Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dealing With The “Back To School Blues”

“Hey, where ya goin’? And why aren’t I goin’ witcha???”

That very well might be what your dog is frantically thinking as he sees his kids leave for their first day back to school. After all, the two leggeds and tailwagger have been non-stop companions for the past couple of months during summer break, but now --- like McCauley Culkin --- he’s “home alone”.

It’s enough to make a grown dog cry! Or result in undesirable puppy antics like boredom chewing, indiscreetly positioned indoor puddles and piles, or attention generating disobedience. And who could blame him? Well, YOU will! WAIT! Don’t throw the doggy out with the dishwater! Such bad behaviors from your forlorn fur friend can be avoided with a little pre-thought and planning by all members of the family.
  • Prepare your pooch for being left alone by practicing brief absences from home. Start with just a few minutes at a time, gradually making them longer and more unpredictable in length.
  • Before leaving, spend a few minutes of quality time together. Throw the ball, take a brisk walk… something to tire him out so he welcomes a cat nap after your departure. And of course, make sure there is ample opportunity for him to fully answer Mother Nature’s calls!
  • Don’t make a big deal about leaving. A simple “see ya soon fella” with a pat on the head or scratch behind the ears should be sufficient. Maybe a small treat so he starts to look forward to your leaving! Ditto for when you return!
  • If your dog is going to be spending more time inside the house while you’re away, be sure to “puppy proof” their area and provide fun distractions such as a new chew toys or stuffed kong to keep him busy and amused. Be sure to safeguard your pet against items you don’t want destroyed or those that could be harmful such as electrical wires. To stave off loneliness, leave a nearby television or radio on to emulate the absent family members.
  • Until he gets used to his new routine, consider breaking up your dog’s day with a midday visit from a professional pet sitter. Weekly or bi-weekly visits to your local dog daycare will give him something to look forward to and have him “sleeping it off” well into the next day!