Moving with Dog

We recently moved! A couple of months ago, we stumbled across our dream home. Within days we were buying a new home while preparing to sell our old home. Lucky for us, the buying and selling went off without a hitch. Moving was a different story.

If you’ve moved as much as I have, you’ve learned to plan for the unplanned. This is especially true when moving with dogs. Moving is hard on us but it’s also hard on our four-legged pals.

If I think about it from my dog Hope’s perspective, moving probably felt a little like being abducted. But with all her stuff. One night she’s asleep in her usual place with the usual smells and sounds. And the next night, BAM! She’s in a completely unfamiliar place with unfamiliar smells and sounds. But she’s also surrounded by all her familiar stuff!

Hope has vacationed with us in cabins before but I could tell this felt different. The cabins are filled with new-to-her stuff that provide endless sniffing opportunities. There is something novel and temporary about cabins. I’m guessing our new home felt novel but not temporary.

We are seven weeks into the new home and Hope has settled in. I can’t say the same for all the boxes I tucked away in vacant rooms that I have yet to unpack. Hope has found her favorite sunbathing spots. She’s also begun exploring the cacophony of smells in our wooded few acres.

Sure, there were some annoying setbacks with our move. Those will make good stories for another post. Overall, I’d say this has been my best move with a dog yet. Here are some of the things that helped make this move with dog as smooth as possible:

  • Consistent schedules: we kept Hope’s schedule as consistent as possible before and after the move.
  • By appointment-only: we allowed house showings by appointment only AND made sure to take the pup with us instead of leave her behind with strangers.
  • Plan ahead of time: we arranged for Hope to stay at her usual boarding place during the actual move. This required booking the dates ahead of time.
  • Board the dog during the chaos: we made sure Hope stayed away at boarding the day of our big move and the day after. We wanted to make sure we were done running back and forth between both houses before we picked her up.
  • Invest in baby gates: I relied on baby gates to keep Hope out of rooms I didn’t want her in. Pro tip: buy them cheap & buy more than you think you need. You can always return the ones you don’t use later!
  • Create consistency from day 1: we made sure that Hope’s eating, sleeping and play places were all predetermined and easy for her to understand in the new house.
  • New house, old rules: we stuck to the same rules as we had in the old house, because… consistency!
  • Remain flexible & patient: when an old behavior problem started up again and when a new nuisance behavior arose, we remembered that it’s not because she’s a bad dog or plotting to take over! Setbacks were bound to happen and that’s okay! (We’ll talk about this in a future post)
  • Go back to basics: we stuck to our positive reinforcement (R+) guns and went back to basics when necessary. Proactive management of problem behavior and lots of click/treats for replacement/desirable behavior.

What are some of the things that help you manage big transitions and changes in your dog’s life?

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