Tips for Moving Home with a Dog

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How would you react if you suddenly lost your friends without warning one day? Friends that you are used to meeting frequently, that have become a very significant part of your life. Think of a young child moving into a new kindergarten in the middle of the year and having to make new friends. This is what it can feel like for your dog during a move.

What can go wrong?

Do you know someone who has moved and suddenly lives without family and friends nearby? Some dogs experience a crisis so deep from moving house at a young age, that it was very difficult to get them to open up and convince them that foreign dogs can be nice and sociable too. True, dogs can adapt, just like humans, but adaptation can be tough for some, especially if you do not do a few things before the move to help them. There are unusual dogs who, no matter who the dog is, will respond happily and socially. However, they are the minority. The majority will be selective, picky or even aggressive.

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So what should you do in order make it easier for your dogs to move house?

1. We suggest starting to walk them in the new place before the move. Allow the dog to get to know the environment and the dogs that live there before moving in. It is important to do this as many times as possible before moving.

2. If a friendly dog is found during these walks, talk to its owner and schedule a play date the dogs so that there will be at least 2-3 dogs it knows before the move. This way there is not this transition period of walks in a new place and meeting unfamiliar dogs. Each dog will respond to this transition period differently and you would not want to take the risk.

3. Prepare a corner for the dog with the objects they know from the previous house. If you have not already done so, it is recommended that you take care of this first, before you arrange your own things.

4. During the weeks after the move, take your dog to meet his old friends at least once a week. Meeting with them will help your dog to relieve the stress of playing with new dogs, and will allow them to be more relaxed when meeting dogs they do not know.

5. Take snacks when you go for walks and reward the dog for good behaviour. This will help the dog to associate the area with something good and teach them that all the behaviors he knows are worth performing in the new place as well (dogs do not generalize well).

6. Similar to section 5 only indoors. It is very important to reward the dog for the lack of behaviors that you do not like. For example, if there is noise outside the house / apartment and they do not bark, you should reward them with a treat as soon as the noise is over and he has lost interest in the noise. This is especially important with unfamiliar noises.

If it is a dog 2-3 years or older with a history of successful moves, chances are good that you would not have to bother to prepare him for the move in such a meticulous way, and can choose which of the sections is important to focus on.

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