Vacation time is over; will your dog miss you when you’re away at school? Another school year has started and as you pack your bags and prepare for tests, tuitions and homework give a thought to your doggy. After a summer of being spoiled with attention, he will miss you when you’re away at school. As his best friend, it’s up to you to make sure he is ok when he is home alone.
Here are some tips to help keep your dog occupied and happy whilst you’re dwelling over theorems.
Keep the goodbye simple – Mornings are always hectic on a school day, uniforms have to be worn, shoes cleaned and bags packed. Your dog senses the excitement at this time. When you finally rush out of the door it will be an anti-climax for him. To reduce the contrast in your presence and absence don’t gush an emotional farewell. Pets react to emotions. Making a scene will only make him more anxious. If you are calm when leaving, he is likely to be calm as well.
Keep boredom at bay – When a dog is left alone at home for long periods of time with nothing to do, it can get easily bored. Not only is that unfair to the animal, but it can cause problems – a bored dog will often chew things around the house to keep himself entertained. To prevent damage, direct your dog’s natural chewing behaviour onto acceptable chew toys and bones. Today’s doggy market is full of dental chew toys, rope toys and rawhide bones that will help keep your dog well occupied. To make it interesting, hide these objects (under a sofa or behind a cupboard) before you go out so that your dog has to look for them.
Lassie re-runs – If your dog will be alone, you may want to put on a radio or T.V. for him. Music and the sound of people chatting has a comforting effect on a lot of dogs. The lilting sound of music (no heavy metal, please) or background chatter of a talk show is better than the sound of a clock ticking away or complete silence. You can even be creative and tape yourself singing or narrating a story and play that cassette for your dog – it will make him wag his tail in happiness.
Watch the world go by – Lots of dogs love to look out of a window for hours on end. The real world provides for much entertainment. Make sure your window has secure grills and that your dog doesn’t create a nuisance of himself by barking at passers-by or street dogs.
Missing you – If your dog is extremely attached to you and misses you deeply when you’re at school, give him an old, unwashed t-shirt that smells of you. Your dog can snuggle up to it and be reminded of you.
Make time – Even though you may be swamped with homework and tuitions, do make time for your dog when you are at home. Play fetch, give him a massage and a brushing, train him to carry out a few obedience commands or even take him for a walk. Your dog will thank you for it.
A tired dog is a good dog – and a happy dog. A dog that gets enough exercise twice a day will be more than content to nap when you are not at home. Keep in mind that the amount of exercise a dog needs depends on its age, breed and environment.