School is well underway now and summertime is a fading memory for the humans. The pups, however, might be wondering what’s up with fewer walks, less sun-bathing, and a whole chunk of indoor house guarding.
Even if dogs cannot physically join their humans as they sit in desks and learn algebra, the dog brain can still be active. The reality of having to leave the dog at home is certainly not the ideal one – in our dreams we’d have our pups with us all day long. But there are things that we can do to help our dogs adjust to new
- Stuff treats into a Kong and hide them. Kongs can be a great tool for keeping a dog’s mind occupied. They are sturdy and can handle repeated chomps. The interior is a great place for peanut butter or a few other treats, such as Chicken Chips or Jiminy Crickets. The dog’s task is to remove the treat. For the early hot days of autumn, frozen Kong treats will last even longer. It’s a good way for the time to be broken up, and will get the dog solve the problem of finding the treat.
- Scheduled walks can help the dog’s transition. A walk before work can ease the nerves the dog might feel as you walk out the door. It’s exercise, it’s a chance for the pooch to get some daily sniffs in, and it’s a perfect time for a morning elimination. (One of my dogs would only poop during her walk, and not in the backyard.) The very early walks happened rain or shine, and gave me some significant quality time that I could think about during my day. We’d often take a walk at the end of the day as well – these are awesome times for some leash reaction training. Bring some Chicken Chips and work on developing some loose leash walking.
- Consider a friend or dog walker for check-ins – Local dog walkers are everywhere now. If your job keeps you away for more than ten hours, think about asking a friend to look in on the dogs, or hiring a local walker. A friend can take your pup for a walk or just keep her company. Somebody consistent to come by and check in and send a picture can ease your mind that your pooch isn’t withering away from loneliness. (An exaggeration: most likely she’ll be asleep on the sofa, but interaction is always a good thing.)
- Prepare for Reality – By this I mean that if you have a senior dog or one that struggles with incontinence, consider having some pee pads in strategic locations in your home. Also, DogSheetz can also be a huge help when needing to keep the dog bed clean. If there has been any accident, just put the DogSheetz into the laundry.
Transitions can be tough for everybody. Just remember that your dog is going to be just fine while you are out of the house. The more you can keep a consistent schedule for the pup, the better. As long as you have a plan and a few supplies on hand, you should be all set!