Back To School Means Change In Routine for Dogs
Kids are typically a mixture of excited and bit anxious and parents are often happy and looking forward to some time on their own when back to school rolls around each autumn. The one member of the family that is not at all happy about the start of school is the family dog.
During the summer months, the dog has a lot of company. He or she has probably enjoyed long walks with the family, playing in the yard with the kids and just having people around all the time. Now, as school is just around the corner, his or her life is going to get a lot lonelier.
It is a good idea, particularly for younger dogs or dogs not familiar with the school and work week routine, to start to prepare the dog for this change. This can be a time when dogs can have separation anxiety issues, particularly if this is their first time being left alone throughout the day or if they have a history of problems with separation.
A simple way to prepare the dog to be left alone during the day is to start to leave the house and leave the dog behind. Starting with shorter periods of time is a great idea, gradually adding on to the time away for the family.
Get into a routine with the dog. Have some toys and his or her favorite things to leave with the pooch. If you are going to have the dog stay in a doggy pen, an outdoor kennel or even in a fenced yard, start those routines as well.
This will make the first day when the family goes off to work and school just a normal day for the dog.
A good way to set a positive tone for being alone is to take the dog for a brisk walk, jog or run in the morning and the same in the evening or when people arrive home. This creates a positive experience for the dog and also allows him or her to do some exploring and have some mental and physical stimulation before being left alone.
Dogs that are exercised will also be less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as digging, chewing or getting into things in the house.
Dog-Proof the Home or Yard
Since the dog is going to be on his or her own, this is the perfect time to get rid of anything where the dog will be staying that is a temptation or a potential risk for the pet.
Remove anything the dog may chew, such as sofa pillows, remote controls or anything else that he or she is particularly interested in but not allowed to touch. For dogs left outside, check the yard for old toys, bones or even old sticks that can become a choking hazard if the dog decides to chew on them for something to do when you are away.