by Cindy Aldridge, OurDogFriends.org
Many people assume dogs just kind of roll with things. But moving is stressful for humans and dogs. Our pets get confused, agitated, and frightened when their living environment gradually disappears into boxes, only to reemerge in a strange new place. Some of the more energetic breeds may exhibit unpredictable behavior – an uncharacteristic growl, bite, or escape attempt. Here are five easy tips on how to have a smooth move with dogs.
1. Maintain the status quo
Dogs are creatures of habit. They’re more comfortable when life is orderly and consistent. Try to keep up the same daily routine right up until moving day. If the two of you normally go for a walk after dinner each evening, keep doing that. Keep all dog dishes, toys, and familiar objects in their usual place (if possible) until it’s time to throw it all on the truck and hit the road.
If your dog tends to get skittish when strangers are near (especially when strangers are taking everything away!), consider keeping him or her with a friend, dog sitter, or walking service while all the activity is going on at your house. And remember that a dog can sense when you’re out of sorts and upset with your environment. If you’re upset, he’s likely to react in kind.
2. Don’t replace favorite toys
You may be buying new furniture and decorative objects for your new home. Before you buy new stuff for your dog, consider how attached he is to that ratty old stuff he’s been chewing on for years. They’re part of what makes home familiar and comfortable to him. Give it some time; wait until he’s had a chance to get acclimated before you begin upgrading his space and favorite chew toys.
3. Make time for your best friend
You’re your dog’s best friend. That’s especially true when moving. He or she needs your presence, scent, the sound of your voice, and your love to stay calm. While you’re getting settled in, take a little time every day to play. It only takes a few minutes, and it’s a good way to maintain a sense of normalcy.
4. Leave toys out when you leave
The hardest part of the transition might be when you leave the house, either to go to work or to run errands. Until your pet is fully acclimated to the new surroundings, this can be tough. Some dogs get so upset that they destroy things or soil the carpet in your absence. Keep all toys and favorite objects out and nearby and make sure the food and water dish are filled anytime you have to leave.
5. Install safety fencing
If your new home lacks fencing, try to have it installed as soon as possible. A good, secure fence is an important feature for keeping your pet safe and secure. If you prefer something less visible or neighborhood regulations don’t allow fences, an electric fence can be installed.
Above all, be patient when going through a move with dogs. Bear in mind that it’ll be as upsetting and disorienting for him or her as it is for you and your family. Be reassuring until it becomes home sweet home.