It's fall. Families are on the run, and dogs need to be, too.

Now that the kids have gone back to school, has Rover started barking at nothing, making occasional messes in the house, or chewing on the furniture?

It's not an uncommon situation, especially when mom and dad are also away from home, working all day.

"The family pet is probably getting less physical activity, mental stimulation, and one-on-one attention than he's been accustomed to over the summer," says professional dog trainer Nancy Dryden of the Best Friends Pet Resort in Gaithersburg, Md.

She suggests more exercise. "Leaving him outside in the yard all day is not exercise. He needs an active round of fetch, a long walk, or roughhousing with canine friends" in the doggy part of the park.

Regular training work with your dog can also help. "Even a few minutes a couple of times a day can be effective," says Stephanie Roberts, trainer at Best Friends in Marietta, Ga. "Dogs like to have a job. It doesn't have to be obedience practice. You can work on a trick, like lifting a paw. Whatever you do, be sure to reward him either with affection or a treat."


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