How is it almost back to school time? Every year, it seems our summers get shorter. No matter what back-to-school looks like in your neighborhood, it is always good to start thinking about getting back on a school schedule.
With many who have been working from home and the kids home too, it seems our dogs have been getting more quality time together with us than ever before. As you work out your schedule, be sure to consider your pets as they encounter changes too. Read on for tips on a successful new back-to-school program without stress and scheduling tips for the family dog
Tips to Ease Into Back-to-School Routines
Here are some things you can do to ease the discomfort of your pet during the back-to-school hustle and bustle.
- Make the transition a gradual one. Simulate an average school day by leaving them indoors for a short time in the morning. In addition, introduce things like backpacks and lunch boxes to your pet before the first day of school so they become used to seeing these things in the morning.
- Play with your pet in the morning. In order to make up for the absence during the day, encourage your kids to give them extra hugs and kisses before leaving for school and especially when they return.
- Pets are part of family time. Include them in evening family time, such as a game of catch, play or a nice walk outside.
- Play some tunes. Help break up the silence by playing some music during the day. This can help soothe anxiety for your pet when they are home alone.
- Aim for a peaceful departure. A dramatic exit filled with chaos can add to your pet’s stress. Instead, make a calm and quiet exit much like you would do for a toddler at daycare. Say goodbye with a stroke of their fur and assurances of return.
- Schedule quality time on the weekend. To make up for these longer absences, be sure to include long walks, a trip to the park, pampering or relaxing together will keep your pet feeling safe, loved and included.
We know this time of year can be an adjustment for people and pets alike. These simple suggestions will help the transition period be as seamless as possible!
You can also check out our newest FREE downloadable Back to School Schedule for the Dog!
What is Separation Anxiety in Pets?
Another factor to consider is that this can be a chaotic time for your fur baby. Their most treasured companions may seem busy, preoccupied and distracted. Then to make it worse, the kids are heading out the door without them.
Make the transition smooth and avoid separation anxiety by planning ahead. How do you know if your dog has separation anxiety? Here are some tell-tale (or should we say tell-tail) signs:
- Chewing furniture. This is simply out of boredom and being without something active to do at home.
- Shredding or ripping up anything. From toilet paper to stuffing from pillows, if you come home to find your dog has dismantled something, it’s most likely a cry for help that they miss you.
- Obsessive barking. Sometimes people hear their dogs have been barking “all day” to the shock and surprise of the pet parent. Again, this is a display of the loss they are experiencing when they are suddenly back on their own.
New technology toys have been created so you can entertain your dog from your office. Another idea is to create a few Kong treats for your dog so they can have something fun and different than their typical toys. Be sure to check out dog training tips with visuals on YouTube so you can see the proper way to do that. If you give your dog something to do while they are gone, the absences won't be as boring for them. And, if you have a dog who destroys out of boredom, it may be time to get back to kennel training.
If you are re-introducing kennel training to your dog after they have been "on roam" for the summer, be sure to take a few steps ahead and start out slow with how long they are in the kennel. Some dogs do just fine, but typically the adjustment to a new schedule is what is hardest for your dog (just as it is for the kids!).
When you return from being gone, be sure you give your fur-baby lots of attention. They need to know they are still very important in your busy schedules. It may take a while, but once they have the new schedule down, things will go much smoother.