Smoothly introducing your dog to your new home
Moving into your new home is very exciting, for your entire family!! But did you know that introducing your dog into a new home can be incredibly stressful for them? Fortunately, there are a lot of things that we can do to make this transition easier on them, which in the end makes it easier on us!
There are a lot of things that you can do to make the move less stressful on your pet. When moving, if possible, it would be a good idea to leave the dog with a friend they know. This will keep the dog out of your way when you are moving furniture, and decrease the chance that any accidents may happen. You can also leave the dog in the backyard while you move, as long as it is fully fenced and they cannot escape! Can’t do either? Well then, the ‘least worst’ scenario is to crate your dog while moving the furniture into the home. Make sure the crate is large enough that they can stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably, and be sure to give them access to water and let them outside to ‘do their business’ every few hours. Doors will be left open, items will be dropped, there will be a lot of commotion, and the best way to keep your pet safe during this time is to keep them out of the way!
During the packing process, you can actually plan ahead to make this as smooth a transition as possible for your four legged friend. Instead of trying to cram the packing into one or two days, planning to pack over a longer period of time can reduce the stress on your dog (and probably yourself as well!). Make sure that you pack their water and food bowls, toys, and blankets/beds in a separate box that will be easily accessible once you are at your new home. Dogs do not like change, so the more familiar the setting, the better! One easy trick is to make sure that they have belongings that smell like you, their people! Having a familiar scent in a strange place can make the transition easier. All you would need to do is put their toys in your laundry hamper for a few days, and they will smell just like you!! And don’t feel embarrassed, this is like the sweet smell of roses for your dog. These are as important to your dog as your child’s teddy bear is to them.
Housetraining is always a big issue, and even well-trained dogs may not know where to ‘go’ in a new home. When you bring them to your new house, make sure that they are taken into the back right away, where they can ‘do their business’. It may sound silly, but it is always a good idea to reward them with praise, so that they know they did something good! It may seem odd to your new neighbors that you are congratulating your dog for successfully going to the bathroom (you may become the most talked about person on your street), but your dog will think that they just won a gold medal for it!! You will want to keep en eye on them to make sure that they are able to find the back door (or front door depending on the home) whenever necessary. Here is a good rule of thumb to remember: let them out after playing for a period of time (15-30 minutes depending on age), after they wake up, and after they eat!
For puppies, the rules need to be modified slightly. You still want to show them where the door is, and give them lots of praise when they go where they should (this should be a very exciting event for them, and remember that the gold medal they are winning can come in the form of a treat!). Be sure to let them outside as often as possible, especially immediately after they eat, wake up, and every 10-15 minutes during playtime! There will be accidents, no puppy is perfect (adorable yes, perfect no!), so be patient and keep it positive!
Another point to keep in mind is that a puppy can ‘hold it’ for approximately 1 hour for every month they are old. For example, a puppy that is only 2 months old, can generally ‘hold it’ for approximately 2 hours at a time! This may not apply to every puppy, as they are just as different from each other as we are from other people, but it does give you an idea of what to expect.
Some other great links for advice on moving with your pet include:
Pets Welcome – a great website for finding pet friendly hotels, for those long distance moves
Air Animal (pet movers) – for the really, really long distance moves
Atlas World Group -- great advice for moving tips