Moving to a new home might not seem like the most profound experience at first blush, but it can symbolize a lot of things. Change, no matter how wonderful and full of opportunity, has perplexed and challenged and inspired humans for eternity. But being a dog mom, moving challenges was a fear I had in the back of mind forever as I was resilient to any change. What I learnt was when shifting to a new house, don’t do anything to make your dog adjust to the new place. Yes, you read it right. Don’t do anything! Let your dog adjust on his own. It is more of you learning about his adjustments than he learning.
To start from the beginning, I recently moved to a new house. When I had started packing in the old house, Junior sensed that we are going somewhere. He probably thought it was a holiday. But when we shifted and stayed the night over, he got a little cranky and uneasy as he wanted to go back to his old house. Though he slept well through the night, but that was because he was tired. Next morning, he was extremely uneasy, and, even attempted to run out of the house when I had opened the door for someone.
Honestly, I just let him be and continued with his feeding and walking routine. Slowly, Junior spotted his comfort zone in the new house just the same way he had in the old house. I kept observing; Initially, I took him for short walks because I wanted to let Junior get familiar with the new surrounding and also was afraid of any stray dogs attacking him as Junior was invading their territory. At home, I changed Junior’s water bowl position quite a few times before I could understand his comfortable spot to drink.
Living in Mumbai, I cannot take my dogs out for walks often. So I had always trained my dogs to pee in the toilet whenever they felt like out of walking hours. In the new house, the first day, infact in the first 5 minutes, Junior peed in the passage. So just to make him understand that that wasn’t the place for him to pee, I spoke to him in a little stern voice and he realized he did something wrong. Next time when he wanted to pee, I opened the toilet door and directed him to pee there. And Bravo! Ever since Junior has peed only in the toilet. It took him and me only one incident and correction to help him find the spot.
Honestly, it is never easy when you are shifting somewhere with dogs. I would have relocated a year back, but I kept delaying thinking about his adjustments, the surrounding, neighbors, etc. I realized that I was living in my comfort zone and fear. After moving in to the new place, I comprehended that earlier I was living like in a non livable house and just because of over thinking, I never took the initiative to move out. Once I moved, I understood that I was living a lot in my head. It just took me 1 week of effort and toll, and here I am, living the way Junior and I deserve. Because of my habit of overanalyzing and over scrutinizing, I had even made Junior live in compromise. I am guilty but I have learnt from this experience. It has taught me that fear is just an illusion. It eats up your present and a potential future. It literally took only 2 days for Junior to adjust on his own in the new apartment. He now has a new comfort spot for him to laze around, he has smoothly uncovered his play setting and most of all, he has made new stray dog friends.
One advice, if you live in a city where there are a lot of stray dogs and you are impelling to a new area, never let your dog come close to strays for the initial few days. Because, even the stray dogs take some time to understand that you are not a threat to them and they won’t attack you. It’s a piece of cake after a little while.
The best part of moving this time was my first meeting with the building secretary. When I switched my house, I was introduced to the secretary as a formality and identification. I assured him that my dog is very well mannered and harmless. On hearing that, he told me, “Dogs are more mannered and understanding than humans, so relax and enjoy your stay.” I was so happy on hearing that and the warm welcome we got. Because this was not the case when I had shifted to my previous house. That time, my neighbors came fighting and claiming that dogs are not allowed. Other building members had threatened me of dire consequences, and, immediately Casper fell ill, and, passed away. This was the main reason why I was reluctant to switch my house. I kept thinking that, even at the new house my neighbors will hate my dog, the building people will loathe me and Junior and I will have to remain in a shell.
Fortunately, by God’s Grace, we are doing good. So far, everything has unfolded in a positive way, and, I am looking forward to let life’s event unfold one day at a time. I didn’t force Junior to adjust, and that made him adjust quicker. The new house just didn’t open my eyes, but also helped me let go of some of my fears and made me realize Junior and my worth. We were living in a shady house thinking it was the best and never relocated out of fear. But once the plunge was taken, it raised our caliber.
If even a slight hope shows up in any situation, go for it without fear and doubt. You never know, it can change your life for the best. The one who tries never fails. My last experience was bad, but this time I took the leap of faith and it turned out to be a good thing to have happened. I won’t say I am living in a palace, but it is an extremely good upgrade. So, stretch out if you want to do something. Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. Let your fears drown and take the leap. And do not worry about your dog. They are very smart and adjust on their own with ease.