Help your dog cope with end-of-summer blues

As the summer days come to an end and the school year begins, it’s a good time to think about your dog. The family dog can start to feel left out during this transition, so try teaching him a trick to keep him involved. The changing of routines can be very overwhelming for your dog, and you may notice him acting differently as a result.

The American Kennel Club shares the following tips to keep your dog happy during these changes.

—Make gradual changes. Ease your dog slowly into new routines. If the family member who normally walks or sleeps in the same room as him will soon be spending less time at home, give these tasks to someone who will be around more consistently. Start gradually making these changes a week or two before the routine changes for good.

—Notice relationships. Be aware of the close relationships your dog has formed over the summer. If they happen to be with a family member who is visiting for the summer or who is planning to move out this fall, try fostering new bonds between your dog and a family member who will continue to live in the house full-time.

—Don’t forget exercise. Stimulate your dog’s body and mind with consistent exercise. Exercise can be the key to solving a plethora of canine behavior issues, so don’t sacrifice your dog’s exercise because of a changing routine or weather conditions. Rain or shine, warm weather or cold, daily physical exercise is a must.

—Mental stimulation is important, too. Boredom can create a list of undesirable behaviors, such as digging, chewing, barking and jumping, so stimulating your dog’s mind is as important as stimulating his body. Basic obedience commands and indoor games of fetch will help keep your dog’s mind and body from wandering off-limits.

—Teach a new trick. Training skills can lapse during the unstructured summer months. With routines changing, teaching your dog a new trick or two can help include him in the back-to-school routine. Teaching tricks is easier than you think —you just need patience and some treats. Remember to keep training sessions short and to the point. Shaking hands or the leg weave are fun, simple tricks that will keep your dog feeling part of the new household routine.

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