Karen Wild: Do seasons affect your dog?
This week our children return to school and peace reigns once more at home during the day, at least, during the week. Autumn is creeping in, and we can already smell it in the air. The outdoor pool in Bourne is reaching the end of a lovely summer, and I have a new dog book coming out! Mixed events and lots of changes for everyone, mostly happy. Do our dogs notice these differences, too? Of course they do!
Many of us feel a bit sad at the back to school time of year, as we have become used to the last six weeks of kiddy mayhem at home. Our dogs are likely to miss the companionship, too. Even if you don't have children at home, they have been out and about during the day so our dogs can't help but notice. They will miss the days out, the barbecues (and the delicious smells), as well as the noise of family life.
No need to worry about your dog now that these changes are occurring, but it is worth making certain that you notice they might need your help. Take them out at regular times as before, and if this time has to change due to school traffic or getting back into a routine by setting the alarm earlier, give your dog a chance to adjust! Dogs are creatures of habit, so sudden changes are stressful.
Of course, your dog's family playmates are no longer at home, so take steps to help him adapt. Add extra activities, a play session a doggy friend, or a new walk to explore. If you are back to work, please consider employing a dog walker, even just a few times a week, to keep your dog stimulated and happy. For longer periods you can use dog daycare. This has the added benefit of a snoozy, contented dog when you return home.
Each season will affect your dog in its own way. Autumn also brings with it some exciting new sounds and smells as leaves start to tumble. Running through these is great fun, so why not engage with your inner child and join in with your dog?
I mentioned my new book which is called 'Being a Dog' and comes out this week, published (like my others) by Hamlyn. I know that as regular readers of my column here that you are keen to understand your own dog, so the book is written from the dog's own point of view. It is also up to date with the latest dog science and research. Let me know what you think of it!