Transitioning Your Dog to a New Home
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Moving can be a very stressful situation for a dog. They love consistency and routine, so the unfamiliar people, sights, and sounds that come with relocating can trigger destructive behaviors and symptoms:
- Skin irritation like hot spots, dry patches, or uncontrollable itching.
- “Accidents” inside the house.- Digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
- Destructive behaviors like chewing objects, tearing up furniture, or digging holes in the yard.
- Irritability that leads to growling, snarling, biting, or aloofness.
- Noisiness like barking or howling.
- Running away, darting out the door, or digging under fences/barriers.
Obviously you don’t want to deal with any of these troubling behaviors or symptoms, but you also don’t want your dog to be stressed or uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are ways to ease the transition and encourage your dog to feel comfortable in his new habitat so you can avoid him lashing out.
How to Pet-Proof Your New Home
To help prepare your new place for your four-legged friend, you want to implement safety measures before he even gets there. If your new home has a yard that you want to let him play in, you will need a sturdy fence that can prevent him from running away. If you don’t already have one installed, you will probably want to hire someone to get that done before moving day. Building a fence costs approximately $2,720 for the average installation. Include that plus experiences for materials in your moving expenses.
If your home already has a fence, inspect it for holes and areas where he can easily dig under to escape. If you see spots that are vulnerable, there are a few ways to deter digging:
- Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence.
- Place large rocks along the bottom of the fence.
- Place chain link fencing on the ground, anchored to the bottom of the fence.
You should also check the latches and locks on any gates and make sure they are easy to secure and stay closed. An open gate is an invitation for your dog to go “exploring” in an unfamiliar area.
Inside the house, set up baby gates or shut off areas where your dog isn’t allowed. Establishing“no-go” areas from the beginning will help make boundaries clear. Eventually, these boundaries will become second nature for your dog and he won’t want to go in those places whether there is a gate up or no.
Another way to make the new habitat more comfortable for your dog is to establish an area where he can escape and feel warm and safe. Dogs are den animals. Having an area with their toys, blankets, pillows, etc where they can go and relax in their space helps ease anxiety when they start to feel it.
On the day of moving, there are going to be a lot of open doors, strange vibrations, and new smells that can be stressful for your dog. Consider hiring a pet sitter or boarding him while the boxes and furniture are being moved. If you want to keep him around, but he still shows signs of anxiety, there are certain tools you can use to help ease him. Ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication if you think that’s the best route for your dog. Non-medicated options include anti-anxiety gear (like ThunderShirts) and homeopathic remedies.
Moving can be stressful for you dog and lead to destructive behaviors. To help ease the transition, make sure your home is safe and comfortable for your four-legged friend. Check the fence and secure the perimeter and gates. Inside the house, set boundaries on areas they are not allowed. Also create a safe space where he can get away when feeling anxious. On moving day, consider hiring a pet sitter or boarding him to keep him safe. If not, anti-anxiety medication, gear, or homeopathic remedies can help ease your pup on the day of moving.
Thank you Cindy Aldridge for this great article