Moving to a New Home Can Be Stressful on Your Dog!
Moving is not an easy thing for anyone, with the packing, scheduling of changes and getting used to a new location and neighborhood. Moving ranks in the top five things that cause the most stress.
However, are you aware that moving is probably more stressful on your dog than it is on you.
In this article, I am going to try and cover what moving means to a puppy, an adult dog and a senior dog. For adult humans I can only suggest that you go with the flow, plan ahead, take two aspirins and do not call me in the morning.
Bringing a New Puppy Home
If you are adopting a new puppy, be aware of what a traumatic experience it is for the little being. All it has ever known is being torn away from it and the world is very scary.
The most important thing you can do is lavish it with love and I mean lots of it. It is important if you are picking up your puppy that there should be two of you (you and another person,) one person to drive and the other to hold the puppy (preferably wrapped up in a towel or blanket.)
Plan a route home that does not require too many stops and starts. If you are holding the puppy talk to it softly and give it lots of loving attention.
If at all possible, bring home with you as many familiar things as you can from the breeder’s house. Toys, a blanket or towel (possible two,) a bowl and anything else that will smell familiar to the puppy. Try to duplicate its bed and do let the puppy sleep in your room, so if it cries during the night you can attend to it. I personally like to have them sleep with me.
It is important to create a strong bond with the puppy, spend as much time as you can with it. Use positive training methods for obedience and potty training and do not yell, hit or scream at the puppy.
You will not be spoiling the puppy by all this attention, what you will be doing is making the bond stronger and staving off future problems for both of you.
Love is a wonderful thing to give and with a dog, you will get it back in spades.
Moving into a New Home with an Adult Dog
Some dogs are just calm and cool by nature and others get very upset when their routine is changed. So if you are planning a move into a new home, it is highly recommended that you take your adult dog to the new location several times before moving day in order to have the dog familiarize itself with the smells and sounds.
If you cannot do this, it is recommended that you limit your dog to a few rooms at a time until he/she gets used to the house. Make certain you bring along with you all the familiar toys, bedding and food dishes and try to time the move so that you have a few days at the house with the dog.
If your dog has had any signs of separation anxiety and may find the move upsetting talk to you vet about starting your dog on some calming medication before the move starts (like a few weeks before.) This way as you start your preparations, your dog will not get overly anxious. If at all possible try to get in a little separation/anxiety training. Consider the medication as a pharmacological shoehorn, a method to make the move easier on the dog and you.
Once you are moved, take your dog out on walks as often as possible to help it get acquainted with the neighborhood and to help you meet new neighbors.
Moving with a Senior Dog
Depending on the condition of your senior dog most of the advice given for an adult dog can be followed. However, if you senior dog is suffering from arthritis or other disability that makes moving or walking on slippery floors difficult you need to make provisions to put down throw rugs or gating off some areas to protect the dog from hurting itself.
If your dog has a vision or is in the beginning of Alzheimer’s, it is going to be necessary that you limit access to the house to a room or two until you can spend time acquainting the dog with the area inside and outside the house. It is probably best to keep a leash on the dog while inside. Start with one room at a time. Again keep as much of the dog’s familiar stuff around him/her.
Also if your dog (young or old) starts having a behavioral problem after you move. Do not assume that it is due to the move. Contact your vet as your dog may have a medical problem.
Moving is not fun, but if you prepare a bit ahead of time, it can be done in a peaceful and not a stressful way.