How to Ease the Stress of Moving with Your Dog

How to Ease the Stress of Moving with Your Dog

Moving, particularly moving over a long distance or into a new type of home (i.e. house to apartment, city to rural, etc), can be a confusing experience for a dog. Like any transition, some dogs will adapt immediately and some dogs may regress in training or seem withdrawn for a short time. The most important thing that will help your dog through this transition is you and your family members. Human families become the support and security that dogs used to get from living in a pack. Spend time with your dog and keep as much consistency as you can and even older or timid dogs will adapt to a new home in no time at all!  


Tips to help minimize stress and ease the transition for your dog.

1. Involve your dog in packing.  Make sure you pack a special box of your dog's things. Let them watch you pack it and be sure and add some of your own personal items in the box, which may help your pet understand you are moving together. If you can, be sure that it is the last box loaded into the truck and the first box unloaded. Unpack the dog's items as soon as you get to your new house and let your dog see you make a big deal out of it. "See?! here's your bowl and water bowl! They smell just the same!"

2. Place their water and food bowl first.   With your dog watching, place the food and water bowl in their permanent spot in the new home. A dog will understand the layout of your new home relative to his bowls. If you have an older pet in the new house, if they ever seem confused you should gently guide them back to their food and water bowls. Having these familiar items on the floor say permanency to a newly relocated dog.

3. Place your dogs crate or bed next.  His "home" shouldn't be left in a box in your new home! Try not to move the crate around after you've placed it in one spot- dogs appreciate the stability of having a set place that is their own,

4. Making moving exciting!  If you have the chance, hide bits of dog food throughout the house and the backyard before your dog arrives. Your dog will naturally be curious about the new surroundings. Making investigation and exploration of the new home a rewarding experience will help insure that the dog's first experience after moving to a new house is a positive one.

5. Be proactive about reinforcing bathroom habits.  Dogs may or may not seem to regress in their potty training after a move, especially male dogs. This may be due to a confusion about how to access the outdoors or due to a male dog previously marking in the home. For the first day or two, take your dog outside as often as possible- watching and praising them for doing their business outside. This will help avoid any confusion about what is allowed where and prevent bad habits from forming

6. Neutralize previous dog's scent markers.  If you suspect prior marking to be an issue or it becomes an issue, mop hardwood floors and baseboards with Nature's Miracle and use a blacklight to locate and neutralize spots of prior marking on carpets. Most dogs adapt to relocation and a new home without much of an adjustment period- spending time with your dog will help your dog know that the most important thing in his life (you!) is still the same and he's expected to behave the same way as he did in your last home.

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