It’s 10:00 AM on moving day. Your furniture is piled up against the walls, ready to be haphazardly shoved into your friend’s 1993 Dodge van that smells like Chef Boyardee. You’re grumpy because your breakfast cereal has been boxed, taped, and removed until it is nothing but a distant memory. Your boyfriend’s gruff demeanor implies he has somehow gained 20+ years’ experience in the moving industry, and perhaps you have the joy of watching him strut around in one of those bra-like moving girdles. Your knuckles bear the scars of a tape gun’s perfidious teeth, your spirit a crumpled shell from a week’s worth of realizing you have too much stuff.
And then there is your dog.All animals like having a safe space to nestle and call their own Click To Tweet
Like a panting Mona Lisa, he watches your every move. He’s attuned to you, his beloved and godly owner. He has watched for a week as you’ve made the apartment unrecognizable, packed up everything he owns (a.k.a. your stuff), and broken any semblance of a daily routine around which he based his life. The smell of cardboard is 5,000 times stronger to him than it is to you. His rug is gone. His sofa is cushionless, the full-length mirror where that other dog endlessly mocks his every move is blocked by boxes.
You’re busy, but you’re also conscientious, and you don’t want your best friend to be anxious for days on end. How do you handle a move when you have a dog?
1) Crate Training
If you crate your dog, get him used to going in and out of his crate before you move. This will not only make your life easier, but will establish that routine with the dog before he’s in a new place. Although some dogs are resistant to their crates at first, they are animals who like having a safe space to nestle and call their own. Eventually, it will be as much a part of their routine as eating and sleeping.
2) “We used to have a yard, and our new place doesn’t!”
Fear not! Plenty of people don’t have yards, and it won’t take long to accustom your dog to not having one. Start walking him on leash for potty breaks. It may take a bit to get him used to the idea and the purpose, as well as those ubiquitous commands “go pee-pee!” or “go poo-poo!” or whatever else you shamelessly shout in front of passersby. There will be a lot less pandemonium if he has already started to view the potty walk as routine.
3) Routine & structure
Speaking of routine, your dog’s sweet little world revolves around consistency, structure, love, and food. Tighten up the dog’s structure and make things more rigid leading up to the move. Morning walk, followed by breakfast, playtime a couple of times a day, cozy time before bed, etc. Adjusting to your new place won’t be so hard on him if the overall envelope of things remains the same, and he will feel confident relying on you for leadership and safety.
4) Introduce him to the neighborhood
This doesn’t necessarily mean having him shake hands with the neighbors, but if possible, bring him to the new neighborhood and take him on a walk. Dogs have an amazing capacity for remembering places, and being familiar with a place with lower his anxiety level a great deal. If you can’t get to the new neighborhood to walk him beforehand, do so when you first arrive.
5) Anxiety and the “place” command
If your dog is prone to anxiety, have him hold a “place” command instead of pacing around. By having him focus on staying in one place, you are putting him in a calm state of mind. It works wonders.
6) Let your dog explore
When the time is right, let your dog explore the new place! He will feel far more comfortable after he has inspected every nook and cranny of his new home.
As always, owning a dog is a rewarding and taxing endeavor. If you simply don’t have time to train your dog, be sure to check out our Charlottesville Dog Board and Train Program. It’s the perfect fit for anyone seeking to save time while having their dog trained using humane training techniques. Your canine companion will spend one or two weeks with Jennifer, and when they come home, you’ll be delighted at their amazing new skills. Interested in scheduling an evaluation to get started? Click here.
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