Moving from one house to another can be difficult enough without the added
complication of owning pets. Between constant house hunting, meetings with real
estate agents, and making your own house presentable, it’s easy to neglect pets during
this tumultuous period. But you aren’t the only one that’s under stress; changing locales can be even more stressful for your dog since they don’t understand what’s happening. You may not know this, but dogs love routine and consistency, and obviously nothing is routine or consistent about moving. To keep your pets calm and under control throughout the whole process, try following these tips.
For Selling a House
When selling a house, it’s critical that your house is presentable. You will need to make any necessary repairs, mow the lawn, and clean every surface. It’s even advisable to
move the furniture around to open up the house and give it a feeling of being larger. In many instances, it’s also advisable to stage your home, which can mean putting away
clutter, photos, and anything that can be off-putting to a potential buyer. This also means getting the pooches out of the way. Potential buyers will not only be put off by the
presence of dogs, but the sheer existence of them in a home implies damage to some
people. Buyers can come through a home at just about any time, so it’s also important
to make sure to keep your dog entirely out of the home when you have an expected
showing. Also, depending on what breed of dog you have, there could be tumbleweeds of dog fur blowing throughout the house.
The downside of selling your home is that it adds a lot of stress and pressure for your
beloved dog. The best way to help her cope with the changes is to continue with a
regular routine, give lots of extra attention, and provide plenty of walks. Although it will be impossible to keep a routine and remain consistent, there are some ways to try and
keep the disruptions minimal.
Discuss with your realtor your concerns about your pets. Chose only certain days to
show your house, or request a 24-hour advanced notice for all showings. Although this will not eliminate the stress for you or your pups, it will give everyone time to make a
plan. You can then take them for a long walk or drive or out to get some ice cream! Most showings do not last longer than an hour, just enough tie to have some fun.
If possible, you can have one person take the pups out, about 15 minutes before the
showing, while another person stays behind to clean the windows and sweep up the fur tumbleweeds! You may want to keep the dog toys out as well as the dog beds, this
would be a good time to stow them.
An open house is a different story though, they usually last 2-3 hours. If possible, you
might want to plan to have your pups stay at doggie daycare for that day or someone
else’s house. Try to have them stay somewhere they know, so it doesn’t seem too
While House Hunting
As stated above, you should let your real estate agent know if you have a dog, so they
understand you have different considerations and requirements for your new home.
Also, keep your dog in mind when you’re searching for a new house. After all, this will
be their new home, too. Two of the most important elements for your dog will be a yard and the location. Is the yard fenced? Do you need a fence? Can you, legally, install a
fence? If you are buying a house in a subdivision, they may have a Home Owner’s
Association (HOA). The HOA, or the town, may have restrictions on fences. It also helps to scout out the surrounding area when looking at a potential new house. Are there
walking paths nearby? Is there a dog park nearby? Are there other dogs in the
neighborhood? Don’t forget to look for local veterinarians and emergency veterinary
If you have older dogs, you may want to look for a one-story home, or one with
minimal stairs. It is also important to consider the type of flooring in the new house. Some dogs have a hard time walking on tile or hardwood floors.
For Moving In
There are a few effective ways to prepare a dog for the big move. Getting them to spend some time inside a crate each day, if they aren’t accustomed to it, can make them more cooperative moving day arrives. However, if you do not normally crate your dog, do not add this to the routine, it will likely just stress your pup out more. Another useful trick
is to choose a distinctive scent, then spread the scent all around your home. Once it’s
time to make the move, and before the dog arrives, spread that same scent all
throughout the new home. This will ease the dog into her new surroundings. You can
also make the dog more comfortable by simply immersing them in it. Bring the dog to
the new neighborhood to take walks and let them get used to the local smells and
During the move, it might be a good idea to, again, bring your pups to doggie daycare
or a familiar friend during move out and move in day. This will at least limit the
disruptions. Although it will take a while to fully move in, one of the first things you
should do is put out their favorite toys or their dog beds. Walk them around the house
and show them where everything is, including their dog bowls.
If you were able to take your pup on walks around the area before you moved in, he
should already be familiar with some of the scents and sounds. Start up a routine again, whether it is the same routine or a new one. You want to bring routine and consistency back to them as soon as possible.
Dogs are very resilient and adaptable, but always be considerate of canine companions when a move is on the horizon. It’s an important aspect of being a considerate dog owner. Keep the dog’s needs in mind throughout the entire process, from the moment you
put your house on the market until the moment you move into the new one. By doing
so, the whole process will be much less stressful for everyone.
Cindy Aldridge and Michelle Turner
Occasionally when I am searching the internet for something, I come across an article about the 10, 20, 30, 100, whatever number, smartest dog breeds. I must admit, I always look to see where my dogs rank. My German Shepherd is usually in the top three of whatever list, and my Great Pyrenees is usually somewhere towards to bottom. Ok, that’s a lie; my Great Pyrenees usually isn’t even on the list unless it is a long list (I recently found the Great Pyrenees at number 64, not too shabby!) However, and I hate to admit this, I searched for the world’s dumbest dog breeds to see if his breed was on there…and it was. Apparently, according to this site, the Great Pyrenees is the 16th dumbest dog breed. I don’t think I will share this information with him though! I also get asked on many occasions which dog breeds are hardest to train or which ones I think are the smartest (nobody usually asks me which ones are the dumbest).
But here is the thing, I think these lists are ridiculous and they can influence someone from adopting (or buying I guess) a certain breed because people don’t want a “dumb” dog. One of the lists I looked at gave a dog breed a certain rank by how many repetitions it took to learn a new trick. Well, here’s the thing…how was the trick being trained? What environment was the trick being trained in? And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, what motivation was used to get the dog to do the trick.
This may seem shocking, but not all dogs are motivated by the same thing. Just like people, dogs have preferences. I am often envious when I talk to people and they tell me their dog loves carrots, or string beans, or apples. I can’t get either one of my dogs to eat fruits or veggies! You have to figure out what motivates YOUR dog, not what motivates your friend’s dog, even if they are the same breed. If you want to get your dog to learn a trick faster, and have better recall with that trick, motivate them with something they love. It could be food, but it could also be their favorite toy, or your affection.
Also, whatever motivation (reward) you are using to train your dog, it needs to be more exciting to your dog than what he is doing. For example, my Great Pyrenees loves to walk the perimeter fence. Sometimes when he is in my backyard he paces or walks the perimeter fence; he is guarding his property, which is very intelligent if you ask me. I will call him in, sometimes even with a treat, but he will not come. It is not that he is dumb or that he doesn’t know what I want him to do, it is that what he is doing, guarding me, is way more important to him then a treat. If you ask me, that is awesome and super smart!
As for my German Shepherd, if she even sees me coming to the back door she is at my side in a second (literally!) I don’t need to call her, I don’t need to offer her a motivation or reward…I am her reward, being with me is more important than anything else she is doing.
So it is not about your dog being smart or dumb. It is about knowing what motivates your dog. Figure out what your dog loves and use that to train him. And remember that training does not occur once or twice a week; it isn't an even that occurs, training is continuous! Do this and you will have the smartest dog in the world!
I have never really asked myself this question, I never really had the need to…then we found the tumor. But to be honest, even while going through all of the steps, all of the doctors, all of the treatment, I still never asked myself that question.
As I wrote in the previous post, at the end of November, I had Argus’ lump biopsied. When I got the results, they were inconclusive; the doctors were not sure exactly what it was. The vet then sent us to see an oncologist. Right away the oncologist believed it was a soft tissue sarcoma. Although she said she was not positive, she seemed pretty sure, so I believed her.
She recommended a CT scan, I still never asked myself the question. The vet needed to make sure there were no tumor cells throughout his body. Apparently, this type of tumor likes to spread to the lungs and the lymph nodes. I got the first bit of good news after the CT scan, there were no tumors anywhere else!
The CT scans allowed the surgeon to decide if he would be able to remove it; next piece of good news…he said the tumor was actually in a good position and thought he would be able to remove it all. I still never asked myself the question.
In December he had surgery to remove the tumor; that was a very long day. At around 3:30 pm, the surgeon called and let me know he thought he removed the entire tumor with good margins so it wouldn’t come back! He only had to take a small portion of the abdominal wall too.
So, the results…the tumor ended up being the size of a football and turned out to be a peripheral nerve sheath tumor. This type of tumor springs from the peripheral nervous system; it extends from outside the central nervous system. Bottom line, it was a very large, malignant tumor originating from the nervous system. These types of tumors are mostly found in older dogs (although I don’t really know how old Argus is, he is between 7-9).
There is no known cause for peripheral nerve sheath tumors, but it is possible they develop from a former injury; because Argus is a rescue, I have no knowledge of any possible injury from his earlier days. Most of these tumors come back and the average survival time for dogs with malignant peripheral sheath tumors is two years.
So, his tumor was gone and I knew what type of cancer he had…now what? We had to go back to the oncologist to decide on what next. She recommended a low dose of chemo; since the tumor was so large and the surgeon had to take a lot of skin from Argus’ stomach, if the tumor grew back there would be no way to remove it again. I still didn’t ask the question.
After a long time of healing from the surgery, there were some complications with his staples, he has started the chemo and should only be on it for six months. He is doing amazing; acting like a puppy! His original vet who recently saw him for some blood work said he looks amazing and happy!
Although I have totaled up how much this has cost me so far, I have absolutely no regrets about that number and I would do it all again if I needed to.
When people hear this story they usually comment that they would not have done the same thing, they would not have spent that much money. But I don’t think you can know what you would do until you are put in that situation. I never asked the question because Argus is part of my family and, in my opinion, he deserves every chance possible to live a happy, healthy, life!
My hope is that nobody ever has to ask themselves that question, but chances are that many people will have to. Just know that everyone, every dog, and every situation is different.If you do ask yourself this question, it is ok...no matter what the answer is!
But most of all…pet your pup even if he doesn’t want you to!
Many of us have a dog that is our shadow, a dog (no matter the size) who thinks she is a lap dog. I have a 90 pound German Shepherd who sits on my lap, sleeps on my head, and follows be to the bathroom! If I start to pet her she will roll over and expose her tummy so I can give her a belly run. I can pet her head to toe and she loves it, even encourages it! She can be very cuddly and snuggle with me for hours.
On the other hand, I have a Great Pyrenees. He will bully you into petting is head, bump it against your hand no matter what you are doing until you start to pet him. Sometimes, if you pet him long enough, he will actually fall asleep! But he does not sleep with me. In fact, most of the time he doesn’t even come upstairs when I go to bed. He is perfectly happy sleeping downstairs on the hardwood floor where it is undoubtedly cooler. He does not roll over on his back, unless he is outside rolling around on the grass. He does not snuggle; he does not cuddle. He is perfectly happy with head rubs and then going off to be by himself.
My two dogs are completely different; have completely different personalities. One loves to cuddle and be pet, so I do; the other doesn’t love to be pet, so I don’t.
However, I have learned why I should pet my Great Pyrenees regardless of whether he likes it or not; and why I encourage everyone to pet their pup too…at least once a week.
I brought my Great Pyrenees to the vet in August for his yearly checkup and shots; everything looked good. At the end of August, I brought him to the groomers (by the way, if you don’t know what a Great Pyrenees looks like, think polar bear!) In the middle of October, I took him back to the groomers for a bath. When I picked him up they asked me if I felt the lump on his stomach. I didn’t know he had a lump. The groomer showed me where it was, but I couldn’t see it through all of is fur, only feel it. I was appalled at how large it was!
Of course, I then felt extremely guilty I never felt or saw the lump. I know I could not have seen it because of its location and all of his fur, but if I pet him more, I might have felt it. Granted, it grew quickly. In less than two months it grew to be 11 by 12 centimeters!
I had it biopsied last week, and even in the 3 weeks from the first vet appointment, to his biopsy, the lump grew. They had to shave him for the biopsy, so now the lump is in full view…and it looks HUGE! I cannot believe I did not notice it earlier! I should get the results of the biopsy this week, but I am hopeful.
So, the point of this post…pet your pup whether they like it or not! I would recommend petting your pup from head to toe at least once a week. Pet their tummy, pet their legs, pet their backs, pet everything! Lumps can grow anywhere and everywhere. And although a lump does not necessarily mean cancer, it is still important to take notice of anything out of the ordinary.
Hopefully the lump turns out to be nothing but a fatty tomorrow, of course, due to its fast-growing nature, I will still have to get it removed. This will involve another surgery, so more anesthesia. Although I am not sure how old he is since he was a rescue, he is getting up there in age; anesthesia can be dangerous for an older dog.
Maybe I couldn’t have done anything even if I found the lump earlier; maybe it still would have led to a biopsy and a surgery to remove the lump. But, I wouldn’t feel as guilty because I missed a cantaloupe sized lump on my pup’s tummy!
So pet your pups, even if they don’t like it!
Michelle Turner is a certified dog trainer and behaviorist.