It’s back to school season. Kids are returning to school, vacations are coming to an end, and everyone is busy. Plus the weather is cooling down, and there are less outdoor activities.
Over the summer, your dog probably loved that someone was always home, or at least not gone for very long, and there were lots of outdoor activities with the family. But now, your dog doesn’t really understand why you’re gone and why everyone is suddenly leaving him. Many dogs suffer from depression and separation anxiety when kids return to school, mostly due to loneliness and the feeling of exclusion.
Here are few tips to ease your dog into the new family schedule and prevent the back to school doggy blues.
Continue your dog’s routine
Dogs find comfort in having a consistent routine, so keeping their schedule in tact helps with the transition. This includes maintaining the same feeding times, walking schedule, playtime activities and anything else you do everyday with your pup. It can be hard to fit this in with all your new responsibilities, but your dog is a member of your family. So even if it means waking up a little early to give them the extra time and love they need, do it. It will benefit everyone in the end.
Consider daycare or sports classes
Dog daycare and sports gets your dog out of the house, and their mind off you. Daycare offers socialization with other dogs and humans while sports activities, such as hikes and agility, offer exercise and mental engagement – all positive things to keep your pup happy. If you can’t afford enrichment activities every day, consider signing your dog up once or twice a week. It breaks up the week and gives them something to look forward to.
Fill the day with activities
Being home alone all day is boring, even for humans. Your dog can’t hangout on social media or read a book, so if you do leave your dog home alone, make sure they have plenty of things to do. Turn on music or have the TV on at a low volume to fill some of the void during the day. If you have DogTV, even better. Puzzle chew toys are another great distraction. Some of our favorites are the Kong Wobbler, West Paw puzzles and Starmark Bentoball. Finally, schedule the dog walker every 4 hours (no more than 6 hours max).
Don’t be dramatic
When you do leave the house, don’t give your dog a big dramatic goodbye with lots of treats and hugs. Dogs pick up on these emotions, and it may make them feel more anxious. Leave your dog with calm, confident vibes and let them know that you will be back soon.
Let us know!
Has your dog been showing signs of separation anxiety now that schedules have changed? Let us know how the new school year is going for you and your pup in the comments below!