Back to School

As September approaches again, that means it’s back to school time for many of our clients and their households.

With all the hustle and bustle of getting the kids ready and off for school, it can be easy to forget the dog. Back to school is an exciting time for the family. However, for your dog it can mean loneliness and boredom and a major change in routine. All summer long, there was most likely someone home with your dog — the older students on break, or little ones with a babysitter. Now that everyone is back to their fall schedules, your dog may feel neglected and like someone turned out the lights in his world. This month, we take a look at ways to avoid training and behavioral challenges when school kicks back off.

– Dogs can suffer from depression and separation anxiety – just like their human family members. Symptoms include low energy, loss of appetite, hiding or cowering and unwillingness to play. Separation anxiety manifests can include excessive barking and whining, frantic attempts to escape, destructive chewing, and potty accidents in the house. The difference in these two issues are best illustrated as follows: a dog with separation anxiety will be extremely excited when family members get home while a depressed dog may not greet you at all. If your dog has never experienced “back to school,” prepare early. If your dog has gone through this routine in past years, he may remember it and settle in more quickly. Stick as close to your normal routine as possible. Seek the guidance of pet professionals in severe cases.

K-9 Coach– Changes in family routines and hectic schedules can often lead to a sudden lack of exercise for your pup. A lack of exercise can lead to a host of issues including chewing, digging, barking, howling and more. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise by either doing early morning walks or play sessions or enrolling your dog in a safe doggie daycare. If you choose to enlist a daycare, make sure you research you options early and start your pup in the play groups before your family routine changes.

– Save a special toy that your dog really enjoys and give it to them just before leaving. Interactive toys, that can have treats or meals placed in them, are best. Fill the toy with yummy treats, or your dog’s meal, and head out. Remember, do not make a big production of leaving. When come home, take the toy away and put it up. This way, the toy remains “special.” Multiple interactive toys can be hidden around the house for those long days alone. Make sure to browse our interactive toy section for our favorites!

– Plan after school activities for your children and their pet – play fetch, plan a family game of soccer or go for a hike together. Do some of the games we told you about a few months ago. Encourage your children to spend quiet time doing their reading out loud to your dog! Older children can walk the dog or enroll in a K-9 Coach class to keep everyone working as a team.

– If doggie daycare is not for your dog, and it isn’t for some, have a neighbor or a paid professional check in on them at least once a day. Even a quick 15 minute fetch or snuggle session can alleviate boredom and depression. Before heading off to school, make sure your dog is well behaved and will listen to the visitor. Encourage the visitor to reload the interactive toy for your dog just before leaving to keep them entertained.

As households head back to school, make sure to use the tips above and make sure to stop by K-9 Coach and put your pup in school too! As always, thank you for your business and we look forward to seeing all of you!

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K-9 Coach