By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist
Moving can be a stressful time for the whole family, including your dog. However, by building in the time for a few extra steps to acclimate your dog to his/her new environment can greatly ease some of that stress and anxiety.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Making sure the days before the move are as routine as possible, will help to ease the anxiety your pup may have about things such as moving around the house and packing. Maintaining consistency in your everyday routines with your dog can keep the balance. Continue feeding your dog at the same times and keep walks consistent. Engaging them in some new play such as obedience games you might have learned from a training class can also help to ease any unnecessary anxiety or perturbation by physically AND mentally waring them out.
If possible, it is good to introduce your dog to the new neighborhood before the move. Drive if needed, and walk the neighborhood to let the dog get familiar with the smell of the area. This is also a good time to get a sense of your new environment, other dogs, traffic, etc.
Day of the Move: We recommend not to have your dog involved in the actual day of the move if at all possible. If your dog goes to doggy daycare, this can be a good option or if you have someone close to you whose house your dog is familiar with, this too can be another option. Bring the dog’s supplies (crate, beds, feeding bowls, toy box etc.) into the house and set them up and before welcoming your dog to the new environment. Bringing in blankets and dog beds with familiar smells helps your pup learn that this is his/her new territory.
On the day of the move, make sure to give your dog a walk or two in the same area as your new home before you bring him/her into the new space. keep him/her leashed as you walk through the house only introducing her to one or two rooms at a time and allow your dog time to smell the area well.
Remember to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible. Dogs like kids thrive on routine so keep it as consistent as you can.
During the move, if a situation comes up that gets a reaction from your dog, whether it is fearful, excited, or aggressive, stop movement, try to calm yourself and the situation with deep breaths. Try not to raise your voice but do talk in a very stern, a matter of fact manner, and then continue through the situation. It is your confidence that will help calm your dog. If these types of behaviors continue and/or worsen then reach out to a behavior specialist for additional advice.
Taking the time to properly introduce your dog to your new home will help with a much smoother transition and mitigate any undue stress that can lead to unwanted behaviors.
Best of luck with your move!