School Stress

Dear Liz,

When our son ended school in June with great grades… We got him a dog.  The two have played together non-stop – all summer.  I’m worried about what will happen when school starts and Smokey will be home alone.


Home Alone

Dear Home Alone;

This is a question that comes around every August.  The first thing to remember is that your dog will be going through a huge change when everyone leaves for school.  This change in routine can really rattle your pooch so I’ve got a few tips to hopefully help out.

First, and this is according to Bark Busters, a dog training company, start to back off on the attention you’ve been giving your dog.  If you’ve been bringing him for car rides while you do your errands, etc., stop.  This will, according to them, help your dog wind down and not become so stressed when you leave.  The idea is to get your dog used to being alone more and being comfortable with it. Make sure to reward him when you get back and the house is still standing, though!  This will reinforce the fact that everything’s ok and he’s a great dog (for not tearing the house up in a hissy fit!).

And why not, while you’re shopping for the kids, get your dog a back to school treat!  A new toy, a new bed – something to show him that you still love him!  After all, he IS part of the family!

If your dog starts in with some separation anxiety, this is also normal.  He’s used to you being there all the time.  Start backing down on the attention a few weeks before school starts to get him used to is slowly.

Other suggestions I can think of is to start getting into a “school routine”.  Along with having the kids more ready, it helps your dog be more ready as well.  Start with getting the kids up on a regular schedule, as if it’s school time.  Start, too, getting the dog into his school routine.  Dogs love consistency.  They thrive on a routine and summer vacation can be a time where there is no consistent schedule.

Take him on a walk first thing in the morning and when the kids get home.  Everyone knows that exercise is a great way to burn off stress and this is true for the family dog as well.

Going back to school can be stressful for the kids and you as well.  The more stress you have, the more your dog will pick up on it and feel that something’s wrong.  This will eventually subside as things get back into a daily routine but for the first week or so it might be an issue.  But do know that this, too, shall pass!


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: