This time of year can provide some challenges for owners of dogs that find themselves home alone more often as kids go back to school. Dogs get bored and depressed without the love, attention, and activity they have become accustomed to. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of helpful tips to help your dog overcome the back-to-school blues this season.
#1: Switch your dog’s routine gradually
Pets thrive on predictability, and your dog—along with your kids—may have gotten used to staying up late, sleeping in, and eating later meals. Your dog will adapt better to a new routine that is introduced gradually rather than a sudden change. Revert to a normal routine several weeks before school starts to give everyone a chance to adapt slowly.
Suddenly spending more time alone may be an unwelcome change for your dog after they have tagged along with you all summer long. Start leaving your dog home alone for short periods, so they get used to entertaining themselves and learn that you will return shortly.
#2: Exercise your dog in the morning
As you move into a new routine, front-load your dog’s daily exercise so you leave them tired and relaxed instead of hyper and wanting to play as you walk out the door. Shift your daily walk to the early morning, or have the kids engage your pup in a vigorous game of fetch before boarding the bus. Before you head out the door or settle in to work from home, toss your dog a food puzzle to help tire out their mind. After all the stimulation, they will be ready for a long nap instead of shredding your couch cushions.
#3: Plan dog-friendly family activities
Including your dog in family activities is the best way to help them beat boredom and understand they have not been forgotten. Set aside 15 minutes after school for playing and snuggling before homework time. Plan camping and hiking trips for the weekends, and, as fall sports ramp up, take your dog along as often as possible.
Even after all of this, if your pup is still experiencing back-to-school sadness, don’t hesitate to reach out; we’ll see how we can help you out the best.