I can’t count the times that we have moved in the last 15 years. The first involved, one dog, two cats and two gold fish! It is all part of the cycle of our lives that we will move at least 3 times and it can be a very stressful time for your dogs, so I have compiled my 5 Ways to make Moving House Easier for your Dog.
1 - Don’t pack in front of your dog
We have always been lucky enough to have friends to look after our dogs for a few days during the move and haven’t had to pack boxes in front of them. Most dogs will get stressed by seeing boxes around the house full of your stuff - and theirs, so it is by far the easiest thing for them if you can stay with a friend or a dog sitters. Once gone you can get on with the packing and make the move to the new home before you pick them up.
If this is not an option, start to leave some empty boxes in various rooms but don’t start packing. Dogs will get used to seeing the boxes and not think as much of it after a few days. You might be able to pack up room by room, while your dog is in the garden or sleeping, then closed the door so they don’t see the room in this unfamiliar state. Leave their stuff until last. On the day of the move, take them out for a walk while the removal vans are being packed. If you are moving a long way, as we have done in the past, make sure you have their beds with you, their bowls, toys, all familiar things, that way they will think you are going on holiday!
2 - Lay out the new house as close to the old as you can
I know that rooms will differ in the new house, but as much as you can make the surroundings as familiar to your dog as you can. If you had a bed in the kitchen, one in the lounge and one in the bedroom then do the same in the new home.
If they had their bowls next to the fridge, try to do so in the new house, and as soon as you can show them the new place for the treats! Put the same throw on the sofa as before and don’t be tempted to wash any bedding or blankets, they will have familiar smells on for your dog of the old house, and this will be of comfort to them.
3 - Use Essential Oils or a DAP diffuser
We have always used the DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) diffuser, they plug in and gently diffuse the smell of a lactating female that helps calm puppies. Get a few and plug them into every room.
As an alternative you can use essential oils and recently I have learnt so much about them from Sam Buckland, the lovely owner of Hoof to Tail Healing. Sam advices the use of essential oils such as frankincense, peppermint, lavender, juniper and rose. They all help to clear negative energy and relax you and your dog! Simply put a few drops in a diffuser, close the door for an hour and come back in to the most amazing smell!
Sam also recommends the use of Rose Quartz in a door way and Amethyst for cleansing any negative energy and reduce anxiety. (www.hooftotailhealing.co.uk)
4 - Don’t leave them until they are settled
Once moved in, you will have all your stuff around. I would do the same as when packing when unpacking, do it room by room. So that your dog doesn’t have to cope with the boxes again try to have at least the lounge, bedroom and kitchen unpacked!
If you have a garden, make it a fun place for your dog. Take them out with you, play in the garden, and have fun with them. It might smell of other dogs/cats and these might feel a bit unsettling to your dog. Generally they will take to a new garden as they might on holiday.
Take them out as soon as possible to discover new walks, meet the neighbours dogs, and the postman! We have always been able to let our dogs off lead quite soon, but I recommend walking a few routes to make sure you don’t come across any roads by surprise. You will need to meet the other regulars and make sure your dog gets on with others they are likely to meet on a daily basis. I have been in situations where I have had to find alternative routes because of unsavoury characters at certain times. I have found that chatting to other dog owners is a great way to find out if there are any you need to be wary of.
After a week or two they should have started to settle in. This may be a good time, and less stressful for them to be left while you pop out. This depends on their age, they might be old, wise and really not fussed if you leave them, but youngsters might well have a problem with it. If they feel happy in the new house it will ease the stress for them.
5 Don’t make a fuss if you have some accidents
When you bring your dog into a new home they will be able to smell things that you will never smell. If this results in a few accidents don’t make a fuss, it is likely to be marking. Bruno did a poo and a wee in every new house we moved him to, and he had 7 moves!! It was just his way of saying, right, I’m here now, this is my home!! If you make a fuss when it happens you might undo all the hard work of house training!
Dogs can have accidents when stressed. Hopefully with the help of this advice they won’t feel so bad and any such occurrences will just be a bit of marking.
I hope this helps if you are moving to a new home soon. Good luck and I wish you and your dog a happy life in the new house!