Post # 1
My fiance has a 7 year old spaniel/retriever mix who is VERY skittish. He had previous owners before my fiance adopted him and we’re pretty sure they abused him, so he gets scared really easily.
We just moved into our new house 2 weeks ago and he is NOT happy.
First of all, the floors are hardwood and he hates it. We had to put a placemat under his bowls before he’d even consider getting close to them. If one of his toys is OFF of the area rug we bought, he won’t touch it.
And the hardwood floors are REALLY annoying with his nails. We got them trimmed right before moving in so they can’t get much shorter. But it’s SO annoying when he runs around in the middle of the night ….
because he won’t sleep. He has 2 beds (1 downstairs, 1 up) and he used to sometimes sleep with my fiance in the bed, but he won’t do that either. He just paces all night and scratches and makes noise and ….. ugh. It’s keeping us both awake.
He also barely eats anything no matter what we try.
AND he almost refuses to go to the bathroom in our backyard. I have no idea why. We almost have to take him for a walk for him to go #2. Like …. WTH? It’s OUR backyard! Mark your territory!
I love him to death and he’s usually such a good boy but …. I feel really bad for him and he’s annoying the CRAP out of me and my fiance and we’re already so stressed out we just don’t know what to do with him.
I’ve been walking him almost every day and he’s pretty good then but as soon as we get back to the house he spazzes.
He paces, whines, and jumps at every little noise like the fridge or AC kicking on.
Is this normal? How do we fix it/help???
Post # 3
@Stace126: The poor baby is stressed by the move, from the sounds of it. I would look into getting him a crate that he can call his own, and putting him in there at night. It will give him a sense of security – especially if you fill it with a familiar blanket and maybe something that smells like your FI. You’ll have to give him time to adjust – he likely has no idea what has happened to him, and there was be all kinds of foreign smells that he is experiencing on top of the new sounds, etc. Just try to be really patient with him. I know it’s hard! Eventually he’ll adjust to the slippery floors, etc.
Post # 4
I second the crate training. It sounds like he has some severe anxiety stemming from his past of abandonment, and his new house change. Give him time, patience, and love – and a more secure, warm, comfy place to feel safe in.
Post # 5
Thundershirt! And crate training for sure 🙂
Post # 6
I’ll give another vote to crate training.
Also, when we got my cat (who used to be incredibly skiddish) from the Humane Society they told us to put her in a bathroom with everything she would need and keep her there for a few hours or a day. The idea was that this would be a “safe” space for her, and it was a very small space, so she would feel overwhelmed. Then we could open the door and let her explore as she got comfortable. My whole family probably spent an hour watching her take a few steps out of my brothers bedroom and then run back under the bed, and then a few more steps father out and back under the bed.
My parents dog crate is just metal wire and very open, so if you have a similar crate style you could consider covering it partially with a blanket to make the space feel smaller (and more like a den) and therefore more safe and less unknown. If your dog was never crate trained, then I would do what we did with my cat and just start your dog off in a small room (maybe a bedroom or office?) and let them slowly acclimate.
Post # 7
Poor dog! Mine did the same thing when I moved a couple years ago, but after about 3-4 weeks he gotta better. Give him attention, but don’t over-coddle him. Petco sells these anxiety pills, I don’t remember what they were called but they seemed to help him. I also recommend crate training. Put a big blanket over the crate too, so it’s dark. That helped my dog a lot in the beginning, and now I don’t even have a crate anymore. It’s scary that he isn’t eating, but he will eventually eat when he gets hungry enough.
I hope your little guy starts feeling better!!
Post # 8
It will take time for him to adjust, I would say 3 months wouldn’t be unsusual. I vote for the crate as well, if he’s so skiddish he will probably really like that, just don’t use it as a form of punishment. I also think a thunder shirt may help, though I would buy one from a store that allows returns within 2 weeks since I heard they either work 100% or not at all, just depends on the dog. As far as the toenails on the wood floors, you’ll get used to hearing the additional noise eventually, this may have to be some adjusting on your part if you’re used to the silent pitter patter of dog feet on carpet.
Post # 9
@Stace126: My DH’s dog was the same way when we moved, but she had an issue with carpet because she previously had hardwood. She was also abused as a puppy (DH got her when she was 8 months from the Humane Society), and is scared of everything and everyone unless she knows them. When we moved, she peed on all the carpets all the time for a good two months! Luckily, the only carpet we had was upstairs in the bedrooms (and the master bath… so gross!). She evenutally got used to it, and is fully comfortable in our house now.
Post # 10
Extra exercise. If possible, take the poor guy for two walks. If his mind is in a constant anxious state when in the home, walks may be his only opportunities to decompress until he gets settled. If at least one of those walks can tire him physically, it will be more difficult for him to get so worked up at home.
Strict routine. If he’s not eating, the best thing you can do for him is schedule times (twice daily) to offer him food and to take whatever he hasn’t eaten away after 30 minutes. This, combined with the exercise, will both entice him to eat and put him in the frame of mind to do so. Regular, routine potty breaks. Regular, routine exercise. It’s easy (and tempting) to work around the dog when they’re acting up, but this delays a sense of normalcy for everyone.
Crate or quiet sleeping space. An older, stressed dog may not take to crate training as easily, in which case if you have a quiet room where his bed can be (maybe with a rug) that would work too. Leave him here at night, and offer this space as an alternative to being an anxious wreck elsewhere in the house. As long as you don’t treat it like a jail, he’ll be able to decide for himself whether he wants to be out with the people or wants to be in his safe quiet space.
Good luck! Hope this transition goes more smoothly for you all from here on out.
Post # 11
@saraja87: +1. Thundershirt is where it’s at.
Post # 12
I have a rescue, she was also abused and is skiddish around new surroundings and people. Our current place is her second home since I’ve gotten her and she did the same thing, she wouldn’t leave my side and rarely slept at night, but with mine I just had to make her understand it was her new home, I took her on lots of walks around the neighborhood and let her roam around, I placed toys and a bed and such around the apartment so she’d feel at home, I let her sniff around and was encouraging when she would want to play so she’d relax. It’s definitely a process, but they get used to it. That’s just something you have to deal with in having a rescue that was abused and/or abandoned. We’re in the process of buying a new home and I know it’s going to be really stressful on my pup, so I’m planning on taking some of her toys and such there before we move in and taking her there a time or two to let her sniff around before the chaos of moving starts so she’ll get a bit more comfortable.. luckily for her she’s going to have a ton more space and a yard to herself so I think once she gets over the initial “what the hell is this place”, she’ll settle down. Exercise and encouragement goes SO far in situations like this!
Post # 13
@shaka: +100 excercise is key! walk him until hes too tired to fixate on new house noises and things.
Post # 14
I am with the PP’s on lots of exercise to tire him out and take his mind off the new surroundings.
Also, my dog won’t poop in our yard either. He is a rescue, but was in a foster home, not a shelter, and seems well adjusted. We have had him for 2 months, but maybe he still doesn’t see it as his yard yet? Or maybe he just wants to go for a walk so he won’t do anything unless we start walking.
Post # 15
@Stace126: Im so worried my dogs are going to be like this when we move in a few weeks too! My little dog has lived in a few different houses with me before my husband and I bought our first house 3 years ago. We just built a new house and my big dog has never lived in any house but the one we are in now since he was 8 weeks old! Also my big dog is afraid of stairs, he will probably never see the second floor of our house!
Please keep us up to date on how your pup is doing and what you did that helped!
Post # 16
@saraja87: I agree.
Your dog is just uneasy and probably stressed from the move. Think of him like a small child, they don’t like change. I would invest in a Thundershirt (they do work for anxiety, they are a God send) and look into crate training. The crate will allow him to have a “space” that he feels completely safe and comfortable within giving both him and you and moment of peace.
Best of luck!