Going back to school means a change for kids…no more sleeping late. It also means a change for parents…no more quiet mornings. The lazy summer routine comes to a halt and the hectic pace of the school year takes over.
This change in schedule affects not only parents and students. It affects the household pet, too. During the summer, kids spend more time with their pets. Perhaps, Fido sleeps late with your teenager or Rufus plays fetch all afternoon with your middle schooler. Maybe Tiger hikes with the family and Flossie takes a dip in the family pool. No matter what we do in the summer, our pets are usually involved. That means they need to adjust to the school schedule along with the rest of the family.
Pets will watch the frenzy of rushed breakfasts and frantic searches for homework binders. Then they will see their companions run out the door as they face a day spent all alone. To help transition our pets back into the school mode, we need to prepare them for the sudden increase in household activity in the morning and the corresponding decrease in household activity during the day. And we need to do it now!
Helping Your Pet Get in the Back-to-School Mode
Two weeks before school starts, families should begin to gradually decrease time spent with the pet. That doesn’t mean “ignore” Fluffy; it means doing something independently during the hours students are usually in school. So, instead of a mid morning walk or early afternoon swim, try spending time with your dog in the early morning or late afternoon. Let your dog “relearn” how to be happy without you during the day.
To help your dog deal with your absence, give her a new interactive chew toy so that she has something to do while you are away. You can also leave the television or radio on so she has a little noise in the house. Well rounded dogs will fall back into the school year routine without a problem. In fact, they may enjoy a little peace and quiet!