Smile, spring is here. It's a time for change. And if you’ve found somewhere new to move to, you’ll undoubtedly be stressed about the whole process.
But what does a change of location look like for your dog? As expected, it can be quite daunting and an equally stressful experience for dogs. There will be new sights, as well as different smells and sounds. A new location comes with open spaces and new territory to explore, and of course the chance to make new four-legged friends the local park.
When it comes to your new home, you will want to take extra care and attention, as your dog will initially be wary. However, there are several things you can do to help your dog settle in and feel comfortable in their new surroundings:
Create a familiar space
Set up a designated area for your dog with their bed, toys, and water bowl in a quiet area of your new home. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and give them a sense of familiarity. You could use put some blankets over a box or create, or set up a comfortable bed in a quiet place. This quiet place should be somewhere where your dog can be safely left alone and not disturbed by anyone.
Enjoy some pup time
Spending quality time inside the new home will help your dog create the association of it being an area for affection and love. When your dog is learning that the new space is not going to change, having members of the family around will benefit them. If you can take a few days holiday or work from home, then even better!
Avoid visitors for the first few days
It’s natural to be excited about your new place, and you will obviously want to show off your new space. However, it’s a good idea to prioritise your dog. As they need to get used to the home first, so you should try and avoid having visitors over for the first few days at least.
Stick to a routine
Dogs thrive on routine, so try to maintain their usual feeding and exercise schedules. This will help them feel more secure and less anxious. It’s useful to establish a routine as early on as possible, and if you can, try to start on the day you move in. All of this comes down to planning, so put some time aside before you move in to establish this.
Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation
Take your dog for walks around the local area, so they are able to get used to the new open spaces. Give them plenty of playtime to help them burn off excess energy and reduce stress. Not only that, but the more exercise your dog gets, the more likely they will be to feel tired and sleep well.
Offer comfort items
Provide your dog with their favourite toys, blankets, or other comfort items from their previous home. Dogs love familiarity and the scents of worn, chewed toys and other items, will help them get used to the new space, just like establishing a routine. These items will help them feel more at ease and reduce anxiety. Separation anxiety is one the most common types of behavioural anxiety in dogs and can be brought on due to a new home.
Give them time to adjust
It may take some time for your dog to fully adjust to their new home, so be patient and give them the space they need. Be sure to give them plenty of love and attention as they settle in. Place your dog’s bed and other familiar items together, and provide them with their own space within the new environment to ‘claim’.
As with anything, dogs will differ in how quickly they settle into their new environment. Some will be able to feel at ease and comfortable in the new space immediately and act like they’ve been there forever. While others may take a bit of time to adjust, especially for the first few days.
Consider using calming aids
If your dog is particularly anxious, you may want to consider using natural calming aids, such as pheromone sprays or herbal supplements, to help them relax.
Every dog is unique and may require different strategies to help them settle in. There is no set time frame for a dog to get used to a new home. But with patience, love, and care, your dog will soon feel at home in their new surroundings!