It’s not just the kids who get back-to-school blues. Our dogs may also feel the blues, just for different reasons. After a summer with their people, filled with trips and fun outings, staying at home alone for longer stretches can be a challenge.
In this post, we’ll cover some tips to help your pup adjust to their new fall routine.
Practice at home
If your dog get anxious when left alone, one way to help them is to practice leaving for short periods of time. Start by leaving for a few minutes, then come back and say hello. This can help them learn that you will come back when you leave. You can then slowly increase the amount of time spent apart.
Stay quiet & calm
When leaving, try to stay as quiet as possible. This may be difficult sometimes, but leaving quietly may help them feel calmer about the situation.
When you come back, try not to get them too excited and make your arrival a big deal. Even though we love seeing them again, staying calm may help associate your coming and going as just a normal part of their day. As they get adjusted to their new schedule, your leaving won’t feel like a big deal.
Create their own space
If you can leave your pup in a dedicated, closed room, it may help them feel safer (and less prone to get into things they shouldn’t). Fill the room with their dog bed, some of their favorite toys, a long-lasting chew toy (frozen Kongs or bully sticks are great options), and maybe even one of your hoodies that has your smell. Adding these items can help comfort and pass the time.
Exercise before & after
Exercising before & after can play a huge role in your pup adjusting to longer times alone. Squeezing in a walk, run, or playtime helps create a structured routine, and gets them ready to snooze for a good part of the day.
Practice training with them
In addition to regular exercise, setting some time aside to practice training techniques provides your pup with additional mental stimulation. This not only adds interest to their day, but can help wear them out so that they’re ready to nap when you leave.
Determine daytime schedule
If your dog needs to walk or go potty during the day, see if friends, family, neighbors, or local dog walkers may be able to give your dog quick breaks. A short visit can provide a much needed bathroom break and extra stimulation. Dogs thrive with a routine, so setting consistent times for these visits can provide further structure and lessen anxiety.
Drop them off at their own “school”
Taking your dog to daycare can be great way to keep them active, social, and happy. Not only will they have a blast with new friends, but many will be ready to snooze as soon as they get home. For many dogs who attend Camp Run-A-Mutt, even going in only a couple days provides enough stimulation that they want to take it easy the rest of the week.
So as we head into fall, what does your dog’s schedule look like? Let us know your own tips for your pup in the comments below.