. Good luck.

Cats, of course, never have separation anxiety because they mostly like their own company. So you could save yourself a lot of trouble by adopting a cat! And don’t forget, adoption fees are waived for the whole month of June for adult cats. You can see all of our elegant and mature cats online at _www.oswegohumane.org_. Lots of fluffy kittens too.

Come Chase & Fetch Balls with us at our Tenth Annual golf Tournament. Friday, July 16th, starting a at 9 am at Greenview Country club in West Monroe. Captain & crew format, 18 holes with a cart– hole in one prizes, skins game, putting contest, first place team cash prizes, lunch and beverages on the course, BBQ chicken dinner, and a fabulous silent a and live auction. $100 per player. 10% Senior discount. You can sign up online or download a mail in form at _www.oswegohumane.org_.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265
West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.