Preparing your dog for a house move!

by | Sep 27, 2022

House moving is up there with some of the topmost stressful situations us humans have to deal with and preparing your dog for the move should be priority for their wellbeing (and yours).

Truth of the matter is you will all get through it, but generally emotions and tempers could become frayed, so preparing your dog is the best thing for them. By far the single most important thing for dogs is that everything stays familiar. As the move gets closer, we will become less predictable. 

Without us even realising our furry friends, pick up on the twitch of the lip, the scratch of our head and the constant click of our phones, followed by the sigh as something goes right or wrong. Often people report their dog’s becoming “naughty” at this time. What is actually happening is that they are trying to defuse the situation and “cheer you” up or take you away from the stress.

Packing boxes may arrive, together with strange people perhaps looking at your house. Our movements and the common smells they are used to will become less common and quite frankly our movements are totally erratic and weird for our dogs! Why would we be throwing out their favourite bed?

So how do we prepare them for this…..

Keeping you and them in as good a routine as possible is high on the list.

Walking is a great source of exercise for you both, and we definitely suggest a daily time off grid for you both with your daily exercise will be excellent preparation, we have prepared a short list to help you with other ideas.

  1. BEFORE you even ring the estate agent to get the ball rolling ensure your dog has and loves its “place”. Dogs that have their own area to sleep, eat and relax in do far better and develop into more confident and independent, less anxious dogs. Crates are common and best practice for a safe bedroom area, (and in the case of moving almost a necessity).
  2. If you intend to replace their inner bed when you move, then we recommend doing it at least a week before the move so they have familiar smells around them.
  3. Ensure you have a good support network around you, your dog is used to travelling in the car and is happy to be walked by others. This will be very helpful if you become very busy.
  4. Establish a good routine, so that the dog understands its role and what you require of it when visitors enter. If it is likely to be bouncy or stressed when visitors arrive now is not the time to train it. Arrange one of your friends to take it out on a walk or manage the behaviour in its crate with a nice, tasty bone prior to the visitors arriving.
  5. Ensure that your dog is mentally stimulated each day, either by feeding it in tricky puzzle games or more importantly with some daily training. If you are stressed then the puzzle games are much better idea, as is scatter feeding in the garden so that your dog can just go and use its nose and calm itself.
  6. Keep walking daily. It is the single most important thing that could keep you both stress free.
  7. Try and keep your dog’s bowls, bed, toys and chews separate from the rest of the packing and within your car so that you have it with you in case of delays. Purchase some new special chews or bones for the day.
  8. On arrival to your new property place their crate and bed where it will be permanently and after toileting, they can be safely left with their familiar and a bone or tasty chew, while you unpack.
  9. If you can leave your dog safely and securely in your ventilated car/crate while the boxes and furniture are unpacked this will also be a good idea.
  10. In an ideal situation a trusted friend or dog walker having your dog on the day of the move will undoubtedly take them and you away from an extra stress, but if this is not possible then all the above will help.
  11. At the end of the day sit down and give your dog a great cuddle – your doing the best you can!

Happy Moving!

Emma Jane

About the Author

Emma Jane

Emma Jane

Qualified as a dog trainer in 2013 with the Academy of Dog Training and Behaviour. She holds a City and Guild PTLLS qualification in teaching for the Life Long Learning Sector and has over 10 years teaching experience covering a wealth of subjects and ages.Emma's experience enables her to accurately read both the dog and the human behaviour and the psychology behind the partnership. These observational skills and her quick thinking will often give fast results to difficult situations. Emma has achieved phenomenal agility success with all 3 of her dogs competing successfully.Herbie, her 8 year old Poodle cross, has competed at Crufts, Discover Dogs and numerous other finals and has represented Great Britain on two separate occasions.Her younger dog Kipp also a Poodle cross has been podium placed several times including 2nd place in the Novice Cup at Crufts 2019 and is now competing at KC Champ level.
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