During my morning commute last Friday, KNBR’s 6 a.m. to 9 am hosts were broadcasting from Giants Spring Training in sunny Scottsdale, Ariz. They spent time with first baseman, Brandon Belt, called the Baby Giraffe for his size, long loopy strides and general awkwardness on the base paths. He’s anything but that with a bat or glove in his hands or a mic in front of him. Of course, he gave obligatory responses to the same dumb questions like “How do you feel?” and “Do you think this will be a breakout year for you?” He fired back with “If I’m lucky enough to stay healthy” and “I’ve been working hard.” For good measure, he threw in “We have a tight-knit group of guys and we’re capable of great things.” That’s baseball. He did say one of his teammates has a man-crush on another, so that was an unexpected nugget. But, what he wanted to talk about most was his dog! The hound suffers from separation anxiety, and lets out a yelping howl whenever they leave the house. They bought him a ThunderShirt, a $40 product made exclusively for separation anxiety; the gentle pressure of the snug-fitting shirt claims to have a calming effect on dogs. Our behaviorists don’t disagree and feel it can have a positive effect on some dogs. Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior issues for dogs. Here’s a tip: refrain from making entries to and exits from your house overly eventful. Don’t get excited upon entering or give them the “sad, I’m sorry” voice upon leaving. Instead, when you enter the house, act like it’s no big deal and give no extra attention. Soon, your dog will see this as commonplace too, and will be more comfortable with your absences. If you are worried about leaving a new puppy alone, try shorter trips to raise her confidence level while you’re away before stepping out for longer periods.
Scott oversees PHS/SPCA’s Adoption, Behavior and Training, Education, Outreach, Field Services, Cruelty Investigation, Volunteer and Media/PR program areas and staff from the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion.