Whether you and your family have big plans for the new year or 2014 brings you unforeseen changes, your dog is affected as much as you are by changes in your life. Your dog relies on the consistency and familiarity of his surroundings. When changes occur, dogs cannot reason like their human counterparts.
Dogs cannot process information about their surroundings using the same logic as people. While some dogs just roll with the changes in their lives seamlessly, some dogs can be thrown into an absolute panic when their environment changes. Introducing changes to your dog in the appropriate ways will help your dog cope with change and even embrace new and exciting things in your collective lives!
Dogs process information using their senses, using primarily smell for tell-tale signs of what is going on in their environment. Consider what the first reaction is with your dog when presented with something new or different: he smells it! Whether it be food, a new toy, an unfamiliar person, or even a new piece of furniture in your house, your dog investigates this new piece of his environment by going muzzle-deep to decipher what it’s all about. He wants to know where the new thing has been, what it is made of, and if it is a friend of foe. If you are planning on a big life change, slowly introducing your dog to the new member of the family using his sense of smell can help make the transition easier.
If you are making a drastic and permanent life change such adding a new pet to the family, use your dog’s keen sense of smell to introduce the change to him slowly. Take something that smells like the newest family member; a blanket that the new addition has laid on, or a shirt you have worn that smells like both you and the newest member of your family. Let your dog smell the item thoroughly, and then place it somewhere your dog likes to lay down, such as his crate or his favorite spot in the house. Speak in a positive voice and give lots of praise while your dog is investigating the new smell so that your dog will associate positive connotations to the smell.
When it is time to introduce the dog to the new family member, the smell will be familiar to your dog and reduces the chances of him reacting negatively to the introduction. Of course, it is always nice to have back-up: if you are adding a pet to your family, Bed and Biscuit Austin offers training classes help all the dogs in your family from longtime pets to new pack members!
Changes can be both exciting and scary for the whole family. While we can never be totally prepared for every change that may occur in our lives, having a plan for upcoming changes eases the transition for everyone in the household. Bed and Biscuit Austin wishes you an exciting 2014 for whatever it may hold!
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