Friday, September 23, 2011

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks is a Requirement when Downsizing to a Condo!

A Realtor friend of mine was telling me awhile back about clients downsizing from their family home with a big yard to a townhome. There were many expected changes and challenges in downsizing but one unexpected dilemma involved Tuffy, their little gray wire-haired, terrier-type dog who had the run of their home.

Every townhome they went to had to allow dogs in the association by-laws. Since Tuffy was not a large sized canine, breed restrictions were not going to be an issue. But much loved, dogs can be pretty spoiled. Tuffy would dart out the door with a welcoming bark every time my friend came to the door. He was a good dog, as he didn’t leave his half acre yard, but now Tuffy wasn’t going to be able to leave the patio. Running up and barking at neighbors is a big no-no in a condo association.

In fact, many associations have several rules about dogs and this place had a list of rules that Tuffy must obey in order to be a good townhome canine. His owners had to submit a mug shot of his cute black and gray face, so the association could tell which pets belong in the area and which did not. He was going to have to be on a leash or tie-out at all times. And he would have to have copies of his license and documentation that his shots were up to date on file.

Now that leash thing was going to be a problem. Tuffy, like his owners, fell into the senior citizen category. It was time to teach an old dog some new tricks…or remind him who was boss of the family (and it was no longer Tuffy) so that he could make a good impression on all his new neighbors. Fortunately, Tuffy had been trained previously and though his manners were a bit rusty, Ang and Donna started working with him several weeks before the move. Tuffy had to start wearing his training collar at all times but they didn’t use it often. A reward system of treats helped the little dog remember all his new rules.

My friend assured me that Tuffy is a happy senior dog in his new home. It was a bit of a transition but made much easier since Tuffy’s owners chose to start preparing their spoiled little dog early for the new rules. This made the move as stress-free as possible for both dog and owners. Finding and unpacking all of Tuffy’s little dog toys should be the only worry now!

OldDogPaws offers 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 your senior dog for the change to condo-living, it won't be long before your pet will enjoy his new home and surroundings as much as you will.

Copyright 2011 OldDogPaws

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