Separation Anxiety and Seasonal Enrichments

Today, my pets and I are mourning summer. As a parent of elementary-age children, summer is a breezy time with excessive foot traffic and constant interaction. Currently, though it’s not yet 9 a.m., the house is deathly quiet, and after packing lunch bags, surveying homework and taking my human puppies to the bus, I have little time for play.

Seasonal change is inevitable, this much I know. To prepare for it, we humans reorganize our wardrobe, modify our home décor, and reorient our schedules to meet the flow of new demands.

(Meet Dart, a puppy who is available for adoption at the SPCA in Briarcliff NY.

(Meet Dart, a puppy who is available for adoption at the SPCA in Briarcliff NY.

But what of our pets? While they may seem to do little to ready themselves by all outward appearances, don’t be fooled. Each one of them is mindfully aware of our seasonal transformations and is disposed to their own metabolic shifts.

Summer to fall is perhaps the sharpest contrast to recon with. Fall morphs many of us into scurrying beings, overtaken by busy schedules, afterschool programs and weekends filled with social obligations away from home.

Of course, as a dog trainer, this seasonal shift spells c-l-i-e-n-t-s, and plenty of them. Many dog lovers are mystified by their pets’ sudden behavioral swings and reactionary tendencies.

  • “Casey seems so happy and relaxed all summer at our summer cottage. We came home, and in one week he’s like a different dog! He’s barking his head off when we leave and scratches frantically on the door if we close him in the kitchen.”
  • “Rosy peed on my son’s bed last night and pooped in the living room right after I took her out this morning. She’s been totally house-trained for over a year!”
  • “Bosco, our 7-month-old, husky-mix, destroyed the couch. The couch! He’s been such a sweet and easy puppy until now. My husband is flipping out and wants to get rid of him, but honestly - he looks so sad. He hides when we come home now, and my husband is convinced he’s destroying things out of spite. Is he?”

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