5 Tips for Avoiding the Back-to-School Dog Behavior Blues
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As summer quickly comes to an end, it’s time to pack away the beach gear and shift into back-to-school mode. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or your work schedule allowed you to spend a lot of time at home over the past couple of months, it can be a bit tough transitioning back into a more structured routine. Our dogs feel the same way! After a summer of playing in the sunshine, taking impromptu road trips, and getting plenty of attention at backyard barbecues, our dogs have to re-adjust to being left home alone during the day.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for dogs to exhibit signs of separation anxiety this time each year. Digging at doors and windows, chewing on furniture and shoes, excessive barking and whining, and regressing to their pre-potty training habits are enough to leave any dog owner exasperated. Luckily, there are a few techniques you can try to help make your dog’s transition into the back-to-school routine a bit less stressful for everyone involved.
1. Go for a long walk in the morning A tired dog will be more relaxed and less likely to take its anxiety out on your upholstery. Going for a long walk or a quick trip to the dog park before you leave for work or school will help your pup release her energy in a constructive, healthy way.
2. Leave your dog with an interactive toy There are dozens of products on the market geared at keeping your pup mentally stimulated. Bonus points if you can stuff some yummy treats or peanut butter inside! Try giving the toy to your dog just as you’re walking out the door to distract her from your departure. You can find some products we like on The Doggy Dojo Pinterest account.
3. Leave the radio or TV on The quiet murmur of a radio or television can be soothing to some dogs, as it makes them feel less alone in a big empty house. There are even special CDs and DVDs made especially with the anxious dog in mind!
4. Don’t get your dog over excited When leaving your home in the morning and returning in the evening, don’t make it a big production. Fussing over your dog before you leave the house and when you get home from work or school only reinforces your dog’s anxiety about being left alone.
5. Take your dog to daycare We may be biased, but we think the best way to ensure your dog has fun while you’re at work or school is by taking him to dog daycare. Not only will your pup benefit from socializing with other dogs and humans, he’ll go home happy and tired and ready to snuggle on the couch.
More often than not, dogs will stop exhibiting symptoms of separation anxiety once they get used to their new routines. If your dog’s struggles persist, it may be time to consult a professional dog trainer who can work with you and your pup to ease her fears about being left home alone.
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