We’ve enjoyed taking our dog on lots of walks and other outdoor adventures this summer. However, I’m nervous that she’ll have trouble adjusting to “normal” life once the kids are back at school. Any tips for helping our dog get used to her “new normal”?
Back To School Anxiety in Brooksmith
Dear Back To School,
You’re right. While back to school can spell the return of structure and good habits for humans, it can be a lonely, confusing time for you pet–especially a pet in a family with children. Instead of lazy mornings at home spent with the pets, now the kids are rushing out the door before the sun is up and often aren’t home until the sun is setting. This spells long, boring days for a dog who has only known long walks, outside time and snuggling all summer.
How To Ease Rover’s Back To School Boredom
What can you do to help ease the back to school transition for your dog? The folks at North Shore Animal League have some helpful tips:
Establish A Routine: Work with your children to set and follow a daily routine that works for their lifestyle all year long. The schedule should include feeding, walks for a toilet break, walks off the property (for socialization) and appropriate play at approximately the same time every day. Establishing a routine your pet can depend on will help them weather any changes that may occur.
Have A Special Toy Handy: Save a special toy that your pet really loves and have your children give it to them just before they are ready to go out. Put it away again once the children come home so it remains the “special toy.”
Play Hide And Go Seek: Hide favorite pet treats around the house for your pet to discover while you are away. Rubber Kongs or hard hollow bones can be stuffed with a little peanut butter or cream cheese and can even be frozen for a long lasting treat!
Encourage After School Playtime: Encourage your children to come home right away to care for their pet’s needs and jump into a fun game of “fetch” or “cat and mouse” before starting other after-school activities. A family game of soccer or an evening hike would really make your dog’s life full. Encourage children to spend quiet time reading out loud to their pets and recording it so it can be played back while the animal is home alone.
With a little extra care and attention after school and on weekends, your pooch shouldn’t have any problems coping with her best buddies going back to school. Who knows, your pup might learn to enjoy a little peace and quiet during the day, making her all-the-more excited to see her kids when they get off the bus in the afternoon.
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