Sunday, May 27, 2012

Relocating your Pup

Relocation: How to Get Your Furry Friend Through the Move

Moving to a new home in a new neighborhood can be a daunting experience – for both your human family and your furry companions. Helping your dog adjust to new surroundings, new neighbors, new street sounds, and totally new area boundaries may mean retraining in certain basic commands until your pup feels totally comfortable in her new yard and begins to respond to your voice. Depending on her personality, this type of retraining can take anywhere from several days to several weeks.

Moving Day Stress

The stress of packing everything up and moving can be overwhelming for your dog. Try to keep her away from the comings and goings of moving men, packing boxes, and open doors by placing her in a closed-door room away from the foot traffic. Give her some water and food and place her bedding in the room to make her feel safe.

When you get to your new house, do exactly the same thing. Find a nice, quiet room away from all the noise and people, and allow her to just relax. Once all the boxes and suitcases are inside, let her out into her new home to explore. Remember to keep the doors and windows closed until she settles in. You don’t want her running out the door into unfamiliar territory where she can get lost or hit by a car.

Your New Yard

If your new yard is unprotected, or has underground dog fences, you’ll need to put your pup on her collar and leash to take her outside to “do her business” the first few times until you get the parameters set up on your property. Letting her out on her own without protection can lead to trouble.

Go back and test your basic training commands – “sit,” “stay,” and “come” – while she is on a leash inside your new yard. If you have continued working with her as she has matured, she’ll remember those commands wherever she is and will respond appropriately.

If she appears distracted because of her new surroundings, reinforce that she needs to pay attention to you with your clicker and dog treats. DO NOT let her off-leash until she is responding quickly and appropriately every time you issue a command. Depending on her temperament and the amount of time you have spent on continuing education with your pup, this could take anywhere from 2 days to several weeks.

Once your hidden dog fence is up and running, set the training flags up around the perimeter just like you did in the beginning of her containment system training. Walk the boundaries of the area with your dog while she is on her leash and show her every flag, letting her look at it and smell it if necessary.

You will probably need to go back and re-establish your training with her until she knows where her new boundaries lie just like you did in the beginning. This training period should be much shorter however, since she already knows the consequences of moving beyond the underground dog fence.

Your New Neighborhood

Walk around the neighborhood with your dog as soon as possible so that she becomes familiar with all the sights, smells, and sounds of her new environment. If you see her becoming fearful or agitated, note whatever is grabbing her attention, and walk right past it. If you become nervous or frightened, she’ll pick up on your emotions through the tension in her leash and will respond in kind.

Don’t let her approach strange dogs or humans without first asking permission, and without checking out the body posture of the animal she might want to get to know. Notice if the new dog is staring or tense, or looks happy and ready to play. Even when the new dog looks friendly, keep your pup on her leash and close to you until you can determine if they will get along.

Time To Explore

Once you feel that your dog knows her yard boundaries and won’t cross them, you can let her off-leash to explore the territory on her own. You’ll need to stay in the yard with her the first few times to be sure she doesn’t cross the hidden dog fence line. As she becomes adjusted to her new surroundings and listens to your commands, you’ll be able to leave her alone in the yard for longer and longer periods of time.

Don’t Become Complacent

With proper training and continued reinforcement of that training, your pup should become quickly adjusted to her new home. However, remember that she is just a puppy, so staying diligent and watching over her like you would your human child can keep her safe from harm.

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