The long summer days are slowly getting shorter and discount retailers are putting out notebooks, pens, and calculators. It is officially back to school season, and if you have kids or work in a school, the next couple of weeks can be filled with a small amount of dread.
You and your kids are not the only ones affected by the beginning of the school year, however. Your pup is just as affected by your kids (or your) absence after having you all to themselves for two months. Dogs are pack animals and having a good chunk of their pack go missing can be stressful. Here is how to make the school year transition as anxiety-free for your dog as possible.
1. Start Adjusting Your Schedule Now
If you and your family have adopted a laissez-faire sleeping schedule, the sudden introduction of a rigorous, alarm-bound one will be rough on everyone in your household, including your dog. Start adjusting your sleep schedule now, and tweak it little by little until you are in school mode. This will help insure that your dog is not only used to commotion earlier in the AM, but also help adjust bathroom breaks accordingly.
2. Give Your Dog A “Scents-itive” Bed
If your dog is particularly attached to one of your children (or you), grab a blanket or used shirt and add it to your dog’s bed set-up. Dogs’ sense of smell is much keener than ours, and the familiar scent may help with any separation anxiety.
3. Stay Active
During the summer, chances are your kids kept your dog pretty physically active running around outside. Keep the physical momentum going by taking your dog on longer, brisk walks early in the morning or by being a kid yourself and playing out in the backyard. The physical activity is mentally stimulating for your pup, and a great distraction if she seems distraught at the sudden loss of her play pack.
4. Spoil Your Pup
It seems like there are a myriad of excuses to spoil your pup, and back to school time is as good of a time as any. Get your dog a new toy that requires a little bit of mental stimulation, like a toy that gives out treats once they solve a small puzzle. Give them long belly rubs and snuggle with them while you have your morning coffee. Giving your dog this extra attention can help keep both your mind and your dog’s mind off the fact that the kids aren’t around during the day anymore.
5. Add A Pet
If your time and financial budget allows it, considering another pet, whether it is a dog or a cat, may be a good way to keep your dog occupied and less lonely. It goes without saying, but just to reiterate: getting ANY pet is a decision that should be heavily weighed. If adding another pet to your one dog household seems like a good idea, start introducing your dog to other dogs and cats to see what their play style is, so you can find the perfect playmate for your pup.
Does your dog experience anxiety as soon as school starts? What do you do to help your pup through the separation anxiety? Let us know in the comments.