Ingham County Animal Control: Train your dog to get used to you leaving during quarantine times

Michigan
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Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — For many animals, the Stay Home, Stay Safe instructions are giving pets a treat: time with their best friends.

With owners being home to give lots of attention and one-on-one time, animals are becoming more accustomed to the companionship. Eventually, though, daily schedules and routines of leaving the home will resume leaving pets to wonder what happened to their human counterparts, and how to cope.

The number one issue dog owners may face is separation anxiety. People should start (or continue) to leave their dogs for short periods of time.

If you can’t leave the house, at least leave them in a different room.

Start with short periods of time, gradually building it up and keep these absences random.

Sometimes being away for five minutes, sometimes a couple of hours can train them to re-adjust to your absence.

Stay calm and reward the dog for calm greetings when you return. If the dog is crated, only open the door when the dog is calm and quiet.

You can also give the dog a puzzle toy to keep them busy while you’re gone and put it away when you come back. It can be a durable toy with filled with peanut butter, kibble, yogurt, etc and then frozen, or a special chew toy that they only get when you’re gone. These high-value toys will give them something that they will look forward to. 

For dogs that have trouble with being left, scent therapy collars or plug-ins, white noise machines, or even TV/radio in the background may help. It is known that animals can pick up on stress cues from their owners, so try and keep your leaving a calm event without adding extreme emotions to the interactions.

For more information on open programs at Ingham County Animal Control, contact the shelter at 517-676-8370, visit the ICAC website at www.ac.ingham.org. The shelter is currently closed to the public for COVID-19 precautions. Adoption and Foster placements are continuing by appointment only.

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