Dog and school schedules

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by Lori Verni
When the lazy days of summer begin to come to an end, many people’s schedules undergo big changes. While temperatures may still be a little bit summery, many people’s schedules will not.

For many teachers, students and parents, the beginning of the school year brings about a big change in schedule. Instead of being at home most of the time, many people will find themselves out of the house more than in recent months.

For dogs, this change in schedule can be a difficult adjustment. But there are steps you can take to help prepare your pet for being at home alone more often. Following, is a list of things you can do to make the transition more smooth:

Leave your dog home alone on a regular basis ahead of time, if possible. It doesn’t have to be all day, but your pet should be comfortable being independent for several hours a day, no matter what your schedule.

-Don’t make a “big deal” or act as if you feel guilty when leaving or returning home. Act as if it’s a normal occurrence, which it is.

-If your pet is prone to chewing, barking or other misbehavior when you’re out, ensure his (and your home’s) safety by keeping him in a crate when you’re not at home.

-Do not leave pets outside when not at home. Most are much happier being indoors, where the family’s familiar scents exist. Also, hot or cold temperatures, possible rain or snow, and mischief in the yard are problems that can easily be avoided.

-Exercise your pet before leaving and upon returning home each day. A tired dog is much less likely to have a problem.

-Practice obedience regularly to help foster self-confidence and provide leadership so your dog will feel more comfortable conforming to the family schedule.
If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, which can be defined as “behavior problems that only exist when you’re not at home,” you may need the help of a professional trainer to alleviate the issue. However, by taking the steps listed above, problems can often be avoided before they start.

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