What if your move to downsize doesn't include a yard? Maybe you opted for a small balcony or patio to maximize your living area or community amenities. Whether your outdoor pet is used to a larger yard or your indoor pet is accustomed to a larger house, they'll be transitioning to the new lifestyle at home just as much as you, if not more. Finding ways to help your pet adjust to their new indoor space is just as crucial for their happiness as it is yours. Here are some tips to assist.
Keep them entertained while you’re away.
You don't want your dog to become bored, and you definitely don't want to come home to a torn apart couch or your dog having marked all over the house. Whatever your financial ability is to invest in entertainment for your dog, there are simple purchases and DIY options for at home entertainment.
- A room with a view - Make sure there's a space in your home where your dog can see out the window. Being able to observe the goings-on around your house can help stimulate your dog during the day. A window seat is a useful way to allow your dog to see outside, while in a laid down position, keeping them calm and less likely to bark. They can lackadaisically watch the outdoors while lying in a sunbeam.
- Interactive feeding - Toys that incorporate mental stimulation, and food or treats, can be very effective for your pet, especially small dogs. You can purchase ball toys that slowly dispense kibble as your dog rolls it around the room or make one of your own by poking holes in a PVC pipe, filling it with food and capping the ends. For short stints out of the house filling a hollow ball toy or tube with peanut butter is a great option—for this treat make sure your pet knows the designated area for eating or for food toys, so you keep any stray peanut butter to the kitchen or the dog’s bed and off your couch!
- Tear-apart Rope Toys - Not all rope toys are created equal. To keep your pup occupied for hours at a time find a tightly woven rope at your local hardware store or purchase a rope toy with small threads tightly woven together. For a dog that loves pulling things apart, a tight weave is crucial. They need to get interested in figuring out how to pick the toy apart and help them stay interested as they see the progress of their meticulous work. Sure, there will be some cleanup of string mess, but your grandmother's afghan (the one with the fringe? Yeah, that one) will be safe.
Prepare for transition before buying.
If you know you'll have to lose the yard in your move to downsize think about the qualities in a new home or community that will keep life good for your pet. These qualities are especially necessary if your dog is transitioning from being an outdoor pet to a fulltime indoor pet. Check out part three in this series to learn more about the best community features for you and your dog. As always, your trusted real estate agent is here to help you find the best new home for you and your best friend. Talk with them about both of your needs to downsize in the way that works for you.