Back to School!

September is here and the kids have gone back to school to begin a new year of learning!

Vacations have come and gone, colleges have been visited, common applications have been started, the pantry is restocked with healthy foods and the sports schedule is on the refrigerator.  For me, it is a time to return my full focus on the thing I enjoy the most, behavior modification!

Transitions take time, households are bustling, emotions may be heightened, and new routines are forming.  Just like children, our dogs are in transition too which may include some setbacks in behavior due to these changes.

Stress effects our dogs like it does us, potty accidents, whining, barking, chewing and over the top greetings are all common setbacks that may occur as kids head back to school.

What can you do?  Be calm, patient and understand that your pup is not doing anything to be spiteful.  The fact is that many dogs do not do well with change, dogs do best when their lives are predictable, the unknown may be scary to them.  Quickly establish your new routine, and help your dog know that you will return, hire a dog walker to let him out when you will be gone long hours, exercise him in the morning, feed him out of an interactive toys mixed with yummy treats that roll around and are fun.  If your dog is barking when you are gone, he is clearly stressed and not simply trying to wake up the neighbors.

When are they coming home!

Be sure your dog has a crate or room in your home where he feels really good, feed him and play with him there.  When you leave, toss him his interactive toy like a kong, everlasting fire hydrant or any toy stuffed with goodies and do not say a word that predicts you leaving finally, please do not look him in the eye as you close the door.

If your dog is having a set back during this time of year, he is most likely stressed, so think about how he might be feeling during this transition and what simple steps you can do to help him!
Happy Fall!