Monday, August 17, 2015

Help your dog beat the back-to-school blues: Tips to reduce stress

The school bells are starting to ring again all over the world.

And the dogs are unhappily home alone.

Dogs love routine, and they love their families. If they live in a house where kids are home for the summer, they've probably spent the days following the kids around, playing with them, getting lots of love, stealing their fallen snacks, or maybe just laying with them. But they're still there.

And if there are teachers in the home, the separation is worse!

All this change can leave to some behavioral issues:
  • Whining, barking, crying
  • Depression
  • Chewing or biting
  • Separation anxiety
  • Going potty in the house
  • Destroying things
  • Overstimulation when everyone does come home
It's important for you to help your dog adjust now. 

So here are some things you can start doing right now to help your dogs adjust.
  1. Before school starts, leave your dog home alone for short periods over a few days. Slowly make that period of time longer. Also, don't make a big deal about leaving or coming home to your dogs. That way they will see it as just part of a regular day. 
  2. In the mornings, take the dog for a long walk or work them out in the backyard. Exercise is the best way to work the energy out of them.
  3. Try to have what you need for the day prepared the night before. Your dog is a creature of instinct. If they feel there's a crazy amount of stuff happening and everyone is stressing out, they may stress out too. Keep things calm and your dog will be calm.
  4. You might consider taking the dog with you when you drop the kids off at school or walk them to the bus stop. The dog will see that this is something normal. Just remember to keep the dog well-restrained so they don't try to bolt. 
  5. Make sure they have some great, sturdy busy toys to keep them going, especially puzzle toys or a well-stuffed Kong.
When the you and/or the kids get home:
  1. Don't be overly excited to see the dogs. This goes back to making this all seem perfectly normal for the dog. They won't get hyper from the excessive activity.
  2. Get them outside for a walk or exercise.
  3. Try to include some playtime with the dogs, or even use homework as a time for cuddling on the couch or on the bed. 
If you are still running into issues, another thing to consider is doggy daycare! Get them out and socializing with other dogs. Eventually they may see it as fun time for them too.

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