Animal Friends Blog
Back to school season is a little different this year. The kids have been out of school for months, with parents everywhere attempting some form of homeschooling while juggling their own work. This also means our canine friends have had constant company for months on end which can make it a little harder for them to adjust to the new routine (and a quieter house).
We have some top tips on how to help your dog cope with their best friends suddenly going back to school.
Start your new routine before it happens
Dogs can love a routine as they’re able to anticipate what will happen before it does. Practising your routine early lets your dog adjust to the new normal at their own pace instead of it suddenly being sprung on them.
Here are some small changes you can make in the weeks leading up to the first day back:
- Wake up early just as you would on school days
- Take your dog for walks around the same time as you would once school’s back
- Start leaving the house for longer periods at a time
- Feed your dog at the same time every day with school runs, pickups and work in mind
- Put aside some time to spend with your pooch
Remind everyone to stay calm
When the first day does come, it can be challenging for everyone involved. Take some time to remind everyone how important it is to remain calm on the big day. While it’s normal for kids to feel anxious or upset, your dog will be able to read these feelings and is likely to start feeling the same.
Calm and quick goodbyes, while easier said than done, can help avoid your dog from anticipating your departure which could lead to whining or barking. The same goes for when you’re all home from pick up. It’s important to go about your normal routine of taking shoes off, putting school bags away, starting dinner or getting changed.
Extra affection and fuss might just further establish how long you have all been gone, and that it is a big deal.
Provide some entertainment
Doggy puzzles or a simple peanut-butter-filled Kong can help distract your dog from the fact that they’re home alone or that their best friend is back at school. This also keeps their brain stimulated, which can tire them out and help them sleep for longer.
Leaving the radio or TV on can fill an empty house with the noise that they’re somewhat used to following weeks of having everyone at home.
Dog sitters or walkers
If you’re back to work, too, dog sitters or walkers are a great way to help ease your pooch to the new school routine, by providing them with some company to help break up their day. If they’re good with other dogs, it can also mean that they get some canine playtime, too!
If this is not an option, see if any of your friends or family can pop in to check on them and stay for a little while.
Provide a safe area
If your dog likes to have their own space or are crate trained, providing them with their own little haven can make things a little easier for them while you’re gone. Some owners believe that crates are cruel because of the confinement but they can give dogs a sense of security, replacing that they might feel when they have you around.
If your dog is new to a crate, you will need to train them to use one and introduce them to the idea slowly.
Make time for your dog
From having everyone around for weeks on end to suddenly having different members of the family being out of the house at different times, it’s quite an adjustment for your dog. Making time to groom your dog, play their favourite game or just sitting on the floor with them can go a long way in making the transition a little easier for them.
That’s it. Back to school is hard for everyone but imagine how difficult it can be for our dogs who have to say goodbye to their best friends without understanding where they go. We hope these top tips help ease your dog’s back to school blues!
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