Getting Your Dog Ready for Back to School
The new school year is just around the corner! Most parents are worrying about where to get their kids the best backpacks, perfect notebooks, and trendy new clothes, but have you considered how this time is going to affect your pup? Over the past couple of months they have gotten used to having someone home most of the time to give them lots of cuddles and attention, but when school starts up again they will be spending much more time at home alone. Just as you start putting the kids to bed earlier to get them in the rhythm of the school year, it’s also necessary to start adjusting your dog to the changes that are coming.
These tips will help your pets prepare for more alone time at home once the kids are back in class.
Start Practicing Alone Time
In the coming weeks your dog will need to get used to being on their own more often. It’s best to ease them into this so that they aren’t confused when they go from being by your side all day to wondering where you are. One way to start this transition is to leave them at home for increasing amounts of time. Start with a trip to the store, then a few hours of errands, and then a little more until they are used to being alone for the amount of time they will need to be during the school year. Dipping their paws in the water as opposed to throwing them in the deep end can prevent destructive behavior such as chewing, scratching, and having accidents inside the house that can come along with separation anxiety. This will reassure your pup that no matter how long you’re gone for, you will always return.
Provide Them with Stimulation and Positive Associations
Giving your dog a special treat when you leave the house not only distracts them from your absence, but also helps them to associate alone time with something positive. One good option is frozen Kongs. Kongs are hollowed out rubber toys that can be stuffed with all kinds of goodies. Giving them a frozen treat inside of the Kong such as peanut butter or yogurt means that they’ll have to work at it longer to get all of the snack out, providing a lasting distraction. If you’re feeling creative there are all kinds of recipes and mixtures that can be stuffed in the Kong. Another form of stimulation while you’re gone can be sound. Turning on the radio or TV can help to drown out the noises of the world around them and keep them from worrying about the mailman or the people walking past your house.
Ensure They Are Getting the Exercise They Need
Even though you will be gone more during the day, your pup still needs to be able to burn off all of that energy. Set aside times to give them the physical activity that they need. Waking up a little earlier to take them for a longer morning walk will help them to burn off nervous energy and be more relaxed once you leave. If you’re able to, a midday walk is great as well because it provides them some relief from being cooped up inside all day. Finally, take them for one more nice long stroll when you get home in the evening. Remember, even though your schedule is changing, your pup’s needs will stay the same.
Bring Them for Doggy Daycare
Some people have extremely busy schedules and are not able to carve out extra time to give their dogs the exercise they need during the school year, and that’s okay. Bringing them to daycare means that they will be able to get all their energy out and have lots of fun playing with all of their puppy friends while you take care of the things you need to do. Leaving for work and school in the morning is no longer something they will dread, but instead they will look forward to a long day of play and then an evening of cuddles with their family.
This can be a challenging time for families and dogs alike, but with the right preparation it doesn’t have to be. How will you help your pets transition into the new school year?