Well, believe it or not, some kids are back in school this week. Everyone is getting on the band wagon of entering new schools, or new grades, seeing their school friends again, etc.
All the kids are getting excited about getting back on that yellow school bus.
But what about the dog? He has had everyone home for the whole summer and then BAM, all of the sudden everyone leaves and leaves him or her behind.
Do dogs suffer from "back to school" anxiety? Yes they do. They aren't quite as excited about everyone moving onto school time as everyone else is. They don't understand it. They are back in their cages for longer periods of time, or they are left alone in the house after everyone leaves in the morning. It is very confusing for them and it can make them sad, anxious and depressed.
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 can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety or depression—to actually miss your kids—and even follow them to school.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
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
- House soiling
Tips to manage anxiety:
- Start with leaving your dog at home for very short periods of time to get him used to being alone
- Avoid emotional departures and greetings
- Have your belongings prepared so that your departure from home is calm
- Consider doggie daycare or arrange for a daily dog walker for prolonged absences
- Teach the kids to avoid over stimulating the dog with departures and arrivals
- Exercising your dog before leaving the house in the morning is a good idea so he’ll be relaxed when you return and be set for when you’re away.
- Leave some sturdy, interactive toys for your dog to help keep him from being bored.
Don't forget our dogs are part of the family when things change, they can feel it. They just don't show it in the same way. Let us help them !