Q: I will be moving from my house (with a yard) to a smaller-sized apartment in a few months and am worried that my two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier will have trouble adjusting. How can I help her cope?
Your dog may behave differently during the first few days (or weeks) after moving to a new place. She’ll be exposed to new smells, new sleeping arrangements and a new potty area, so it’s quite a lot to take in!
It may be tempting to toss out your pup’s old, ratty essentials—such as toys and her bed—and buy new ones to go with the new crib, but bring them along to help her transition smoothly from your current home to the new apartment. You should also avoid changing the way you interact with her, as she may become even more stressed and perceive that the new place is making mum act strangely!
Your pooch should not have difficulty adjusting to your new home as long as you do it gradually and stick to the same routine. A good way to tackle any destructive behaviours resulting from downsizing your home is to increase the amount of exercise. A bored hound with an excessive amount of energy may resort to destructive chewing (your couch, furniture and walls are likely to be her first targets), attention barking (caused by pent-up energy and/or new things she has never barked at before), and other habits which we may not agree with. Exercises you can do indoor include games of tug and fetch. Keep exercises up to 15 minutes, take a rest, and repeat again. You can play with your dog during TV commercial breaks as well! This keeps your dog engaged in something fun, and helps her to stay focused on you instead of doing something you may not approve of.
Mental stimulation exercises can also help to expend the excess burst of energy that comes with having less space to explore and tear around. Puzzle toys are great for keeping Fido stimulated, while treat-dispensing toys like the KONG will keep her busy. To occupy your furkid and tire her out, stuff the toy with her favourite food/treats, or hide treats around the house for her to find. Meanwhile, durable chews such as bully sticks and Himalayan dog chews are also helpful with curbing boredom. A chew should last your dog more than 40 minutes in order to be considered durable and effective in alleviating boredom.