It's that time of the year again - most kids dread it, most parents look forward to it, and most dogs... get a little confused about it. Back to school can be a stressful time for families, but the transition can also be especially hard for dogs who are set in a routine. Your dog has gotten comfortable with the constant attention during summer - with kids (and teachers) going back to school, she can get confused with all of the alone time. To alleviate anxiety and boredom, here are some great trips to help your four-legged family member adjust to the fall.
- Don't make it a big deal when you leave - your dog can sense your anxiety for leaving, so if you're relaxed it will help fido relax. If possible, turn on a radio or tv for background noise.
- If your dog is food motivated, play hide-n-seek! If your dog has free roam of your house, leave little treats in random spots (I like to put some under my dog's bed, underneath throw pillows, etc.) and have him forage for food throughout the day!
- Leave something to keep your pup occupied! We love interactive toys like Kyjen's Puzzle Toys. (Momo loves the squirrels in a tree).
- If your dog gets seperation anxiety, keep her in a smaller area. Whether a crate or laundry room - many dogs feel safe in smaller sheltered area. If your pup isn't crate trained - don't start the same day as back to school... you're just going to create additional anxiety. If you're going to be gone for a long stretch of time, ask someone to come let your pup out. It's not fair to keep her confined for so long without access to the bathroom.
- Try a doggy day care! This is such a GREAT way to keep your dog socialized and to wear him out! Before dropping your pup off, make sure to check to do your research. A doggy day care should be clean and spacious and have enough trained professionals to handle the rowdy group. When you dog comes home he should be happy and content, not anxious and stressed.
- Finally, don't make it a big deal when you come home. Parents make sure to have your kids for your pup to settle down before greeting him. This can take a few minutes - but after awhile, your pup will get the routine and will be excited (and relaxed) when the kids come home.
How does your dog cope with you leaving? Leave us a comment below!