When your dog hates his new home
Moving is tiring. Whether you’re bouncing from off-campus apartment to a condominium to a new home, there’s a lot involved — signing leases or closing paperwork, meeting the new landlord or neighbors, hiring movers or renting a truck, and packing up all your belongings or giving them away on Craigslist. You’ve checked all of these jobs off of your to-do list but forgot one of the most important parts of the move: your dog.
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To those of you who were stuck in leases or closing on homes before you knew that coronavirus was coming — who knew in January what May would look like? — that’s yet another obstacle to add to your list (and your dog’s). But for those of you who are still in the early moving stages (80 percent of the 40 million people who move each year do so between March to September), now is as good of a time as any to make your dog part of the moving process.
Find out just how strict that no-pet policy is. In one of my first apartments, no dogs were allowed. So I was confused about why my neighbor had a dog, who I saw her walking constantly. It turns out that that dog was grandfathered in before the rules changed. When my neighbor got sick and hurt her leg, another neighbor in the building volunteered to walk her dog. He did it for more than two months before her daughter could move in with her. While no sane person wants to be the NextDoor snooper in their building, they do have one advantage. They have a general understanding of where the dog lovers are in their immediate area and how their neighbors will react to pets.
Let your dog come with you during final inspections and walkthroughs. If the inspector hates dogs, don’t bring your pup. You’ll only get in the inspector’s way and make the multi-hour inspection that much longer. But if the inspector is down (or the landlord), bring the dog so he can start sniffing around. Dogs can be pretty crotchety about new places once they’ve broken the old one in. And chances are pretty high that your dog will already want to know why your last place was flooded with boxes, making it harder for him to move around.
Bring your dog’s favorite plush home, dog camping tent or dog bed. A safe haven should make the process much easier. If you’ve got a dog camper buried in the back of your closet or a pet bed sitting in the middle of the floor, bring it along. Dog owners constantly bring those to my home when I’m dog boarding. It gives dogs a familiar place to go if they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Walk around the neighborhood so your dog knows the area. In the handful of times I’ve had a not-so-great experience as a dog walker or dog boarder, it has more often than not been an issue with the dog owner and rarely the dog. But in the few times in which it was the dog, there were three things that happened — the adopted dog was terrified that someone was taking him back to the pet kennel, the dog was not used to walking a new route or the dog despised neighborhood dogs. Let that dog get acclimated to the area fairly quickly. Even if you just drive over to the new neighborhood solely to walk the dog, that’s enough.
Be even nicer to your dog than you already are. I used to be a stickler about dogs being on my bed. That was not the kind of household I grew up in. There was a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog who changed my mind. (There is only one other dog who could ever compete with her as my favorite dog of 76, if you exclude my own two dogs.) Dogs weren’t allowed in my condo at the time, so if I had to grab something on our walk, I would race in and race out. She got used to coming to my place, running and running out, and knew what the drill was. That didn’t stop her from sniffing around and seeing what all the rooms looked like.
Fast-forward one year and my condo association agreed to relax the rules on pets. The first time I boarded this same dog, she already knew what my place was like. She ran right in and I didn’t hear from her anymore. I peered around the doors, wondering why it was so eerily quiet. I found her laying on the crochet cover on my bed, like she’d been gunning for the opportunity to get there on all of our speedy visits. I started to tell her to get off, but this was her first visit into my home on a permanent basis (for a few days). I let her poke her head around everywhere. She found one of my couches far more comfortable and stayed there the whole visit. It became her favorite spot.