A Look Back

Boxes unpacked, mostly; The Bears settled, somewhat; Me and Eddie in a new routine, this will ALWAYS be in flux.  I’m grateful we are moved into our new home and I’m happy we received our belongings and have tucked them in their new nooks and crannies.  Now, its a time a reflection for me, a bit of a debriefing to assess what worked and what can be improved upon for next time, as you know, there will be a next time, the military will be doing this to us again!

First, the things that worked and I will be doing again in our next move.  I will be boarding Jack and Bernie or utilizing daycare when movers are packing and loading the truck.  I know the act of putting our stuff in boxes and moving them out of our old home by strange people, caused a good deal of stress on them, especially Bernie.  We were fortunate we had two days of packing and boxes left in our home.  I boarded them for those two days.  When Jack and Bernie returned home, they maybe took about 5 minutes in sniffing all the  boxes and doing their own survey of what just happened.  They settled down pretty quickly.  Our furniture was still set up, so I guess it wasn’t a total and complete change for them.

The loading of the moving truck was more of a shock for the Bears.  We were scheduled for one day of loading, so I utilized daycare for them which was necessary.  I waited until all was done and picked them up.  When we arrived back home and they both saw everything was taken out of our home, this shocked them.  They spent about several hours just going around and investigating and they couldn’t settle down.  We kept their crates and I placed extra pillows down on the floor so they could snuggle on them since their usual resting place was taken away without their knowledge.  Jack eventually accepted the reality and found his bed and chilled.  Bernie on the other hand, was sitting looking all uncomfortable and confused.  We refrained from giving any additional attention we carried on as though nothing changed, but Bernie was on to us.  The next day, Eddie and I ran some errands and left them behind.  We left them stuffed kongs and other chewies.  When we returned home, Bernie was whining, pacing and needing more attention.  He began sitting by the front door indicating to us he needed to go out.  So, we obliged him.  When we would come back, he was right back at the door wanting another walk.  He continued doing this for the next couple of days.  The frequency increased of going by the door and he would eliminate every time.  His behavior made me think of people who get anxious before a speaking engagement or a big event and the sudden urge to go to the bathroom.  Bernie was anxious and since I couldn’t explain in verbal language we’re moving, Eddie and I really tried keeping the same routine.  We did our daily runs and walks.  We kept the rules in place and for the most part, both Bears coped.  Bernie only displayed the need for frequent bathroom breaks between 6-9pm each evening.  He would sleep through the night and the day time was easy for him.

Eddie and I made the decision in boarding Jack and Bernie while we left El Paso and went to OK to look for a house.  We were lucky this time around that our new destination was only 9 hours away.  We could return to El Paso after finding a new home and save Jack and Bernie the stress of living in a hotel for an undetermined amount of time.  Let me just say, this little decision granted huge rewards for both us and the Bears.  Eddie and I were more relaxed in going about our busied days setting up our new life in OK.  We had appointments which we attended with ease and I know Jack and Bernie were loving life while they were vacationing at Howl A Day Inn.  Since Melina does a great job of establishing play groups at HADI and having all the dogs out playing all day, I knew the Bears would be sufficiently tired in our final drive out of El Paso to our new home. This is exactly what happened.

Now for a bit of reflection on what didn’t work.  Well, the only thing which I wish I could have avoided was human error.  In an effort in keeping things low key while we are out and the Bears are left at home, we Bear proof.  We ensure tid bits which we think could be enticing to them aren’t left out.  I put stuff up high or in rooms where I shut the door, so I can manage their environment when we’re away grocery shopping or doing whatever.  Well, this time, I didn’t double check myself.  I discovered when we returned home, my office door was open and I knew I shut the door when I left.  I found that one or both of the bears pushed the door open and tore into Christmas candy.  Let me just say, I called a vet to see if this was an emergency situation.  It wasn’t and Eddie and I are both relieved.

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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