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New living situation

1196 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DocBrown
Hello friends!

I have an update on my new living situation. I had originally posted about it here while in panic mode:

I have found a place for me and my GSD to live after scrambling for the last month trying to find a roommate and a place to rent that is large breed friendly. My mom's co-worker has a daughter, who I have met in the past, that just bought a house 6 months ago and was looking for a roommate. She has a 2 yr old male boxer and 2 cats, and has lived with animals her whole life. I checked out the place and immediately liked it, as far as the house itself, affordability and close distance to my work. I brought Doc (my dog) over there this past weekend to introduce the dogs and to see how Doc handled being around cats. He has only been around cats a handful of times before, but has never shown aggression towards them. His reaction to them was just as I expected--very curious and just wanted to sniff them, but one of them was very skiddish and darted off to the top of the cat post.

Anyways, I just wanted some advice as to how to introduce a dog to a new home in the most positive way possible.

-I already know that he will be put in his crate when I am not around until he becomes more adjusted to the new house. He has a little bit of seperation anxiety, so I don't want him to chew up anything.

-The lady that I am moving in with, she has lived with animals her whole life, so I trust her around my dog when I won't be around (we work opposite hours). But I would like us to be on the same page as far as how my dog is treated. That way Doc has consistency and he sees her as a pack leader. I was thinking of printing out some stuff about NILIF and maybe some basic stuff about German Shepherds, as far as how their needs and personality differs from other breeds. Any other suggestions as far as stuff that I should print out or websites to refer her to?

-Also any other suggestions about how to help Doc adjust to living with cats? The 2 cats have very different personalities, one is very social and didn't even budge when he came up to sniff her, the other was very skiddish and darted away from him.
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I could really use some advice, since my dog has lived in the same home since we got him as a puppy and has never lived with other animals before.
I don't have any advise for you, just wanted to say congrats, and I'm glad it worked out for you. I'm sure you'll handle the introductions and adjustments fine.
If you haven't moved yet, here's a few things I've found that help the dogs settle in smoothly. (I've moved about 12 times with my dogs. These help a lot).

1. If you can, drive the dog to your new neighborhood and take him for a walk around the neighborhood (even just around the block if that's all you have time for) before you have to deal with the hassle of movers, boxes and stuff. This way, when the chaos starts, the dogs recognize that he's been there before. And if he slips out of the front door or open gate, he'll know how to get back.

2. Walk him through the house on a leash (before the movers and boxes start arriving), so he knows the layout of the house. Walk him in and around the front and back yard too. I cheerfully narrate the tour of the house and yard like I'm a tourguide, which they seem to enjoy. You'll want to give him a chance to check out the whole house, but don't give him immediate free-run to the house. It's less overwhelming if you let him get used to being "at large" in the house in bits and pieces. Your room and the kitchen first, with him being tethered to your belt the rest of the time. Then add in the family room. Then another room.

In other words, give him structure. A tether will make him feel more secure. You judge how much structure he needs. He may only need it for a week. He may need it for two months. If he doesn't have a chance to get into trouble, or get stuck alone in a room with a dog that isn't thrilled to have him there, he'll be more likely to succeed. Don't force it. If he's never had bad experiences with cats, and he's not a cat-chaser, then this slow introduction process should work with the cats as well. We don't have cats, but I've had to socialize my dogs to cats, and the slow process of "getting to know you from a distance" has worked well for us.

The cat owners here probably have more specific tips they can suggest.

3. When you're actually moving in, put down his beds/crates in a safe corner where he won't get in the way or get trampled. Even if you end up moving the beds to a better spot later. Make sure it's a place where he can watch the action without getting in the way.

3. Show him where you're putting down his food and water bowls (toy basket, etc), preferably near his bed, even if you end up moving them later.

4. Give him toys, a bone or treats to snack on. Sit on his bed for a few minutes while they settle in. Then let him hang out while you get busy.

5. Check in and say hi every once in a while. If he start wandering around, if he's not getting underfoot, fine. If he are, lead his back to his beds and crate him.

6. Try to stick to your usual routines as much as possible. Which, of course, is nearly impossible when you're moving, I know...

7. If you can avoid leaving him home alone the first few days or so, that's really helpful. Let him ride back and forth to the old place, to run errands with you, etc, so he knows that things are weird, but his life isn't changing that much (eg, you're not abandoning him) no matter what.

8. Within the first few days, if you can possibly find the time to take him on walks around the neighborhood, giving him time to sniff and check out the "neighbors" and the sniffing spots, that will help him settle in to his new area, and just as importantly, help him learn the neighborhood if he ever gets out, so he can find his way home. If you can take him to the local park within a few days of moving there, that will give him a new exciting destination that will again help him settle in to the neighborhood.

Congratulations on your new home!

PS Have you already ordered new tags with your new address and phone # for his collars?
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Thanks for the suggestions, 3K9mom! I was starting to feel lonely here!

I haven't even thought about the change of tags, thanks for reminding me of that! I have to change his microchip information as well!

Unfortunately he is a cat-chaser when they dart away, but he didn't show any aggression towards them which is good!

He also got to play in the backyard with the boxer when I took him there this last weekend, but that is a very good idea to walk him around the neighborhood the first few days, so he gets familiar with his outdoor surroundings.

Thanks for the suggestions, keep 'em coming folks, I need all the advice I can get since I have never had to go through this process before. And I've never lived with cats before either, so any advice on how I should treat the cats is welcomed... I don't want them to hate me either!
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I don't have any advice on moving since I haven't moved in over 13 years, but I have had cats and GSDs together since 1986, so THAT I have lots of experience in! Check this thread out:

Well, I moved in on Tues & Wed. My wonderful boyfriend was able to take care of Doc from Fri-Wed, so I was able to get as much accomplished as possible. Doc came to the house on Wed evening. Doc and Fred (the boxer) have been getting along great, playing with eachother and wearing eachother out. We are working on getting them to NOT play in the house, since a lamp has already gotten knocked over from the horseplay. But other than that no complaints with them, they both listen to me and my new roommate better than expected. The cats have mostly just been keeping to themselves in Tracey's (my new roommate) room. Doc will wander in there every once in a while and sniff one of the cats on the bed and then walk out of the room. During Tracey's first evening with Doc, without me present, was able to get him into a "down/stay" and watched the cats eat their meal in the kitchen. I was very suprised and very relieved.

The neighborhood is filled with dogs and all of the neighbors are very friendly. There's a very small town feel to this little cul de sac that I live in now. Lots of people have come up to Doc and I while I've been walking him around the neighborhood. Doc has been friendly to everyone so far, but there was one incident yesterday where I was standing and talking to some new neighbors in their driveway, Doc was friendly to them. All of a sudden 2 more neighbors came from a house next door. Doc was calm as they were walking towards us, showing no fearful/aggressive warning signs, but as soon as the guy got within about 2 feet, Doc started growling and wanted to lunge, but I pulled him back in time and got him in a down. About 2 minutes later he checked them out while they were ignoring him and then he was fine, he even let them scratch his butt when we said good bye to them. Luckily they were dog friendly people and understood the stressful situation/adjustment period that he is going through right now.

Now one last issue, and this is the bigges issue:


When it comes time to put him in his crate when I am leaving for work, the neighbors must think I beat him before I leave for work. The crying, barking, howling, pawing at the wire crate door. Its the worst I've ever seen it. He used to be crated, in the same crate I might add, in our old house so its not that the crate is a new scary experience for him. I leave a radio or tv on at low volume for him and throw a couple treats in the kennel when I put him in there.

Just thought I'd share an update and wondering if all of this is normal during the first move into a new house since coming home as a puppy.
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Just a bunch of questions for you --- Were other animals loose in the previous house while he was crated? Where is the crate in relationship to where it used to be? Are you doing anything different now?
Good questions!

I have the whole upstairs, his crate is next to my bedroom. He is in a corner, yet can see my bedroom door, the bathroom door and the top of the stairs, so he feels safe. His crate is placed in a similarly constructed room where his crate was in the old house. Yet his crate is closer to my bedroom in this house, before it was on the opposite end of the house.

At the bottom of the stairs there is a door that I keep closed when I leave. The cats don't even try to wander upstairs when the door is open, but I keep the door closed anyway just for safe measures. The other dog, Fred, is leashed in the living room on the main floor when left alone. He is very quiet and just sleeps on the couch. So as far as other free roaming animals in sight or making noise while he is in his kennel, that is taken care of.

He has always been a 50/50 combination of an independant dog and velcro dog. But since moving he has been a complete velcro dog. He will follow me into every room I go to, even try and go to the bathroom with me! haha. In some instances, the velcro dog has been nice, he hasn't chewed up anything or gotten into anything he isn't supposed to since he is always in my eyesight. He hasn't tried to leave the yard or chase after some of the wild life that we have seen near our backyard the last couple days (ducks, deer, etc). I still have been keeping him on a 20 foot lead, just to reinforce the yard boundries in case he wanted to go wander into the neighbors yard. We had a fenced in yard before, so teaching the yard boundries was one of our biggest priorities with training during the adjustment phase. Fred, the boxer, has a very reliable recall and knows the yard boundries so that helps alot with the process... not having to train 2 dogs at once!
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Day #14

The seperation anxiety has definately lessened since my last update.

More problems have developed though. I started a new thread in the aggression forum about it.
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