When we moved into our new home a few years ago, everyone was delighted with the new environment.
Everyone that is, except the dog.
We had assumed that our dog would be happy to be just where we were, and would adjust rapidly to the new home, but unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. In fact, our five-year-old terrier went into a depressed state, and mostly stayed in our windowless mudroom where he moped about and slept. He didn’t even really want to eat and we had to bribe him with liberal amounts of goodies to restart his appetite.
When I took him few weeks later on a visit to the house we had moved out of, which we were cleaning up to put on the market, he was very agitated, and unhappy, and wanted nothing more than to get back in the car. I had thought he would be happy to roam about his old garden and chase a few squirrels, but that turned out not to be the case. I had to cut short my plans of cleaning in order to take my very confused hound home.
During the first few weeks I spent a lot of unplanned time with our dog, petting him, talking to him, making him come out of the mudroom, and taking him for frequent walks through the new neighborhood even in inclement weather. It took about two months before he had once again returned to his normal happy, and goofy personality. The side effect of this has remained; he has become a complete mama’s boy and will always be in my vicinity, although the fact that I do the cooking may have something to do with it as well.
Talking to our customers I learned that this was not an unusual reaction and that other people had noticed a similar temporary personality change in their pet.
Here are a few tips when you make a move.
1. On the day of the actual move ask a friend to keep your dog at their home. The cat may be best kept in her carrier for a few hours. If you cannot ask someone to watch your dog, then be sure to crate or kennel it. Under no circumstances leave them unsecured, even an older dog may get unnerved and spooked with the goings on as they watch people literally take their house apart.
2. Once in the new location, keep your pets secured until all the doors are closed after the last of the boxes and furniture have been brought in. If you let your cat out of her carrier, you may consider doing it in a locked room, and letting her get used to that one room first. Make sure familiar items are in the room for her, and of course water and food and her litter box. Even if your dog is normally well behaved off the leash and not given to straying, he is at risk in the new location. Keep them leashed for the first few weeks if you have no fence.
3. Your animals may initially display signs of depression; they may be clingy, or avoiding interaction. Take your dog on plenty of walks, and make sure the kids don’t pester them, but are kind and patient. Resume your old routine and your furry family members will soon settle in. Some suggestions I have read say that cats should be introduced to the new residence a room at a time, some say to make sure to let her know where the litterbox and food are and then let her get used to the house on her own pace even if that means you don’t see her for a few days as she stays hidden under a bed.
4. Resist the urge to buy them a new pet bed etc to match with the new décor as soon as you move in, they need familiarity more than anything at this point, and you can upgrade their beds once they have settled in.
Do you have some additional tips and ideas you’d like to share? Put them in the comments!
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