Now that the Summer is almost over and the kids are going back to school, we turn our attention to getting back to routine.  Summer was a lazy, unstructured kind of atmosphere in most homes especially those with children.  The kids were around the household more and it would give them more time to play with their dogs.  For most dogs, it would be an opportunity to spend more quality time with their human family as well.  However, this sudden change in the basic family behavior is, I’m sure, going to be somewhat unsettling to our dogs as they see their human family all leaving the household in the morning and being gone all day long.  For some dogs being the only pet in the house may bring out what some call ‘separation anxiety’ which may manifest in many ways.  The dog may become destructive and start chewing on things he normally would not touch or that he may start to bark incessantly as you leave the house which could continue all day until someone comes home.  This would put unnecessary stress on your dog and there are a few things that you can do to alleviate the problem or not get it to occur at all!

It is a good idea about one to two weeks before school starts to leave the dog along for short periods of time so that he gets re-accustomed to being along and content with himself.   It is also recommended to not leave the house on an excited note.  Make sure the dog has been walked, fed and not made a big fuss over so that he is calm and stays calm when everyone leaves the house.  It is also a good idea to leave his favorite toys scattered throughout the house so that it is less likely that he will find your furniture as chew toys.  Keeping the dogs mind occupied during his alone time is a good idea.  If you put some peanut butter inside a favorite toy, it will keep him busy for awhile.  Another good idea is to hide some small pieces of doggie biscuit in strategic spots throughout the main floor of the house to keep the dog’s nose busy.  Leaving a radio on with some soft easy listening music will put that little bit of background noise in the house and will make your dog not feel so alone.

A good piece of advice is to also tell the kids not to come nosily into the house so as to get an already over-energized, excited dog even more excited would make a possibility of the dog jumping on them and knocking them over.  You want to come into the house, greet your dog gently (as he has been alone all day with this pent up energy) and maybe slip is leash on and go out for a walk. This will keep him calm and relaxed.   We hope that this information is helpful during the coming Fall Season.