Many dogs don’t have any problems with moving. Generally speaking, as long as they’re in their usual social group and their daily routine remains the same, they adapt pretty quickly and are happy to enjoy the ride, however, moving with a dog is a challenge for some people, because their dog is losing a familiar home and settling into a new home and neighborhood. This can mean that dog owners need to add another layer of preparation and management when moving. Nothing can a bit of extra planning can’t help. With the right strategy, even a dog that doesn’t enjoy changes can adapt quickly to their new home. Following these tips before, during, and after moving with a dog will make things a lot easier for everyone.
1. Bring out the moving supplies in advance
Dogs can easily pick up on small changes in their owner’s routines or new things around the house that indicate something different is going on. These changes can trigger anxious behavior in some dogs. Whenever a dog has a tendency to suffer from anxiety, it’s important that owners don’t wait for the moving day or even the moving week to pull out the cardboard boxes. By having them laying around the house a few weeks or a month in advance without making a big deal out of it, dogs have the chance to sniff them all they want and get used to them before they’re needed.
If a dog has a very negative reaction towards having the boxes around, owners should use positive reinforcement techniques by giving it treats anytime their dog comes near them. This will help reduce the dog’s anxiety when their owners are going around the house with the moving supplies.
2. Keep your dog’s routine to ease anxiety
Dogs thrive on predictable routines. So, as moving day gets closer, it’s crucial that dog owners do their best to keep their dogs’ routines as regular as possible. That means not making any changes to their walking, eating, and playing schedules. This consistency and predictability can help dogs feel safe and relaxed. Whenever there are too many changes, that’s when dogs start to get worried. It’s the lack of structure that makes them feel anxious. So if the usual time to go out for a walk is at 6 pm and playing time out in the yard is at 9 pm, it’s very important to stick to those schedules. Remember, the period before your relocation is definitely not a good time to change a dog’s diet or use a new collar. Moving with a dog and changing houses is enough of a change as it is, and there’s no need to add another layer to it.
3. Explore the new neighborhood before moving
Exploring the new neighborhood before moving wih a dog is only practical if whenever the move is to another house in the same area or close to it. It’s still something to try at least once with your dog because visiting the new neighborhood provides an opportunity your dog to get used to the new surroundings. Your dog can get used to the new smells, new sights, new sounds, and maybe even meet other dogs. This provides some familiarity in the midst of all the changes and your dog should feel more comfortable because they’ll be walking in an environment they already know (and possibly already marked).
4. Spare your dog the moving day hassle and hire a dog sitter
Moving day can be hard on anyone as it is, it’s even worse when there’s a dog in the middle of it to worry about. Besides, all the hassle of moving day can be extremely stressful for dogs, plus it’s not safe to have them around. During the moving day, there’s an increased chance of a door dash, someone stepping on a dog’s paws, or something falling on top of them.
To prevent any problems, dog owners can hire a dog sitter in advance or talk with a friend or family member that can host their dog for the day and care for them while they’re loading and unloading all their stuff. If there’s no one available to watch their dogs, the second best option is to create a safe room for them to be in. That way, dog owners can work in the rest of the house.
5. Give your dog time to explore the new house
Whenever they’re ready to enter the new house with their four-legged buddies, dog owners need to let their dogs explore it on their own. Keeping them on a leash and guiding them from room to room while offering a tasty treat in each room, is a great way to create a positive association. If dogs hesitate to enter a certain area, it’s important not to force them. By keeping dogs on a leash while exploring the new home, dog owners can help keep them out of any room that they’re not allowed in and help them feel more confident. During the house tour, owners should ensure they have a calm and happy voice and praise them for any good behavior.
Making sense of it all
After moving, the best way to help dogs settle in quickly is by going back to their usual routine as soon as possible. Providing enough opportunities to exercise is also key for keeping them relaxed and happy as a tired dog is less prone to develop boredom and anxiety. How quickly a dog settles into a new home depends a lot as every dog has its own personality but most dogs relax in their new house within a few days. If the routines in the new home are different, it can take longer for a dog to settle in as it also needs to get used to the new schedules.
Dog owners need to be patient with their dogs and not be afraid to comfort them whenever they’re showing uncertainty, There’s nothing bad about cuddling, praising, and petting dogs whenever they need. But remember not to act nervous or anxious because dogs can pick up on those feelings and mirror them.