Separation Anxiety Support

For Shelters and Rescues

There are many small, low-to-no-cost things shelters and rescues can do to improve the welfare of dogs suffering from separation anxiety while in their care. We have created several free resources to help you help those dogs and are here to answer your questions.

It Takes a Village

Whenever possible, placing a dog with separation anxiety in foster care is the ideal scenario. We recognize this can feel like a big ask both on the part of the shelter/rescue and the foster family, and we thank you very much for being there for these dogs!

Educational Materials for Foster Families

In the same way it’s important to help foster families understand the special care needs of any dog, helping them understand both what separation anxiety is (and isn’t) and what it means to provide for that animal’s welfare is critical to setting them (and the dog) up for success.

Bonus Tips:

Provide fosters the right information to understand what separation anxiety is and how to meet the dog’s special care needs.

Be honest when talking about separation anxiety; this is a welfare issue for both the dog and the caregivers.

Openly discuss the need to manage the dog’s alone-time and support fosters in thinking about how they will meet that need.

e-Library for Foster Families

We’ve curated a list of resources to support you in helping your foster families feel prepared to and understand what it means to foster a dog with separation anxiety. Please choose, use, and share one, many, or all of these free educational resources with your foster network!

Ongoing Support for Foster Families

Offering post-placement support benefits both the foster caregivers and the dog. Even fosters with the most flexible schedules and a deep understanding of separation anxiety will need continued support from other fosters, volunteers and staff, and/or a community dog professionals to best meet their foster dog’s care needs.

Bonus Tips:

Check-in with fosters (phone, email, text, Zoom) within 3 days and about 2-3 weeks post-placement if the dog is still in their care.

If in the foster home after 2-3 weeks, ask the family to use the Separation Anxiety Screening Tool to assess the dog in the home environment and then add it to the dog’s file.

Consider creating a care schedule for the dog of shorter stays in a few different foster homes if fosters are feeling overwhelmed or need a care break.

In addition to using this free downloadable resource alongside or in addition to your intake form, this tool can also be used to assess dogs in a foster (or adoptive) home to then provide adopters with valuable information. Please note: This tool is intended to aid in the assessment of a dog’s comfort with alone time, not to assign a level of severity or potential for recovery.

Behavior Modification in the Foster Environment

Incorporating a separation anxiety protocol while in foster care is not usually the first-line recommendation. Dogs don’t generalize well, so even if the dog improves through training while in foster care, that doesn’t mean that learning will translate to the new adoptive home. However, if you have a foster who is eager and willing to start a separation anxiety protocol while the dog is in their care, the information gathered from training in the foster home can provide helpful and hopeful insight for interested adopters.

Bonus Tips:

Encourage fosters to have fun training one or a few new tricks. Manners training and a cute trick or two can enhance the potential for adoption and permanency in the new home.

Be open about the challenges of separation anxiety training in the foster environment.

Share Mission POSSIBLE with foster families wanting to incorporate separation anxiety training.

We want to support foster families committed to working a separation anxiety protocol. We offer discounts to shelters and rescues wishing to share with them our online self-paced course for caregivers of dogs with separation anxiety. Please reach out to us using this form if you’d like us to set up a discount code for you: Contact Form.

We are here to help!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for or would like some help getting started, please reach out to our team: Shelter/Rescue Contact Form.

Thank you!

My gratitude to you is infinite. I recognize the challenges that you face in your position and want you to know that we truly see your big hearts and tremendous efforts. Read our blog about how important our shelters and rescues are, and our commitment to them: See Them, Tell Them.

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