How to prepare your dog for back-to-school time

During the summer holidays, I think it’s fair to say that we adopt new routines sometimes without even realising. Whatever your day might look like now, your pet has become accustomed to having you around, and if you have school-age children, that will soon change come September. Here are just a few top tips to help you prepare your dog for a smooth back-to-school transition.

Ease your pet into a new routine

First things first, you’ll want to start by getting your dog used to the schedule you’ll have when school starts again. Begin as soon as you can and include the following changes to your pet’s routine:

Early mornings

It might be hard at first, especially if you enjoy a lie-in during the holidays but try and set the alarm and begin your mornings as you would on a normal school day. We all enjoy those slower days, but your pet will need time to adjust to the rush of a school day.

Time left alone

If your pet was born or adopted during the school break, then this is their normal and they know no different to having everyone home all day. They’ll need to get used to spending some time alone. Start by leaving your pet for short periods of time and slowly Increase the length of your absence.

Remember: If you notice signs of anxiety in your dog, Joii Pet Care offer behavioural consultations to help your pet feel at ease when they’re alone.

Exercise schedule

Even with the chaos of school days, your pet still needs to be exercised to keep them happy and healthy. Walking your dog in the morning gives them a chance to burn any energy and leaves them tired for a day without the company they’re used to having.

If you’re not able to fit in a walk or activity session, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to help.

Top tip: Check with family, friends or neighbours to see if they’re able to pop in to check on your pet while you’re out.

a dog in the car with children on the way to school

Entertain them while you’re gone

Make sure you stock up on toys and other fun things for your pet to play with while you’re gone. Fillable toys can hide desirable treats inside, mentally stimulating your dog and rewarding them once they’re done.

Top tip: To save time in the morning, prep these the night before and put them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Consider getting a pet camera

Pet cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your pet when you’re away from the house giving you the option to simply check in on your dog as often as you like, assuring yourself that they are happy and healthy without you.

Many cameras are fitted with speakers that allow you to communicate with your pet, providing reassurance even when you’re not around. Some can even throw treats to your dog when they’re behaving or as an added distraction from your absence.

Play soothing sounds for your pet

Your pet has been surrounded by and gotten used to noise and activity during the holidays and may feel anxious from a sudden change to a quiet house. You can help them cope with the day ahead by providing constant background noise, such as the radio or a lively television talk show.

Keep calm around your pet

We all have different routines when it comes to leaving the house, switching off appliances, checking other doors, picking up the keys, turning off the lights and saying our goodbyes. Our pets often associate these cues with separation and can cause stress even before you’ve left. Stay calm, provide a treat as a distraction and simply walk out of the house, helping set a relaxing tone for your pet’s day.

Make sure: You return home in the same way even if you’re excited to see them so that they think it’s just a normal part of their new routine.

With patience and some creativity, everyone can and will survive this tough yearly adjustment period. Share any of your back-to-school hacks or top tips with other owners on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Need help with a stressed pet?

YuMOVE Calming Care could help your pet feel more relaxed, soothe stress and encourage calm behaviour.

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