Helping Your Dog Deal with Change

For many people having a pet is like having another family member. We love them because they are loving and sensitive, and emotional. Because of those tings change can be really difficult for them.

Dogs don’t have the ability to speak words and tell us what they are feeling and why, so when there is a transition happening in the home it needs to be done in a way they can understand. They will likely be needy and need a lot of love and attention. If your dog is a rescued dog the reaction could be even greater.

                                                   Introducing a New Furry Friend

When you add a new pet to your family it can be an exciting time for you, but your dog may not be excited about it. If the dog is not eased into the new situtation it can cause behavior problemes.

You don’t want to just show up one day with a new dog and expect everyone to get along. There are some things you can do to make introductions go more smoothly.

Introducing Dogs

For example, make sure that you introduce your dogs to the other other pet in a neutral territory if possible. If its another dog you could go on a walk together around the block or even a local park would work well.
Make sure one person handles each dog on a leash. You need to remain calm and keep the leash loose to begin with so both dogs feel relaxed and calm.    And don’t force the dogs to interact but let them go at their own pace. Dogs will naturally want to sniff each other to get acquainted. Watch both dogs to look for distress.

Both dogs should be relaxed and have open mouths. If one or both dogs gets stiff, growls, or bares their teeth you will probably have aggression on one or both parts. At that point, separate the dogs and take a break before reintroducing.

Once you feel that the two dogs are relaxed and tolerating each other or are even friendly with each other, you can take them home together. At home, you can ease the transition by making sure that each dog has his own area maybe with a bed, food and a water bowl and toys.

You’ll also want to keep the dogs separated (crate training works very well) when you’re not home to supervise them. Crate training works well, and does not hurt them in any way. If your dog, or the new dog is not used to it you will need to train them to be. Be very patient because it can take dogs a few weeks get used to a new dog in the home, or for the new dog to get used to a new environment and feel at home.

Introducing  A  Dog To A Cat

If you are introducing a dog and a cat it will be harder to find a neutral place to go. When my husband and I were dating we introduced my dog to his 2 cats over time once we knew we were going to get married. They had their own room at his house, and he put up a kiddie gate every time I came over with Dusty. She was really curious and they were not so thrilled. But over time they got used to eachother and it was ok.

One thing I would do differently that I did not do when introducing our animals is to give Dusty a period of time to refresh on obedience skills. She is a pretty obedient dog, but when the cats came into the home she did not listen well. She was too enamured with having cats in the home LOL. She as anything but calm. That’s in her nature anyway, so you can only imagine.

Your dog and cat can become more familiar with each other’s scents through the door, or a doggie gate. Then you can start to introduce them in the same room keeping your dog on a leash. Provide both your dog and cat with their favorite treats when you introduce them, and keep the introductions brief to start. Eventually, you can leave the door open and let your cat roam if they are comfortable. If they are not comfortable keep the doggie gate up until they are.

Cats are very good at hiding when they feel threatened. Don’t force your cat to come out. Wait until they are ready. Continue to work with your dog on leaving the cat alone so that it can feel safe.

When you’re not home, keep your dog and cat separated until you’re sure that the two are comfortable with each other. Eventually your cat and dog may become the best of friends, but at the very least they’ll learn to tolerate each other.

Adjusting to a Move

Moving is stressful for even the most organized families and that stressful energy can be passed on to your dog and cat. Moving to a new environment really doesn’t usually bother a dog but it will a cat. Your dog is most concerned about being with you wherever you are. It can also be stressful for a dog to have a big change in routine and to travel for a long period of time.

Moving For Dogs

There are a few things you can do, though to ease this transition. First, try to keep your dog’s schedule as regular as possible. That means feeding, playing, and exercising at the same times. Also take extra time to re-assure your dog that he is ok. If you have a bed or crate that your dog really loves continue to provide that comfort for him. Your dog may feel much more relaxed having his bed in the back of the car if a larger dog, or traveling in her crate if a smaller dog. It all depends on what they are used to.

When you get to your new place, create an area where your dog will sleep and eat. Make sure he has some of his favorite toys and treats to help him settle in. By using the things that they are familiar with, your dog will settle in the nnew enviromnment more quickly. But don’t be surprised if he follows you around kinda clingy for awhile. He wants to be sure you are going to be there.

As much as possible, watch your own energy levels. Try to be calm. Your dog will be less stressed if you stay calm. It’s pretty normal for a dog to skip a meal or two during the process of traveling and moving. And then he will be fine. Their security lies in your bieng around.

Moving With Cats

Moving with cats is not as easy as dogs. They need to be left in the environment they are used to as long as possible. Then move them at the last minute. They dislike change much more than dogs. They are not as flexible as dogs are to bieng moved to different places.

When we moved across town the cats cried the entire 45 minutes. They did not want treats either. Our nerves were on their last thread by the time we got to our new house. Once we got them into the house and their own room they were quiet and hid for a week before they attempted to come out. The only thing they came out from their hiding place for were for food and water and to go to the bathroom.

As long as you are aware of the needs of your pets for new situations, you can help ease them in and have a smooth transition.

Please feel free to leave  comments or questions below !

Linda Rinne

Linda Rinne is a looong time Dog Lover ! She is not a veterinarian, but has researched solutions for simple to more difficult health ailments over the years to provide the best quality natural care for her dogs. She has also helped her family and friends care for their dogs as well.