How do I get my dog comfortable with sleeping in new locations?
May 12, 2004 8:12 AM   Subscribe

How do I get my dog comfortable with sleeping in new locations?

My dog is generally well-trained and well-behaved. He does not suffer from basic separation anxiety. Instead, he cries and cries whenever he sleeps somewhere unfamiliar.

Examples: he's fine at my parents' house, where he spent two weeks last year, but he's never comfortable at my in-laws', even when my wife and I are there. Each time we've had friends take him overnight, he's been good all day, then cried all night.

Our dog-sitters and we have tried all the basics--crating, not crating, travel bag, no travel bag, in bed, not in bed. We need to solve this before the only place we can board him is with my folks.

What can we do to settle him down? I tried searching for this type of condition but all the results deal with separation anxiety at home. Personal suggestions and web links are welcome.
posted by werty to Pets & Animals (3 answers total)
Does he have a transitional object? It usually works for getting babies and toddlers to move out of your bed and into their own, but we also used one with our dog when he was a pup.

Pick a soft thing your dog will like, then keep it close to your skin one night while you are sleeping so it can pick up your scent. Introduce it with much fanfare and positive reinforcement, then just keep it in his sleeping area at all times. Whenever you take him someplace new, put the transitional object in his new, temporary sleep spot. Maybe it will help.

Another thing: try not to wash it for the first few months if you can help it. Over time, the dog will become more attached to the thing than to the scent. Then you can wash it whenever you need to (our dog started taking his "blankie" out into the back yard and rolling around with it in the mud and leaves. what a dork.)
posted by whatnot at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2004

This might help.
posted by JanetLand at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2004

Similar to whatnot's helpful advice:

Get a soft, cuddly toy and put in a hamper full of your dirty clothes for a week. The more "dirty" the clothes, the better (i.e. gym clothes are especially good).

This seems to work for my old English sheepdog, good luck!
posted by invisible ink at 1:14 PM on May 12, 2004

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