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  • Writer's pictureToby

Dogs and Change

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Our lives are constantly changing... Human births, deaths, marriages, moving house, children growing up and moving out (or moving back lol), new animals arriving, older or sick animals passing away, new Vets, new vehicles, new friends, new work hours and the list goes on.

There is so much change occurring around us all the time that we often even don't give it a second thought. Change can affect our animals in profound ways. It is not a 'given' that your dog will automatically cope with change, particularly if his/her life has worked around routine up until now and/or if you have a fearful dog. Even a confident dog can have trouble when major adjustment is required. We know that too many changes at once can have a profound effect on the mental and emotional well-being of humans so why would it be any different for our dogs? They are, after all, sentient beings. It will be important to stop and think about how any major change might affect your dog and determine ways to make the transition easier.

  • Where possible, try to keep things as 'normal' as you can.

  • Try not to overload with lots of new stimuli at once. Many of our dog's senses surpass those of humans so sensory overload is not uncommon. If you are feeling overloaded, your dog is probably even more so. Prepare a safe quiet place for your dog to get away if he/she wants to.

  • Allow your dog time to explore new areas gradually- over weeks, not hours.

  • Extended sniffy walks on a long line guided by your dog in new areas are far more beneficial than walking to heel, and will help to reduce stress levels.

  • Let your dog develop a relationship with new people/animals over months, don't expect it to happen overnight and don't force them to engage immediately. Effective change takes time.

  • Space and choice are important. Engage a professional to help with preparation for major changes if you need to.

  • Purchase some natural calming remedies for your dog (s) or discuss anti - anxiety options with your Vet.

  • Know your dog's body language and watch for signs of stress. Often dogs who look like they are coping and not reacting are shut down and suppressing their real feelings. Dogs who can't stop moving and look like they are 'having fun' are often very stressed and don't know how to self soothe.

Even a little bit of forethought and planning can go a long way to helping your dog adapt to change... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Toby xx Have a great day, Toby x



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