Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

7 Tips to Prepare your Older Dog for a Move to a Condo

Downsizing from a family home with a big back yard and room to roam is not easy for anyone in the family. But as needs change, older people often look for homes that require less yard work and maintenance. Often a condominium or town-home is a great alternative to older folks who prefer spending time with grandchildren and travel than cutting grass and weeding gardens.

All the changes and restrictions that come with being in a condo or town-home association are something most people are prepared for but “Fido” might be in for a bit of a surprise. No longer will he be able to chase squirrels or the neighbor’s cat out of the backyard. And that leash and kennel that were only used for trips to the vet, will more than likely be used several times every day when he needs to go outside. It will be a sad day for Fido who can no longer be leash-free in his own backyard because his backyard is now common ground.

Here are 7 helpful tips to ease your senior dog’s stress and help him make a smooth, stress-free transition to the condo-lifestyle:

1. Start Training Early - Don’t think of this as a way to punish Fido. A training collar is all about keeping your older pet safe in his new environment. Pull out that training collar and let him know that you mean business. He has to relearn to walk on a leash and not bark at everything and everyone.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice - At least a month before the move, start your daily walk with the leash being attached before exiting the house. Make sure Fido knows that darting out the door will no longer be tolerated.

3. Tied out Trials - Every time you sit on the deck or patio, first hook up Fido to his tie-out so he can get used to being tied-up. Many people don’t use these in fenced yards but most condo associations will have this restriction.

4. Reward Good Behavior - As Fido learns the rules, the training collar can come off and the treats or reward system can begin.

5. Keep License Up-to-Date - Most associations will require all pets to have to have all shots and local licensing up to date and of file.

6. Snap a Good Photo - Not quite a mug shot, but many associations will want a photo of all pets on file so they know which pet belongs to which association member.

7. Find Area Dog Parks - Research your new neighborhood to see if there is a leash-free dog park in the area where Fido can have a quick and safe run once in awhile to burn off all that pent up stress from being good in his new surroundings.

By taking the time to prepare Fido for the change to condo-living, your older dog will enjoy his new home and surroundings as much as you will.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

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