Dogs and pets, in general, are fascinating creatures. Like human beings, they have emotions. They get angry, happy, stressed, anxious, etc. And because they cannot talk, they will communicate their feelings through their behaviors.
Dogs are routine animals. They adapt to certain eating times, sounds, environments, people, and so on. Any sudden changes to these things will result in stressful and anxious behavior. That includes moving to a new house. If your dog is stressed or anxious, they will ruin your relocation experience in ways that you cannot imagine were possible. But how will you know that your dog is unhappy or anxious?
In this article, we will highlight some dog behaviors during relocation and how to deal with them.
1. Is Your Dog Growling?
If your dog is growling, they are trying to tell you that they are not comfortable. Maybe it’s the sound of your moving boxes, suitcases, or masking tapes during your packing or unpacking that is upsetting them. Or perhaps they do not like the unfamiliar faces of the people in your new place of residence. Whatever the reason, your dog is growling because they feel threatened by something or someone.
Growling, in itself, is not an aggressive behavior. It is usually more of a warning sign that your dog is uncomfortable. If you punish your dog as many people do, that will only make things worse. When dogs get punished for growling, they result in biting the next time they feel uncomfortable. Instead, try and find out what is upsetting them and deal with it to get rid of the behavior.
2. Is Your Dog Barking or whining?
Dogs barking or whining is an automatic stress response. They cannot control it. So, if your dog is barking or whining, it’s a sign that they are anxious or feel threatened by something or someone in their environment.
To control such behavior, first, find out the cause of the anxiety and deal with the situation accordingly. If your new apartment is the problem, for example, treating your dog to a good meal inside the house could help change their attitude towards it. You can also play with them or do some fun activity with them to ease their tension.
3. How is their Body Language?
Calming signal is a term that was developed by Turid Rugaas, a dog trainer from Norway. In his work, Rugaas discovered more than 30 ways that dogs may use to try and stay calm during stressful situations. When dogs display these behaviors, they are merely trying to avoid a bad situation.
Examples of such behaviors include
Whale eyes; opening their eyes so wide exposing their sclera(the white part of their eyes)
Yawning; it’s normal for dogs to yawn when they are bored, hungry, tired, sleepy, or stressed. The yawn is more intense and prolonged than usual.
Avoiding eye contact; in most cases, dogs avoid eye contact when they feel guilty. But they also do so when they feel stressed by something about you.
Rapid blinking and so on
If you notice such behavior during your move, it’s a sign that your dog is not okay and is trying to cope with the situation. But body language alone is not enough. Sometimes dogs may display such behaviors when they are excited or overstimulated. Look out for other signs of stressful dog behavior before taking any action.
4. Is Your Dog Freezing or Stiffening?
During training, freezing or stiffening could be a sign of submission. In any other context, dogs freeze because they are stressed, and the stress is too much for them to handle. It’s an indication that the dog is shutting down and may result in biting, which is very dangerous. Watch out for such behavior during your move and get rid of the threat immediately to avoid any trouble.
5. Is Your Dog Pacing?
Pacing is another typical dog behavior when they are stressed or anxious. It’s a sign that the dog feels thrown off by something or someone in the surrounding and is finding it difficult to stay calm or settle down. Pacing back and forth a few times is normal dog behavior. But only if it happens for a short time. Prolonged pacing is a sign that your dog is stressed or anxious. Observing when your dog exhibits this behavior will help you identify the trigger and calm him down. You can also use calming chews bought from reliable physical/online pet stores.
If your dog is old, pacing could also be a sign that it is suffering from dementia. In that case, you need to schedule a visit to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Dog behaviors during relocation vary depending on the situation and the individual dog. For example, some dogs raise their hackles or growl when they are over excited and not necessarily when they are stressed. Understanding how your dog reacts to different situations is Important to find out exactly what they are trying to tell you.
In any case, keeping your dog calm is the surest way to avoid stressful behavior during your move.