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  • Writer's pictureWe the Dogs

5 Tips To Help Pets Adjust To A New Home

Updated: Jul 17, 2018

Dogs are creatures of habit. They embrace routines and feel safe when they are surrounded by familiar things. (There’s a reason that even after 6 months, We the Dogs DC pack member Ruby still needs to do a daily check for chicken nuggets in the bush by her apartment, just because she once found a chicken nugget there.) In the DC metropolitan area, many dogs live in rented apartments or homes, which requires them to move occasionally. And even though every dog dreams of the day their pawrents buy them their dream yard, moving to a new home can be stressful. We’ve put together five recommendations to help you alleviate your pup's stress during a move, so they can adjust to their new home.

1. Bring your dog to tour the empty place before moving.

Once you decide on a new place, ask the leasing office or realtor if you can bring your dog for a visit. Let your dog wander around the new place and sniff all of the new surroundings. Your dog will begin to become familiar with their new home so it is not such a shock when you move.


2. Begin going for walks in the new neighborhood .

Dogs love going on walks and become territorial of their regular neighborhood. Once you select a new home, start bringing your dog for occasional walks in the new neighborhood. Consider scoping out new coffee places, bars, walking trails, or restaurants with your pup if that is part of your regular routine. Your dog will likely start off wanting to mark various spots on your walk so he can establish his territory in a new place. Begin to set up new routines for your dog so he is more comfortable with his new surroundings.

3. Find a new regular dog park.

If you regularly go to a specific dog park near your home, you’ll want to check out the dog parks near your new place. Allow your dog to meet local dogs, become comfortable with the new environment and noises, and help them to make some "fur"iends in the new neighborhood. For the first month or so of living in your new place, consider taking your dog back to his old dog park a few times to help them adjust to the change gradually.


4. Provide a safe place for your dog when moving out/in.

Moving in and out of a home can be orchestrated chaos with different people, sights, smells, and noises. This can startle dogs and cause them to run out of unsecured doors in a bid to escape what’s frightening them. Dogs also have a habit of being "under foot" in stressful situations. Make sure that they're in a secure place when you’re moving boxes, so you can avoid causing injury to you or your pup. If possible, arrange to have your dog stay with a familiar friend, family member, or daycare while you are actively moving. If this is not possible, secure your dog in either his crate or a bedroom while you move so he will not be in the middle of things.

5. Give your dog time to adjust.

The entire process of packing, moving out, moving into a new place, and unpacking is stressful for humans. It’s even more stressful for a dog that doesn’t understand what is happening. Remember that you need to give your dog time to adjust to new surroundings, which may take some time. Remember that dogs that are faced with sudden major changes may become clingy, seem depressed, act out, or have accidents in the house. Be patient and reassuring to your dog, and eventually he will become accustomed to the new environment.

If you have any questions about our tips, send us an email at

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