South Florida – The school year is about to begin for over 24,000,000 families across the country. Their family routine from being home and playing in the yard is about to change to long days in school, athletic activities, and locked away doing homework. This is a major change that impacts the family and especially their dogs.
“Back-to-school time can create stress on the entire family, including the dog,” said Robin Edwards, owner and Master Dog Trainer of Dog Guard of South Florida. “Dogs are creatures of habit, and so any abrupt change in routine can seriously affect them. However, with a little understanding and preparation ahead of time, families can avoid many of the back-to-school behavior problems their dogs might exhibit.”
Edwards offers some suggestions to ease this transition for your family dog:
Boredom: While dogs naturally sleep a lot during the day, when they wake up, they want something to do. Seek out toys and activities that can keep your dog entertained, even when you’re not at home. Hide some good treats around the house so that your dog spends time looking for the goodies and then can spend time enjoying them.
Separation Anxiety: With everyone away from the house all day, dogs left alone can become stressed. This stress can result in destructive behaviors and endless barking. Start early by leaving your dog alone while you are still home. When you are with him, start to pay less attention to him so that he will not expect to be the center of attention. You can even practice leaving the house just for a moment or two so that your dog will see your walking out the door as just another event and nothing special that should cause concern.
Shelter: Dogs need to have their own “home,” a place where they always feel secure and comfortable. If your dog doesn’t already have a place of his own, create one for him. Use a crate or laundry room for your dog’s “special home”. Socialize him with the area so that he understands that is “his room” and everything is always great when he is there.
Robin Edwards has expanded on the points above. You can find an expanded explanation of keeping your dog stress-free when school starts at: http://dogguardsouthflorida.com/back-to-school-stress-for-dogs/
“Dogs become stressed with changes in their natural routine or environment. Understanding this and taking specific steps to minimize this tension will make the back-do-school experience simple and pleasant.”