Back to school season is upon us! Some of you are already back to school while others may be putting the final touches on back to school preparations. School clothes shopping, after school care, and new hair cuts are just some of the back to school preparations happening all over the world. Household schedules are changing as summer draws to a close but many families are forgetting one very important aspect and in doing so could cause drama for everyone. Keep reading….
Fido. The back to school schedule change can be difficult for everyone –even the family dog. Our dogs are creatures of habit. Seriously. Any change in their life can wreck havoc on the entire household. Many times, the back to school schedule causes separation anxiety for our dogs. It’s serious stuff. Think about it – your pets have had a lot of family time and companionship all summer long and the onset of back to school leaves your dog alone all day long…after sleeping all night long. Separation anxiety and boredom can result in destructive behavior while the family is away but there are some things you can do to help the family dog adjust to the new schedule and keep him physically and mentally stimulated. Here are some school tips for your family dog!
- Keep some chew toys around. Nyla bones or natural bones are great because they are sturdy and provide your dog hours and hours of chewing enjoyment. The chewing will help release pent up anxiety.
- Provide background noise. A silent house can be a lonely one. You can also leave the television on. Animal planet is a great choice. There are videos available that are made with your dog in mind. These use sights and sounds from the outdoors to keep your pet engaged and entertained.
- Keep your dog’s mind stimulated. There are many interactive toys on the market nowadays. Treat dispensers and puzzled feeders provide hours of fun for your dog. Other popular toys like bouncy balls or other rugged rubber balls are great too and have the added benefit of a little physical exercise too.
- Hide and Seek will keep your dog on the hunt throughout the day – in a good way. Hide some toys and treat dispensers or kongs around the house. If your dog does get bored and is ready for some mischief, he’ll choose to play with the toys instead of chewing on your favorite purse or carpet. Rotate the surprises and toys throughout the week so he doesn’t know what to expect. Keep the little guy guessing.
- Exercise your dog before you leave. It sounds simple but many households are so hectic in the morning that Fido is the last one on everyone’s mind. It is a wonder he gets fed. No, really. Get up an extra 15 minutes early and have a schedule for all family members to participate in exercising Fido in the morning. A little catch and walk will release energy that could become a problem later.
- Evening entertainment. Just like the morning routine, keep the whole family involved in playing with the dog in the evening. Remember, the routine matters to your dog so set up a schedule and stick to it! No excuses. Your family is your dog’s social life, his everything.
- Hire a pet sitter. A mid-day visit from a pet sitter will give your dog something to look forward to and give the opportunity for some human contact in the form of games, hugs, kisses and exercise – not to mention a potty break. This will help with the schedule when after school activities keep you from getting home late.