Changes in a dog’s life can definitely affect their behavior - especially if those changes occur at home. Dogs are creatures of habit and are usually sensitive to any alteration to their routine or in their environment. Some common changes that may impact a dog's behavior include, but are probably not limited to, the following:
1. MOVING - Moving to a new home can cause dogs to experience stress and anxiety. The relocation to a new environment means they will need time to adjust to their new surroundings and establish a sense of security and reestablish their routine.
2. CHANGES IN HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS - The addition or loss of family members, such as a new baby, a roommate moving in or out, or the departure of a family member, can affect a dog's behavior. They may become anxious, confused, or exhibit signs of separation anxiety.
3. CHANGES IN ROUTINE - Dogs thrive on routine, so significant changes to their daily schedule can lead to behavioral issues. Alterations in feeding times, walking/exercise routines, or potty schedules may cause stress and behavioral changes.
4. RENOVATIONS OR REMODELING - Loud noises, construction work, or changes in the layout of the home can be distressing for dogs. The noise, unfamiliar smells, and disruption to their familiar environment can cause anxiety or fear.
5. FURNITURE REARRANGEMENT - Because dogs are creatures of habit and rely on their spatial memory, rearranging furniture can disorient them and may cause temporary confusion or stress.
6. CHANGES IN SOCIALIZATION - Dogs that are used to regular interactions with other animals or humans may experience behavioral changes if their socialization patterns are disrupted. Lack of socialization opportunities can lead to fear or aggression issues. We experienced some of this when dogs returned to Good Dog after Covid and had to readjust to socialization again. It’s also why we ask people who only board with us to bring their dogs in for a bit of socialization a bit prior to the stay, it gives them an opportunity to reacclimate.
7. NEW PETS IN THE HOUSEHOLD - Much like changes in human household members, the addition of a new pet can impact the dynamics within a home and cause behavioral changes in resident dogs. Dogs may feel threatened, jealous, or territorial, which can lead to aggressive or anxious behavior.
8. CHANGES IN HOUSEHOLD RULES - Inconsistent enforcement of rules or changes in expectations can confuse dogs. It's important to maintain consistent rules and boundaries to prevent behavioral issues. Again, as creatures of habit, dogs thrive in structure.
9. CHANGES IN THE DOG'S HEALTH - Physical discomfort or illness can significantly impact a dog's behavior. Unfortunately, they can’t communicate with us verbally to tell us what’s wrong so we have to pay close attention to their behavior. If a dog starts displaying unusual behavior, it's essential to rule out any underlying health issues by consulting with your veterinarian.
10. LOSS OF A COMPANION - If a dog loses a bonded companion, whether another dog or a human family member, they may experience grief and exhibit changes in behavior. They may appear sad, withdrawn, or display separation anxiety. These losses are hard for them to understand and process.
When faced with changes in the home, it's essential to provide your dog with patience, reassurance, and a stable routine. Gradual introductions to new situations, consistent training, and positive reinforcement can help dogs adjust to these changes more effectively. If the behavioral changes persist or worsen, seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist can be beneficial. It’s also essential to communicate with anyone caring for your dog. It’s not uncommon for us to see changes in behavior with dogs and we don’t want to see it escalate. So, if you’re experiencing changes at home, please let Good Dog know when your dog comes in so we can ensure that your dog has a good experience with us.