I read your column about the dog who is afraid of his own new home. I have two tips that worked with a dog we adopted who had been rescued from a hoarder. Princess had never been outside that house. She was terrified of our backyard and any normal noises, even birds chirping. After a week, we decided to put a Thundershirt® on Princess, which we had used for our other dog who is afraid of fireworks. As soon as we put it on her and opened the door to the backyard, she followed our other dog outside. We used it for two more days and never needed to use it again. It might work in reverse for the dog who is scared to come into the house.
The second tip: We never used crates for our dogs, but the rescue organization suggested we try it for Princess. Amazingly, as soon as we set the crate up, it became her sanctuary. Since the scared dog in Wisconsin also hides under the bed or behind the couch, maybe the crate is what he’s looking for.
Princess has now been with us for ten happy years. Hope these suggestions help.
— Eileen, Massapequa Park, New York
Similar to swaddling a bay, Thundershirts® and Anxiety Wraps® are wearable solutions that help anxious dogs feel more secure in stressful situations. So, this is a good suggestion for a dog adjusting to his new home. (You can also learn how to create a calming wrap with an ace bandage. Just google “DIY homemade anxiety wrap for dogs” to watch a YouTube video on how to do it.)
As for the kennel, it’s true that dogs who are kennel trained find great comfort sleeping in their safe spaces. All of my dogs have been kennel-trained, and they always know whose “room” is whose. If they were suddenly without their kennels, they might look for a more enclosed space to rest, as you noted.
These are good tips. Thanks for sharing your experience.