- Why going walkies together is a good plan
- Give your dog a guided tour of his new pad
- How to get your dog settled in
Kris Glover has three dogs and over 20 years’ experience in helping people to train and modify their pets’ behaviour. Here she reveals that while you can’t explain to your dog that you’re moving home, but you can help your dog to settle happily into their new pad using these questions and tips.
Planning your move
What’s your dog’s temperament?
How your dog deals with the move will largely depend on your dog’s age and character. Older and more sensitive pets might not cope as well as younger or more confident ones, so you may need to work harder to settle them. You can help this by sticking to your dog’s normal feeding and walking routine and keeping your dog in a quiet room where they can rest while boxes are moved. Pack the dog's toys and bedding at the last minute - their presence is comforting.
Has your dog moved before?
If your dog has been away on holiday or moved with you before, they might find it easier to adapt. But if they have only ever been in your current home, they may need a little more help to feel at home. Unpack their favourite toys and bedding and, if possible, put them in a similar room to where they were kept in your old house before bringing them into the house for the first time.
Could your dog stay in kennels?
If your dog has stayed in kennels before, it’s a good option for the dog in the lead up to the move. Or could friends look after your pet? Try to have all the furniture and both your dog and your belongings in place before the move; this makes their new home seem more familiar and aids the settling in process.
Should you wash your dog’s bedding?
Familiar smells help dogs to cope with new surroundings, so hold off washing their bedding or toys before the move and until after they have settled in.
Is your new garden dog-safe?
Is there a pond? Are the fences secure? Can the gates be locked? Make sure the garden is dog-ready before letting them loose so they don’t escape.
Day of the move
Can your dog go for walkies while you move?
Do you know someone who would be happy to walk your dog while the removals team are working? Is there a safe place at home to keep your dog so they doesn’t escape or get in the way? Dogs are very in tune with what’s going on around them, so if they can be kept out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the move, they’ll feel calmer and ultimately be easier to settle in the new house.
Will your dog know where to go to the toilet?
Are the exits out of the new house similar to the old – French windows to the garden, for example? If not, show your dog the route outside as soon as you arrive to avoid any accidents.
How can your dog sleep well on the first night?
Your dog might be tired after all the excitement, but ensuring your dog arrives at your new home with plenty of time before bedtime will help your dog to settle overnight.
How can you help your dog to acclimatise?
Dogs are highly intelligent so give yours a guided tour: introduce your dog to his new sleeping area, show them where their toys are, where the garden is, and where you’ll be sleeping. This will make your dog feel calmer and your new home feel more familiar.
What can help to settle your dog?
Certain pheromones can help calm stressed pets. Pheromones are scents naturally secreted by dogs to communicate information to other dogs. There's even a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), such as a puppy might receive from its mum, which is available from pet shops and some vets in synthetic form. You can use it in pheromone collars, sprays, or plug-ins to help calm your dog and speed up the settling in process.
Kris Glover from Pets in Practise is a certified clinical animal behaviourist and has worked as a re-homer at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.￼
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