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Helping Your Dog Adjust to a Move

If you're moving to a new home, one of the best ways to prepare your Labrador Retriever (or any dog) is to keep everything as normal as possible. Take a break from moving preparations to engage in your normal grooming, training, and play sessions. Busy as you are, continue to feed your dog at the normal times, keep his water bowl full, and take him on his walk. Keep bedtime about the same if you can.

Even if your Lab seems healthy, take him to your vet for a checkup a week or two before you move, and make sure he is up-to-date on all his vaccinations, tests, and heartworm pills. (You may even need a health certificate when moving from one state to another — check with your vet.) While you're there, ask your vet about anything that should concern you about moving with a dog. He or she may have some additional suggestions that will apply to your individual Lab and situation. He or she may even be able to recommend a good vet in the area to which you're moving.

Practice stress management for yourself! If you're getting too stressed out, your Lab will think something's wrong. He'll worry. Really! Labs are perceptive, and if you're suffering, your Lab will suffer right along with you. Enjoy stress-reducing walks in the fresh air with your Lab. Take time out to just sit on the couch for ten minutes and pet your Lab. Remember, the more organized you are and the more you plan ahead, the less everyone in your family — your Lab included — will feel the strain.

Continue to take your Lab to different places. Socializing and traveling with your Lab (both locally and on longer trips) will make the move much easier on him. If you haven't been taking him to various locations and introducing him periodically to new people, it's time to start.

Ideally, you will begin training him in various locations and getting him used to riding in the car at least several months before the move. Make it as important a part of your moving plans as changing your phone service or booking the moving van. A Lab who's a veteran traveler will take a move to a new location in stride, especially if his routine remains relatively intact and you remain relatively calm about the whole affair. If your Lab is feeling good about the move, he'll be a source of comfort to you when you get to your new destination, too. Exciting as moving can be, it sure is nice to have a familiar and well-loved friend along!

When you're giving away stuff you don't use so that you don't have to move it, make sure you don't toss any of your Lab's things into the giveaway pile. Your Lab's doggy den, dog dishes, chew toys, retrieval objects, and even bedding — no matter how old and ratty they're getting — will be sources of comfort and reassurance for your Lab in your new location.

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