Why Back-to-School Time Is the Hardest Time of Year on Dogs

Add Extra Exercise to His Day

During these transition times, providing opportunities for your dog to burn off extra energy (such as extra walks and more scheduled playtime) can help curb boredom and diminish some of his destructive tendencies.

Practice No-Fuss Comings and Goings

A good rule for both you and the children is to keep all entrances and exits low-key. When you leave, calmly tell your dog to "guard the house" or something similar, and give him his special chewy or toy. When you return, tell him to "sit." Praise him just the tiniest bit and then ignore him completely for the next 10 minutes. You'll need to be strong and do this for a while until he gets used to the routine. Afterward, you and your children can play with the dog and have some fun.

For some dogs, the problem is not short-term. Some dogs actually suffer long-term separation anxiety and require professional help to overcome the problem. If your dog seems to suffer particularly hard or can't tolerate being left alone, talk with your veterinarian. He may be able to help or refer you to a trainer or behaviorist to work with your dog. Your vet may also prescribe medication that can help with separation anxiety.

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