5 Tips to Help Your Dog Get Used to Your Fall Routine
Summer is a wonderful time for dogs and their owners. With the kids out of school, there is plenty of time to play, run around, and visit new places together. Unfortunately, summer has come to an end, meaning some dog owners will have to go back to school and their dog will have to adjust to their absence during the day. Dogs enjoy routine, so when there’s a sudden change, like a dog owner being gone for eight hours out of the day, it can be difficult to adjust properly. Here are a few tips to help your pet have an easier time adjusting to your new fall schedule:
1. Don’t let your dog waste away in the backyard
One of the simplest and most common ways to deal with a dog that can’t be left alone for long periods of time is to banish him or her to the backyard. While this might seem easy from a human perspective, it can be unhealthy for your pet. If you live in particularly hot areas, leaving your dog outside for hours on end can be uncomfortable or even dangerous. Of course, if you are going to be gone for several hours during the day, it is best to leave your dog inside and coordinate potty breaks if necessary.
2. Coordinate with family members or roommates
If you aren’t going to be home when your dog needs to be let in or out of the house, check with the people you live with and see if anyone would be willing to lend a hand. This can also come in handy if your dog is on a very strict feeding schedule that you might miss or haven’t yet had the chance to adjust. Don’t expect your occasionally helpful roommate to take care of your pet for you all the time, though. Always make sure to cover ground rules with anyone taking care of your pet in your absence, and let them know if you will be checking in to make sure things are running smoothly.
3. Adjust feeding schedules
Make sure to keep your dog on a regular feeding schedule. A dog that eats at the same time every day will need to go outside at the same time every day. However, if you are suddenly going to be out of the house when your dog usually eats, you might need to take a couple of days to slowly adjust your dog to the new feeding schedule. Make sure your dog is on a schedule that you will be able to maintain throughout the school year to avoid too many changes.
4. Schedule play time
The school year means classes, homework, and needing to do more things than you really have time for. Sometimes this means that play time with your pet can slide by and suddenly it’s been several days since you last had a good game of tug o’ war. Schedule time to play with your dog, and make sure to keep him or her active, particularly if they are going to be spending a few more hours inside each day.
5. Reward your dog after you’ve been gone
For your dog, when you’re gone for hours on end, it can seem like you will never come back. If you are having difficulties with your dog chewing on your furniture in your absence, or other common problems, you might want to take a few days to adjust your dog to your absence. By giving your dog treats before you leave, heading out for an hour or two, and then rewarding them when you come back, you can teach your dog that you will absolutely be coming back even though you seem to be gone forever. Even after your dog adjusts to your extended periods of time away, make sure to reward him or her with treats and affection on your return. Your dog is a social creature, and missed you while you were away.
Even when things get really busy during the school year, make sure to give your pet as much attention as you can. Your dog might not understand why you suddenly don’t have as much attention for him or her, and they just want to be around to love you as much as they can.
If you have room in your life for another fluffy family member, consider adopting from shelters and making a difference for an animal that needs it. Often the key to helping your dog cope with your absence is giving Fido a friend to play with during the day!
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