Although dogs generally love going on car rides, they may not feel the same about a 12-hour car ride, or a 7-hour flight in the undercarriage of an airplane. Before moving with your dog, you need to understand that pets, much like humans, are not always comfortable with drastic changes. Think about all of the nerves and thought processes that went into moving, and then consider the fact that your pet wasn’t involved in these decisions.
Before moving into your dream home, consider these three things:
- How drastic is the change and how may it affect him emotionally?
- Will he like the change and is it a good home for your pet, too?
- How will he be transported and how will that change your game plan?
Packing the House
“Sit” and “Stay” may not sit so well when your packing up his favorite tug-o-war toy and his dog bowls. Your dog naturally prefers stability: knowing that you’re coming home, knowing that you’re going to feed him after your dinner and knowing that is “Cooper’s bed” are all important in maintaining a positive relationship with your dog. So when packing up your home, try to keep some of his things available to be played with or eaten out of, until the last box is packed away. Try to offer your pup words of encouragement, and let him know that he is coming with you. By doing this, you will prevent your furry-love from feeling anxious.
Home is Where Your Dog is
Are you downsizing the yard? Will his arthritic hips be able to walk on the new hardwood floors? Are there aggressive dogs next door? All of these things need to be considered when choosing a house. Now, I am not saying to pass on the beautiful cherry-wood floors because your pup may have a hard time walking, but I am saying that you ought to consider getting your pup something that will help him adjust to the new floors, such as traction paw-booties.
Better Safe than Sorry
The best way to acclimate your pet during the move is to make sure he has plenty of space (at least enough to stand up and turn around) and plenty of food and water in his crate. Before the long haul, try carrying your pet around the house in the crate or taking short drives so that he can get used to being in the crate for a small amount of time. Try the best you can to associate good feelings with his crate, including providing treats or putting his favorite blanket or pillow in there with him. If traveling by air, be sure to follow all advanced planning and airline guidelines.
Cooper’s Move to Florida
Cooper and I moved for a short time to Florida last winter. This trip was a three-day adventure, complete with hundreds of ‘potty breaks’ and shared ice cream cones. Cooper was such a good boy the entire trip… however, to no fault of his own, in previous ‘car rides’ I had gotten Cooper into a bad habit. Cooper likes to ride shot gun on the driver side. This resulted in a three-day trip of Cooper on my lap the ENTIRE drive. That was definitely a bonding experience!