How To Help Your Dog Transition When You Move Into A New Home
Moving is a stressful time. Even the most anticipated of moves requires lots of planning, preparation, and hard work. Routines are often temporality tossed aside along with familiar settings.
While some German shepherds take these changes in stride, other dogs get stressed as they watch their home get packed up, see their furniture vanish, and witness strangers move in and out of their home while making repairs and moving boxes.
On top of it, owners are often physically tired, stretched thin, and very busy trying to coordinate the physical move and handle all the tasks associated with it. Tensions can run high and easily trickle down to the dog.
Despite all this, most dogs handle moving remarkably well. As long as they have their people and familiar household pets with them, they are content to go with the flow and soon adapt to their new digs.
But, there are plenty of things you can do to help your dog transition when you move to a new home, such as:
Maintain their familiar routine
Stick to their normal routine, as much as possible. Keep them on their normal feeding, walks, potty breaks, and playtimes, as much as you can. Don’t pack up their bedding, food dishes, leashes, and favorite toys until moving day. Be sure to keep track of them so they can be unpacked as soon as you arrive in your new home.
Ease into new routines
If your move will mean a new routine, slowly begin to integrate it, if possible. For instance, if you are moving to a new time zone or starting a new job before you move begin adjusting your dog’s schedule so it’s easier for them to adapt. This might mean feeding them an hour earlier or later, getting them on a new potty schedule, or rearranging their playtime and walking schedule.
Ask a familiar friend for help
There will be a lot going on when moving day arrives. It is the time when people are going in and out, boxes are being loaded and unloaded, and the last of the furniture is carried in and out. On this day, you may consider crating your dog or locking them in a room. Both of these solutions can work to help keep your pet safe but are not always ideal for reducing stress. If possible, ask someone who cares about your dog to take care of them that day. Depending on what your dog is used to, that may mean going to your friend’s house, going on an outing, or simply keeping them leashed and occupied at your old and new home.
Boarding or doggy daycare
If your dog is used to boarding or going to daycare, scheduling a short stay on moving day is also another way to keep your dog safe and secure so you don’t have to worry about them getting lost or agitated by all the commotion.
Introduce your dog to their new house
Before moving day, you will most likely be going to your new home. If possible, take your dog with you. Let them sniff around the house and yard and take a short walk through the neighborhood. If that isn’t possible, on moving day be sure to keep them leashed and show them around. Ensure that their bed, food dishes, toys, food, etc. are ready for them. Encourage them with praise, treats, and toys so their first impression of their new home is a happy one. It is also a good idea to plan to stay home with your dog for a few days after the move.
Check your home and yard for hazards
Be sure to check your home and yard for hazards before letting your dog have free roam. There could be cleaners or other toxins that have been left behind, plants, or even a broken gate lock. Be sure there is no way your dog can escape before letting them outside.
Change your pet’s address
Once you arrive at your new home, put new identification tags on your dog. Be sure to update the microchip and pet tracking information. Be sure to give your vet your new address.
Take care of their healthcare before you move
If you will also be getting a new vet, be sure to refill your dog’s medications before moving day. This way there will not be an interruption. If your pet gets sick when stressed or has ever needed antianxiety, antidiarrheals, or prescription food, it may be a good idea to have some on hand.
Introduce your dog to new pets and people before the move
If you will be moving into a home where there will be new people and pets, make sure you make introductions well in advance of the move. For pets, introduce the pets on neutral territory and be sure they get along before moving day. Have your new roommate/s make friends with your dog before the move. On moving day, be sure to reunite pet friends in a neutral location before everyone goes home together.
Brush up on training
If your dog’s obedience skills are a little rusty, be sure to brush up on their skills before you move. Focus on stay, recall, heel, and place to help you keep them safe and under control during the excitement of relocating to their new environment.
Special care for senior pets
Older pets often have more trouble adapting, so talking to your vet may be worthwhile before the move. New routines and places can be very stressful for them, especially if they’re not used to going on outings, etc. If you’ll be going to a new vet, be sure to get your pet’s records and make a well-pet appointment to introduce your dog to their new vet before there is a health problem so they know what your dog’s baseline is.
Make moving fun
Try to keep your moving day as fun and carefree as possible for your German shepherd. Be sure to plan on taking walks, have some fun, and give them lots of treats and praise so they’ll associate great things with their new environment.
Be patient when teaching new rules
If there are new rules, don’t expect your dog to learn them overnight. In other words, if your dog has always been allowed on the couch or your bed and is suddenly no longer allowed, use gentle and consistent correction with lots of praise and treats to teach them their new way of life. Harsh corrections will only cause more stress because they don’t understand why the rules have changed and why they’re being punished.
Your dog’s personality and how used they are to new experiences will determine how well they adjust to their new home. Dogs that are used to traveling and staying in new places will probably ease right into their new home. Meanwhile, a dog that never leaves the house will take longer to adjust.
Your dog may act up, mark their territory, be more excitable than normal, get nervous, or suffer from anxiety the first few days in their new home. You may also note the relationship between your other pets shift as they vie for a new position in the home. German shepherds are so smart that they may even test the waters to see what they can get away with.
However, with love and reassurance, the stress of the move will soon be a distant memory and you and your dog will be settled in. We hope you found these tips helpful. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.
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