We were at a Dog Training session yesterday in Norcross training a Siberian Huskey not to jump on guests, stop nipping them when they are watching TV, end stealing food from the table and not to run out the front door. We finished with all of those issues and asked the client what other issues they may have with their dog. They thought for a minute and then asked about the start of school. “We have only had our dog since March and we don’t know what will happen when school starts and our three children are gone all day at school and other activities. We are afraid that Maximilian will go nuts without all the attention he has been getting up to now. Should we be worried?”
We explained to our clients that after a long summer of playing and being with the entire family, school starts and their dog’s world is thrown for a loop. Most dogs do not like sudden changes in lifestyle and the dramatic schedule change that school brings often places a great deal of anxiety on the dog. We then went on to give some great dog training suggestions to minimize the possible anxiety and bad behavior.
The most important thing that you must do is to minimize your dog’s separation anxiety during this period. Separation anxiety can easily lead to destructive behavior, endless barking, and other generally annoying behaviors.
Start to pay less attention to your dog – A week before school starts, ignore him for periods of time every day. Increase these periods of time until he can be without you for several hours. You are now slowly adjusting how long he feels it is normal to be away from you in a quiet and empty house.
Start early – The big thing is to start this process as long as possible before school starts. This allows you to slowly introduce the new, quieter environment. More slow steps in training are always more productive than fewer, larger steps.
Practice walking out the front door – Get all your stuff together and walk out the front door. Wait for five or ten seconds and then come back in again. Your dog will begin to stop associating the act of walking out the door with your departure for an extended period of time. The event will no longer be important to him and he will no longer focus on it. He will not begin to ramp up anxiety because of it.
Be calm and the boss – We humans always like to reassure. When we leave the house, we always say “Oh Maximilian, it is ok. Mommy will be home soon.” in a high, sweet voice. Unlike humans, this reassuring (human) voice tends to create anxiety in dogs. Since you are the boss, you need to be “large and in charge”. Simply ignore your dog for about ten minutes before you leave. When you leave, don’t say a word.
Toys – Make sure that your dog has his favorite toys with him as you leave. This helps redirect his focus from your departure to his toys. Make sure that you give him the same toys at different times when you are home. This assures that he does not associate the presentation of toys as a unique step in your leaving.
If you enact these simple steps, you will be a long way in making sure that transition from summer vacation to school days is a simple and pleasant experience for your dog. Now all you have to do is to worry about is making sure your kids don’t miss the morning school bus.
Please call us today at (770) 718-7704 for more dog training help and answers to your questions. We have more training articles at Best Dog Trainers Norcross Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Norcross Georgia.