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Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Furnishings and Your Dog

by Carrie Boyko, CEB

Temporary Quarters at the Office Entrance

The new chair, couch, rug or bed just doesn't quite smell or look the same as the old one. What's a dog to do? Most will steer clear. Some may mark. Others will jump aboard and try out the new digs. Which dog is yours? In this article I'm going to share some tips for helping Fido get through this change without the drama.

For starters, all the disruption that occurs when old furniture is removed and new furniture arrives is quite unsettling to our dogs, who generally are creatures of habit. My Oliver was
More Boxes: Anyone
 Want to Volunteer for Assembly?
trained to fear almost nothing, and thankfully that generally follows through just fine. He's great on planes, doesn't mind traffic, fire trucks or motorcycles. The same goes for the new chair that arrived last week. He jumped right up and was ready for a photo opp despite it's position in a spot he often enjoys languishing.

What Oliver doesn't know is that there will be more of this jockeying of furniture--and rugs too--in the All Things Dog Blog household, coming up. With another kid off to graduate school (didn't we just graduate one?) I'm giving up a couple of pieces of furniture to help deck out a new place, while shopping for replacements for these items that are moving on.

Tanner and Oliver will be helping me--err watching interestedly--while I unpack, assemble and move new beds, couches and chairs. I've really bit off more than I should have! Here's the plan:
  • Old furnishings are being dismantled, if possible, for easier loading and unloading at my daughter's new apartment. After loading items into a vehicle, I take the dogs out to sniff. When they see that their favorite bed or chair is heading off in Mom or Dad's vehicle, they seem okay with that. Curiosity abounds, but that's all right. I treat for curiosity, but not for anxiety. Soft voice and low stress experiences are key. Make sure to keep your cool around your dog as you go through this process.
  • When each new box arrives I'll offer plenty of praise for sniffing and not running, while following up with a treat for calm acceptance of the intruder.
  • Packing material will be collected carefully to avoid any dogs enduring choking episodes, and quickly swept away to the car for recycling at the pack-and-ship place down the road.
  • Boxes are collapsed and tied together, being sent to the recycling center of our city's recycling program. It's important to get these out of the house quickly so as not to antagonize potentially nervous dogs. Cats are another thing entirely, but Patches is now beyond her box-inspecting days. #Zzzzzz is her new normal.
  • New furniture is assembled taking care to keep tools and assembly items out of reach while the pets look on with amusement at the craziness. Yup; that pretty much sums up their expressions. I talk to them while I work and make sure to maintain a calm voice and demeanor.
  • Now we come to the fun part--moving the furniture into place. This is where Tanner tends to back away and disappear, peeking around a corner to see what's up. Maybe he just doesn't want to be asked to help. It's okay as long as his tail doesn't take up residence on his stomach as he locates a hiding place deep in the back of our house. Thankfully this has never happened. He's just cautious about large furnishing and rugs moving around.
  • If you have a nervous Nellie, take care to plan your furniture moving carefully, minimizing the movements to ease her anxiety. I happen to know that I'll be moving the new chair seen above into a different spot after my two 20-somethings come home from their India adventure. I need manpower to get all this done as there are 2 large rugs and 2 beds to be switched up as well! My plan is to let the dogs have a dogs day out with friends and get all our disruptive moving and assembling done in one fell swoop. Wish us luck, as I try to get all this done in one day.
  • Once your new piece of furniture gets settled, waste no time setting the rules. Either your pooch is, or is not, allowed on it. Establish this right now :) After that's done, add a pillow or small blanket that smells like you and your family. This will help your furry friends to understand that all in their world is still well.
  • Finally, if you're a pet parent who enjoys a lap pup, invite your pet to join you for a movie. Stroke, praise and treat as your pup or kitty begin to sink into your lap, enjoying their affection while bonding more closely with you and your newest furniture addition. Enjoy!
Great last minute news; the new chair got its new home yesterday, just after posting this article. What do you think? Tanner has decided it's a great place to chew on his Nylabone.
Rug and Chair Switchups 
Best wishes,

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