Settling your Dog into a New Home

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Moving house can bring a lot of stress both during the moving process and when adjusting to a new enviroment. While your own feelings are important, it is also worth considering how your dog might feel. For your dog, a completely foreign enviroment can be overwhelming, especially with how developed their senses are. Here are some tips to help your pet cope with moving home.

What can happen?

Like humans, each dog responds differently to each situation. There are those for whom moving is easy, but on the other hand, there are dogs for whom it is very stressful. This stress can result in negative behavioural changes such as - barking, defecation, aggression, dependence on the owner, and whimpering.

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Getting to know the new home

If possible, take your dog to visit the new home before moving in so they can explore and get to know the place. It is recommended to do this a week before and to do it more than once if possible. During the visit, give the dog treats that they like to help them develop a positive association with the home.

Familiarity with the environment

Familiarity with the neighborhood is no less important than with the new home. Walk your dog as often as possible around the new home in order to get them used to the area in advance.

Walk slowly to let your dog smell as much of the area as possible, ideally they will mark their territory. Thus, after the move, they will encounter a familiar scent that will help them recognise the area. If your dog is apprehensive, check in advance for any quiet places in the area and direct the walk there.

Packing separately

It is recommended not to pack any of your dogs belongings too early or in front of them. Dogs love routine, so the disappearance of their toys can stress them out. When you do eventually have to pack their things, make sure to get them as much attention as you have time for to distract them.

Dog sitters

Since the day of the transition can be very difficult for your dog, it is recommended to leave the dog with friends or family if you have the option. Once you have unpacked and there is nothing more to do that may stress them out, bring your dog to to the new home.

Adjusting after the move

Place the dog's bed in a central place in the home, this will encourage exploration of the space which will help them to familiarise themselves with it. The place where dogs sleeps is their personal territory. This should be a safe space for them, allowing them to relax and adjust to the situation. Also, try to keep their bed and toys somewhere quiet where they won't be stressed out by any unfamiliar noises.

It is important to remember, even if your dog is disciplined and used to walking around without a leash, do not let them off the leash in a new environment. It is not uncommon for the stress of moving home to cause a period of bad behaviour. If your dog decides to run away, it would be very easy for them to get lost. Even indoors, they may be quiet, look scared or lose appetite. Make sure to show them lots of affection during this time. This will help to offset any stress that they are feeling. If they are resistant however, you might need to give them some space.

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