Keeping Your Dog Busy When the Kids Go Back to School

It’s a scene dog owners know all too well. Somebody in the family gets ready to leave the house, and it’s obvious to the dog that he’s not going along. That’s when the barking starts, the dog practically pleading, “Hey! She’s getting away! You’ve got to stop her!”

This scene is bound to happen after a summer full of days spent with kids home from school. When it’s time to get on the bus again, your dog is going to be very confused why those people aren’t going to be available for ball throwing, head scratching, treat giving, or running around. And when boredom sets in, bad behavior can follow. Here are a few things you can do to make the transition easier on your dog, and on you, too.


Several vigorous minutes of play with your dog can buy you lots of quiet time later. If everyone in the house takes some time before the kids head out for school, your dog will get to stimulate his brain and exercise his muscles. A good morning workout will go a long way towards fighting the stress of separation. It’s also a good time to brush up on training.

Toys and Treats

Your dog always likes something new to chew on, so the moment the kids leave is a perfect time to bring out that new toy or treat. Bully sticks, meaty bones, and puzzle toys can keep your dog entertained and occupied for hours, or at least minutes. It instills positive reinforcement, though don’t be surprised if your dog starts looking expectant every morning.

New Activities

When the kids go to the bus stop, take the dog with them, but before the bus arrives, take the dog for a ride, to the park, or even to school of his own. It’s another chance to brush up on obedience training, and you can also get more pointers for dealing with boredom or anxiety.

Dog Walker

For many families, the school year means the dog is home alone for hours at a time. Doggie day care is one option, and a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Even more convenient, and flexible, is a dog walker, an individual who will come to your home every day to provide your dog with necessary relief. Some walkers take several dogs at the same time, which can give your dog a chance to socialize too.

Another Dog

One of the most effective distractions and stimulants for a bored dog is a fulltime playmate. Multiple dogs can keep each other company, but they can also get into lots of trouble together, so you’re going to want to considering this step carefully before taking on another happy mouth to feed.

Dogs require a lot of time and patience, and they like their routines. After a while, the routine of the kids being out of the house will become familiar to your dog–just as he’ll seem to know exactly when they’ll appear again. And when the next vacation or holiday break is over, both you and your dog will be better prepared to deal with it.

Featured Toys & Treats

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