My rescue with separation anxiety has made it up to an hour with me leaving!

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I rescued a dog back in May from a shelter because his temperament, personality, and size were all in line with what I was looking for. He is an Australian Cattle Dog (surprisingly low key; he likes chilling and cuddling more than playing although he enjoys both).

I thought I had done plenty of research until I was blindsided with a severe case of separation anxiety in him. I left him in his crate for 45 minutes one day to go and get a haircut. Came back to find he had mangled his crate, pried it open, then made the apartment look like a mini tornado had come through. Broke an expensive HD TV, chewed papers, the whole 9.

Before doing any research on it, I just decided to zip tie his crate shut and barricade it so he couldn’t escape (stupid on my part… I know) so I could go get groceries. Came back to find he soiled his crate, chewed himself bloody on the crate wires, and stunk the entire apartment up with how badly he was panting.

I did research and came up with a gameplan to tackle it effectively. I started running a couple miles with him in the morning to burn more energy than just a 30 minute walk then started working on desensitizing him to departure cues such as grabbing keys, wallet, etc. I also made the bold decision to stop crating him when I left. That worked like a charm, but he’d still start whining, pacing, and yawning any time I was gone more than 5 minutes. We worked from 5 minutes, to 10 minutes, to 20 minutes, now all the way up to an hour!

Today he finally hit the hour mark. He whined twice, but then calmed himself and laid on my sofa. I was watching through my Furbo the entire time and was only outside in my car (made sure to turn it on and “leave” so he’d hear it).

I imagine he could’ve gone longer but I don’t wanna press it just yet. Just wanted to share a minor victory with my rescue!

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