Moving to a new home is stressful for everyone, even your dog. Moving to a new location can be exciting, but it’s also one of the more stressful things that you’re ever likely to experience. In fact, experts say that moving is right up there with the loss of a loved one or getting a divorce. Even if you don’t recognize the signs of stress yourself, you may be feeling quite stressed about the entire situation, all while being too busy to fully realize it. The problem with this is that your dog is so connected to you that she feels what you feel. She knows when you’re happy, when you’re sad and when you’re stressed. Unfortunately, that only adds to her feelings of stress and uncertainty, especially when she is leaving behind everything that she’s familiar with and facing new surroundings that she’s never been in before. The question is, how do you reduce those feelings of stress and help your dog adjust when you move to a new house? You might be surprised that for the most part, it involves doing the little things that can make her feel more comfortable. Keeping some part of her normal routine is absolutely crucial, as is bringing the things that she previously had in her environment that are most precious to her.
Consider Crate Training
Some people start crate training their dogs as soon as they get them and others are very much against the process. It’s important to remember that crate training is not punishment. Instead, it is a place that your dog can go when she’s feeling overwhelmed that gives her a safe space. If you work outside of the home, it can also be one of the most effective ways to help her feel safe, even when you’re not physically with her. It might be a good idea to consider a crate with a soft dog bed inside that is located in an area close to her regular dog bed. Dog beds not only come in all different shapes and sizes, some do cater to your dog’s health needs – check out The Pampered Pup for more information. You can even include a blanket and a couple of toys. If you really want to kick things up a notch, cover the majority of the outside of the crate with a blanket so that your dog feels the solitude that she needs when she wants to be alone. You can even keep her food and water bowls nearby, allowing her to have that little section of the home that’s just for her, yet still with the rest of the family.
Create a Space Just for Your Dog
One of the best ways to eliminate stress on your dog when you move is to create a safe space just for her. It needs to be an area of the house that has ready access to you and other members of the household, yet it is also just out of the way enough that she can be by herself if that’s what she so desires. There are a number of ways that you can go about accomplishing this goal. You don’t have to set her off in a room all by herself where she feels completely isolated. In fact, that is only likely to increase her level of stress many times over. Instead, bring her favorite dog bed and put it in a room where you spend a great deal of time. In order to make her feel like she has her own space, create a little nook for her in the corner of the room or next to the couch where she’s out of the way of foot traffic, yet still very much present where people spend a lot of time. Bring some of her favorite toys and allow one or two of them to remain near the dog bed so that she fully understands that this is her space and she is still part of the family. It’s important that she realizes that even though her physical surroundings might have changed, her dynamic within the family has not. The most effective way to do that is to provide her with a few things that are familiar and reassure her that the family dynamic is still very much intact.
Spend Time With Your Dog
Another way to help her adjust when you move is to spend extra time with her. If you have a backyard that is properly fenced in, allow her to spend some time roaming the area. Go outside and play fetch with her. When her physical surroundings change, the thing that your dog will crave the most is time spent with you. Remember, she’s feeling as much stress as you are, maybe even more. She needs to be constantly reassured that she is still loved and that the bond between the two of you remains unchanged. The best way to do that is to spend time with her and keep her close to your side. The extra exercise that comes into play with playing fetch or tug of war can also go a long way toward alleviating some of that anxiety that is associated with being indifferent surroundings. This in turn can help your dog cope better so that she adjusts more quickly.
Go for a Walk
Speaking of exercise, it’s crucial that you go for a walk with your dog. Aim for at least two walks a day, one in the morning and one toward the end of the day. If your dog is having a hard time adjusting or has a great deal of pent-up energy, it might be important to add additional walks throughout the day. There are a couple of things to remember, especially when you have moved to a new location. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash. There is nothing more tragic than a dog who gets lost in a new location and is unable to find her way back to you. In addition, it is important that you allow your dog time to stop and explore the new area she is in. That means allowing her time to stop and sniff whatever she’s interested in, provided that it’s safe to do so. This is how she familiarizes herself with her new surroundings. If you give her time to take it all in, she is more likely to adjust both more quickly and more completely.
There is no doubt that moving can put a lot of stress on the family. It’s important to remember that your dog is part of that family and that she feels the stress acutely, just like you do. Keeping her routine as normal as possible and doing little things to reassure her can make all the difference in the world between helping her adjust or watching her struggle through the process when you move to a new house.