Whole Dog Journal's Blog January 10, 2018

New House - How Are the Dogs Handling the Move?

Posted at 03:15PM - Comments: (27)

As I described in the editorial in the January issue of WDJ, my husband and I recently bought a new house, about four miles from where we currently live. Before, we were living in the center of a little 1850s Gold Rush-era town; now we live on its outskirts, in a 1950s ranch house on two acres.

In the category of loving the new house are three of the four voting members of the family (me, my husband, 10-year-old mixed-breed Otto and two-year-old pit/Lab Woody; cats and chickens don’t vote).

My husband and I LOVE it. We both have been sleeping like the proverbial logs. I wasn’t aware of how the noises of town have impacted my sleep; I only knew how they impacted my peace during the day. My block has exploded in recent months with new resident barking dogs. When I hear a dog barking all day, I don’t blame the dog; instead, I am filled, bark by bark, with rage at the dog’s owners.† To me it doesn’t sound like “Bark, bark, bark!” It sounds like, “Neglect, cruelty, disrespect!” But enough of that rant.

Also in the category of LOVING the new place: Woody. Two acres provides all the fetching room he needs and allows him to fetch in the morning after potty, and at all sorts of in-between times all day long. He has taken to carrying his ball around the house in hopes that any person walking by a door to the outside will see him and the ball and decide that “Yes, Woody, it’s time for fetch!”

Woody votes "YES" on the new house. Look at all that fetching space.

Poor Otto is the lone dissenter. He’s hating the house for two significant reasons: Slippery floors and relentless beeping.†

Otto has long had an issue about slippery floors – and the fact that it’s all in his head means that any physical steps I take to mitigate his fears may or may not actually help. Most of the new house has hardwood floors; the parts that aren’t wood are tile (the entry and eat-in kitchen). Otto has decided that there is no non-slippery surface in the house, and none of the carpet runners I’ve put down for him have changed his mind. Never mind the fact that the hardwood is not all that slippery, and that Woody can walk on the tile without slipping (and can even fetch the ball that he drops and chases to amuse himself without slipping). Otto is certain he’s going to slip, so he starts walking in an exaggerated, shaky-legged, scrambling, “The whole world is icy, I can’t help it, I’m slipping!” sort of gait, which of course makes him slip! Even on the carpet runners!

I’m not going to share a picture of Otto in distress. You’ll hate me. However, I have a few mitigation plans in place: I’ve ordered the sticky stuff to spray on his feet (Firm Grip rosin spray), I’m going to try the balloon-type dog “shoes” (Pawz), and I’m trying to counter-condition the heck out of him, by dropping treats for him all over the house.

Electronic beeps are the other problem. Otto is one of those dogs who goes out of his mind if a smoke detector emits one of those “low battery” chirps. He will start stress-panting and pacing and shaking. And if a smoke alarm goes off, he will paste himself to a door and shake and whine until someone lets him out (and then deals with the alarm and the cause of the smoke – first things first!) The new house, unfortunately, has some sort of alarm system that beeps every time any window or door is opened. And since we’re moving, we’re coming in and out a lot. And since it’s winter, we hate to leave the door wide open between trips. So, beep, beep, beep. It’s a priority to figure out how to disarm the system and get rid of the beeps. But for now, I’ve taken to leaving Otto in my car when we’re going in and out of the house a lot. He’s content to lay or sit in the car for hours, if need be, to avoid the beeps and the floors. Especially because the car has a good view of the ONE thing that both dogs agree is super cool about the new house: Squirrels.


Squirrels? "Wait! I think I heard one!"

Within one week, all I have to do is say, “Guys: Squirrel!” And both dogs rush to a window – yes, even Otto, he forgets the floor thing when it comes to a squirrel alert – to look for the squirrel. And if they are outside, both go on high alert and scan the trees and lawn for the offending squirrel. Forgive me for using squirrel alerts, too, to distract Otto from the floors and the beeps.

One thing you will notice in the picture of my dogs on a squirrel alert: the crappy “fence” in the background, and the road immediately behind. Dog-proof fencing is the next big project. I have over 400 feet of roadside property to fence before I can relax and enjoy the new house completely. Until then, the dogs can’t be left outside for a MINUTE unattended, so that’s next on the agenda, right up there with stopping the beeps. I think that once Otto is free to hunt for squirrels and relax on the deck outside, as he has been accustomed to do at his leisure in our old house – the only house he’s known since we adopted him – the slippery floor thing won’t be such a big deal. At least, I hope. Wish us luck!

Comments (27)

My only thought on the pad spray scenario is that I was going to try it for my tripawd a few years back as I too have a tile floor and she slipped fiercely. I ordered some and double-checked the ingredients... In the middle of the list was Propane! Can you believe it? And I ordered the item through a reputable dog training site. I would not spray propane on my dogs' feet and they would not take it back even if I could get it back to them. Since it was considered a "hazardous material" I could not ship it! After seeing that product, I would not trust a spray on product. They have to be reapplied throughout the day.

I tried shoes but she couldn't wear them all day so I settled for yoga mats on her normal pathways in the house. Looked tacky but it was safer for her and she was what mattered.

Posted by: Fordamutz | January 28, 2018 9:54 PM    Report this comment

Kelly L45, I have some suggestions that hopefully will help the Shihtzu, Lisa. I have two rescue greyhounds. My 85 lb., 8 year old Cara over the past year has developed anxiety, to thunder, fireworks, too much company, etc. When something triggers her anxiety she gets my attention and directs me to her thundershirt. I apply the thundershirt, get her blanket and 4 ft. teddy. She settles in the powder room. She gets 2 sprays of Bach "Rescue Remedy Spray" on her tongue. I then spray "Adaptil" around the room. She then arranges the blanket and teddy to her comfort and usually falls asleep. Family members then use the second floor bathroom. When Cara feels better she finds me, I remove the thundershirt, and return it to it's hook to be ready when she next becomes anxious. Hopefully this helps. Gerry P.

Posted by: Gerry P | January 17, 2018 10:35 AM    Report this comment

We recently moved from Portland OR to a small town in Kentucky with our 5 scotties. The trip across country went well and we stayed with a friend here for a month while we looked for a house. Now we have a new house and a great new yard which they love also for the squirrels and critters (mice?) that get under the fence from the woods behind us. We too have hard wood floors and I'm the one learning to hate them--they are even in the kitchen. The snowballs in the coats leave small puddles of water everywhere. Runners were a new concept and their first thought was a new place to pee. We've gotten past that. We found that, as you'd expect for a long distance move, giving lots of extra love and attention as well as a no nonsense, matter of fact "this is all okay" attitude helped even our nervous rescue who is only half scottie (other half is poodle) cope with the transition. Only issue, now whenever we go to get in the car, everyone expects to go with us just as on the trip to Kentucky!

Posted by: Mary246 | January 17, 2018 8:15 AM    Report this comment

We have 4 dogs and 3 kittyís and when we moved well over a year ago and to this day our now 9 yr old female Shihtzu names Liza has not fully adjusted. Smoke detectors scare her and the first time we used the oven that was left in the house we didnít realize that the oven wasnít working properly and when we used it pizza crust started to smoke and set off the smoke detector. We did get a new oven but the damage had been done and now every time we cook (turn on the oven or even the stove top burner) she knows the sounds of the oven heating up and the smell of just the burner heating up. She will shake and pant and just get so worked up that Iím afraid she is going to have a heart attack. Holidays are especially bad because of having the oven on for so long. We live in the Northeast and so having her hangout outside until the oven goes off is not an option as itís just to cold. The vet had us try Prozac which had no effect on her at all and so we stopped giving it to her. I do not know what else to do and I feel so bad for her when she gets like that. Anyone who says that a dog will adjust to a new house is wrong.. she will never adjust and she knows the time of day when cooking is usually done. We have ordered take out food more and more just to avoid her getting upset. She also dosent like when I get the Rubbermaid containers out to unpack decorations or unpack or pack seasonal clothing, she will shake and pant for hours. I am at a loss!!!

Posted by: KellyL45 | January 16, 2018 5:11 AM    Report this comment

Just moved from Chicago (in the city) to Florida. One dog 12 years and one 3. The 12-year-old had a problem. He is on Prozac, but he still had a meltdown and didn't eat for 4 days. When we got to FL, he was so weak. Once I got everything (food and water bowls, beds and routine) like before the move, everything was ok. Scared me to death. I thought I had killed my dog.
Now grass was a different thing. My dogs were not used to grass let alone asking them to go to the bathroom in a yard!!!
We are in excellent shape now and they love their yard - just took awhile.

Posted by: liz1 | January 15, 2018 8:36 AM    Report this comment

We have a 3 legged good sized elderly dog and the new house has wall-to wall shiny porcelain tile, the last home we had had been fully carpeted to accommodate her. I strongly suggest rubber-backed carpet runners. We have them throughout the house and she has learned to navigate the spaces in between; she clearly knows how to calculate her steps. Also call the alarm company and they will walk you through turning off the beeping. And the bedroom has been fully carpeted and will remain that way until she passes; it is shampooed frequently to remove that old dog smell. Best of luck! Our huge gecko population in south Florida more than makes up for the lack of grass and less slippery floors!

Posted by: kimfatty | January 14, 2018 11:03 PM    Report this comment

Not trying to be rude, but my last dogs lived to almost 17yrs, and 15yrs!
We moved 3 times, and each time they adapted very well!!!
It wasn't so much that is was a new place, but the fact that we the humans they new and loved were there also..
Just as we had to adapt, so did they, and it didn't take long!

As for sliding on floors? Again, not trying to be rude, but maybe their nails were to long? Normally animals have pretty good traction on any surface, we as animals also have to adapt to different surfaces!

Animals usually adapt more quickly to different living conditions than humans!

Only my personal experience!
I had two dogs, and 3 cat's that had to be moved!
The hard part was getting them the cats into the vehicles, the dogs were no problem as they loved rides.
But once they were all at the new same location together with their humans, it was business as usual!
Just as we had to navigate new roads, they navigated the new neighborhood, and very well I must say! They did their snooping, left their scents, and they were home every day and night for their meals and bed time.
Nothing more, not criticizing, just giving an example!!!

Posted by: Sophie%26Harley | January 14, 2018 12:39 AM    Report this comment

I really like the idea of something like yoga mats -- because likely Otto has no association at all with them, yes? If so, then you could start by introducing him to the mats outside (no slipping out there)! Make sure he's comfortable with them outside, then move them inside. Instant portable safe spots! Let us know how you solve his problems...

Posted by: thinklikeadog | January 13, 2018 10:31 AM    Report this comment

I was planning on moving this spring but now my 11yo dog has been dx with oral malignant melanoma (he is getting the Oncept vax and is stage 1). I am praying he will make it but now concerned about moving under the circumstances as he has lived here all his life.

Posted by: brit1 | January 12, 2018 10:58 AM    Report this comment

A QUICK, relatively inexpensive and easy fix for your fence is rolled box wire farm fencing (wire woven to create 3-4" square openings) stapled to the existing wooden fence. If the posts are leaning, just use fencing t-posts pounded in behind them to straighten and strengthen them. All these supplies are available at Home Depot or farm stores. We've used this type fencing for years for our 4 Labs. If the split rail doesn't surround the entire yard, simply extend the fence using T-posts.

Posted by: Dogladie | January 11, 2018 9:41 PM    Report this comment

I have an alarm system that beeps also, but it is really simple to turn the beeps off. Just punch in your code and push the chime button. This should work. I am also moving to a new house in a few weeks and I have 10 cats and 3 pit bulls. Most of the cats will hide for a week or two, the dogs I'm not sure. One of my dogs, Owen has what I would call a "working nose." He really should have a job with the police department, so I'm sure he will spend days maybe weeks sniffing the new house. My oldest dog Murray is very reactive to certain sounds, just like your Otto. A baby crying on television, he paces and starts panting. He's on medication. My youngest Woody will probably take the move quite well. He is interested in playing and running. The new house has a huge finished basement so Woody can run laps when it's too cold outside. The three of them hate the cold weather. I need to put up a better fence also. Good luck with your new home.

Posted by: mommypuss | January 11, 2018 6:38 PM    Report this comment

Maybe this will help Otto.......may not be news to you but I will share anyway. When I had an injured golden, I placed yoga mats all over my tile and hardwood floors. It worked beautifully, no slipping! Everyone is healthy now but I am considering doing it again for my old boy. At 13 he is not as sure of himself as his legs want to give out on him.

Posted by: golden3 | January 11, 2018 6:35 PM    Report this comment

I moved a little over a month ago....from a small ranch on 3 acres in the country to a bigger ranch with full basement on 7 tenths acre. It has been rough on us all. The 3 cats have the entire basement so have plenty of room. In the other house they had 3 rooms. But they were stressed going from upstairs with windows to a basement....I am trying to add things for them to be happy....like a tv! My 3 dogs are separated into: two Beagles(mostly Beagle) and a Coonhound mix. They do not get along. (Yes I have worked with many trainers for many years and have made huge progress because of them.) The coonhound, Sparkle, is very happy here....she goes outside by herself and is no problem in my 4 ft black chain link fence. But....CeCe and Baxter Beagle bark at every new thing....a car, truck engines, neighbors dog when she walks it etc....they don't feel secure yet.They only go out when I am with then so we are not out more than about 20 minutes. Plus I lived on a quiet country street before and miss it. Baxter squeezed under the fence - I kept him on a 30 foot lead so caught him and now added bars on the bottom of the fence and am going to add an invisible fence just for him. CeCe is very timid (was abused) and she stays in the fence anyway. So we are working on getting adjusted.

Posted by: Trek | January 11, 2018 5:49 PM    Report this comment

I feel very envious of you overall. Best wishes to you and your family.

Posted by: Lukespack36 | January 11, 2018 5:06 PM    Report this comment

You can just add to your current fence. I've got a split rail fence like that and attached to the inside area of the fence with u-shaped nails is wire stockade fence. Works great.

Posted by: Talarose | January 11, 2018 3:17 PM    Report this comment

I'm having similar slipping issues with my 15 year old golden. I've tried the toe grips but had difficulty getting them to stay on (he's a toe scuffer) and even more difficulty putting them on correctly with super glue... not so good when they stay on but in the wrong position! The reviews of Firm Grip rosin spray used on dog paws are positive, but I'm a bit concerned about the dogs ability to sweat through his paws after it's applied. Any feelings on that?

Posted by: jcrquilt | January 11, 2018 12:59 PM    Report this comment

Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips! Of course! We've featured them in the magazine before, I don't know why I didn't think of that! I have some, somewhere, a sample they sent me. I'll go looking, or order more.

Thanks for the alarm advice, too! I will look at the panel tonight! ĖĖ NK

Posted by: WDJ Editor Nancy Kerns | January 11, 2018 12:55 PM    Report this comment

Buy a huge carpet for the room where Otto will spend most of his time? We covered our bamboo floor with a carpet when one dog got old and started slipping. Btw Otto is a handsome dog.

Posted by: SundogsHawaii | January 11, 2018 12:39 PM    Report this comment

The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the photo is, "those dogs can sail right over that fence!" Glad it is a priority to get that fixed. When I built a new home a few years ago I installed a dog-proof fence in February in Pennsylvania while I was awaiting my occupancy permit to move into the house. It took a lot of careful scheduling to get the hole driller there during the few days the ground had defrosted enough to dig! My relatives thought I was crazy working on the fence in the dead of winter - but I had to make sure my boys (4 terriers) were safe and secure!

Posted by: pkinpa | January 11, 2018 12:35 PM    Report this comment

We also moved recently and our rescue dog, Rayli was a bit freaked out with the boxes coming in and out of the house and the sound of the packing tape. But she would usually go off into a room that was not occupied. She loves Her new yard !! and has become much more vocal. She previously had a wide cement walkway along the side of the house, which she also enjoyed being outside, but not like now! She has arranged the yard with her potty area to the far right corner of the yard, and she puts her chewing toys and ball under the tree where she likes to rest! She also does not like the hardwood floors and prefers to stay in the carpeted living room. However, with the carpet runners we placed in the hallway,she has begun to venture occasionally down the hallway to the bedroom, but she no longer will sleep in there with us, like she used to at the old house. I miss that .In 1 week we will have had her 1 year. She is a very special family member and when we were looking for a house ,a nice yard was diffinately a priority, I just didn't realize she wouldn't care for the hardwood floor.

Posted by: Anna N. | January 11, 2018 12:13 PM    Report this comment

Even though we have a very large back yard, my girls would LOVE two acres, and so would I. That fence, tho, would never work for my pittie, even supervised. Itís a good thing you have trained yours so well. Iím determined to go to training classes, now. If we moved to something like that I would have to have her on leash even in the yard. And you never know when circumstances will change. I know you posted this to see how dogs adjust to new environments, but it made me see something I shouldnít put off any longer. Thanks for that. As to the beeping, Iím with Otto. That would drive me crazy.

Posted by: MJC | January 11, 2018 12:07 PM    Report this comment

How about checking out Dr. Buzbys Toe Grips?

Posted by: Shellby | January 11, 2018 10:18 AM    Report this comment

We moved a few months ago-after my husband passed away, So major changes for the 3 dogs and 2 cats. I have a large shepherd so I needed to mitigate the floors and stairs (all hardwood) I used some area rug runners with rubber back or I used a felted rubber back pad under the area rugs, as well as tread steps for all the stairs- these are easy to use- - look up Deans Stair Treads and then look at your local big box supply house for more versions. All the dogs adjusted quickly to the steps and flooring. The cats also adjusted quickly to their new abode which surprised me a bit. As to the beeping - I hate that- I owned a Giant Schnauzer at one time who was very obsessive and scared of the constant low beeps emitted by the wired in fire alarms- we just ripped them out one day when we had enough and replaced with regular smoke alarms run on batteries.

Posted by: berylgersch | January 11, 2018 10:15 AM    Report this comment

Congratulations on your new house! My sister's dog has a problem with the whole beep thing as well. Unfortunately my dogs major fear is other dogs and he's very aggressive about his fear. I hope you enjoy your new house, I'm sure the dogs will as well. I did notice the fence and and relieved that a dog proof fence will be put in, not that I had any doubts!

Posted by: oceandog63 | January 11, 2018 9:59 AM    Report this comment

I know what your new house is like for your dogs - we recently moved to a lakefront house - how do you keep dogs from swimming after everything in the lake? Luckily our two setters do not like to swim - just look out over the dock at the ducks, etc. In any event, we had to make a more secure fence along the edges of the propriety.

Good luck in your new home.

Posted by: CoolHandLuke | January 11, 2018 9:57 AM    Report this comment

Try a doggy anti-anxiety med, perhaps..?

Posted by: Try doggy Zoloft. | January 11, 2018 9:55 AM    Report this comment

What a trip that the dogs are handling it so differently! Well, that's par for the course.
As for the alarm - do you have an alarm pad? Look for a button that says 'Chime'. Unless you have a very sophisticated system, you should be able to turn that chime off pretty quickly.
Most systems I've used in retail have worked that way.

Good Luck!

Posted by: lisamm | January 11, 2018 9:35 AM    Report this comment

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