Moving home with your dog

Moving can create a lot of stress for your dog. Reassuring routines get upended. Your dog’s keenly guarded territory gets changed. There are new people, new surroundings, and for a while they may get less of your time.

Prior to the move

Give your dog plenty of attention. Play with them. They will notice that things are different. Items they’re familiar with are being packed up. You may not have the time to walk them as often. Watch for any signs of stress in your dog including change in eating habits, restlessness, barking and whining and forgetting their toilet training.

After the move

Enforce your old rules in the new house. Your dog needs to recognise that the old rules apply here too – and continuity is reassuring. Maintain your routine schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, cuddling and bedtime. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t run away in their confusion. Watch for signs of stress like toileting accidents or other puppy behaviour like chewing.

While new things can be exciting for us, your dog likes familiarity. Keep your dog’s bed, toys, bowls and other items the same, with their known smells. Keep everything calm and familiar for the first week or two and avoid anything that would normally stress your dog out – such as a housewarming party, grooming or bathing.

During the chaotic moving phase, don’t forget your pet’s safety. Some will be scared by the boxes and trolleys and trucks arriving. They may want to hide or run away, so arrange a safe place for them.

Make sure your pet has proper identification with your contact details, and that you have up-to-date vet records. Try to be aware of any aggressive animals in the neighborhood, or any other risks around your new home.

Give your dog some time to get used to their new home. Let them sniff around and explore — and if they decide to hide for a while, that’s OK, as long as they know how to find you. Allow them to come out when they’re ready. Their behaviour may change for a while, including eating and toileting habits, barking, pacing or protection behaviours.

Of course, a bit of extra love will go a long way as they come to feel at home in their new surroundings. Remember that difficult behaviours are a result of their discomfort with the change and a sense of not feeling in control. Difficult behaviors don’t mean your pet is bad and can’t change.

To help your dog adjust well to your new place, you might consider DogTech© In-Home Training, where one of our expert behaviourists works with the whole family in your pet’s new environment to set clear boundaries and get you and your dog speaking the same language.

The DogTech® professional training service is available in Adelaide, Sydney and Goulburn Valley, and you can find your nearest trainer by clicking here.