Foster Family Helps Dog Gain Confidence at Home
Hope is a striking-looking young dog who arrived at Baypath Humane as a stray. On her first day in a foster home, Hope leapt out a window shortly after the family left the house. Although she was not seriously injured, Hope was clearly in a state of distress. Based on the information collected, it appeared that Hope was showing moderate discomfort with being left alone, and was showing separation-related fear behavior -- a feeling of terror when left alone.
Fortunately, through a careful behavior modification protocol, many dogs like Hope can learn to cope with being left alone.
We were incredibly fortunate that Brittany, Hope’s foster mom, stepped up to help Hope address her fears. Our Director of Dog Programs shared educational materials to help Brittany and her family become well versed in separation anxiety. Baypath then hired Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) Kim Melanson to develop a behavior modification protocol to help Hope learn to remain calm when left alone.
Following this scientifically-proven protocol, Brittany slowly desensitized Hope to the anxiety she felt when she saw someone about to leave the house. The protocol also guided Brittany through being able to leave Hope alone for very short periods of time and then increasing the time as Hope’s confidence grew. This can be a slow process, starting with leaving the house for a matter of seconds and building Hope’s confidence from there.
Our veterinarian also prescribed anti-anxiety medication, which is often a crucial step for helping address a chemical imbalance in dogs. In addition, the local training team Life is Dog generously donated a pet cam so that Brittany could check in on Hope during her time alone to make sure she wasn’t exhibiting any stressful behaviors.
After many patient months of carefully working through the separation anxiety protocol, Brittany shared some exciting news:
“Today was the day. I left Hope home while I went to work and she CRUSHED IT! I watched her on the camera periodically and she was laying on the couch or her bed every time I checked. When I got home, she was so excited. We went on a walk, and I kid you not, she basically galloped the entire time. She seemed so genuinely happy to see me, and I think deep down, she knew that she had accomplished something great today. I am so proud of her!”
And the very best news of all: Brittany and her boyfriend Jared officially made Hope a member of their family! Brittany shared, “She is an amazing dog who would have absolutely made a potential adopter happy, but I am so glad she ended up just staying with me. She follows me everywhere I go, and truly brings so much joy to my day. I just wanted to thank you for your help and giving me the opportunity to work with her. I have gained a new best friend in Hopey.”