By: Tracey Zysk – September, 2011
Back-to-school time can be a really hard time on your family dog. After having the children to play with all summer, your pup is suddenly alone most of the day and that can give him a case of the “back-to-school blues”.
Dogs get use to having the kids around, playing with them, taking them for walks and in general just having the comfort of knowing they are there. A parent or childcare is in and out of the house and friends and family are around more often. During this time it decreases the level of anxiety in your dog.
However, once school starts, your dog’s schedule changes the very first day your children go back to school. It is quick, it is dramatic and it is a completely out of the routine your dog has gotten accustom to. It is very common for your dog to experience separation anxiety.
Even a well-behaved dog may start to display undesirable behaviors, chewing on furniture, having accidents inside the home, barking excessively or may even start to nip a little.
But no worries, this is as correctable as it was getting your dog use to his summer schedule.
Some of the things you may be able to do to eliminate “the blues” are the following:
1. Hire a Dog Walker – A solid 30 minute walk mid day can help eliminate boredom, loneness and help get your dog up and moving. Your dog will build a relationship with his walker and he will associate the walker’s visits as a positive and he will know the walker is there just for him. He will feel extra special and of course will love the one on one time too.
2. Send him to a Doggie Daycare Some dogs need a little more than a dog walk, because of their energy level or because they have a higher level of anxieties the dog may need to spend the day at a doggie daycare. Dogs that have tons of energy and play well with other dogs are the best candidates for a doggie daycare
3. Send him to a Playgroup – Play groups tend to be held at night or on weekends and some are owner and dog interactive. This is a great way to spend some quality time with your dog and to create a bonding experience in a group setting and to help with his socialization skills.
4. One on One time – Don’t forget to put some time aside each night to spend with your dog. Remember even when the kids come home from school they may have after school activities or homework and may not have enough time for doggie playtime. Once the kids settle down for the night you could block off sometime just for the two of you. Another idea would be to take a long walk after dinner with the entire family. This will create the sense of belonging for your dog.
Overall, “Back-to-School Blues” is a common behavior more than likely your dog will experience. Just have a little patience and try some of the following suggestions listed. Transition will occur but with a little extra help on your part this will happen quicker and easier than you ever expected.
Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, tv and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units. Tracey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a fan on facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care and follower of www.traceythedogwalker.blogspot.com