Is your family on the move? What does that mean to your dog?
Our first rescue boxer loved traveling in the car and took vacations with us a couple of times a year, so when it came time to move, we didn’t really consider the impact on our pooch. Of course she traveled with us in the car to the new house and she had her bed and her regular food, but the event was still stressful on her and caused her to have anxiety for a couple of days, complete with the shakes, not moving from her bed and not eating much.
We don’t have plans to move again, but seeing what our first boxer went through, we would certainly do it differently next time. CanisMajor.com’s Dog Owner’s Guide says:
Investigate local zoning regulations and animal control laws. Some communities limit the number of dogs per household, ban particular breeds, prohibit certain types of fences, have nuisance ordinances to control barking, etc. Contact the local government for details and get the policies and laws in writing so there’s no mistake made.
Investigate subdivision regulations. If you are moving into a planned unit residential subdivision or a townhouse, condominium or apartment complex, make sure you understand the rules and policies regarding pets. Some residential associations restrict pet numbers or breeds, allow only dogs up to a certain weight, or ban or restrict fences or dog runs.
Contact the department of health in the new city for information on specific laws about health certificates for entering dogs.
Make sure your dog is up-to-date on shots and has been treated for any problems several weeks before the planned move. Make sure your dog (and cat) have their rabies inoculations so you are in compliance with state and local laws in your new home. Also check to find out if additional vaccinations might be necessary for diseases that are problems in the new area.
Ask your vet for your pet’s records and the name of a couple of vets in your new area.
Spend some time reinforcing basic obedience commands with your dog. A dog that can focus on obeying a command is more tuned in to people and more likely to settle down during the journey and to cope with the change of scenery and circumstances in the new home.
Make sure you have a secure crate for your dog so he can be confined while the moving men are packing your belongings and can stay overnight in a motel during the trek to your new home. If things are bound to be too hectic that day, make plans to board him at a kennel or put him in a day care center.
Once you’re ready to move, in her book, “Creating a Peaceful Kingdom: How to Live with More than One Pet,” Cynthia D. Miller outlined some simple steps and things to keep in mind.
Have new ID tags ready and put them on your pets.
To reduce confusion and stress at move-in, put animals in a secure room and close the door. Set up the animal's area as soon as possible.
Bring water from your previous home if it is different than water in the new home and gradually mix it.
Consider eating in instead of leaving the dog for a lengthy time the first day.
Try to maintain a somewhat normal schedule of feeding and outings.
Let the animal have access to the new house one or two rooms at a time, particularly if he seems anxious, and let him feel secure before introducing him to new areas.
Make sure the pet knows where his stuff is -- bed, crate, litter box, toys, eating area. Use the same toys and dishes during the transition to give the pet a sense of security.
Avoid babying an animal when he is stressed. This will not help alleviate his anxiety -- it will only perpetuate and reward it.
Be understanding, keep yourself calm and keep things as normal as possible to make the transition smoother.
Also, understand that your previously well-behaved pup may resort to odd behaviors or forget he/she are housetrained during the first week in his/her new environment. According to Nan Arthur, certified Dog Trainer, “Even if your dog was perfectly housetrained at your old place, in your new home he may not get it figured out right away. Approach this as if he is not housetrained and take him out to his potty area on a schedule of every hour for the first day or two. Be sure to go out with him so you can praise and reward when he gets it right, and if he has an accident, just ignore it and vow to take him out more often.”
Remember to be good to you and your pooch during this potentially stressful time, take time out for both of you with a walk around your new neighborhood or stay in and indulge in some good play time. Happy Trails!