It’s back to school time for kids and college students! Did you know it’s also back to school for dogs?
The dog in this picture is Charlie, a therapy dog working at Valley Springs Elementary School in Valley Springs, Arkansas. Charlie is great at listening to kids read. Sometimes he shuts his eyes to help his concentration.
Charlie was named in honor of former Superintendent Charles Trammell, who died Sept. 7, 2016. Charlie lives with the school librarian, Melissa McDonald, when he’s not at school. He listens to kids’ problems, too, and just taking him for a walk helps kids feel less stressed.
Back to school can be a stressful time. Charlie has an important job at Valley Springs.
Back to school for your dog
Charlie may go back to school in the fall, but many family dogs are affected by the start of the school year. For your dog, Back to School might mean that instead of having kids to play with all day, the dog is now alone. Maybe crate training stopped for the summer and your Goldendoodle has been lying around with the kids watching cartoons, playing outside, or going on family trips.
With the kids in school, your dog might not have as many people loving on him. He or she might feel downright lonely.
Goldendoodles are calm and friendly, but they also love their people. If college students have been home for the summer, or younger kids have been at home with a nanny or sitter for the summer, your dog may need some time to adjust to the change of being alone while everyone is at school and work.
Signs to watch for:
- Howling, barking, and crying can be signs of separation anxiety.
- Chewing things or having accidents in the house can also show up in dogs who have separation anxiety.
- Dogs can even get depressed. Depressed dogs may seem sad and listless.
Help your Goldendoodle adjust
Start the day right by taking your pooch for a walk or a run in the morning. If she gets some exercise, she’ll be happier to stay indoors and wait for the family to get home. Don’t make a fuss when it’s time to go. If you seem sad or anxious, the mood can make your dog feel worried.
Think about giving your dog a Kong or similar toy — a chew toy you can fill with peanut butter. It takes time and problem solving to get the treats out of these toys, and that will help your dog feel engaged during the day. Remember, Goldendoodles are smart. They need something challenging to occupy their minds.
If you can get home for a little walk or play during the afternoon, do. That’ll break up the day for your dog and reduce worry.
The first person to arrive home should take the dog for a walk or out for some playtime. Again, don’t make an emotional issue of it or your dog may feel like it’s been forever since he’s seen you. Just make sure to include your furry friend in the family playtime in the evening.
A regular schedule helps your dog adjust to the new reality.
Give your Goldendoodle time to get used to Back to School. If she’s been through it before, she may remember and settle in fairly soon. If she seems to be having a hard time with it, consider giving her a little extra help:
- Leave a radio or TV on during the day for a little distraction.
- Take your dog to Doggie Day Care one or two days a week if he likes to play with other dogs.
- Make a little more fuss over your four-footed friend than usual.
This may also be the perfect time to get a second dog. Goldendoodles are very social animals, and they love to play together. Give us a call if you need a playmate for your Goldendoodle!