Aah the joys of moving to a new home : packing, unpacking, meeting the neighbors, finding the nearest grocery store, the fastest route – and all of a sudden you dog starts to get new and unwanted behaviors on their front row! If you think about it, it is pretty easy to understand why our dogs start acting differently when the family moves – the daily routines are off, the yard is different, the layout of the house is not the same, and dogs need time to adapt to everything that has changed.
In addition to some dogs taking more time to adapt than others, new opportunities often come up which can be the source of new problematic behaviors. Let’s say the old house was in the end of a secluded street, but the new house is on a busy street and has a big bay window that your dog found the perfect place to begin window barking at everything walking by. The new house lacks the huge yard that he has always played in and now he is degrading inside because he has no other outlet for all that energy. Or let us say that he started fighting the dogs with the dog on the other side of the fence at the new home where that was not an issue in the old house. These are just a few examples of environmental factors that contribute to new behavior problems.
There are also some general tips that can help minimize the development of behavioral issues.
- Apply any proper management skills immediately. In other words, don’t let the dogs have a week of no supervision and chaos while you unpack and adjust to things yourself. The dogs take notes and learn what works and what doesn’t work from the very first moment they step out of the door.
- Reflektor and refresher work in your training. Even if your dog has an off-leash recall, put them on a long line and begin with some more foundation work before resuming off-leash privileges.
- Limit opportunities for questions to arise Instead of stifling a window or fence argument after it begins, you can go back and crate your dog when you are not home so that the behavior doesn’t even develop.
- Tie your boundaries and structure tighter. Don’t give your dog free reign of the new home from the start – they must earn it in the last home so that they may earn it in the new home too. Also, do some extended stay on a place board, just maintaining skills can place the dog in the right state of mind in this new location.