Moving is tough on every member of the family, including the ones with fur and four legs. According to the American Kennel Club, some breeds are so averse to relocating that they may stage an escape from the new residence in an attempt to return “home.” This good-hearted effort on their part could end in a frantic search for your missing friend, or even worse. So it’s important to do whatever you can to make your dog comfortable in her new residence.
Here are some tips to help you.
Choose a Pet-Friendly Community
It’s a sad fact of life that not everyone loves animals. Moving to an anti-dog neighborhood will only cause hardship for you and everyone in your household. So here’s how to pick an area that will have everyone wagging their tails with happiness:
Check local laws and homeowner association covenants for pet-related rules. Reasonable restrictions are fine, but onerous ones are a red flag.
Look for amenities like a vet, pet store, and dog park close by. You’ll need these services anyway, so why travel too far?
Let your potential neighbors meet your pooch and observe their reactions. Do they smile with approval or scowl in disgust?
Know When to Make the Move
Many dogs are more nervous at night than during the day. So it’s best to complete your move while the sun is still out. The earlier in the morning you can settle your pet in your new home, the sooner she will accept her new location.
Here are some steps to help ease her transition:
Take her for a walk outside and encourage her to relieve herself in an approved spot on your property. If she does so, then reward her with praise and perhaps a treat.
Lead her through the home on a leash and let her explore each room one at a time. You should supervise this activity and reassure her if she becomes afraid or nervous.
Use the bedding from your old home. Its familiar smell will comfort her.
Bring her old and familiar toys along with you to your new home.
If she drank tap water at the first home, then bring a few gallons with you to your new residence. Dogs can tell the difference between water from your old home and your new one, believe it or not.
Keep her diet consistent.
Keep her feeding, playing, and walking times consistent with her established schedule.
If the new home has a fenced in area then let her explore it under your strict supervision. Keep a close eye on her for the first few weeks to avoid a break-out. Never assume the yard is escape-proof. Dogs are tenacious and ingenious when it comes to finding weak spots in fences and other barriers.
Problem Behaviors and What to Do About Them
According to Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue, the trauma of moving can cause a dog to exhibit “nuisance behaviors.” These may include:
Digging through garbage in search of snacks or play-things.
Showing hostility to humans or to other dogs.
Peeing or doing potty in the home.
Avoiding or showing fear towards family members.
Barking to an excessive degree.
Left unaddressed, these behaviors might continue for months. Here are ways to counter them if they become an ongoing problem:
Dog-proof your waste receptacles by keeping them in cabinets or by using sturdy, tip-resistant metal containers.
Give your dog something to do. Treat her to new toys, play with her often, and take her for added walks to work off her nervous energy.
Use positive feedback when she adjusts her behavior. For example, give lots of praise when she goes to the bathroom in the correct area.
Show patience. She is trying to process her anxiety about her new home. Give her time to do so.
Following these tips will help your pooch to enjoy life in her new surroundings. It will also make her easier to live with, which is a win-win for all involved!