A Tail of Two Cities: How to move with your dog.
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Huss is my roommate, oracle, and dog. This one-year-old Bernedoodle (Miniature Poodle father and a Bernese Mountain Dog mother) has been my constant companion since September, 2019. Oliver’s first prophecy happened on New Year’s Eve 2019. On December 31, 2019, my sister Jackie and I went to see CATS! The musical at the movie theater. While we “enjoyed” the movie, my dog ate some of my dad’s mushroom pasta. When we came home, my mom told me that Oliver ate some of dad’s dinner, and we all laughed at Oliver’s gluttony. At 2 am on January 1, 2020, I wake up to an awful smell emanating from my room. Oliver pooped all over my room. Enter in 2020.
(GIF courtesy of wix.com)
Before I continue to crap on 2020, 2020 had some hidden gifts. 2020 allowed me to spend unadulterated time with my family, read all the books I ever wanted to read and prepare to move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to start graduate school at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My acceptance to U.N.C meant that Oliver and I would leave South Florida to move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I realized that moving at any age can be a stressful experience. I was anxious that Oliver would hate living in North Carolina and move back home with my parents. To prevent this, I called my veterinarian at Coral Ridge Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to ask for some tips about moving with Oliver.
Tip 1: Make sure your microchip and tags are up to date with your new location.
The Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine at The Ohio State University conducted a study that shows that microchipping your dog increases an owner's odd of reuniting with your lost dog (Lord et al, J.A.V.M.A, July 15, 2009). A microchipped dog is reunited with its owners at a 52.2% rate, whereas a non-microchipped dog is returned at a 21.9% rate (A.V.M.A blog, 2021).
Tip 2: Bring an item that your dog would recognize its smell from your old home.
Dogs have a 10,000% stronger sense of smell than humans (Tyson, 2012). When you move into your new house, it is important for your dog to feel confident and comfortable during this new chapter. By bringing furniture and belongings from your old home, this new place will smell like home and allow your dog to equate this new house into a new home quickly.
Tip 3: Be moved entirely in before introducing your dog to this new environment.
To mitigate the shock of moving, you should be almost moved in entirely when introducing your dog into this new environment. This will show your dog that this is your new home by showcasing furniture and objects from the other property.
Tip 4: After moving in, go on a walk with your dog around the block. When it is time to turn back to your new house, verbally remind your dog that you're going home.
It is important to reaffirm that your new property is your home continuously. When you continually call your new place" home," you train your dog to equate home with a new location.