House Hunting with a Dog? You Need to Read This
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House hunting can be fun-- that’s why there are so many TV shows dedicated to the process. For your dog, however, the whole situation can be nerve wracking. Dogs love routines in their lives; routines give them a sense of stability and reduce anxiety. When you are planning a move, there are a lot of factors that spell “change” in the air for your dog. They may notice things being boxed up or the smell of unfamiliar people that come looking at your old home. Dogs can also pick up on human emotions, and will feel the anxiety or stress you feel when confronted with moving.
If you want to smooth the transition of moving for your dog, you can begin with finding a house that is perfect for his needs.
Pet-Friendly House Hunting
All house hunters know there is a lot of research that goes into finding the perfect home, including how much they can afford to spend on one and whether the neighborhood is a good fit for their family. Most people also know that a real estate agent can be instrumental in making their search for a home successful. But believe it or not, there is also such a thing as a pet-friendly real estate agent. Chances are, they have fuzzy friends of their own. Or, you may live in a dog-heavy area where keeping their needs in mind is par for the course. Tell the agents you plan on working with about your dog. If you are selling your current home, your agent will need to prepare for staging when they show your home. They may ask for you to board your dog or lock him in a closed-off room when showing the house to potential buyers.
The agent helping you find a new home can help you narrow down options with your dog in mind. Finding a house with enough room is perhaps the most important thing. Chances are, you picked your dog’s breed on the amount of space you had available at the old home. So, picking a place of similar size may be your best bet. However, if you perhaps picked up more dog than you bargained for, this is your chance to get a home with enough room for him. If you find a home with a big yard that would be perfect for your dog, be sure to consider the amount it will cost to fence the yard in to keep your dog safe while he plays. Most homeowners spend between $1,699 - $3,988 to install a fence, but this varies depending on the material and size of the yard. Modifications such as this should definitely be factored into the budget.
A dog-friendly real estate agent can also help you find the best areas with dog-friendly amenities. If you love going on walks, they can pick out areas with hiking trails. If your pup loves to socialize, several neighborhoods now have dog parks where owners can come together and get to know their neighbors. Your real estate agent should also keep you up-to-date on potential pet ordinances, HOA rules, and convenient pet-friendly businesses in the area.
Helping Your Dog Acclimate
Once you’ve picked the perfect place for your pooch, you want to help make the transition to a new home as smooth as possible. Once you arrive, spend time playing and bonding with your dog so he doesn’t feel abandoned. If he must be in an unfamiliar environment, the presence of his human can ease his anxieties. Positive associations and reinforcement are keys to successful dog training. You may have to revert to some of your old training techniques when acclimating to the new place, but your dog should pick things up fairly quickly if you stay consistent.
Set up a corner or area with his old bed and favorite blankets, pillows, and toys. It might be tempting to buy a new dog bed as opposed to bringing the dingy one with you, but being surrounded by familiar items and smells will keep your dog calm and aid in the acclimation process. Plus, having a safe space to escape to when he needs time alone is as important for dogs as it is for humans. When you are in the midst of a move, any sense of normalcy is out the window, but try to keep to your dog’s regular routine as much as possible. Be patient with your dog as he adjusts to the new home, and be sure to offer plenty of attention and love.
Moving can be as stressful for your dog as it is for the rest of your family. Dogs don’t particularly like change, and they can pick up on the anxieties of their human. To help ease the transition, let your real estate agent know about your dog and provide accommodations as needed. Look at houses with amenities and enough space for your dog’s comfort and happiness. Once you arrive at the new house, spend time with your dog and provide him with familiar training techniques and items to help him create positive associations with his new environment.