In September, as the kids head back to school, did you consider that your dog may have to adjust to the changes in the family routine just like everyone else? During the summer, your children and the family dog can develop a strong bond. Now there’s suddenly an empty and quiet house.
This change in routine when children return to school can be confusing to your dog. Instead of going for walks and playing in the yard, their companions suddenly put on backpacks and head out the door without them. This change in routine can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety or depression.
Your dog may experience the effects of the loss of extra playtime and the friendship developed with your children by exhibiting signs of separation through destructive behaviors such as:
- Chewing furniture
- Ripping the stuffing out of pillows
- Shredding paper
- Obsessive barking/whining for extended periods of time
Separation anxiety is a serious condition that can be managed with structure and patience. Never punish your dog for exhibiting this behavior, as it will make him or her more fearful and potentially aggressive.
Here are a few helpful tips to help your dog cope with back-to-school schedules and your children’s shift in attention:
- Follow a daily routine for feeding, walks, and play time.
- Leave some sturdy, interactive toys for your dog to help keep him from being bored. Rubber kongs can be stuffed with a little peanut butter and can even be frozen for a long lasting treat!
- Consider doggie daycare for prolonged absences