Prepare Your Dog for Back to School Time
I was in Deerfield Beach last Wednesday with a new Home Dog Training client and his Morkie named Mischief. Mischief really wasn’t that mischievous and we corrected his issues of focus, barking, and stealing very quickly. As I was finishing up the session and writing some training notes for my client, he had one more question. He reminded me that school was starting in about a week or two and their kids were no longer going to always be around the house to play with little Mischief. He wondered if this was going to be an issue and, if so, was there anything he could do to prepare for the kids leaving for school.
I explained to my client that there could be some issues when the kids head off to school. The fact that they were going to school wasn’t the issue, the problem was that Mischief’s environment and activities were going to radically change in an instant. One day, the kids are home and playing with Mischief all day long. He is kept busy all day and always has adrenalized and divergent things to do. The next day, all is quiet. Nobody is around. There is nothing to do.
When such a change in environment takes place with our dogs, it often leads to destructive behavior because of boredom and lack of appropriate activities. It can also lead to separation anxiety because our dogs wanted the other people there, with them. This behavior is often based on fear and lack of continuity.
So, what can my client do? His kids are going to school and he and his wife have to get to work?
The answer is based on changing things slowly. Their family needs to slowly change Mischief’s environment into a quiet one. Here are some suggestions I offered my client for his family and Mischief:
- Start paying less attention to Mischief. Don’t play with him all the time even if you are home. Don’t let him demand things from you.
- Start putting Mischief in his crate. If you use a crate for your dog when you are gone, start now, before school begins, to get him reacclimated with it. Put him in the crate when you are home for a while. Sometimes have the door open and sometimes have the door closed. This will help break the actual causal effect of “crate means everyone is gone”.
- Don’t leave a huge bowl of water for him. In a week or two when everyone is gone for the better part of the day, there will be no one there to open the door when he has to go potty. Very few dogs need s huge bowl of water for healthy hydration. Since dogs often drink out of boredom, an extra large bowl could cause him to make potty accidents in the house.
- Have his favorite toys out and in his normal play area. This will help to redirect him to the distractions he normally enjoys.
- Start to change your routine to fit the “school routine”. This may mean getting up a little earlier and changing your eating times. Leave for a while, if only to go to the corner or run out for a cup of coffee.
- Leave the television on while you are home and when you leave. This “extra noise” helps to break that monotonous silence of an empty house. Having the TV on all the time also creates a continuity that helps minimize the fact that you are gone.
- Consider Doggy Day Care several days a week. Since the kids are at school, why not let him socialize too? We have found that Doggy Day Cares are great in socializing dogs as well as getting their adrenaline out. This means that they aren’t “fully charged” and “ready to rock and roll” when you come home.
Most dogs like things to stay the same. This allows them to understand and be comfortable with the environment around them. Taking a little time to prepare them for the “big environment change of the kids back in school” will make your household a lot calmer and relaxed. Robin and I are always here to answer your dog training questions and can be reached at (954) 242-0170. We have written many dog training articles that could help you if you go to our dog training blog at Best Dog Trainers Deerfield Beach South Florida. All the ways to contact us are located at Dog Training Help Center Deerfield Beach South Florida.
Robin and I can also solve your problem if your dog likes to escape the yard. We use our great dog training methods with the invisible dog fence systems from Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® to solve your dog jumping the fence. Robin and I offer a free, in-home analysis and guaranteed price quote. Go to Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence Deerfield Beach South Florida or call 954-472-4724.