You may describe moving to a new home as being exciting, but if your dog could talk, he’d say it’s overwhelming and stressful.
Your home is your dog’s safe zone, and new environments often provoke feelings of distress and anxiety. If your dog is uncomfortable during the moving process, he may start acting out with behaviors you haven’t seen since he was puppy—or maybe even ever.
Indoor “accidents,” excessive chewing, and separation anxiety are all common behaviors in dogs that have recently gone through a move. Help your pup feel at home in your new place with these tips.
Your dog is more observant than you think. He’s incredibly tuned in to your emotions, and stress is just as contagious as the common cold. If you’re panicking about unreliable movers or trying to figure out how you’re going to fit your king-sized bed out the door, your dog is going to pick up on that and start showing his own signs of anxiety.
Moving is a stressful process that can’t always be controlled. It may be better for Fido if you let him hang out at a friend’s house while you deal with the details of your move. If that’s not an option, simply do your best to keep calm in front of the dog. In other words, do all your panicking with the doggy door closed.
Keep Your Routine
Your dog’s routine probably goes something like this: 5:30 a.m., wag tail on noisy stuff to wake up human; 7 a.m., sniff tree; 9 a.m., snooze on couch; 6 p.m. eat food! Whatever routine your pup likes, let him stick to it during the move and at your new place.
That level of familiarity will ease his anxiety and let him know that not everything has changed. The sooner you help him to feel “normal” the easier your dog’s adjustment will be.
Don’t Forget to Pack His Favorites
Along with his old routine, your dog’s old toys, bed, blankets, and crate will help him ease into his new environment. It may be tempting to take advantage of your move by finally throwing out that raggedy old blanket, but that smelly old thing holds comforting scents that will make your dog feel at home even when the space around him smells foreign and new.
Dogs rely on scent more than any other sense, and filling his new space with familiar smells will make him feel at home.
Depending on your dog’s personality, it may take a few days or even weeks for him to adjust to his new digs. Give him the opportunity to sniff around and explore as much as he wants. If he decides to hide under the bed, let him be. He’ll come out when he’s ready; but forcing him into a scary new environment will only heighten his anxiety.
Don’t be surprised if your dog’s behavior changes while he works on accepting the move. He may bark more, whine more, or forget his potty training; but in most cases, those undesirable behaviors will fade away with time.
If weeks go by and your pooch is still showing signs of extreme anxiety or distress, consider consulting with a professional behaviorist. And as always, remember that love and affection go a long way when comforting a stressed out pup.
A house isn’t a home without the sound of paws skittering across the floor, so helping your dog adjust to your new living situation is just another step you have to take in the moving process.