Fido fights back to school blues; tips to help
Information provided by Bark Busters USA
As kids head back to school, families may experience behavior problems with their pets that often accompany this time of transition. By providing training and the right combination of food, shelter and entertainment, families can help their canine companions adapt to a new schedule.
“When kids go back to school, the stress can be huge on the family, including the dog,” said Kathy Plourde, dog behavioral therapist and trainer at Bark Busters USA. “This abrupt change in routine can seriously affect our furry friends, who are creatures of habit. But with a little understanding and preparation before the first day of class, families can avoid many of the back-to-school behavior problems their dogs might display.”
One of the most common is the potential anxiety of separation. With everyone gone to work or school during the day, dogs left alone can become stressed, often resulting in destructive behaviors. Here are a few tips to help combat the problem before it occurs:
Pay less attention to him: While your dog may be the center of attention when the kids are home all day, you need to change this scenario before they return to school so that he can adjust more quickly to the quiet time. About a week before school starts, pay increasingly less attention to your dog each day.
Start early: A few weeks before your children return to school, get your dog used to being alone. Begin by separating him from the kids and the rest of the family. For example, if you frequently take your dog with you to run errands, leave him at home.
Practice leaving the house: Go through the motions of leaving the house, go out the door, but then come right back in again. The dog will cease associating the routine of your leaving the house with your departure. This will help him to be more relaxed when you actually leave.
When you leave: As the last person leaves the house for the day, don’t confuse your dog by saying in a sweet voice, “It’s okay, Buster—we’ll be home soon. Be a good boy.” If he is feeling concerned that you’re leaving, your happy, high-pitched voice can make him think it’s okay to feel anxious. Therefore, ignore your dog for about 10 minutes before you leave.
For more tips on back to school behavior issues, go to www.BarkBusters.com.