As summer draws to a close for families with children and pets, things change radically for their dogs.
During the summer, kids might be more available to spend time with their dogs, and the parents might be home more as well.
Those who visit families and take their dogs with them also spend a lot more time with their four-legged family members. Families that are visiting you also bring change for the dog.
But, at the end of summer, when the regular daily work and school schedule gets back to normal, what does that imply for the dog?
All of a sudden, kids are not home as much to play and entertain the pet, parents are back at work, and the excitement of travel and new people and places ends.
For the family dog, this is boring. Many dogs do not deal with this change back to routine, though others thrive on it and are glad for a little rest.
The best way to adjust the dog is to maintain a regular, normal routine each day as much as possible. Dogs will acclimate better if they know what to expect.
Other aspects are important as well. Make sure you provide stimulation for your dog with the children when they are available and even with adults.
This includes doing things your dog enjoys physically as well as mentally. Take long walks to explore new places, such as a park or beach or walking trail. New places tire a dog’s brain as well as body.
When inside the house, provide a variety of mind games where dogs learn to find treats with their mouth and paws in a puzzle game format. You can even hide toys and treats around the house or yard to engage the dog.
Get back to training, no matter how old your dog, as this is a source of routine and individual attention for your dog as well. Dogs love to please! Having them work their basic skills and giving them your undivided attention is something they will love.
Whether the rewards are play, affection or food, dogs will be happy to show off their old skills and even learn some new ones. Put your phones away and pay attention to the pooch.
Playing with other dogs is essential when both are friendly. If they are bored when you are working or the kids are not home, consider doggie daycare.
Personally, I believe this is an essential part of a dog’s need to be part of a social pack. Not only will your pet come home exhausted but he will develop new buddies and will look forward to the activity of being around his own kind.
He will not be thinking of you and certainly will not be bored.
When you have time please avail yourself of the new Bluffton Dog Park. Dogs will have a blast playing and running off leash and it is free! However, dogs act differently in a dog park than they do at daycare, because their owners are there. Watch for behaviors that might not be appropriate.
Bottom line, pay attention to your dog as she readjusts to the yearly change in schedule and recognize signs of stress. Learn how to alleviate that by doing things your dog enjoys.
Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. firstname.lastname@example.org