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How to make your dog feel at home in a new country

Feel at home in a new country

Enjoying new surroundings!

Relocating overseas is a stressful time for anybody, not least of all our four-legged friends. Your canine companion is probably clever enough to have sensed that a big event is in the pipeline, but chances are even the most discerning of dogs will be taken by surprise when he is bundled into a crate, plonked onto a flight for a few hours and – just when he thought the ordeal was over – set free only to discover he is now in a completely different country. And they say it’s a dog’s life!

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If you love your pooch so much that you’ll spend a month’s rent on transporting him to your new home nation, you undoubtedly care about him enough to do what you can to ensure the transition is as easy as possible – which is probably why you are reading this article! Here are some simple steps you can take to make the process a bit more bearable for all concerned:

1.    Planning ahead

If you have human children, you would probably be thinking about suitable neighbourhoods, clubs and schools long before getting on the plane, and your dog should be no different. Rather than waiting until you get there before considering the practicalities, do what you can to plan ahead. If you will be renting, do landlords in your new area readily accept dogs? Are you moving to a dog-friendly or dog-wary culture? Are some neighbourhoods better suited to dog owners than others? Can you locate a good vet? Are there good parks, beaches or walks in the vicinity, and are you allowed to walk your dog ithere (on or off the leash)? Have you looked up whether there are any dog walking groups, dog groomers or dog parks in the area? These could be a great way of making new friends, both for your dog and yourself!

2.    Minimising the moving stress

Your dog will be confused when all of a sudden his beloved home is full of strangers packing boxes and all his home comforts are taken away – and that’s only the beginning! Try to ensure your dog has a quiet room away from the chaos during the packing process, and if possible pack his stuff last. It may be tempting to leave his things behind and buy new when you get there, but having some familiar reminders of home will make the process a lot less intimidating for him. If you have a trusted friend or relative who your dog is comfortable with, it may even be a good idea for him to take a little ‘holiday’ with them while everything is being packed up. Similarly, if you can possibly schedule your dog’s arrival for a few days after your own, it would be less stressful for your dog to come into an unpacked, ready-made home. If that is not possible then, like before, give him a quiet spot in the new house where he can stay calm and keep away from the madness until the dust settles.

3.    Settling in

When you are over the biggest hurdle, it is time to integrate your dog into his new environment. Get out walking every day and start to explore the neighbourhood. Allow your dog to sniff out his new patch and maybe even meet some new canine friends. To keep him feeling as secure and at home as possible, try to stick to your previous routines. If you used to walk or feed him at a specific time of day, keep that consistent – yes, even in a new time zone!

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