Help the Family Dog Overcome Back-to-School Boredom

Back-to-school season boredom can cause dogs to behave badly

After a summer of fun with the kids, your dog suddenly finds himself alone most of the day.

Now that the kids are back in school, many families have noticed a change in their dogs’ behavior – and it’s not for the better.

“After a summer of running around after the kids, your dog suddenly finds himself alone most of the day,” says Traci Simo, head of at-home pet care services for Canine Company. “The change from summer to school year can be a hard adjustment, and boredom can lead to problem behaviors like chewing on furniture, barking excessively or soiling in the house. “

Simo notes that dogs are most comfortable when they have a routine, so the key is to establish a new one as quickly as possible. She suggests the following ways to help the family dog make the transition to a new schedule.

1. Create an exercise routine. Outdoor play with the kids provided lots of exercise during the summer months, but finding time for sufficient exercise when school is in session takes planning. Schedule time for a long walk with her in the morning, then have the kids play an active round of fetch with her when they get home. A tired dog won’t get into mischief.

2. Add mental stimulation. Switch breakfast from the food bowl to a food-stuffable toy. For example, fill a treat-dispensing ball with kibble before the family heads out for the day. Having to work for his meal will keep a dog occupied for an hour or longer.

3. Provide mid-day company. If no one in the family can get home during a lunch break, it’s smart to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to visit in the middle of the day. Not only will it break the monotony, it will add some extra exercise to her daily routine.

4. Take a training refresher. It’s not uncommon for a dog’s obedience training skills to lapse during the unstructured summer months. A training refresher can make a big difference in any pet’s behavior.

“If the behavioral problems continue after you’ve tried these tips, consult a professional trainer who can help you develop a plan that suits your dog’s needs and family’s lifestyle,” adds Simo.

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