The end of summer is always tough! Kids head back to school, and you’re left with a dog who is frustrated and bored. Often we find our pets digging holes in the yard, pacing, acting destructively, or otherwise just becoming unhappy while we are away during the day. This can be exhausting on both the dog and human parents.
With the kids back to school, it’s inevitable that your dog will feel lonely and less important. But don’t worry – there are things you can do to help combat this.
#1: Switch your dog’s routine gradually
Pets thrive on predictability, and your dog—along with your kids—may have gotten used to staying up late, sleeping in, and eating later meals. Your dog will adapt better to a new routine that is introduced gradually rather than a sudden change. Revert to a normal routine several weeks before school starts to give everyone a chance to adapt slowly.
Suddenly spending more time alone may be an unwelcome change for your dog after they have tagged along with you all summer long. Start leaving your dog home alone for short periods, so they get used to entertaining themselves and learn that you will return shortly.
#2: Exercise your dog in the morning
As you move into a new routine, front-load your dog’s daily exercise, so you leave them tired and relaxed, instead of hyper and wanting to play as you walk out the door. Shift your daily walk to the early morning, or have the kids engage your pup in a vigorous game of fetch before boarding the bus. Before you head out the door or settle into work from home, toss your dog a food puzzle to help tire out their mind. After all the stimulation, they will be ready for a long nap instead of shredding your couch cushions.
#3: Plan dog-friendly family activities
Including your dog in family activities are the best way to help them beat boredom and understand they have not been forgotten. Set aside 15 minutes after school for playing and snuggling before homework time. Plan camping and hiking trips for the weekends, and, as fall sports ramp up, take your dog along as often as possible.
If you’ve tried everything and your dog is still experiencing these behaviors, give us a call and we’ll gladly help you help them!