Back To School with Pets!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Well it’s almost time of year again. After a long playful summer with the kids and the dog, it’s now time for the schedules to change. Early to bed for the kids, back to carpooling for parents, then homework, after-school activities, and the potential for a dog developing some unwanted behavioral issues.
As everyone adjusts to the school year, remember your dog also has to adjust to the modifications. Be sure to pay attention to your animals when it’s time for the children to head back to school. They get use to their human buddies investing so much time with them; it can be a shock when your pet has to return to spending more time alone. In severe cases, animals can struggle with separation stress and anxiety, display behavioral troubles, cause damage to your house or themselves.
How to Avoid These Problems
- First of all, if your dog is crate trained, it is a good idea to get him back into a regular habit of being in his crate for the extended period of times, now that the schedule is changing. To explain proper crate training for your dog right now would turn this article into a book!
- Change your habits. Dog’s are really smart creatures, and we are creatures of habit. Our pets pick up on this fact. You pick up your car keys the dog knows your getting ready to leave. Change that up, pick up your keys, and make dinner instead. Whatever it is that you usually do out of habit, do the opposite. You put on your shoes and walk out the door, instead, put your shoes on and walk to the laundry room; change things up. By changing up a couple things in advance, this will get you a head start.
- Start to leave for short amounts of time; this will help your dog get use to you being alone. Slowly increase the amount of time away from the home. A dogs sense of time is much different then ours.
- NEVER make a big deal out of leaving, and don’t let your kids do this either. The big goodbye, the hugs, the see you soon big petting...don’t do that – simply walk out the door. No dramatic exits please. You’ll really get you pet’s anxiety going if you do this.
- Morning walks & play time. You’ll probably need to get up a little earlier and either take your pet for an extra long walk, or use the extra time for some play. Tire him or her out and they will be more likely to sleep a little longer instead of chewing up your furniture or getting into the garbage. Just because these behaviors were previously not an issue with your dog, does not mean that it won’t happen now. When all of a sudden the routine has changed so can your pets behavior. The last thing you want to have to deal with is coming home to a disaster when you need to run the kids to their after-school activities.
- When everyone is gone from the home, leave the television or radio on. This will create audio stimulation.
- Make sure you leave safe toys for them to chew on and play with. When you do have time to play, use these specific toys to play, this way your dog is more likely to go for these toys, as he will have the memory of playing with them and you.
- If you have it in your budget a doggie daycare is awesome. You know they are playing with other dogs and socializing. They are getting exercise, and they are under supervision. Just be sure to get referrals and ask questions. Make sure they are licensed and their staff is adequate,
To sum things up; be proactive while you still have time, by changing up your routines. If your dog is crate trained, start working that into the schedule sooner rather than later. If you can, video the times you’re gone to see if he is showing signs of anxiety. Start making short trips away from home, in order to leave you dog alone, and begin increasing the length of time you are away.
When school begins, tire your fur-baby out so he or she will sleep for a while. Be sure to leave toys that he can play with and chew on. Leave the TV on a channel that will provide visual and audio stimulation for your pet, or even just a radio station. You can also purchase a Pet-sitter DVD. If your budget allows, look into a reputable doggie daycare.
Here is hoping you have a great school year.
Most of all, when the weekend comes, be sure to spend a little extra time with your furry friend
he or she really missed you all week.