How to help your ANXIOUS dog adjust to a new home?

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So, you are’re moving! How EXCITING is that!? New home, new start, building up in your life and maybe even looking for your forever home. Unfortunately this excitement can fade quickly when faced with the stresses of moving. Time-frames, trying to pack, moving and paying for two different places, all while trying to find the best time to move over your furry family?

This is a very real and recent stressor for me as I have moved into a new apartment within the past two months. In the past I have admittedly been ignorant when moving with my pets. I may have even created new fears or anxious behaviors by just expecting my dogs to be fine and eventually get used to it. Granted, my not-so-anxious pup adjusted relatively well for the way that I went about moving but I was determined to make this time around different.

Minimize the Stressors -> Minimalize the Anxiety

Less stressful for my pups= less stressful for me= peace and enjoyment in our new home! I was hopeful to intervene with some of my dogs existing anxious behaviors and minimize them in our new home before they had a chance to manifest or get worse.

While it is very important to transition all your animals into moving, your anxious babies need particular attention and lots of help to decrease their fear and anxiety. When you really think about it, you can recognize how scary it may be for your pups; new noises, smells and sights, all of which can cause new fears and anxiety.

They can sense the changes but do not know what is happening and we cannot explain it to them; what we can do is make the transition easier for them. I gave myself and pups a month to fully transition from our previous home to our new apartment. While this felt like a long time to be between two places I knew that it was what’s best for my girls as well as my best chance to intervene with those existing anxious behaviors I mentioned.

Sensing the Changes

My poor anxiety pup barks A LOT; she will bark at anything she does not know and is fearful or anxious about. She is very noise reactive and always on guard. One of my main goals of this move was to help her feel more comfortable, let her know she can let her guard down occasionally and just relax at home.

I must say the Adaptil products I reviewed have been mine and my pups saviors during this move. At the beginning of October(start of move), I started packing from my previous place and not so long after my girls started to recognize that something was changing.

This is the step to intervene, the very beginning of anxiety. They do not know what’s happening. All my older pup, Ava, knew is that every time I pack up boxes something in our lives change. We may move or I may leave for a bit but either way there is anxiety accompanied with the unknown. For my poor anxious pup, Ari, that I have only had for about a year, all she knew was that every time I packed I went away(vacation) but this probably seemed like a lifetime for my rescue.

Knowing how sensitive she is to change, I added to and adjusted her anxiety treatment plan. I immediately bought the Adaptil calming collar and put it on her, I bought the Adaptil diffuser starter kit to put in our new apartment. I only needed one for my small apartment, actually a single family home, as they cover an area of up to 700 square feet.

Real Life Obstacles

Restricted Dog Breed List

Before the actual move I had to find a place that would have more pros for my pups than cons. This was a difficult process as I have two, fifty pound pups, one being a pit bull and the other a shepherd mix; both of which are on the restricted breed list (yes,very irritating but I will not go into).

Besides having these obstacles to get through, there are places that would just not be suitable for me, my girls and our lifestyles. For instance, there is no possible way we could live in an apartment complex, too many people and pets in close quarters. Also, my noise-reactive pup would not be very welcome with her barking at every turn, nor would I put my girls through this. I cannot imagine how stressed we all would be and how significantly increased our anxiety would be, so that was off the table.

That took down my options to single-family homes, but a lot of single-family homes for rent are split in to half-doubles or “mini-apartments.” I have lived in two different ones with Ava (non-generalized anxiety pup) and I know how close everything and everyone is, you are can hear through every wall and there usually is a shared yard, this also will not work. Ari (generalized anxiety pup) picks and chooses who she likes, unfortunately I cannot pick and choose my neighbors.

Another thing I had to take in consideration was location; there are going to be plenty more unnecessary and unfamiliar noises being closer to the city. So, the ultimate task… find a real single-family home with its own yard, for rent, allows pets, allows “large” dogs, allows Pit Bulls and German Shepherds or any mix thereof and is secluded from all society.

Well, as you are can imagine I could not find anything with all these qualifications. Although I did find a real single-family home with its own yard, that allows large dogs (max #70 and 2 pets); my girls are my emotional support animals so their breed is not of concern, unfortunately we are closer to the city than I would love but something had to give.

Cautiously Transitioning

The Adaptil diffuser has been and still is plugged in throughout the entire moving process. I moved everything over piece by piece. The last things I took were our daily things and my pups beds; that made it official!

During the month I would bring my girls over to the new house with me. First individually so they can experience it without distractions from each other, then together. I would bring more and more stuff over on my mini trips and do a bit of unpacking and organizing while they got to hangout and explore.

I gradually increased this time, if I noticed they were getting a little stressed I would finish up and head back. Eventually they started to get excited going over to the new place. Then we stayed the night, then we stayed two nights and finally I could fully transition over my girls and my life.

I did not want to leave them home alone so soon, they do not really destroy things, but more so because I would not be able to watch them and intervene. An anxious behavior can be created very quickly. For the first week, when I had work they went over to Nana’s and Palpal’s; a place they love and I would pick them up on my way home.

I was excited to see that they were excited to go back to our new place too!

Living in Harmony

Sonic Calming Sound MachineMy sound machine really helps with the noises of the city that cause me and my girls issues. This sound machine is a simple, human sleep aid that has various sounds to help drown out outside noises. It truly works wonders for everyone; while I was kind of annoyed with it at first, once getting used to it, I have found it quite peaceful to not hear every single sound outside.

My pups sleep, play and eat in peace. It is only on rare occasions that something triggers her. These are more direct situations, like when someone knocks on the door; not something I necessarily would want to discourage. I keep her calming collar on at all times for it has had a tremendous effect in her anxiety; much more than I would even expect with how reactive she is. This allows her to experience true relaxation!

Appreciating the Simple Things

We finally have our own place with peace and quiet. I continue to use all the Adaptil products and always will! As well as the sound machine, that is currently playing while my pups sleep so peacefully that I actually have the chance to write and relax.

Serene Sleeping Pups

In this instance, I can truly appreciate a successful move and helping my anxious pup adjust to our new happy home.

Thank you all so much for reading. I truly hope this article can help all of you amazing owners with your own anxious pups in moving, as well as with your anxiety, like me.

Please feel free to leave comments and never hesitate to ask questions.

                                                                                                    Alisha

(anxious person with anxious pups…living less stressed!)

4 thoughts on “How to help your ANXIOUS dog adjust to a new home?”

  1. Ben says:

    Hi Alisha, nice niche you’ve got here. My house recently got a new dog so I can relate to the topic in general too.

    The content looks good overall – I like the ratio of providing your own personalized advice versus the product.

    Ben

    1. Alisha Hudson says:

      Thank You! I really appreciate this and enjoy hearing your feedback!
      Alisha

  2. TaN says:

    Hi Alisha,
    I love your site. It’s informative and it would have proven useful for me and my family when we got our first pup many years ago.

    1. Alisha Hudson says:

      Hello,
      Thank you so much! Very exciting to hear that my info is useful. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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