Helping Your Dog Adjust to Changes 

By Nichole Myers-Youngquist, CPDT-KA, Dog Trainer at OHS Salem Campus 

Roo, available for adoption at OHS-Salem. Photo by Skyler Smith

Adjusting to changes in our lives, whether it’s been moving from a larger home to an apartment or vice versa, starting a new job or returning to an office after a couple of years working remotely, takes a toll on our wellbeing, as well as your pet’s. You may take a yoga class or do meditation to cope with your anxiety, but how can you help your pet cope?  Changes to their routine can trigger unexpected behavioral changes in your pets, such as urinating outside the litterbox for cats or destroying furniture, carpets, and doors for dogs when you’re not around.  Here are some ways to help your pet adjust, and how our new training classes could make your pet’s transition easier.

“A tired dog is a happy dog.” 

 The adage holds true during times of change for both dogs and cats. Just like people, when our pets receive sufficient physical and mental stimulation, they are happy and well-adjusted.  They don’t have the energy or need for those unwanted behaviors, like climbing into moving boxes while you’re packing or chewing up your shoes while you’re at work. 

 If you can anticipate the changes coming, plan to keep your pet’s exercise routine as consistent as possible. If that’s not possible, consider a doggy daycare or pet sitter. Here is a link to an Oregon Humane Society blog with tips on how to choose the right care provider for your pet. 

 Don’t forget enrichment for mental stimulation. Swap their food bowl for a puzzle toy during meals. Kongs, slow feeders, and paper towel or toilet paper rolls can all be stuffed with wet food and kibble and frozen for longer lasting licking for both dogs and cats. 

 

 

“Hold on to me as we go 
As we roll down this unfamiliar road 
And although this wave is stringing us along 
Just know you’re not alone 
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home” 

– “Home” by Phillip Phillips 

Dog catching ball
Roo loves his fetch time! Photo by Skyler Smith

Set aside “pet time”   

 You probably support your pet’s emotional wellbeing daily, but during a time of change, it’s even more important. Pets are very intuitive; they can feel your anxiety.  

 Schedule regular pet dates. Take your dog to the pet store or coffee with your friends for a dog’s day out. Have a tea party with your cat. These nutritiouscarrot and catnip treatsfromEpicuricloudwill make your cat feel extra loved.  

 Giving your pet a little extra attention will make their adjustment time shorter and much easier. As the song lyrics above say, “just know you’re not alone,” you both will feel more connected.  

   

How training with OHS can help 

 Did you notice that we’ve merged with Oregon Humane Society?  As the note on our home page states, “We are still the same animal welfare organization you know and love, now part of a larger family.” Because of the merger you’ll see more training classes and workshops available to you. 

 We still offer private lessons both at the shelter, in your home, or virtually to help you cope with any unexpected behavioral issues like mild separation anxiety and reactivity for dogs.  They fill up quickly so be sure to book one soon on our webpage. 

 Group classes can help you and your pet during your transition time.  Our standards are still available, such as Best Beginnings, Tweens and Teens, the Life Skills series, and Dog Parkour.  We even have AKC Canine Good Citizen and Novice Trick Dog classes for the more advanced students. 

 In addition, here are some of the new offerings that can be found at, Train Your Dog. 

*Virtual* Tricks for Cats Class 

Teaching your cat new tricks is a great way to strengthen your relationship. It can help keep your high-energy kitten entertained or boost the confidence of your shy cat. 

Trick training can make nail trims easier and vet visits less stressful. Plus, it’s fun! In this class, you’ll learn how to teach your cat to sit on cue, hop in their carrier, go to their bed, give a paw, touch and more. This class is great for new cat owners and appropriate for cats of all ages (kittens through seniors). 

 

*New* Puppy Romps 

For puppies aged 9-15 weeks 

Limited to five puppies per session 

During our Puppy Romps you can introduce your puppy to other healthy puppies and allow them to interact and socialize! Helping your puppy learn the appropriate way to play with other Pups can help prevent behavioral problems as they mature. In between play sessions, our certified dog trainers give you some basic tips and apply simple training games so you will have the best relationship possible with your puppy! 

 

Workshops 

*Virtual* Camping Safety Tips for you and your Dog!  

Summer is right around the corner! Are you dreaming of sleeping under the stars, eating s’mores, and sitting by the fire with your dog by your side? If you’re thinking about taking your dog on her first camping trip, this workshop is for you! We’ll give you some tips and tricks, so you’re prepared to have a successful adventure. This is a great class for first-time dog owners or people who have just adopted a new dog. 

 

*Virtual* Dog Park Etiquette – Do’s and Don’ts Workshop 

Want to make sure your dog has fun at the dog park? During this workshop, you’ll learn more about dog-to-dog body language and what appropriate play looks like as well as various dog play styles. We will discuss what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in a dog park setting and learn how to recognize early signs of stress and over-stimulation in dogs, and how that can affect social interactions at the dog park. This class is a great resource for new, as well as seasoned dog owners, who would like to learn how to keep their dogs happy and safe in social situations. 

 

*Virtual* Puppy Training Questions & Answers Workshop 

Do you have puppy training questions? We have the answers! Join us for this live virtual 1-hour workshop to get your puppy questions answered. Get help with Socialization, Potty Training, Crate Training, Play Biting, living with an adult dog, and more! Help your pup get started on the right paw with this workshop. 

Dog sticking out tongue
Roo is very treat-motivated and eager to learn with you! Photo by Skyler Smith

Contact salembehavior@oregonhumane.org to get additional advice, enroll in group classes, private lessons, or virtual workshops.  

 

Thank you for reading.  As always, practice patience.