3 Tips for Getting Your Dog Ready for Back to School

By Sarah Wilson

After a summer of love (and attention and everyone being home), is Buster ready for school to start? Is Sparky ready for more time alone?
While some pups may take this sort of major shift in stride, others stress out and, well, if the shift hits the fan, they may chew, bark, make potty mistakes, whine in distress.… If any of this seems likely, or if you simply want to help your buddy handle this transition smoothly, here are three easy things to do now:

1) Increase Exercise
Upping exercise is an effective way to lower stress. An extra game of fetch on a nonslip surface or a longer walk can help. Pressed for time? Two or three days a week at a well-run doggy daycare often does the trick, too.
Keep your dog’s age and condition in mind. Don’t suddenly run your older dog hard. Young dogs not yet done growing and overweight dogs may also need to take things slowly — ask your vet.

2) Increase Entertainment
When our Daisy arrived, she chewed her toys intensely. This was one of the ways she released her stress during her transition into her new life. To this day, I watch both the way she chews and how long she chews for insight into how she’s feeling.
If your dog is a chewer, supply their favorites (Daisy recommends Benebones and Kongs), then observe their use. Intense or increased chewing tells you that your dog is coping with something.

3) Increase Structure
You are your dog’s everything. Some dogs make this more obvious than others, but all dogs benefit from clear, kind, sensible structure in their primary bond. The more stressed your dog, the more structure can help them. Easy structure? Have them listen to you before you listen to them

They want a walk? They can sit at the door.

They want their meal? They can wait for your permission to dive in.

They want couch cuddle time? They can ask to be invited up.

Once you’re both used to this, this sort of structure only takes a couple of extra minutes a day. #TimeWellSpent 

Making these changes now can help your dog get an A on adapting to back to the school changes.