Honey looked worried.
We were packing bags at a frantic pace and she didn’t know what was going on.
How do you reassure your dog if she doesn’t understand when you talk to her in English?
Chaos And The Dog
We had a great idea.
While our house was on the market, we’d move out temporarily. That would allow potential buyers to look at their leisure and us to keep the house orderly and dog-hair free for more than two seconds.
Honey didn’t think it was such a great idea. She just found it confusing.
Before she knew it, we were whisking her into the back of the rental car loaded with her crate and pillows and unloading a few minutes later into a small apartment with dog noises coming through the party-wall.
Back at the house, we still had painting, repairs, and cleaning to do. But something told me that leaving Honey alone in our temporary home and rushing back to the house would worry her. But I had a hunch that we could tell Honey she had nothing to be concerned about without speaking a word.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Humans are so verbal. We often forget that as good as dogs are at understanding our language, it’s not natural to them.
I knew that to convince Honey we weren’t abandoning her in this new and strange place, we’d have to reconsider my plan to drop her off at the new place and return home without her to keep working.
Sure, we had her toys and crate out in the new apartment. But Honey doesn’t look to objects to know if she’s home. She looks to us.
So we decided not to leave Honey alone in the apartment until after we had all spent at least one night there together.
Did it work?
Home Is Where The Snores Are
Feeding our dogs, playing with our dogs, walking our dogs—they all help to build our bond.
But nothing shows how much our dogs trust us (and we trust them) by sleeping together.
Even if your dog stretches out in front of the door, yards away from your cozy bed, he wouldn’t rest easy if he didn’t trust things were okay.
Sleeping is where real bonding happens.
And once we had all slept in the apartment, Honey knew we’d be coming back for her, no matter how long we left her waiting for us while we worked.
We’re lucky that Honey doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety. But I think that leaving her in a strange apartment with curious dogs sniffing and woofing on the other side of the door just minutes after arriving would have strained her Zen attitude.
The next morning, we returned the rental car and rode our bikes back to the house to finish our work.
When we arrived back at the apartment, Honey was sleeping in the bedroom. She didn’t even hear us come in at first.
If we had left Honey with a treat immediately after moving her into the apartment, she would not have understood what was happening. But by sleeping together one night, we communicated to Honey that this was our new home and where we’d return for her.
In other words, we just had to speak her language. Because Honey understands snores better than English.
Your Turn: How do you reassure your dog in a strange situation? Does our dog understand English? Or do you communicate in a different way?