Dog Lifestyle, Pets and Family

7 Ways Dogs Can Help With the Back-to-School Transition

girl in red dress hugging mom before getting on school bus with a dog watching on

Alas, it is back to school time, which has always seemed strange when days are still long, the sun is shining bright, and it always seems like it still comes too fast.  There are several things to consider at back-to-school time, new clothes, new backpacks, and school lunches, and how to fit everything into a routine again. Hence, we thought we would remind dog-loving families that your dog is there to help with the back-to-school transition with these 7 ways dogs can help with the back-to-school transition. Back to school time and dogs go hand and hand!

7 Reasons We Love Dogs and Need Them At Back To School Time


Dogs Can Help Everyone Wake Up Earlier  


You may have gotten used to sleeping in just a bit and pushing your pup away when morning comes to catch a few extra zzzs but now that you need to be somewhere and be punctual you need to let your dog do his alarm clock thing and wake everyone up.  


At least you don’t have to be the bad guy doing it!

rat terrier and a great Pyrenees in bed with a child waking him up

Ruby and Dozer provide very accurate alarm clock services


Help Brains Get Active and Wake Up  


Pups need a morning walk (see Back to School Tips for Your Dog).  They need to relieve themselves and get any energy out in preparation for a long day without their family but at the same time, such a walk does the walker good and can make their brain wake up and prepare them to learn!  


As CNN reported, One study exposed subjects to bright lights after wakening and found it increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, sort of an internal alarm system. To respond to stress, cortisol increases glucose in your bloodstream and enhances your brain’s use of those sugars.  


small dog with on a walk with its owner in bright pink shoes on a walk on pavement Another study exposed subjects to bright white light when they woke up and found alertness improved dramatically.


Ease School Anxiety


As the Mind Child Institute Reported, back to school prompts a spike in anxiety: Even kids who are usually pretty easy-going get butterflies, and kids prone to anxiety get clingier and more nervous than usual. Parents feel the pain, too: Leaving a crying child at preschool or at the school gate isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. 


With a dog pal there to comfort both parent and child anxiety can be significantly reduced and alleviated.  In our article Can Pets Alleviate Anxiety and Depression we noted that pets can help with depression and anxiety by reducing high states of anxiety, helping people establish social interactions and connections, and acting as a buffer in social situations that might feel uncomfortable.  All issues may be the source of certain school-related anxieties.  

Having your family pet with you when you say goodbye at the front gate may be supportive and ease anxiety.


Welcome Home Party


small spaniel dog and little girl smiling outsideThere is nothing better than walking through the door and greeting your best furry friend who is over the moon excited to see you.  All dog lovers have been there.  Imagine coming home from a long day of school and getting a warm greeting from your beloved pal.  The stresses of a new routine are quickly left behind, for a few moments at least.


Homework Help


With back to school comes homework which can be a huge adjustment but when you have a homework partner all is so much better. 

child reading a book on the floor with a small fuzzy and cute dogNot only is there anecdotal evidence that homework and learning is better with a dog (like much of everything else!) but a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis confirmed that children who read to a dog really do perform better. Young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent over the course of a 10-week program, while children in the same program who didn’t read to dogs showed no improvement.


Lose the Bullies


Outright physical bullying seems to have been near eradicated in most schools and not tolerated as in the past.  Where I recall that I would have been in a world of hurt without an older brother or sister to protect me but still approximately 19% of students Nationwide in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property reported Stop Bullying.


The presence of a dog may reduce school jitters by making kids feel safe and may make bullying or the thought of being bullied, which can cause anxiety in and of itself, disappear.  


Make that First Day of School Picture Way Better


A girl and a boy standing on steps holding a first day of school sign with a dog for first day of school pictureOur photo memories are stacked with the first day of school photos that lack the ingenuity and creativity of any other photo taken.  However, it occurred to me that a back-to-school photo with a pup can add to that photo that lacks creativity and make it even cuter.  


We know our pups pretty much make everything better even something like back to school!  

Check out more dog fun in Motherpuppin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s a tongue-and-cheek but informative guide to navigating life with your dog.