How to prepare your dog for kids going to college

by | Dog Care |

The transition from summer into a school semester can be hectic for everyone involved – but what about our animals? How do they feel about their best friend going off to college? In this blog we share tips on how to prepare your dog for kids going to college. 

What’s the big deal with change? 

This past year has certainly been different for both humans and our companion animals. After the year we’ve had, many people are spending more time at home with their dogs than usual. This means the transition of returning to school will likely be an adjustment for both humans and the family dog.  So, why is it important to prepare your dog for kids going to college?

Changing up a dog’s routine could lead to stress, or separation anxiety. If the student in your household is typically very involved in your dog’s routine and care, it’s a good idea to start discussing who’s going to be taking over the responsibilities while they are away at school. Here are some tips to help with a smooth transition. 

Figure out a new walking and feeding arrangement  

Start by having the family member who will be responsible for walking and feeding the dog join the student for walks. After doing this for awhile, try walking alone with the dog so that the dog gets used to his or her new walking buddy.  

If feeding times are going to be adjusted, try shifting the dog’s schedule by small increments over a few days. You can also slowly transition from your student to another family member during feeding times if someone else will be taking over that responsibility. More on changing feeding time, here. 

Organize a new sleep routine  

back to school, pets for kids going to collegeIs your dog used to sleeping in the same room as the student heading to college? Your new routine may need to involved crating or sleeping in a different room. 

If your new routine will involve crating, you can start by getting your dog used to being in the crate during the day. Be sure to provide lots of enrichment and positive reinforcements when doing so. You can then try crating the dog in the student’s room for the first few nights. This way, they can get used to sleeping in the room in a crate when the student is gone. More crate training tips here. 

Your dog’s new sleeping routine might not involve a crate but instead involves sleeping in a different room without the student. In this case, move their bed to this spot during the day so that they can adjust to the new space. Over time, when the dog becomes comfortable being in the new room, try leaving them there for a few hours at night alone before the student returns to school. This will help them adjust to the new arrangements gradually and help them feel more secure.  

It’s time to play!  

Whether the student in your house was the most active with your dog or not, physical activity and enrichment are important to maintain during this transition. Along with these benefits, one of the best ways to build a new relationship with a dog is by having playtime and training sessions together. Be sure to pair this with quality quiet time with the dog as well, so that playtime and quiet time both have positive associations.  

When it’s time for the student to return to school, keeping the dog distracted with their new routine of walks, treats for positive reinforcement, and playtime and enrichment. Remember – starting this process early will help ensure a happy dog at home!  

With these tips, we hope you and your furry friend will have a smooth transition as you prepare your dog for kids going to college! 


For every animal you save

For every animal you save, every animal who feels loved in their last moments, and for everything else you do; thank you and God Bless.