Friday, August 23, 2013

Prepare Your Dog for Back-to-School to Help Him Adjust to the New Family Fall Routine


Once again, we're in the midst of madness with parents just about everywhere in high gear getting kids ready for back to school. During this hectic and busy time it's easy to overlook one small (but important) detail as the new school year begins: Preparing your dog for the big changes in your family's routine that loom just ahead.

Dexter, our Family Dog
As a dog lover, I consider Dexter, our miniature doberman pinscher a member of the family. I'm also aware that canines are indeed pack animals, creatures of habit and thrive on a regular schedule. 

So, from personal experience I know back-to-school chaos can be a time of huge adjustments not only for my four teenagers, hubbie and myself, but also for our beloved pup. In fact, our dog loves our kids and I know he's going to miss all the hustle and bustle around here when everyone heads back to campus and the house falls quiet this coming Monday.

It's turns out countless other families will be confronting that same dynamic. Dogs, like people, are sensitive when their surroundings change drastically. Unfortunately, a radical break in a dog's routine can trigger some unpleasant side effects like depression, destructive behaviors and/or barking, whining or howling. 

My girls & Dexter Modeling at The Grove in L.A.
Kerri Marshall, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion pet insurance, has some helpful ideas for keeping your dog happy during this annual family season of mega transitions.

Tips to Get Fido Into the Back-to-School Routine

  • Prepare your pooch for all the changes by starting to implement the school year routine several weeks before the first day of school while the kids are still home 
  • Have the whole family leave the house for increasingly longer periods of time so your dog can get used to the lack of daytime activity around your home
  • Keep feeding and walking times constant throughout every season of the year so that when it's back to school time, your dog will experience fewer abrupt changes
  • Make sure to continue to pay attention to and play with your dog as well as take him to the park when the kids are back in school -- or you might consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your pup in doggie daycare
  • Invest in educational dog toys as enrichment tools that will keep your four-legged friend entertained for longer periods of time -- things like puzzle toys that encourage your dog to look for hidden treats can keep him happy and busy 
Dexter enjoys a bone with a hidden treat
FTC Disclosure: Content for this post sourced from Dr. Kerri Marshall of Trupanion. No payment or other compensation was exchanged in association with this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.


  1. We've move around the world with our dog and I agree that it's important to be aware of how changing your schedule can upset your dog. Thanks for sharing these tips to help us take care of our dogs.

  2. You are so right. I don't think I ever really thought of the stress that our little furry friends go through when children go back to school. Great tips for helping our puppies deal with this.

  3. I know the house has gotten so quiet since school started a week ago! I also realized how much our two dogs loved having me home and in the house all summer. It is a transition. We did get our two extra chew toys to help keep them occupied.