In the first part of this series on moving, I discussed the importance of planning and doing some preparation before moving day, to make the transition smoother and less stressful for both you and your dog. In the second part of this 3-part series, we will cover the things that should be on your last-minute to-do list, along with important considerations for moving day.
Check It Out
It can be immensely helpful to the dog to go to the new home for a visit or two before you actually move in. If that is possible, I encourage you to do so. Keep your dog on leash so you stay with them. Explore inside the home and the yard. Allow them to explore at their own pace and make it fun. If they are a bit unsure, then just stick to the main parts of the house where they will initially be spending time. Be mindful, that many dogs will mark in the new home when they have their run through, so keep a close eye on yours.
Packing and Moving Day
As moving day approaches, your dog may become agitated or stressed. The disruption and disorder of things being moved around and packed up can be very concerning. This applies to unpacking in the new home as well.
As much as you are able:
- try to create some stability by taking advantage of your dog’s safe area as much as possible
- move them to an area where there is less disruption
- keep them distracted by providing LOTS of food puzzles and mental games
- offer lots of chances to engage in things on their Top 10 List
- keep their schedule as close to normal as possible
- get them out of the house altogether on moving day or other extra-disruptive times
Your Dog’s First Day in Your New Home Checklist
- Have a variety of food puzzles pre-prepped.
- Get your dog’s safe area set up before bringing your dog into the house. The value of having your dog set up for success and spending time in a special spot cannot be stressed enough.
- Have the water and feeding station set up.
- If you can set up any other highly-used living areas (lounging area, bedroom) before your dog arrives, do so.
- Take your dog to their potty spot before coming in.
- Be sure to take them out often. Anxiety will cause your dog to need more potty breaks than normal.
- Station your dog in their safe area with a variety of food puzzles.
- Take regular breaks to engage with your dog.
- Organize your schedule so your dog will not be left alone.
Now I bet you’re thinking, “Hold on! My dog is already house trained!”
But if you’ve been paying attention so far, you’ll know it’s best not to take things for granted and presume your dog will know what to do in the new home or be able to make the same choices.
In the beginning, it’s best to take some care and pay attention to potty habits. Unless you have a pup or young adolescent, you probably won’t need to go back to square one, but here are a few things to consider:
- Where is your dog going to go to the bathroom? Decide on this before you take them to the new place, even for a visit. Take them straight to that spot, so they will develop an immediate preference for that location.
- Continue to take them to that spot for the first while rather than just letting them out. Not only will that build a good habit, but it will help you support them through any new noises or unfamiliar activity when they are outside.
- Reward going potty outside. You may feel your dog is way past this stage, but getting some easy reinforcement will not hurt during this time.
- Take them out more often than normal for the first few days.
I hope this will help you make moving day as comfortable as possible for the four-footed member of your family. A little preparation is worth the time it takes. It will make the transition smoother for your dog and easier for you. Stayed tuned for the last part of this series, where I will cover how to help your dog settle into your new home and make the first few weeks as stress-free as possible.