Help your pet adjust to a new home
Saturday, Sep 12,2020

From packing to unpacking, moving is stressful and exhausting, and it can feel that way for pets too. They don’t understand what’s happening and why they’re losing the home they feel safe in. Whether you’re moving to Atlanta, GA with your elderly dog, or adopting a puppy and bringing them home to Dallas, TX, it’ll take your fur friend some time to settle in.

What can you do to help your pet feel comfortable in their new home?  Our friends at Redfin have gathered tips from the experts  (including GSROC!) on how to make the transition easier on your pet and how to help them adjust to their new home.

Leave behind a familiar scent

Once you have access to your new home, take your dog with you to the new place even if you’re just dropping something off or moving in a few things. This will give your dog a chance to slowly explore and adjust to his new home before you start living there full-time. Leave some of his toys, his favorite blanket, or even some of your clothing in the new place so there is always a familiar scent whenever your canine visits your new home. – Cold Noses News

Talk with your pet about their new home

A delightful way to help your new dog adjust to their new home is to prepare in advance by placing and hiding wonderful items in open areas in their outdoor environment. I tether my buddy to me by leash for the first 24 hours so we are together during the first “get to know you” stage. Talk and share how happy you are they are with you and how life works here. “Here is where your food and water bowls are, here is the bedroom, and look – here is your new bed and a toy. This is the door to the back yard and over here is where you go to the bathroom and potty. Look, here is a treat! I’m your best friend and you can count on me.” – Angel Dog

Create a space to call their own

Prepare your house for your new pet’s arrival with a crate, food, bed, collar, leash, toys, etc., and create a designated safe zone where your new pet can relax and call their own. Take time to bond with your new pet through grooming, playtime, and positive reward training will create a natural, happy bond between your new pet and your family. – Suncoast Humane Society

Give your new pet a comfortable, quiet place of their own to help them adjust to their new home. A comfy bed in a low traffic area for a dog, or a “hidey hole” for a cat. Establish a routine from the beginning. Dogs and cats will settle in more quickly if they know what to expect each day. Allow your new friend to explore their new home and interact with their new humans at their own pace. Some pets need a little more time than others to feel secure in a new place. – Santa Barbara Humane Society

Use the “DOG” method to help your pet adjust to their new home

Apply the “DOG” method to help your pet adjust to their new home. Do give them the time they need to decompress, remember, this is an adjustment for them too. Offer them a space that is truly “theirs” to make them feel welcomed, yet safe. Give them patience, a full belly, and some affection and guidance, once ready and on their terms. – Dogs Are Deserving Rescue

Take advantage of crate training

Give your dog a home for themselves. Crate training is an excellent way to give your new pup a safe and secure place that’s their own. Deck out their personal space with a cushy bed or blanket and a few favorite chew toys. Crate training doesn’t end there though! For cats, be sure to give them one room free from busy unpacking that they can call their own while they settle into their new space. Slowly introduce them to the rest of the house one room at a time, showing them their new permanent litter box, food and water dishes. Patience is key. – Freekibble

Find a treat to keep them occupied when you’re away

When I have a new pet in my home, it’s more than likely going to become a service dog. With that said, the dog is crated when I leave if it’s not accompanying me. Please note that I would crate a pet as well for their safety and structure when I’m not around. I take Nyla bones and dip them in chicken broth and freeze them for when I leave so they can stay occupied. Nyla bones can be chewed through if it’s too small for your pet and those pieces of plastic can lead to an obstruction, so be sure it’s the right size for your dog. I also like to use a Femur or Kong and put treats like peanut butter or some cheese in it so they stay busy while I’m away. If your pet is attached to you, you can leave an article of old clothing you no longer need with your smell on it for when you leave the home. This should help comfort them some while you are away. – Healing4Heroes

Let your dog sniff around their new home

When bringing home a new dog, give that dog space to decompress and adjust to their new home. Dogs deal with stress by sniffing, so the dog who is having a good snuffle around the garden isn’t fobbing you off. They’re learning about their new home and trying to calm themselves down. – Leema Kennels

Provide calming enrichment activities

This is an exciting time for you, however, we recommend that you take your new pup directly home and allow them two to three weeks of quiet relaxation in your home. No trips to stores or restaurants, minimal visitors to your home, and plenty of time to sleep. Give them calming enrichment activities such as snufflemats, kongs, lick mats, and sniffari walks around your neighborhood to help them adjust to their new home. Set up a private session with your local, well-qualified, professional positive reinforcement dog trainer to get you off on the track together. – Sits n Wiggles

Introduce your dog to other dogs in a neutral setting

When introducing a new dog to a resident dog, never conduct introductions in the house or yard of the resident dog. Go to a nearby park or greenbelt for first introductions to reduce the likelihood of territorialism in the resident dog. It is natural behavior for a dog to be defensive of an “intruder” in its home turf, so minimize this risk by having the dogs meet on neutral turf, followed by a long side-by-side walk. It might require several such meetings before the two dogs understand and accept each other. – German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County

Take things slow

If you already have another dog, make sure you pick up the toys and treats before bringing your new dog home. First impressions matter and you don’t want their relationship to start out with a spat over a toy or bone. Take them for a walk together, side by side, and take the intro slow to set everyone up for success. If your dog is coming from a foster home, see if you can borrow one of the dog’s blankets so they have something that smells familiar to cuddle up with. After a few weeks you can wash and return the blanket (or some fosters will tell you to keep it). Taking things slow is less of an issue with COVID-19, but it’s often the first impulse of adopters to want to share their new puppies with all their friends and extended family. Give them at least three days to one week to settle in, adjust to their new home, and bond with you before having other people over to meet them. – Dogwood Animal Rescue Project

Create clear boundaries

Confidence, independence, and proper socialization is key to creating comfort and a well-balanced puppy who will thrive as they grow and understand their role in your family and home.  Thinking of the future, not humanizing your puppy, and creating clear boundaries and expectations will help eliminate unnecessary stress, anxiety, confusion, and behavioral issues. – HEX Dog Training 

Help your dog learn about the new neighborhood

While your dog may be adjusting to their new home, it’s also important for them to socialize and become accustomed to their new neighborhood. Introduce your dog to new sights, sounds, and smells. Make sure these experiences are positive with reinforcement using praise and treats. You want them to have as much fun out there as you are. – The Katy Trail

Give your dog time to adapt

When you and your dog first move to a new home, it will seem to your pet that life is full of unpacked boxes and lost routines with a new neighborhood for daily walks and new 4-legged neighbors to meet, which can be unsettling for your dog. Give yourself and your dog time to adapt to your new neighborhood, but make plans to throw a Welcome to the Neighborhood Barkday party in your backyard for your pup a few weeks down the road. Everyone loves a good party, especially the neighborhood dogs – and it’s a great way to make sure you get those boxes unpacked. – Properly Posh Pets

Keep your dog on a leash when inviting them in

We believe that dogs have four states: Follow, play, explore, and rest. Before inviting them into a new home (yes, invite!), take them on a really long walk to drain the body and mind. Still on a leash, lead them in—you want dogs to be in the follow/rest state, not play/explore. – Bevill Dog Behavior