Whether your children have gone back to school or if back to school coincides more closely with Labor Day, a suddenly empty house could lead to separation anxiety and loneliness for your dog. We have tips for how to prepare your pup for back-to-school – and you’ll feel better, too!
In many homes that have children, summer is a time for vacations, family togetherness and more importantly, a home in which your dog is not alone. Your dog gets accustomed to having “his people” home and they get into the routine of a full house rather quickly. When it’s time for back to school and back to work and back to an empty house, you want to ensure your dog is as happy as she can be until you come back home!
How To Prepare Your Pup For Back-To-School
You may be thinking, “my dog did just fine last year when everyone went back to school” and that may be true. Or you may not have remembered how anxious and/or destructive he got for those first few days or weeks of being faced with a suddenly silent, empty house. Separation anxiety is triggered when your dog is thrust into a new routine without warning and when she goes from waking up with family to a frantic rush out the door and then she’s home alone.
What does separation anxiety look like? Your dog might:
- Chew your shoes, couch or even the walls and floor
- Constant barking
- Going to the bathroom in the house
- Licking or chewing his fur until he has raw, sore spots
What’s a pet parent to do when leaving your dog home is something you can’t avoid? Here are our best tips:
- Ease your dog back into the upcoming routine. Set aside a week – or more – to do mock “we’re leaving the house” drills. Mimic your morning routine and leave your dog home alone. If possible, set up a pet camera or even your phone to see how your dog reacts when you leave. Extend the time you are home until your dog feels more comfortable.
- Don’t make a big deal out of leaving. If you’re hugging and kissing and talking in baby-talk to your dog and if you’re generally feeling frantic your dog will pick up your anxiety. Give your dog a fond pat on the head and a calm good-bye. When you make it seem like a big deal, your dog will think it’s a big deal.
- When you come home, don’t give into your dog’s wild greeting, or engage when he’s jumping or barking or being overly enthusiastic. Wait until your dog has calmed down, then ask him to sit then give him all the love you want to. If you engage when your dog is being wild, you are silently showing him that if he is wild and you pet him, that being out of control is all right.
- Set up food puzzles and hide-and-seek type games for your dog while you’re away. Use our treats in your dog’s favorite food puzzle or set up a scavenger hunt with our treats to keep him entertained and his mind active while you’re away.
- Consider getting a pet sitter or dog walker to come and pay a couple of visits. Your dog may be happier with a short visit and a quick walk and that could help ease separation anxiety.
- Take your dog for a long walk or run or a rousing playtime before you leave. A tired dog is a happy dog.
- Leave your dog with an article of your clothing that has your scent on it. That might be just what he needs to not feel as anxious.
- Make time to give your dog extra attention and love and snuggles to “make up for” the time he was home alone.
Know that the weekend will soon roll around and your dog will have the benefit of your attention for those full days!
K9 Power has become a leader in the dog supplement market. It is a place we are honored to be. We are here to help your dog live a healthier, fuller life--absolute bottom line. We know how much a dog adds to your family, and we are simply trying to give back to each and every dog we can.