Back to school is tough for everyone—your pooch included! When kids go back to school, dogs can become depressed or develop separation anxiety. They miss their playmates! Your pooch’s normal levels of people-time have dwindled dramatically, and especially if he or she is the only living soul in the house during the day, loneliness can become a serious issue. Here are three key aspects of keeping your dog out of the back-to-school blues:
Keep a Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. It is easier for them to become used to a different schedule like school if they are integrated into a similar routine slowly before the big change happens. It is especially important to get your pooch used to being alone in the house for extended periods of time. During summer, you can practice this a few days a week and build up the time you spend away gradually.
Exercise, Play, and Toys
Taking your dog on a walk or playing in the backyard in the morning will help him or her be calm during the time you and your kids are away. Dogs are ready to go after a good night’s sleep, so burning off that energy can help reduce the chance that they’ll be rowdy in the house while you are gone. It’s a good idea, if you are able, for someone in your family to return in the middle of the day to let your dog out and run around a bit. Doggy daycares, dogsitters or dogwalkers are other good alternatives to keep your dog exercised and engaged. If you have to leave your dog home alone, leave interactive toys out for him or her to play with. Boredom can be a recipe for disaster, so get creative!
Keep it Calm
It is important for you and your kids to stay calm when leaving and returning every day. Your pooch picks up on what you are feeling: if you or your kids get into the habit of emotional goodbyes, your dog will get emotional too! Don’t make a big deal out of leaving or coming home. Your dog will pick up on this cue and learn to react calmly themselves.
Remember the big picture: your dog loves you and your kids, and he or she still needs to spend time with you! So be mindful of your schedules and proactively create a routine that gives your dog the attention he or she needs.
Check out the links below for even more tips on how to make this transition easier on your dog.