(Guest Post by Jessica Brody)
After weeks of planning and packing, you’re finally settled into your new home and everyone loves it. Everyone, that is, except your dog.
If your dog developed separation anxiety after moving, you’re probably going crazy from the howling, house soiling, and destructive behavior. It’s even worse for your dog, who is stressed and anxious in an unfamiliar environment.
Try these strategies to calm your dog’s separation anxiety and start enjoying your new home together.
Before You Move
The best time to quell separation anxiety is before it begins. Taking these steps before a move helps dogs feel safe in a new environment.
Introduce your dog to the new house before moving in. Take a tour and let your dog explore the house room-by-room. Treat your dog and practice commands in the new space to develop positive associations.
Mark your scent by unpacking personal items like clothes, shoes, and pet beds in advance so the home smells familiar to your dog. Keep comfort items nearby on moving day.
Dog-proof the property by inspecting for poisonous plants, chemicals, escape routes, and other hazards.
Tire your pet out on moving day. You’ll be busy, so recruit a friend or dog walker to exercise your pet.
If you’re moving long-distance and haven’t yet found a home, be sure to make arrangements for someone to watch your pup while you look for living space.
The best thing you can do for your dog is staying home. Take time off or work from home after moving so your dog isn’t alone in an unfamiliar environment.
Expose your dog to the new house slowly during this time. Staying in a smaller space helps dogs feel safe while acclimating to a new environment. It also lets you keep an eye on your pet to prevent accidents and destructive behavior.
Ease Into Leaving
You have to leave the house eventually. When you do, the right routine nips your dog’s anxiety in the bud.
1-2 hours before leaving: Tire your dog out with exercise, training, and play.
30 minutes before leaving: Take a supervised bathroom break with praise.
30 minutes to departure: Nothing exciting! Let your dog relax and unwind. Close the curtains to minimize disturbances.
Before departure: Give a frozen Kong, puzzle toy, or other high-value distraction to keep your dog busy.
Keep the first few departures short and gradually increase the time you’re a way to build your dog’s tolerance to being left alone. As your dog becomes counter-conditioned to believe good things happen when you leave, goodbyes grow less frightening.
Stock Up on Supplies
Even with all the right precautions, your pet may experience anxiety after a move. Prepare yourself by stocking up on training treats and puzzle toys to distract your dog and provide a sense of normalcy. Dog owners should also arm themselves against house soiling with an enzymatic cleaner that neutralizes odor and stain remover that’s safe for carpet and upholstery. While you can spot clean on your own, you’ll want to call an upholstery cleaning service to sanitize soiled furniture with steam cleaning. It’s never a bad idea to put together a first aid kit for your pup as well.
Rule Out Medical Problems
Finally, make sure there’s not a medical problem underlying your dog’s sudden behavior change. Symptoms like pacing, panting, appetite changes, and inappropriate elimination can indicate separation anxiety, but they may also point to a health problem. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out health issues and get advice for treating your dog’s separation anxiety.
Guest Author Bio-
Jessica Brody writes for Our Best Friends
Let’s start a conversation in the comments below! How did you handle your dog’s separation anxiety?