Make Back-to-School Time Easier for Your Dog
Chances are you've spent a good part of your summer prepping your children to go back to school, but what about your dog? After a few months of having the kids in the house with him, readjusting to an empty house during the day can be tough for your dog. Check out our photo gallery for five tips to help ease the transition.
Feed your dog a meal shortly before the longest stretch of time he'll spend alone. Before feeding, it's also a good idea to take him for a walk. After the meal and the exercise, your dog will probably take a nap while he's alone in the house, making him feel like he's spending less time alone. Also, leave a food puzzle for him to tackle while you're away — the distraction will help give him something to focus on to pass the time.
Provide a Special Chew Toy
Give your dog a special toy that's safe for him to have while spending the day alone. He'll have something to focus on and keep him distracted. One great way to keep him occupied is to stuff some peanut butter into a Kong toy — his quest for the treat will keep him busy, active and happy. Especially when he gets to the peanut butter!
Encourage Independence at Home
Of course, a cuddly dog is wonderful, but it's not helpful when it's time for you to leave. If your dog is overly clingy, encourage him to become more independent by practicing "down-stays," where he lies down, and stays down, on command. Work your way up to longer periods of time with you on one side of the room and your dog on the other (maybe while you watch TV), and be sure to praise your dog for staying.
Add Extra Exercise to His Day
Practice No-Fuss Comings and Goings
It's a good idea to keep entrances and exits low-key. When you leave the house, give the dog his special toy, and just calmly go. When you get back, tell your dog to sit, quickly commend him for doing so and then ignore him completely for 10 minutes. It will be tough at first, but he'll get used to the routine. After that, you or your kids can have fun and play with the dog.