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Help your dog transition from summer

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By Paris Permenter and John Bigley
 

The change from a full house during the summer to spending the day alone can lead to troublesome -- and even dangerous -- behavior for some dogs. This can mean anxious pacing, inappropriate elimination, chewing or even escape attempts.

With some preplanning, dogs can transition to a school schedule, without anxiety. Short separations, gradually lengthened, can help your dog adjust to being alone during the day. When school begins, it's important to maintain your dog's walking schedule, even if that means getting up extra-early. A day or two of doggie day care, when available, can help break up a long school week.

Just as back-to-school means a little shopping for the kids, dogs can begin the school year with some back-to-school purchases of their own. Items that can help alleviate stress include:

Interactive Toys
Challenge your dog's mind with an interactive toy that makes it think and work for its food. Your dog can earn a treat by pushing puzzle pieces with its nose or paw. Some interactive toys have various levels of difficulty, so you can make the game more challenging as your dog learns it. Leave interactive toys in different rooms as surprises to break up boredom during the day.

Stuffable Toys
These are hard rubber toys that can be stuffed (and even frozen) with treats, canned food or your dog's kibble, prolonging the fun of a meal. Just be sure to not overfeed your dog; take into account the recommended daily amounts of food.

Doggie DVDs
Videos shot for dogs can entertain with scenes and sounds of wildlife. Some include a continuous play or loop setting so your dog can watch the video throughout the day.

Soothing Music
Special CDs that feature soothing music are available for dogs. An alternative is to tune a radio to a classical station to play music that has been shown to calm canines.

With a little preplanning, your dog can enjoy a successful school year. Finding some toys and activities that make the grade can help get the year off on the right paw.

 

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the founders of DogTipper.com and the authors of Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos. The husband-and-wife team lives with its two rescue dogs, Irie and Tiki, in Texas.

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