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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Moving With Your Dogs

  I haven’t posted here in quite a while. The reason being is that I moved! I moved from NY to Colorado to be exact. Not exactly around the corner. And what an undertaking it was (is). 17 years’ worth of junk I had to sort through, discard, pack, and move. I bought a 16 foot enclosed trailer and loaded it up. It was so packed with stuff, that when I was done you couldn’t fit a pack of cigarettes.
  So on November 28th, 2011 I hitched the trailer up to my pickup, loaded up the dogs and headed west. Thank God a good friend of mine flew back east to help me and make the ride out. 4 days later I was there.
  This was (is) a very stressful time for all of us. Both my dogs only knew one place to live since they were puppies. Neither spent long periods of time in the car either. This was certainly very different for both of them.
  My pickup has a “cap” on the back and is fully enclosed. It does not have heat or air conditioning. Both the dogs were crated. Heidi, my German Shepherd, was in an insulated crate and had a thick woolen blanket she laid on. Fritz, my miniature long-haired Dachshund, had a fleece mat to lie on.
  The first day went pretty well. After the first couple of hours I took them out to stretch their legs and to have some water. In the morning I only gave both of them a handful of food and a cookie and their main meal was in the evening. When driving long distances in the car, you don’t want allot of food in their stomachs to slosh around. They probably will get sick. Water is always a must. Regular intervals of exercise and water are essential.
  The elements are another thing. Towards the end of the trip, Fritz rode up front with us because he has a very thin coat. On the other hand Heidi was nice and cozy in her insulated crate and wool blanket. She has a very dense undercoat and is good to 30 degrees without any help at all.
  And please, no drugs. I am opposed to giving dogs any more drugs than needed. I have heard of giving animals seditives when traveling. My dogs never made a sound. And I have a witness to attest  to that. Why, becouse they followed the leader, me. They had faith that I knew what I was doing. Simply put: I lead, they follow.
  When staying in hotels for the night you want to be sure they are “dog-friendly”, most are. There is usually a 10 or 20 dollar additional fee, but not always. When entering the room, the first thing Heidi and Fritz did was to get dibs on who was going to sleep in what bed. Also you want to go around the room and “dog proof” it. Meaning look for anything someone may have left on the floor that the dogs can ingest or something like that.
  When moving into the new home you want to make your dogs “feel” secure. That is a big deal in the dog world. Lots of love and pampering at this point. Crates are also very helpful. If your dog is crate trained properly, they know that the crate is their safe place. So if you go out and they are in their crates they will feel secure. Do things gradually. Introduce them to the neighbors and their surroundings a little at a time. After all they have been through allot going cross country and being uprooted.
  I am proud to say Heidi and Fritz came through this ordeal like troopers. On the last, longest day of the trip, Heidi didn’t make a peep and Fritz, riding up front with us, didn’t make one objection, (knowing Fritz, I’m sure he was thinking it). They have adjusted very well, considering we now live at about 4800 feet above sea level. We also live next door to 2 pit bulls. One of which barks allot when we go by. Here too they have adjusted very well.
  Once more, you have to be the leader. Your dog’s should look up to you and should have unwavering trust in your judgment. Trust and love are what it’s all about.