Martin Hernandez

Hi I’m Cookie! I’m a six-year-old Pitbull mix. I‘m a tail wagging, positive thinking lady with a perpetual smile. I keep it gentle and positive even if I require handling by a vet. While my socialization skills with people are superb, I could use some help with learning manners as I can be a messy eater, bark when I’m bored, and my skills on leash could use some work. But, I’m eager to learn and I am especially motivated with anything that I can eat! Invest some time in me, and I will reward you and kind with my loyalty and love! Cookie, ID#A059885, is available for adoption at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter located at 1640 9th Street, Santa Monica CA, 90404. The shelter is closed to the public and adoptions are by appointment only by calling the shelter at 310.458.8595.


A common phenomenon that has developed in dogs during quarantine is separation anxiety. While a treatable behavior, since dogs cannot learn during the stress of you leaving, it is important to begin the process of desensitizing your dog to being alone now! By doing so, when it is time for you to be away, your dog will be conditioned that being alone is just as rewarding as being with you!

Walking your dog every morning provides your dog with physical and mental stimulation as well as socialization. A tired dog is a happy dog whose behavior is easier to manage throughout the day.

Pick times intermittently throughout the day where your dog will spend time alone while you are at home, in a location with the least distractions, with a comfortable bed, blanket, or crate to relax.

Fill the area with white noise. The sound must be something that associates them to you (music, TV, talk radio) so that they may still feel your presence when you are away.

To motivate your dog to stay alone, pick an ultimate reward (toys, treats, puzzles) that your dog finds irresistible and that requires them to work on for an extended duration of time. To keep the rewards exciting, pick five different types of these rewards to switch out intermittently, and only allow your dog access to these rewards during your separation practice.

Begin the separation process by practicing being separated from your dog for a specific duration of time, then extending the alone time as they become more and more proficient being alone. Start slowly with a few minutes at a time away from them in the same room, to longer durations of time in another room, then to exiting the home entirely.

Through this process, being alone becomes a part of your dog’s daily routine, and a rewarding event that they can look forward to.

Pet of the Week is provided by Carmen Molinari, a long-time volunteer at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and founder and CEO of Love At First Sit, a pet care and dog training company in Santa Monica. Learn about her, pet tips, and Love At First Sit services at