Winter, Spring, Summer and??
Yes, summer is quickly drawing to a close and fall will soon arrive. For many of us, the upcoming change in seasons can mean many different things, and now is the time to start thinking about it.
For those of us who have been working from home due to Covid restrictions, the changing of the seasons may also mean changes in your work schedule and may signify a return to the office.
September also means the return home from vacations, be it a cottage, road trip, exotic island or camp and, for those of us with children, it’s back to school.
Regardless of your family situation, we all need to start planning a whole new schedule for the family, and this includes your furry, four legged family members.
If your employer has decided that the time has come for you to return to the office, either full time or part time, you need to start conditioning your pup to the fact that you may not be home with him all day long.
If your pup has been used to you being home all the time, or if you have just adopted a new pup during the course of the summer and have taken the time to spend with him, now is the time to start conditioning him to a new schedule and daily routine.
If you have children who have been home for the summer and have spent their time frolicking and playing with your pup, you now need to set a new schedule for them to follow.
If your pup has been crate trained, the transition should not be as difficult, but if your pup is anxious and is used to having someone around all the time, things may not be so easy. In any case, you should start by leaving your home at a regular time in the morning and staying away for an hour or so and then returning. Each day make your return a little later to slowly condition your pup to being alone.
If you have children, start now by taking them and your pup for a walk to the school at a regular time each day and then again in the afternoon when the children would normally be picked up. Alternatively, walk with your children and pup to the designated spot where they are picked up by a school bus. This will get your pup into a routine of when the children will be coming and going each day.
Each day you should strive to get up an hour earlier than usual so you have time to take your pup for a good walk or run to burn off some energy before the day begins. When leaving your pup for the day, make sure that he has access to some water although, if he is crated, water should not be in the crate with him. When you put him in the crate, give him a Kong stuffed with a little peanut butter and a few treats, or kibble that has been frozen so it lasts longer. You could also give him a chew toy to keep him occupied, making sure that it is safe and there is nothing he could choke on. When leaving your pup, don’t make a big fuss about it, just say goodbye and walk out.
If you expect to be gone during the day for at least six or seven hours, you should consider hiring a dog walker to come and get your pup out for a short walk half way through the day. This way your pup will have something to look forward to and it will be less stressful on his body having to “hold it” all day.
When you do return home from a long day, you may be tired and stressed but remember, your pup may feel just as stressed. Instead of taking a nap, lace up your running shoes and take your furry friend out for a nice walk and you will both feel better.
So let’s start preparing for a new season ahead and continue to stay well and keep safe.