As the kids head back to school and we all go back to our typical daily routines, don’t forget that your pooch might be dealing with the loneliness or boredom that comes with an empty house.
If your otherwise wonderfully adjusted pup is starting to chew, scratch at the door or makes messes in the house, he’s probably trying to tell you something.
Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which is basically a fear response to being left home alone. And canine experts tell us that this type of behavior often occurs when a routine is broken. So if your family has been at home with Fido for the past couple of months, going back to school could trigger negative behavior.
Most animal experts agree that dogs don’t really perceive time in the same manner that humans do, so the duration of your absence isn’t the issue. With a little training, a few tricks and lots of patience, Fido can be calm and anxiety free when you leave him home alone.
Of course, bringing your pooch to Camp Bow Wow's Doggy Daycare is a great way to ease your pooch back into school/work routines, but if that isn’t possible every day, here are some tips for helping Fido adjust to the new “normal.”
Give ‘em something to remember you by
Smells are important to dogs, so try leaving one of your kid’s dirty t-shirts in Fido’s bed. Being able to smell his family lets your pooch know that you’re coming back and could be just what he needs to remain calm.
Don’t say good-bye
Don’t make a big deal out of your morning departure. In some families, it’s impossible to get everyone out of the door in a clam and quiet manner, but the chaos that can often accompany getting everyone off to school and work can trigger your dog’s anxiety. If you can manage to get everyone out of the house with as little noise and commotion as possible, it makes it easier for your pooch to handle your departure.
Don’t signal your departure
Also be aware of hidden triggers–like the jingle of car keys or picking up a purse or backpack–which signal your pooch that human departure in imminent. To desensitize your dog to these triggers, try jingling your car keys before you sit down to watch TV. Or carry your purse or backpack around the house for a bit. It won’t take long for Fido to realize jingling keys or picking up purses doesn’t always mean you’re leaving.
Give them something to hold on to
You can also try leaving a radio or television on in the house as a way to convey to your pooch that you’ll be back. Some experts think it’s a good way to confuse potential burglars as well! You can also try giving your pup a special toy as a type of security blanket when you leave the house.
Start by giving Fido the toy as you walk out the door, and when you return in a few minutes, take the toy away and store where your pup can’t see it. Continue to give your dog the toy when you leave, gradually increasing the duration of your departures and always remember to remove the toy when you come home. This teaches your pooch that you will be returning, which will calm his anxiety.
Try these suggestions and before you know it, your pooch will be happily back in the family’s school/work routine.