If you and your family are already gone all day long, even during the summer, this post doesn’t apply to you. But if the lazy days of summer have meant the kids are spending most of their time at home, then be aware that your pets–dogs especially–might need some time to adjust.
Think about it. A member of the “pack” who was here every day is now “missing” for part of the day! Even dogs who have been through the back-to-school rush for multiple years may need reassurance again this year.
Here are a few ways that you can help your dogs cope.
1. Take it in stride. If you act like everything is normal, your dog will, too.
2. Encourage the kids to say “See you later,” or “Bye!” to the pups. The acknowledgement can really help!
3. If your dog is particularly attached to one child, place one of that child’s dirty shirts in the doggie bed so that he can experience your child’s scent during the day.
4. Walk your dog down to the bus stop and back, or walk the dog before school. If you walk your kids to school, use this time to walk your dog, too!
5. Offer your dog a new toy to distract him from any anxiety he may be feeling. This will keep him from acting out as a way to relieve that anxiety.
6. Have your child spend a little time with the puppy when he gets home. You don’t want to cut into homework time, but a 15 minute game of fetch can make all the difference. Talk to your child about why this is important.
7. Lavish a little extra attention on your dog yourself! You should be especially conscientious about this during the first few days of the child’s school time.
Don’t worry. Your dog–and your child–will soon adjust to the new back-to-school routine. Here’s to a great new school year!