Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to prepare your pug when it's time to move

Liam the pug posing with a chair I was selling
Liam (not helpfully) posing with a chair I was selling.
My husband has made the decision to sell this big house and move to something that's smaller and more sustainable. This means we have months and months of chaos and disarray ahead of us, and poor Liam the pug already seems to be in a shambles about the whole thing.

Dogs like routine: They like to know where you are, what time you get up, what time they eat, where the water bowl is located. Realtors like you to be flexible with just about all of this stuff, packing away most of the things that you own and keeping the house in a pristine and clear condition so the new owners can come in and visualize the space with all of their own stuff in it. Oh, and they'd like these visits to happen almost anytime of the day or night, thank you very much.

So, we've been dutifully packing and planning, selling off furniture we don't want and putting away things we don't want broken. Liam has become increasingly anxious with each change we make. He won't get out of pictures of furniture (see above), he paces when we're working, and yesterday, he even made an attempt to pee on our coffee table before we stopped him and whisked him away.

So what in the world can be done to keep drama-queen dogs under control when you're going through a long real-estate process? Crate training seems to come to mind. Liam may not be able to control what happens in the house at large, but he can certainly control what happens within the metal frame of his crate. By allowing your dog access to a crate during times of stress, you're giving your dog a safe place to go when he or she begins to feel like it's all too much.

Exercise also seems to play a key role, as it allows the dogs to burn off some spare energy and sleep a little more soundly. This isn't working so great with Liam, as it's much too warm outside for long walks, given his short snout, but we're working on indoor ball-throwing exercises. Now that the house is only half-full of furniture, there's lots of room to run.

Right now, we're hoping this house sells quickly, so he can go back to feeling safe and secure in our new home (wherever that might be). But in the interim, I hope he'll at least start to think of chaos as the new normal, and perhaps he'll then mellow out just a bit.