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Returning to School or Work? 13 Ways to Support Your Dog Through Change

Written by Adaptil, published on 1 September 2022

Change is inevitable within a busy household, particularly when it’s time for kids to return to school, or adults to return to work after the holidays! Busy routines, new objects - and new smells - that come with school clothes, satchels, and new shoes are normal for humans, but these changes can unsettle your dog.

Ways to support your dog through change

Dogs like to have a predictable routine, so when changes come, your pooch might need some extra support from you.

  1. Newly purchased items will inevitably bring new smells into the home, which will be of great interest to your dog. A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly important to them as this is how they gain information; allowing them to sniff your new purchases will help them be more accepting of new things around the home.
  2. Dogs like a predictable routine, so try and keep their routine as normal as possible, (for example their mealtimes, walks, playtime and training). If you know you are going to have to adjust these to fit in with your new routine, make the adjustments slowly and well in advance.
  3. This is particularly important if you are going to leave your dog home alone for periods of time. The length of time you leave your dog alone will very much depend on their age, and how adaptable your dog is.

    - Puppies should not be left unattended for more than two hours.
    - Dogs over 18 months should not be left alone for more than 4 hours.

    However long you need to leave your dog alone, start by leaving them for short periods of time, and gradually increase it so that you are confident they will be comfortable on their own.
  4. If you are going to be out longer than advised, arrange for someone familiar to visit them or take them for a walk. This will break up their day and avoid any doggie stress.family with 2 retriever dogs
  5. Give them space! Leave them in a room or area that they are familiar with and remove any precious items – in case they get bored.
  6. Make sure they have their favourite bed/blanket to curl up on and they have plenty of water.
  7. Leave toys for your dog to play with while you are out;  Kong toys are great for keeping them busy and giving them a treat at the same time!
  8. Does your dog prefer soft rock, Mozart or reggae? According to various reports, music can help calm doggie stress, so work out which your dog prefers and make sure to play their favourites when you are out!
  9. When arranging your busy schedule, try to maintain that special time you spend with your dog.  This could be play time, training sessions or even just sitting together on the sofa for some doggie & me time. They will appreciate that quality time together and it will strengthen and maintain your bond.
  10. Learn to read your dog’s body language; subtle changes in their moods or behaviour may indicate they are not coping with the change around the home.

    terrier sat on rug inside
  11. Accept that there may be ‘doggie accidents’ when your routine changes.

    - You may return home to find a puddle on the floor, which could mean that they have been left for too long, they did not go outside to the toilet before you left, or it could be a sign of stress.

    - Have they been chewing or destructive when alone?  This could also be a sign of stress, so you will need to determine the cause and try to rectify it.  It may be as simple as making sure they have enough toys with them to keep them occupied, or it could mean that more training is needed.

    Whatever the reason, it is important that you stay calm and do not punish your dog as this will only add to their worries – but make sure you reward them for good behaviour and they will learn to repeat the good behaviour and not the bad.golden retriever with owners on sofa
  12. If your work schedule is flexible, consider organising some doggie playdates, so your dog gets to have some fun in a different way  – your friend’s dogs might be going through the same changes in their home too, so perhaps you can reciprocate and make a doggie share arrangement.  That way, both dogs will have fun and you and your friend can go to work happily in the knowledge that your dogs are happy!
  13. Using ADAPTIL in the home will help provide reassurance to your dog during any changes. ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser releases “appeasing messages” to help dogs feel reassured and relaxed in all challenging situations.

Remember that all dogs are different, so be patient as they adapt to the new changes. If, however, you are worried your dog is not coping, contact your vet, as it may be that your dog has an underlying medical condition which is affecting how they cope.

Adaptil Calm Diffuser

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