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Help the family dog beat the back-to-school blues

Aug 27, 2016 | Lifestyles

(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

Back-to-school season can be tough for the family dog. After a summer of active play with the children, he’s suddenly alone most of the day. Back-to-school blues can cause a well-behaved pet to engage in undesirable behaviors, like chewing on furniture, barking excessively or soiling in the house.

“Dogs are happiest when they have a routine, so the change from summer to school-year schedule can be hard on them,” explains Traci Simo of Canine Company. “Not only are the kids gone all day for school and afternoon activities, but when they come home, they’re too busy with homework to spend time with the family pet.”

As head of Manners dog obedience training, Simo has worked with hundreds of pets and pet parents to address problem behaviors. She suggests the following to help the family dog make the transition to the new schedule.

1. Introduce the new routine before school begins. Start leaving him home alone for short periods before the first day of school to help him get accustomed to alone time.

2. Pump up the exercise. A well-exercised dog is a happy dog, so try to take her for a long walk in the morning, and have the kids play an active round of fetch with her when they get home. If that doesn’t fit into your schedule, hire a pet sitter to get her up and out for some exercise during the middle of the day.

3. Add mental stimulation. Fill a treat-dispensing ball with your dog’s kibble before the family heads out for the day. Working for his meal will keep him occupied for hours.

4. Take a training refresher. Dog obedience training skills can lapse during the unstructured summer months. Training can make a big difference in any pet’s behavior.

For more advice on dealing with back-to-school blues or to locate a professional dog obedience trainer, visit www.caninecompany.com.

— PRNewswire

(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)

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