Following an article on moving house with your cat last month, here is one on dogs.
Most dogs handle moving house better than the average cat does, but you can still do things to help it all go smoothly for her. Also, your mutt may not fit into the category of ‘most dogs’.
Room to roam and stretch is important to a dog’s contentment, and helps them get to know their new area. If you’re moving from a larger place to a smaller one, these tips may be helpful.
Let her hear it’s OK
Dogs really pick up on the tone of your voice, as you know! They might respond to things more calmly if they hear you speaking with a calm, calming voice. It will help them to feel that all is going according to plan.
Try to stay calm yourself through the move
Don’t forget that our pets are responsive to our mental states. Make sure to give your dog a positive mental environment by being chirpy around her (or him), even if you don’t always feel it. You probably can’t get away with faking it totally though, and you wouldn’t want to.
Keep to the plan
Our canine friends are happy with routines and plans, just as children are. On the actual day of moving, if you can keep to something resembling their regular dog day, which means getting up early for the morning walk, you’ll have a regular dog on your hands to move with. That may be a tall order, but by getting back into your routine as soon as possible in the new area in any case, you’ll be helping her adjust tremendously.
The same goes for play and feeding times – as far as possible, try to keep to the same times as before the move to help her feel reassured and part of life’s pattern in the new place.
Save her special blanket and other items
Have all her special bits (toys, chewed items, blanket and bed) handy to put in front of her there and then, when you enter the new place with her. These items will help you to help her get used to everything in her new place far more rapidly than without them.
Give her settling-in time
When you take your canine friend for her first walk in her new environment, keep her on the leash to explore from there, with you. This will help her to take things slowly as far as all the discoveries are concerned, and not get overwhelmed.
At the same time, you’ll both be sussing out who and what your new neighbourhood contains. Try just feeling out your new area block by block at first, just to get to know it and its rhythms a little better.
Unknown dogs are a major issue, potentially. No doubt you will gauge how stressed or not your dog is. She will probably feel stressed around some of the new dogs, possibly even threatened.
Of course, you won’t want to let her off the leash outside until you’re both quite confident about your surroundings. Make sure you have her tags and collar on her, in case she runs off.
A good excuse to take home leave for a week!
If you can arrange it, be at home for the first week. There must be a good reason you need to be allowed to work from home – does your boss have a dog? They may be sympathetic!
Having you at home with her will really allow her to adjust to her new surroundings. However, you still need to get away from the house to gauge her response as you increase the time you spend away. As she gets used to it, and the house itself, she should then be OK with you being away for entire working days.
If you can’t arrange to be at home for the first week, you might think about getting a friend or a dog minder to come to the house.
You know your dog best, and the sorts of things she will react or respond to. Knowing that you are tending to her needs will be one source of stability which will be hugely helpful to her throughout the move.