Moving houses can be intimidating for anyone. Have you ever thought of how it would be for a dog? Moving a home, a fundamental place of warmth and comfort, is a very disconcerting thing for anyone who has gotten used to a way of life. But it gets harder with dependents. If the dependent is a child or an adult, a reasonable dialogue may ensue. If your dependent is your dog, then you are dealing with an individual who does not get the concept of ‘moving’. Dogs make a den and unless they perceive a threat they don’t see the need to re-den. Given the unlikelihood of your dog having perceived any threat in your current living arrangement, convincing the dog that a move is even on that cards is a tall ask.
We are moving house. In our case, we knew what we were in for. So we wanted to spare our dogs the stress of watching movers and packers in action. Don’t get me wrong. Watching their clockwork like precision is quite fascinating. But for a dog, who is at this point basically taken completely off guard, to have someone come in take all their belongings, box it, take all their humans’ belongings, box it and take it all away is utter madness! Some dogs may even get aggressive in an attempt to stop the sudden depletion of resources. So in our case, while one of us oversaw the packing and moving, the other was with the dogs — away from all of this.
We moved by 5 pm, or at least moved enough to call it a day and relax with a calming beverage of choice. Unfortunately for our dogs, the adventure had just begun. After spending a day at a friend’s place, they were brought into a home that is not theirs, that smells strange with a hint of aromas of their things and big boxes towering everywhere.
They came in, inspected everything and then were quite done. They had pleading expressions on their faces, “Please take us home now. We are done here. We would like to go home and relax with a drink of water in our bowls, in our home.” It was heart wrenching to watch their faces. They barely ate. Most of the night they kept checking on us to see if we would make plans to leave and go ‘home’!
To add to this, they need to be freshly toilet trained.
Most pet parents discount this. Habits have to be rebuilt. Most habits can wait. But toilet training has to happen soon. Lack of certainty in use of toilets adds immensely to stress in dogs. But intense stress makes bowel movements irregular, making toilet habits irregular and harder to train. The first few days are hard.
A stressed dog poses many risks. In a moment of complete oblivion, our cook left the main door open. After watching the open door for a while, the dogs decided they could take this no more and had to head out. They went out, found a spot of lawn to relieve themselves and headed back. But not all dogs and people get as lucky. These are follies of stress. Hence the extra emphasis on settling things down soon after a move. The sooner we get there, the sooner we will be closer to having a normal life. So wish the Tiggy-Nishi household some luck in achieving this and write to me if you are in a similar situation.