Dear Dr. Thompson: I am planning on moving in a couple of months to a different part of the town where I live. How hard is it for a dog to adjust to moving? I plan on downsizing from a large house to a condo.
There are a few things to consider as you make your transition. What are the surroundings that you will be exercising and walking through every day? Is he socialized well to other dogs, since he may be coming in contact with more pets in a concentrated area. He will need regular walking to get the exercise he needs. He may have had a yard to run through and now he will be restricted to leash walks. This drop in exercise can pack on some extra pounds and depending on his personality, his behavior might be adversely affected.
Dogs will vent pent up energy one way or another. If he is not having his exercise needs met some behavioral problems could crop up. Destructive chewing, digging and separation anxiety can all be manifestations of a dog who is not getting the routine exercise he is accustomed to. Make a concerted effort to get him outside for extended walks or playtime every day
Housetraining is not automatic either. Your dog is housetrained to the confines of your home. Once he steps outside the door all bets are off. People are shocked when their dog has an accident in a new home, having assumed the dog made the intellectual leap from one home to another. Keep him on a schedule until you know that he is trained to his new space and consider using a crate when you are away until you know how he will behave.
For the sake of your neighbors in a condo setting, you might be surprised by his actions when you are not at home. Does he bark all day at noises above or next-door? Will he miss having a perch or window to look out? These are all things to work out before you get into the new condo. A radio for background noise or leaving a TV on during the day may be necessary if he doesn’t have access to any environmental enrichment he was used to.
Most dogs are highly resilient and what are mountains to us are molehills to them. I’m sure he will make a smooth transition to his new surroundings. Now if you could only get him to unpack the boxes.
Questions for Dr. Gary Thompson can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to The Blade, Attn. Ask the Vet, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660. Dr. Thompson regrets that he cannot answer individual letters.
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