Moving to A New House: How to Help Your Dog Adjust to A New Home
Unless you have found your forever home, moving house is a task that many of us will face at one time or another. For our pets, the concept is unfamiliar, and for many dogs change of environment can be a very stressful experience. Fortunately, you can help ensure a smoother transition.
From packing, boxing, lifting, and lugging, disconnecting, reconnecting and everything else that comes with the big move, considering your four-legged friend can fall by the wayside. Preparation is key to ready them for the move and introduce them to their new home.
Your existing home is your dog’s ‘territory’. It is familiar, comfortable, and safe. Your dog will know the smells, sights, sounds, and common surrounds. Moving into a new home may be exciting for us, but to our dogs the changes can be very dramatic and stressful.
Before The Move:
Start to work towards building up some independence and adaptability in your dog. This can be done by changing some of your routines so that your dog is adaptable and future changes are more easily acceptable. It is true that our dogs love routines. Routines make “what is coming next” predictable to our dogs, but the problem arises when your predictable routines change, then our dogs are left without an ability to cope. This is one of the reasons, our trainers at Found By the Hound, will try to avoid routines in our homes with our own dogs. Simple things such as going for a walk are done at different times of day, feeding is done at different times of days, some separation time at different times of the day etc. Changing your schedule where you can will help your dog to be more prepared so that random changes are nothing new.
Leave your dog’s items until last.
Having familiar items from your old home can assist a dog with settling into a new environment faster. After the move is complete, the last thing you may feel like doing is rummaging to find your dog’s bedding and possessions. To make their transition smoother, ensure you have quick access to their belongings, bowls, crate, and bedding so they have familiar items in an unfamiliar environment.
Leave your dog until last.
In some situations, it is best if you can have a family member, friend or even kennels look after your canine companion during the thick of the move. Moving everything out of one home and into another presents many dangers for dogs. Loading and unloading big ticket items such as sofas and fridges with a dog around your ankles can be especially dangerous for all involved. Keep in mind the constant in and out of doors. A door being left open often could increase the risk of your dog accidentally finding themselves outside and exploring. Confine them to one secure room or in the yard of your existing home so that escape and injury cannot occur whilst people are going in and out of the house.
The safest option will be to wait until the craziness of the move is completed and then bring your dog into your new home.
The First Night:
Your dog may be unsettled at first. The first night sleeping in a new space will be strange for all involved but rest assured that with time, your dog will adjust to its new surroundings.
At Found By The Hound, we place significant emphasis on the importance of crate training and mat training. Moving house or having to sleep in an unfamiliar environment is stressful so their familiar crate, will make the adjustment so much easier. Despite the new space, the crate will be a haven as it always has been.
Things to remember:
Before you allow your dog to remain in the new home unsupervised check that fencing is up to standard to ensure they cannot escape. If you have moved into a home with a pool, ensure that the pool cannot be accessed and that all pool equipment including chemicals are safely out of reach. If fencing around the home or the pool is a work in progress, ensure you supervise or have your dog confined in a safe environment until necessary improvements are made.
- Change the address on your registration and ensure all microchip contact details are updated
- Check fencing and boundaries to ensure your dog will be safety secure in the new yard
- Remember dogs are the most adaptable creatures on the planet but they will need some time to adjust
- Until you are familiar with the area, keep your dog on a lead when exiting the house.