It’s Back to School Season and that means busy fall schedules, shorter days and oftentimes a quieter house for your dog.  They’ve enjoyed the company and extra time we’ve spent with them during the summer months and now the calendar says it’s time to get back in gear.  Are you ready?  And more importantly, is your dog ready? 

Our dogs have adapted to our summer routines and have certainly enjoyed having the children at home to play with and more time spent outdoors having fun.  The changing family routines can be just as challenging for our pets as they are for you and your family.  This can be particularly difficult with puppies adopted over the summer months. With a little preparation you can ease everyone into a new routine. 

Dogs love structure in their lives.  They like routine and they like to know how their schedule should work.  Try to keep their daily routines the same.  Keeping their feeding times, potty breaks and walking routines as consistent as possible is important. 

If your dog cannot yet be trusted to behave himself when you’re gone crate training is a great option.  A special treat like a delicious treat-filled peanut butter-capped frozen Kong is a wonderful special treat to occupy your dog when everyone leaves the house in the morning.  Your leaving will be perceived as a sign of a great big treat rather then the loss of their companion for a few hours. 

When you come home, make sure you make some special time for your pets.  Perhaps, keep a special toy in a place where it only comes out when you come home.  That will make your playtime even more special. 

Have your kids play a little with your pet before they start their other activities.  Playing a little hide and seek, fetch or chase can be a great activity for pets and kids alike.  You can also hide treats in the house that your dog has to go find – that’s a fun mental challenge that takes advantage of their great sense of smell and keeps their minds busy and engaged. child dog and open book 

Keeping their nighttime routines the same as during the summer will also help the transition. 

Don’t forget about a little extra brushing in the coming fall months.  Shedding is due to the change in the light and not the temperature so our earlier nights will surely bring on the winter coat! 

Our feline friends fare much better when we’re gone.  They’re more attached to their space then their companions like our canine pals but they certainly will enjoy a little playtime each day too. 

With a little pre-planning, you and your pets can begin a wonderful new fall routine together.