What a fabulous day: International Dog Day. Our canine fur babies deserve a special day to themselves: they give us so much pleasure, so much loyalty.
I don’t know many dog owners who’d give up their furry friends for the sake of a cleaner house, less exercise and more freedom to go places. A few dog hairs really is a small price to pay for all of that unconditional love.
Dog Day was the brainchild of animal advocate and pet & family lifestyle expert, Colleen Paige. The day marks the anniversary of adopting her first family dog, Sheltie. It is now celebrated worldwide, and even written into legislation in New York.
Yet when it comes to moving or to reorganising and packing things to store, even the most loving of owners can sometimes forget that it affects their dogs too.
Any kind of disruption to routine is hard for a dog. It affects the brightest the most – they sense the changes, but, of course, don’t really understand what’s happening. Dogs crave routine and familiar behaviour. My own, for example, starts getting ready to walk or to bolt if I’m putting my shoes on. Unless accompanied by the immortal word ‘walkies’ there’s a strong chance that he’s going to be left alone in the house and we don’t see him for dust! Despite the fact that his routine after breakfast remains totally unchanged whether I’m there or not (water, dog biscuits, sleep, repeat), he doesn’t like me leaving without him.
So here are a few suggestions to help your Luna, Charlie, Cooper, Bella, Milo, Lucy, Bailey or Daisy cope with the disruption. (Yes, those are apparently amongst the most popular puppy names of 2021!)
Let the dog stay somewhere familiar or at very least safe while the move is happening. If doors are being opened and closed, routines are all over the place and there are strange people around, going into Doggy Day Care or having a sleepover with furry best friends may be kinder on your dog than expecting them to sit quietly amidst the chaos. If you’re using kennels (or trendy doggy hotels), find out what inoculations they need and plan for these in advance. You don’t want to have done all of your planning based on leaving them somewhere safe, only to find they won’t be accepted. Crate trained dogs have a bit of an advantage in this respect as they already know their crate and feel safe there. Whilst it’s never nice locking them in, it’s a short-term solution that’s often best for the dog.
Trying to maintain familiar routines will reduce stress for your dog. For example, keep to existing walking routines timewise. Even if you can’t do it yourself, make sure he or she has at least this bit of security. Look at how many times you bump into the same dog walkers and dogs when you’re out. Note how many ‘pee-mails’ your hound leaves for other dogs. You may not consciously notice what’s going on, but for your dog this is possibly the highlight of their day (perhaps a close second to dinner time!) On top of the confusion, you want them to miss out on this small bit of reassurance?
If you’re moving rather than just packing to store things, try to discuss this with your vet in advance, especially if a dog is afraid of the car or gets motion sickness. If you are moving abroad, the vet can also help with paperwork. Things have changed considerably with Brexit, and your dog’s freedom of movement has been restricted as well as yours. And if your dog is like mine and just loves cars (he will get into anyone’s given the chance), keep a firm eye on where (s)he is!
Again, if you’re moving, think about introducing your dog to their new home in the evening. Work will largely be done, and the smells of normality – your food cooking, for example - will help your dog relax. In their eyes you’re their pack leader, so staying calm and giving them extra fuss and attention will send a firm message that this is a great new place to be. Mostly they just want you, but I find favourite treats help too. My hound loves bones – he is so single-mindedly focussed when he has one that it would probably take World War Three to tear him away. This extra fuss should be saved for the new home when you have time for them. If you do it at the start of the process, just as the commotion of packing starts, it may actually throw them out and alert them to something happening. Normality, as much as possible, anyway, is your friend – and theirs.
We mentioned familiarity? Your dog’s nose is their window on the World. Packing up his/her things last of all and making sure they’re in the new home when the dog arrives will be reassuring for them.
Once you’re in your new place, and it’s secure, let your dog explore at leisure, going with them if you can. If it’s not secure, keep your dog on a lead until it is. They may not like it, but being tethered to you can give them a sense of security as long as you remain calm, and stop them running off and getting lost.
Dogs can be territorial, so once you’ve made you home secure for the dog, introduce them to their new neighbourhood gradually. If you can find time before moving to suss out the good walking spots and introduce these to the dog before the move, the stress for your pet will be considerably reduced.
Do things to reduce your own stress. Dogs seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to their owners being stressed. It can’t hurt either of you for YOU to plan exercise, eating well and staying calm over the move.
Keep small dogs away from packing boxes. For every so many cute pictures on social media of dogs getting into packing boxes, there’s a dog who’s ‘hiding’ has gone unnoticed.
Don’t leave children and dogs unsupervised together over a move. Both will be out of sorts and may act out of character. Whilst no-one’s going to put your child down for having a tizzy tantrum or hitting out because they can’t express their fears and frustrations at the move, sadly this could mean ‘curtains’ for a dog who reacts to a child hurting them, intentionally or otherwise.
Of course, if you’re putting things into storage whilst you move, at easyStorage we’d love you to consider us, especially as we can even pack for you if you need us to.
Unfortunately we can’t offer to dogsit, but you can get a no-obligation quote for storage here: storage quote.
Generally our prices are around half that of traditional storage, and we even collect and deliver back for you. Which has to be better for both you AND Luna, Charlie, Cooper, Bella, Milo, Lucy, Bailey or Daisy.
Happy Dog Day, and, of course, happy moving day, from all of us at easyStorage.
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