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How to help your dog cope with end-of-summer changes

American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

Back-to-school time looks a little different for most families this year. But whether kids are going back to classes, doing distance learning from home, or adults are returning to the office full time, schedule changes can be stressful for dogs.

The sudden switch from long summer days of playing with the kids to being alone in the house for long periods of time can be a tough adjustment. Your family dog can start to feel left out or become overwhelmed during this transition and you may notice him acting differently as a result.

The American Kennel Club shares the following tips to keep your dog happy during these changes.

- Make gradual changes. Ease your dog slowly into new routines. If the family member who normally walks or sleeps in the same room as him will soon be spending less time at home, give these tasks to someone who will be around more consistently. Start slowly making these changes a week or two before the change of routine.

- Notice relationships. Be aware of the close relationships your dog has formed over the past summer weeks. If they happen to be with a family member who is visiting for the summer or who is planning to move out this fall, try fostering new bonds between your dog and a family member who will continue to live in the house full time.


- Don't forget exercise. Stimulate your dog's body and mind with consistent exercise. Regular exercise can be the key to solving a plethora of canine behavior issues, so don't sacrifice your dog's exercise because of a changing routine or weather conditions. Rain or shine, warm weather or cold, daily, physical exercise is a must.

- Mental stimulation is important, too. Boredom can create a list of undesirable behaviors, such as: digging, chewing, barking and jumping, so stimulating your dog's mind is equally important as stimulating his body. Indoor games of fetch and basic obedience commands will help keep your dog's mind and body from wandering off limits.

- Teach a new trick. Training skills can lapse during the unstructured summer months. With routines changing, teaching your dog a new trick or two can help keep him included in the back-to-school routine. Teaching tricks is easier than you think. You just need patience and some treats. Remember to keep training sessions short and to the point. Shaking hands and the leg weave are fun, simple tricks that will keep your dog feeling part of the new household routine.

For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at

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