Advice on odd dog eating/drinking/peeing/pooping behavior after move?

Just a few days ago we moved from West Virginia to Texas. In West Virginia we had a small apartment without a yard. Therefore, we would hook our Havanese on a leash and let him go out in the front yard to use the restroom. He was very lively and energetic, and seemed to be a very happy dog.

We have now been in Houston for four days (still lots of boxes around) and things are different. One of the reasons we picked this town home is it has a back yard where he can go out to relieve himself. However, he won't. If I take him out front on a leash he will relieve himself, or he will do it on a walk, but he won't in the back yard. The back yard was initially without grass, so I purchased some sod and put that in a couple planters as well as on the concrete, just to give him some grass. Still no dice thus far.

He also hasn't been eating or drinking much at all, his urine is a darker yellow than normal, and he has been moping around the house quite a bit. He seems depressed, definitely not his normal lively self. We have tried to do extra walks and other fun things, but it has been hard with the oppressive Houston heat and the need to get things done before my job starts next week.

Do you all have any thoughts on both how we can help make him happier as well as how we can get him to go to the bathroom in the yard? I plan on giving the grass more time, but is there something we could spray on the grass to attract him and make him want to use it? We have also thought about hooking him on a leash to go out into the back yard. Our thought was that perhaps he thought the back yard was part of the house since he didn't have to wear a leash back there. I have had him out a few times with a hand-held leash, but he always just wants to go on a walk (not that I can blame him).

It has been a hard few days on all of us because we got this place with him in mind. I am hoping that it is just a funk because of the move, and that in a few days he will be more in his element. However, if you have any suggestions to improve doggie mood or help him use the back yard I would love to hear them! Thank you in advance for taking the time to help!

  • <cite class="sig">EWyles</cite>

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

    Continue to take your dogs to different places. Socializing and traveling with your dogs (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 dog 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 dog 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 dogs things into the giveaway pile. Your dogs 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 dogs in your new location.

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