Back to School, What’s a dog to do?

Deb D’Andrea
Nederland

What’s a dog to do?Summer is wrapping up and it’s close to the time when children head back to school, a sad time for some dogs, a relaxing time for others. The pups stand by and watch the big yellow bus pull up and carry away their favorite playmates, leaving them alone during the day. What’s a dog to do?
Some dogs adjust just fine to being left alone and the change in their routine is no biggie. They know their people will return at some point in the day and are comfortable in the quietness of the house. Then, like clockwork, every day parents await the arrival of the school bus with Fido by their side, an eager pup ready to greet their favorite child and play into the evening hours.
Other pups don’t adjust so well and experience separation anxiety, not wanting to be alone without their family pack, their people. Several signs your pup has separation anxiety include the following.
They can become destructive, de-stuffing furniture, tearing apart shoes, clothes or other items belonging to their people; and one pup I worked with had destroyed the sheet rock and wood trim trying to get out when their people left. Others will bark and bark, a mournful bark or howl till they are exhausted.
To help your pup adjust, stick to a regular schedule with a good, fun walk or hike in the morning and evening to help them work through some energy and relax their brain. You’ll find it surprising how good you feel after each walk too.
Several great toys can keep their brains entertained throughout the day. You can stuff a Kong with peanut butter mixed with their food, freeze it and hand it over before heading out; and thinking games that will provide entertainment for hours, to Dog TV, a channel to keep your dog engaged. I mentioned some of these in last week’s article.
Along with walks, dogs enjoy playtime and mental stimulation with their people. Be sure to get in a good game of fetch or take up agility, tracking or fly ball, fun things for you and them to do together. If your days are long, hire a dog walker to come in mid day to play with, walk and engage your dog and help break up their day. You’ll find a combination of these things can help your dog through their separation anxiety; and if it is more serious, contact an animal behaviorist to help work through extreme cases.
Your dog really does want to please you, some just really hate being alone!
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or info@4theluvofdogz.com.

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