Avoiding the "back-to-school" blues in dogs

Avoiding the "back-to-school" blues in dogs

 The return to school or work after a vacation can sometimes be harsh for your dog, who needs to readjust and (re)learn to be alone. Here's everything you need to know to help your furry friend navigate this transition and prepare for the new routine together.

The signs of depression in dogs

Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. When their routine changes, such as when their owners return to work or school after a vacation, it can cause separation anxiety in some dogs. This can manifest in a variety of ways such as a loss of appetite, lack of energy, excessive barking or whining, destructive behavior, and even accidents in the house. It is important to understand that these behaviors are not intentional misbehavior on the part of the dog, but rather a symptom of their anxiety.

 It is crucial to not punish the dog, but instead offer them comfort, patience and create a smooth transition. Gradually increasing the time they spend alone and providing them with interactive toys or puzzle feeders can help ease their anxiety.

What can I do to improve my dog's mood?

To improve your dog's mood, you can try the following:

  •  Spend more quality time with your dog, playing and cuddling with them.

  •  Take them for a long walk in a new or unfamiliar place after you come back from work. This will give them a chance to explore and discover new sights and smells.

  •  Socialize your dog with other dogs. This will help them improve their social skills and reduce their anxiety.

  •  Offer them mentally stimulating activities, such as teaching them new tricks. This will help keep them active and engaged, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

 It is also important to keep in mind that your dog should be comfortable being alone. Gradual adjustment in time spent alone and providing them with interactive toys can help them become more comfortable and confident in being alone.

Getting used to being alone.

To prepare your dog for your return from vacation, it is important to gradually reintroduce your daily routine with them. If you took your dog with you everywhere during your vacation, start leaving them behind for shorter periods of time, eventually working up to your usual schedule.

 In addition, start leaving them alone at home for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration as you return to your normal routine. Providing them with interactive toys such as a Kong can help keep them mentally stimulated and distract them from feeling anxious about being alone.

 To reduce the chances of them anticipating your departures, try to avoid any specific goodbye rituals and mix up your routine by performing actions in different order. This will help to desensitize them to these cues and they will not associate them with you leaving.

 If these tips do not help alleviate your dog's anxiety, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for further help and guidance. They will be able to evaluate your dog's specific needs and provide a tailored treatment plan to help them adjust to being alone.

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