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Change is in the Air

This time of year, lots of things are changing; summer is coming to a close, kids are going back to school, perhaps we are going back to work in an office or the field. When things change, it can be very exciting for us as we explore new adventures or new opportunities. Unfortunately, while we are reveling in that excitement, our dogs are usually less than thrilled. To them, their world is changing, and that may not be what they like. Most dogs love routine and knowing what to expect. They are very good at recognizing patterns and figuring out what will happen next. When we change things, this can be very disruptive and can set them off their game. You may have noticed this when you return from vacation. This has been especially true this year as we have spent a significantly greater amount of time at home. It was very easy for our dogs to get used to this but now that we are all leaving, even if just some of us, like school-age children.

The best way to counter this is to prepare for it. If you know you will be leaving and gone more, practice a bit first. It helps a lot to have eyes on your dog while you are gone so have a camera or other video recording device set up so you can see what happens in your absence. Is your dog anxious? Scared? Agitated? Whatever the case is, if your dog is unsettled, you may want to intervene to help your dog adjust. This prevents slight stress from becoming a full-blown anxiety attack. While I cannot tell you what to do, as every dog is different and may need a different intervention, it is important that you do something to prevent a greater problem. We want our dogs to be calm and feel safe when left home alone.

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