I’ve always wanted a dog. I’m that type of person walking down the street and smiling to dogs or getting really excited when seeing dogs in cars, or, even better, with their tongue out the window. I feel a special connection with this gorgeous creatures.
Unfortunately, there were always very strong and serious reasons not to get a dog. In the last 18 years I lived in 3 different countries, and I pretty much moved in a new place every year. So, no puppy for me. At least, not until 2 years ago…
What’s amazing about the moment I decided to go for it, is that nothing special has happened. I was still in no position to get a dog, but what I realized is that you simply can’t live your life waiting for perfect moments. So, against all odds and logic, let me introduce you Thor, the Siberian husky.
I’ve learned so much from this experience! I would like to share with you tips and tricks on how you can integrate a dog in your expat life. If you build a solid foundation, your pet will be able to adjust to new homes, even if it means moving overseas or relocating internationally every other year.
First, make sure you choose the right breed for you and for your lifestyle
And, when I say this, please don’t think of size; it really doesn’t matter when it comes to dogs. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend a giant, that could get complicated, but don’t consider smaller dogs as good options just because they are small and easy to move around. In my opinion, they are even more complicated because owners tend to treat them as kids, they get highly spoiled and therefore aggressive and annoying. Don’t be afraid of medium to large dogs, they can be more stable and well-behaved, if you train them properly.
Beside general characteristics of the breed, what I consider most important are the social skills of the dog. If you relocate a lot, the dog will end up spending time with many strangers and he will be exposed to different environments. So, you want a dog who’s comfortable around people and who’s adaptable. And, one very important aspect, get a silent dog, who’s not going to drive everyone crazy with his barking.
In my case, Siberian husky proved to be a perfect choice. I love their personality, their independence, not to mention their looks, but in the meantime, what I got to highly appreciate in this 2 years is their heart. They love everyone, they are very sociable and they don’t have routines. At least, Thor doesn’t: he can be left alone overnight, or home alone for a few days if someone will take him out, he can hold his pee for 24 hours and he can entertain himself. And, yes he’s not into barking, just a bit of howling and a lot of talking.
To find out more about huskies, read my article 10 Reasons why Siberian huskies are the best dogs
Understand dog psychology and get personally involved in obedience training
You’re learning how to cohabit with a different species, so, take the time to get to know them and treat them with the respect they deserve.
Invest your time and energy in training your pup. If you establish a real communication, you’ll have a happy life together, no matter where you’ll move next.
A personal recommendation for a successful obedience training is this German manufactured collar Hermann Sprenger
- Use English
Disregarding your mother tongue or the place you live at a certain moment, communicate with your dog in English, or at least, teach him commands in English.
This way, wherever you’ll be moving abroad with your dog, most people will be able to understand your conversations and they’ll be more relaxed around your pet. On another hand, you’ll have more options for dog sitters or dog walkers, because language won’t be an impediment.
Photo credit Petru I. Guset