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Moving house with an anxious dog - tips?(10 Posts)
Ok, house move coming up, 6 weeks away or so. DDog is prone to anxiety, but tends to cover it up with bravado, so you often don't quite know how he's feeling. He's had a lot of owners and a lot of upheaval, so I'm worried it might affect him more than the average dog. Long distance move, and no opportunity to visit first with the dog.
Current plan of action involves
- Send DDog to DF for 2-3 days before and 2-3 days after the move (he's a regular visitor so will find this unconcerning).
- Use Adaptil plug-in during packing and unpacking time (never used it before, hope it works)
- Unpack his bed, toys etc. as a priority when we move in
- Long walkies to keep him tired
However, he's going to have to see me start packing before he goes to DF for the days immediately surrounding the move, so he's going to know that something is up - how much this will unsettle him is unknown.
Any other ideas for minimising DDog's stress?
We've just moved country with our dog, into a house which already had half the family and our stuff in it, which I think really helped. She settled quickly because I think it was already somehow familiar, so I think it's great if your dog moves in last when you've mostly unpacked, if possible so it smells like your stuff.
We also used adaptil, don't know if it worked, but why not try!!?
And then just stay with him as much as possible. I've only left mine for an hour at a time, and checking her on the video, the first time she was crying, so I put her in a smaller room next time and that helped. Maybe she had to get used again to the fact we'd come back. So the last week or 2 featured a lot of dog-friendly days out!
Good luck with it all
Tropic it's interesting what you said about the crying because when I was reading about separation anxiety the articles that were based on research suggested that big events such as moving house could trigger it in some dogs.
It certainly seems like that for us Bitey, she's always been really independent! A few weeks in and she's already settled a lot though. I had to think of it like it's us who are her 'home' , not just the location
Thanks for the info about separation anxiety - I've always considered it a miracle he doesn't have it as a previous owner routinely left him 14 hours a day and he is prone to anxiety.
I'll be particularly strict about building up the amount of time he's left alone. I did have to leave him in a hotel room for 3-4 hours once, and despite leaving him with his bed, blanket and toys and quickly leaving and coming back twice, I got the sort of greeting that suggested I'd been on holiday for a fortnight. The Adaptil has been ordered today to arrive today after me packing up a few boxes resulted in him looking rather worried.
I'm thanking my lucky stars I have such a flexible WFH sort of job!
If the Adaptil doesn't do the trick we use Valerian and Skullcap which we get from the vet. Also at times of high stress 'pink' noise on repeat, it's like white noise but much less harsh and can be downloaded online - similar to the sounds used to soothe babies and cuts down on new/strange ambient sounds, both dogs found/find it relaxing and go to sleep within minutes of hearing it, also use it for firework season.
When we first got highly strung Ddog border collie, I would leave the radio (tuned to a talking station) or telly on if we had to go out.
Have also used Adaptil, but not sure if it worked, but it certainly didn't do any harm. Also used herbal sedatives from the vet that didn't seem to do anything at all.
Another thing I do if I have to leave him at my mother's place while I go out for an hour or two (& where he will actually howl) or if I have to go out for more than just a couple of hours, is to put an unwashed item of my clothing (tee shirt) where he sleeps. That definitely seems to help as he will snuggle into it.
Am planning to get a camera set up linked to my phone so I can check on him remotely. I'm horrified that he might actually be howling when we leave him at home to go out.
I realise that this doesn't answer your question about moving to a new home, but it does help with separation anxiety in general.
I forgot to mention that it is also good to leave something like a Kong filled with treats, or a nice bone, or even some dog treats hidden about the place to keep your dog distracted when you need to go out.
My dog who normally sleeps in the kitchen all night without a peep, needed more reassurance after our move. I think for the first few nights he'd wake up and not know where he was and panic and need someone to come down and reassure him we were still there.
Also as PP said even if you can leave him for 4 hours currently with no probs, you need to start again in the the new house with the separation anxiety training, you know go out for 1 minute then gradually work up. Not what you need when you have 10 zillion things to do after a move!
Mine didn't seem to care about the boxes. As long as his bed, bowl and people were there he was ok.
Do some packing every day so he gets used to it. We moved from south to north with anxious rescue dog. One of us took him for a long walk while the removal can packed the house up. We had already made a trip with dog to visit the house between exchange and completion so journey, new house both somewhat familiar. We used Adaptil spray in the car which helped calm him down. He slept the journey apart from 2 wee breaks. One of us walked him when we arrived new house until moving in was complete. This took hours. We were all exhausted. But he saw his bed set up in our new bedroom and settled for first night sleep really well.
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