Help Your Pet Get Gold Star Behavior When You Head Back To School
Summer Vacation is starting to come to an end. Your house may be bustling with back-to-school energy, and your pets will notice. They may not know exactly what you are preparing for, but they feel the change coming. Not only are you learning a new schedule as you head back to class, but your pet will be as well. Here is some information to help you and your pet avoid the "Back to School Blues."
Backpacks full of shiny new school supplies will start to show up at home. Make sure you are keeping these items out of your pet's reach. Certain markers, pencils, pens, adhesives, and other small items can pose a risk to your pet. Some supplies have hidden toxins in them that can be harmful to your pet if ingested. They explore the world with their own mouths and will want to know what the excitement is about. Help them by keeping everything tucked away in your backpack. Don't forget to keep your homework picked up, too.
The New Morning Routine
The alarm will begin to sound earlier in the morning once school is back in session. The last couple weeks of summer are a great time to transition your pet into the upcoming schedule. The new wake-up time will not be the only schedule change they will need to adjust to. There may be a new feeding schedule, a new potty schedule, and even some alternative exercise times. Starting these changes slowly over the next few days will help make the morning routine less confusing for your pets. It is also a good opportunity to start leaving your pet home alone for long stretches of time each day. Adding a bit of time each day will help your pet become familiar with self-entertainment.
Bust The Boredom
For your pet, all this extra time alone can lead to boredom. Creating outlets for excess energy is a great strategy to help curb unwanted behaviors. Changing up your exercise routine to include an early morning walk or a good game of fetch in the yard can burn off energy. Taking advantage of the early morning hours will allow your pet time to spend with their favorite people, you, and to settle in for a relaxing day at home.
Beyond physical activity, keeping your pet mentally stimulated is an excellent source of enrichment. Puzzle toys are a wonderful way to engage their minds while they are home. These toys often require treats to be hidden for your pet to discover and figure out how to reach them. Certain toys can hold an entire serving of kibble. This encourages your pet to solve for their food or treats. With their minds engaged, they are not prone to boredom. This can help to reduce destructive or annoying behavior.
A Safe Space
For young puppies or kittens, kennel training may be beneficial. By giving them a space that is safe and their own, they will be less likely to get into trouble. As babies, they are curious about everything in their environment and will want to explore, even if you are not there to safeguard them from a dangerous adventure. While they are learning the rules of your home, having a safe area to nap and play is a great way to teach them the boundaries of their new space. Just as you will slowly extend time away from home for an older pet, you will slowly leave them kenneled a little longer each day until they are acclimated to the full amount of time.