Getting Your Pets Ready for Back to School

What must dogs think when suddenly a huge part of their world disappears? Back to school can be a tough transition for family pets that have become accustomed to having children around all summer.

This change can be particularly hard on your dog if your child is starting kindergarten and you are going back to work for the first time. At this crucial time, it is important to not disregard your dog’s feelings — he loves you and he will miss you when you are not around.

Dogs AND cats may urinate or defecate in the house, destroy furniture, flooring, and even do some disastrous digging in the yard. Pets can even try to run away and make constant noise. These are all telling signs for separation anxiety. Luckily there are some trick and techniques out there that can help.

  1. If you can spend more time away from the house in weeks leading up to the start of school and gradually increase that time your pet will grow accustomed to longer time periods on his or her own.
  2. Train your pet to associate being alone with good things like food. Try a Hartz puzzle toy filled with food to help keep them busy.
  3. Give your dog at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise right before everyone leaves for the day. For cats, play with them in the house with things like cat wands and fishing poles.
  4. When you return home for the day, again don’t make a big deal of it. If you act like you have been gone forever, especially if your dog has anxiety, he will think you have been gone forever. The best thing to do is ignore him when you first get home, then after a few minutes, calmly greet your dog and take him out to go to the bathroom if needed.

If you are having trouble finding the time to spend 30 minutes a day with your dog before leaving the house, then try at a more convenient time. The benefits may be noticed almost immediately. If your dog has gone through this routine in past years, he may remember the routine and settle in more quickly.

A simple routine can help alleviate any stress your dog feels. Even if your dog does not suffer from depression or anxiety per se, he will still appreciate this simple routine, which will ensure she gets enough attention and exercise.

This article is brought to you by the pet behavior experts at Hartz. When it comes to training your dog and cat, our knowledge and experience is guaranteed to make the process easy, smooth and fun.