Is it really that time again already?? Shopping for new clothes, making sure you didn't miss anything on the school supplies list, grasping one last chance to spend the weekend at the lake.
At such a busy time, it's easy to forget that the kids may not be the only ones mourning the end of Summer and the return of school days and early nights!
If Charlie or Bella spent the last few weeks playing fetch with the kids, taking walks on the beach or chasing ducks at the lake, then the change in routine and the reduction of exercise and interaction with the family might just put them into a bit of a funk.
The transition back to a more normal routine can cause boredom and separation anxiety; which in turn can lead to depression, stress, anxiety and destructiveness. Your pet may be clingy or seem "mopey."
So what can you do to ease the transition?
- Ideally, you want to start tapering off playtimes, leaving the dog alone for small, but gradually longer stretches, and getting into the new routine a couple of weeks before school officially starts.
- In turn, you should increase playtime and interaction during the specific times when the family will normally be home. You may already do this for your children as the start of the school year approaches.
- Make sure that your dog still gets plenty of vigorous exercise! Long walks or a run; fetch or frisbee before school is a great start.
- Feed your dog right before you leave. That way he'll be tired AND full for a few hours.
- Consider leaving him with interactive toys or treats. We love stuffed Kongs (ask us for some yummy recipes!) and our Kyjen games are very challenging and rewarding (treats!).
- Don't make too big a deal out of leaving - we don't want to reinforce any separation issues!
- We would encourage you to start (or continue) bringing your pooch to daycare at least once or twice a week. You will feel better about leaving him alone all day and he will get lots of play time and exercise - which will probably carry over for a day or two!
- Your dog might also benefit from some holistic therapy - lavender scent on his blanket, D.A.P wipes or collars - even one of the kids old t-shirts to sleep with.
- Consider playing some calming music - slow, low key orchestral or classical music is best. We recommend and the specially developed "Through a Dog's Ear" line, which we use every day in our yards.