Here are some great tips for bedding in the transition from summer-fun to school-serious easier for both you and your four-legged family member. You can apply these tips to any periods of change, such as new working hours, introducing a new family member, or even holiday times:
- Develop a routine that works for everyone – and stick with it! Both dogs and kids appreciate some predictability in their days, so making sure that morning and evening routines stay essentially unchanged will be helpful for everyone. Kids of any age can have an age-appropriate responsibility, keeping them involved.
- Ease into that routine. Overnight change can be hard to adjust to, especially for dogs; both from a practical standpoint (like when toileting time is) and from less tangible perspectives such as getting nervous when family members are “gone too long”. As long as you ease into school-year routines early and slowly, it helps make ‘change’ less abrupt for all.
- An involved dog is a happy dog: take your faithful canine companion with you whenever you can! Dogs just want to be with their families, so if your dog’s behaviour is public-friendly there’s no reason to leave him waiting at home. Football practice, after-school trips to the park, and other activities may all be Fido-friendly, and will allow your dog to feel involved and stimulated. Asking in advance about dog-friendly facilities avoids surprises, plus keeping a chew toy and portable water dish on hand will ensure pup’s needs are met even if practice runs overtime.
- Make home more fun for your dog! From being the constant play-time best friend during the summer, dogs go to being “left behind” at home (as they may see it) once the school year begins. Make it fun by hiding treats or special home-alone only toys around the house for your dog to find. Keep these special toys put away at other times to keep them novel.
- Encourage kids to play with pup! Teaching your kids some easy games to play with your dog (such as hide and seek, creating an obstacle course, or fetch) is a great way to keep them engaged and active, and is a great way to help ease your dog’s daytime boredom. Play once you get home, before other activities begin, so your dog feels appreciated.
These are just a few great ideas on how to ease the back-to-school transition for your dog. Feel free to get creative, involve other family members – especially your kids, who are likely to have some wonderfully inventive ideas – and create a personalised list of new ways to help your dog transition this season!