Most people I know talk to their dogs. I do. Our dogs wag at the sound of our voice and I think we as humans are hopeful that our four-legged-friends somehow understand. Especially when we are conveying bad news. “I’ll be back this evening”. “The storm will pass”. “You can’t sleep in the baby’s room, you’ll wake her up”. They don’t understand. Literally, they do not understand the words we’ve strung together but often we speak to them to make ourselves feel better.
Some of my talking has paid off. I stay things out loud to Melvin. ‘Upstairs’ (when that is where I’m going), ‘front door/garage door’ (depending on where we are going to depart for our walks), ‘your room’ (his room for when we were showing the house), ‘walk’, ‘red bone’ (Kong), ‘dinner’ and ‘kitchen’. After months of doing this, I can now say “get red bone and bring to kitchen”. He does it immediately. If red bone happens to be upstairs and he looks at me in confusion when he can’t find it on the main floor I say ‘upstairs’ and off his goes. When I say ‘walk’ he spins and waits for me to inform him which door we are leaving through. Commands he understands, likely because there is a benefit to him!
We are moving, there are boxes everywhere. Stress is in abundance. I have spent hours telling Melvin about the new house and specifically the large fenced in yard that is all his (slight lie about the full ownership). He shows no signs of understanding. He does not like the boxes. He does not enjoy the new furniture configuration (stacked and pushed into corners). His normal traffic pattern is disrupted and he can’t see out of many of the windows anymore. My words mean nothing. I know why I am stressed about the move but he does not have a clue as to what is going on. He is unhappy. I know it will get better but until it does, he get’s extra walks. I get him out of stress central whenever possible. I hide treats behind the boxes, in some way I hope he thinks the box itself left it for him. I am keeping the bedroom as is for him until he leaves the day of the move and then I will pack it up. He deserves one room for respite.