Back-to-school is around the corner. Backpacks, pencils, notebooks – check.  Bus schedule  – check. Dog training in place – what??

Summer is winding down and routines are going to change for many of us.  Start now to give your pets a smooth transition – and hopefully avoid unpleasant chewed-up surprises and trips to the emergency vet.

Here’s your back-to-school list for your dog:

Start the routine early – with shorter away times

  • Get your pet used to eating and going outside to eliminate at certain times that will fit your new schedule
  • Set a consistent bedtime
  • Start leaving them alone for short periods of time
  • Slowly work your way up to longer away times
  • Use a safe space to keep your dog out of trouble while you’re away
  • Use treats and puzzle toys to keep them busy

Exercise solves so many problems

  • Many pets settle down more easily after some time outside
  • Make a walk part of your morning routine, or provide consistent running time

Keep transitions short and smooth

  • Pets feed off our emotions
  • If we make a big deal about greeting our pets when we come home, they wonder why we’re so excited and start to get nervous the next time we leave
  • A short hello or goodbye is best
  • Keep the big play session for after you’ve been home for at least 15 minutes

Distraction is your friend

  • Focus your pup on a puzzle toy or long-lasting chew to ease any anxiety when you leave
  • Remember to offer those toys / rewards at other times too so they don’t become triggers

Keep it positive

  • If your pet soils in the house while you’re gone, don’t punish them
  • It’s usually a sign of anxiety, not done out of spite
  • Talk to your veterinarian about calming supplements or medication, and work with a trainer
  • Use day-care options to decrease time alone while you’re training