Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School- (SSSSHHHH! Don't tell my human!)

"Back to School"
(C) Allen Pearson, 2012, All Rights Reserved
WOOF!! I have to paw this post behind my human’s back since it contains 3 dirty words, at least to him they are- “Back to School.” Those 3 words mean the warm or hot weather is going to begin turning cooler as we head toward the fall in late September and my human LOVES the hot weather of summer! He says, the “hotter the better.”

In a few days, the children will be heading back to school for another year of learning. While you are busy preparing your children for school with all the new supplies and clothes, have you given any thought about those left behind…. as in your dog?

Dogs in the summer get to spend more time with their humans and children.  We build a bond and it gets strengthened as time goes on.  For us, this is really cool- we love spending time with our humans and having fun- we look so forward to it!

RUFF!  Did you know though, that when the routine changes for your children going back to school, it can be rough on us dogs? Barkingly rough!!  The time together in the summer means a lot but now, we are separated. We can experience depression and even separation anxiety due to these changes which we will often take out:
  • on unsuspecting pillows-ripping them to shreds
  • oblivious cardboard boxes –shredding them to smithereens
  •  Shredding or chewing on obnoxious furniture
  • Shredding paper to bits
  • Obsessive barking and/or whining for extended periods of time which could annoy you and the neighbors to no end
  • Making “other” messes in the house
  • And, my list can go on, but I think you got the idea

And, keep an eye on your dog as they might even try to follow their children to school! You know how dangerous that can be!! Those school bus drivers……..

It’s up to you to try and prevent these issues from happening- so plan and prepare. Instead of having a mass exodus leaving the dog to wonder “where did everyone go?” prior to school starting:
  • leave your dog at home for short periods so he can get used to being alone 
  • avoid dramatic and emotional or over stimulating greetings on departures or arrivals       
    • have your children say goodbye or hello as if greeting someone at school, not their beloved most wonderful dog that they really don’t want to leave at home
  • have your school books, a photo of your dog, lunches and other belongings prepared so that your departure from home is calm
  • Maybe give your dog a special treat at doggie daycare for prolonged absences or a spa retreat for the day (RUFF!!)- Hey Human!! Pay attention to this one!
  • Take your dog for a walk or run in the morning before leaving for the day so he can rest while you are gone and be ready for play when you return. 
  • Leave some sturdy, interactive toys for your dog to help keep your him occupied.
Not only does separation anxiety or depression affect dogs whose children are going back to school, but sometimes when the dog returns from vacation with their family and everyone goes back to their routine as well.

Also, before assuming the symptoms are just related to the children going back to school or family returning to work after a vacation, be sure check with your veterinarian to have your dog fully evaluated and correctly diagnosed so to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be misconstrued as separation anxiety.

Have a GREAT year kids- learn a lot- it will help you in the long run- PAWS TO YOU!!!

"Ready to Roll"
(C) Allen Pearson, 2012, All Rights Reserved

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