Monday, April 8, 2013

Changing Spaces

Moving to a new home is stressful for everyone. There’s so much to do and really sometimes our pets don’t get the attention they need to transition smoothly. I recently moved our crew to a new home so I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

All dogs will handle moves differently. Some are laidback and after the first 10 minutes are settled right in. Other dogs can take months to get use to all the changes. If possible take your dog to the new home or neighbourhood before the move to go for a walk and get use to the smells.

Also consider whether you are changing out rules for your dog. For example our new home has a dog run so we’ve gone from allowing the pups to use the yard for their business to asking them to walk across the yard to designated doggy area. This adds to anxiety and stress but can be managed depending on your dog. If your dog has a hard time with change then don't try to do everything all at once.

In addition to rule changes and a complete environment change we also threw out some old furniture and bought a new couch. This does affect the dogs as well so we tried to minimize it by throwing out the old furniture a week before the actual move.

Some things to keep in mind:
  • Continue to exercise your dog and if possible increase your exercise regime
  • Consider using a crate for your dog beforehand and after the move. This gives your dog a space that is his/hers and it doesn’t change. Their dog bed should not be washed right before or after a move. The smells are important to your best friend.
  • Use bones and stuffed kongs to give your dog an activity that helps relieve stress.
  • Monitor your dog for signs of stress that include: off his/her food, loose stool, panting, difficulty in relaxing or settling down
  • Consider using DAP, a thunder shirt, rescue remedy, calming music or even good old lavender to help relieve some anxiety
  • Try to relax yourself. Dogs do pick up on the moods of their owners and may need to be reassured by you. Stay calm, relaxed and take a walk together.

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