Coronavirus has made one group of us happy: dogs! Most of us are now working remotely and walking the dog 10x more than we normally do. Check it out! Go outside with your dog to the park and you will see dozens of people all trying to overcome cabin fever but still social distancing themselves. So, we thought we’d share some helpful info on how to relocate when you have a dog in the family who will also be impacted by the move.
When Executive Arrangements assists families relocating to Northeast Ohio, we are focused on the candidate, their partner or spouse, and their children. We show them neighborhoods and schools as well as introduce them to people with similar interests. However, most of our recruits have pets and they often have a list of needs for this family member as well including veterinarians, boarding facilities, daycare, and groomers.
As a seasoned dog owner myself, I turned to my trusted dog trainer, Chris Ramsay of Shaker Hound Academy in Shaker Heights to talk about how to make a relocation work for your dog. Over the years, he has helped me train my three-year-old Samoyed to become a licensed therapy dog. He has also worked with our older Jack Russell rescue. Most recently, is helping us rehabilitate our two-year-old Samoyed, who was rescued from an Iowa puppy mill by the ASPCA along with 170 other dogs.
Here are Chris’ recommendations for how to transition your dog to a new community when you are relocating as the physical home space, the scents, the sounds, the neighborhood, your home/work schedule will all be new to them:
Get your dog(s) accustomed to their new space.
Have the dog on a leash for the first few days, next to you. Introduce them to rooms one at a time. They don’t need to see the whole house at first, and definitely not by themselves.Even a well house-trained dog can have an accident in a new house. All the excitement and all the distractions can delay their ability to tell you that they need to go out.
Reward dogs for the sounds they detect.
Reward dogs (with their food initially) for hearing all of the new sounds – sounds in the house, sounds from the neighbors, sounds from the neighborhood in general, people walking inside. You may find that the steam escaping from your new radiators, the train in the distance, the new mail carrier, or the neighbor’s vocal cat are all normal. But your dog may perceive these as totally foreign and “alert worthy.”
Slowly show your dogs their new neighborhood.
Introduce them slowly to the neighborhood as well. Start with your front yard or porch, rewarding the dog for everything they see and hear. If that goes well, go on a short walk down your street. Once again, rewarding the dog for everything they see and hear. If they do well at that, then start to travel farther and farther from the house.
A general rule of thumb that Chris uses with dogs in a new atmosphere is the rule of three. We evaluate the dog at three days, three weeks, and three months.
Three days – The dog gets a fair amount of leeway during this time. House-trained dogs may have accidents. Good sleepers may get up at night. All of this is normal.
Three weeks –A dog needs about this amount of time to figure out their new home (sounds, smells, family schedules…all of that). You may see different behavior around this point that you did not see before, because now the dog is more comfortable.
Three months – After about three months, the dog is most likely settled in and showing you truly how they feel about the new environment. Some dogs will go through the acclimation processes quickly (a few days), but many will take some time. Have patience and take it slowly. A dog’s senses are much more acute than ours. And processing all of the new stimuli can be quite overwhelming for our furry friends.
One last bit of advice is to join Chris and Keith Vaquera-Little (Sirius Strides Dog Training) at the weekly Shaker Heights Pack Walk, a free community dog walk at Horseshoe Lake Park in Shaker Heights. It starts at 10:00am every Saturday (rain or shine). It is also a very friendly community of people who come from all over Northeast Ohio to work with their dogs!
Executive Arrangements is happy to recommend local veterinarians, groomers, boarding/daycare facilities, and dog walkers when you or your candidates move to Northeast Ohio. For more information about our relocation services, give us a call at 216.231.9311 or fill out our contact form.