Now that the Summer holidays are over, many of us are jumping back into our old routines - back to work, back to school, back to our regular fitness and activity programs etc. Free time throughout the week is no longer quite so available, and has once again become a precious commodity!
Whilst we are busily getting organised to resume our usual schedules, it can be easy to forget that this time of year can be a little tough on our furry four-legged friends. After becoming quite accustomed to having someone at home most of the time, it might come as quite a shock to find everyone has suddenly disappeared and the house is once again quiet for a large portion of the day.
Dogs are social creatures who have been bred over many years to become the quintessential human companion - our friendship is essentially part of their genetic makeup. So don't be surprised if they become a little uneasy during "back-to-school" season, and this manifests as some additional chewing, digging, or barking - it's in no way a show of rebellion or disrespect. They just miss you!
The good news is there's some easy things you can do to help minimise the impact of "back-to-school" season on your dog and help them feel included as the family returns to standard weekday life. Read our top 5 tips below!
Back To School Tips
For Lonely Pups!
1. THE SCHOOL RUN
If you're lucky enough to live close by to school, morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up time provides a great opportunity to not only exercise and interact with your dog, but also teach your kids about traffic and safe dog walking through the local area. If school is a little further afield and requires a car trip, why not pick up a safety harness for your K9 so they can be included on the drive!*
2. AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
Make use of our extended daylight and great weather at the moment, and consider including your dog in after-school activities. You could do a few laps of the oval during after-school sports, or go for a walk with your pupper during music lessons. Maybe you could adjust your fitness program to include your dog - skip the gym in Summer and go for a jog with dog instead!
3. DIVVY UP YOUR WALK TIME
We get it - the busy school and work routine often doesn't leave room for an hour's walk before work, or a big romp at the park in the afternoons. But how about a 25 minute walk in the morning, and a 35 minute play in the afternoon? Shorter, more frequent walkies may be instantly more feasible in a busy day - with the added benefit that it gets you out for a couple of breaks to enjoy the great outdoors!
4. HELP FROM YOUR LITTLE HELPERS
Now, we're the last to say that dog walking is a "chore" - we love it so much that we do it every single day! But adding your dog's care into the kids' list of chores makes it a priority for the day and has benefits beyond the valued physical and mental stimulation of your dog. Taking care of a pet helps to teach kids in a practical sense about skills such leadership and responsibility - attributes that are extremely valuable later on in life!
5. TRAIN THE BRAIN
Although nothing quite matches human companionship, you can help to ease your dog's loneliness by leaving them things to do in your absence (besides dig holes, sing to the neighbours, and chew the furniture). There are fantastic puzzle toys available in stores and online which can be filled with food and given to your dog for a fun challenge which appeals to their hunter/scavenger origins (to step things up - hide puzzle toys around the house or garden).
Of course, if you're still finding your dog is bored, frustrated, lonely, and/or destructive after trying all of these things - or you simply don't have time - it could be worth phoning a friend. And by that, we mean us! We provide company and adventure for dogs throughout the day so their owners go to work without feeling the least bit guilty - knowing their best mate is having the time of their life! Feel free to drop us an email and we'll let you know how we can help you.
If these tips gave you an idea or two please help us by sharing this post and liking us on Facebook so we can spread the word about what we do and assist other dog owners just like you!
Have a great week and happy walking!
*Just a little reminder never to leave your dog unattended in the car - not even on an overcast day!