Moving to a new home is a big change and the new atmosphere can cause anxiety. It’s likely that your dog will feel separation anxiety in a new home because the environment isn’t the same anymore.
Here are some dog separation anxiety training tips to help when you move into a new home.
Keep your old routines. Being in a new environment is enough of a change for them, so try to keep everything else as it was in the old home. Experiencing routines will give your dog a sense of normalcy in a world that is no longer normal, and this will be a big help. If your dog likes to eat his breakfast and then go outside, keep to the same pattern in the new house. Try to keep everything as close to the way it was as possible. A similar routine will help make your dog feel safe and secure in his new environment.
Keep your dog’s things. Your dog will be comforted by his old toys, his blanket or bed, and his same water bowl. Keep the things he has ties to and things that have his scent. This is not a time to throw out his things and replace them with new ones. These things will help comfort him and make him feel less anxious.
Don’t leave your dog alone. When you move, try not to leave your dog alone for long periods of time. Try to wait as long as you can before leaving your dog alone in the house.
Keep familiar scents around the house. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell and it is comforting to have familiar scents around in the new house. Don’t wash your dog’s bedding right away. Spend some time sitting and playing with your dog on the floor (where he spends most of his time) and spread your scent around the house. If you wear a particular cologne, continue to wear it and spray it around the home. These familiar smells will help your dog feel more at home and less anxious.
Be patient while your dog gets used to his new surroundings. It may take some time for your dog to adjust and you need to be patient with your dog. He may forget about his potty training for a while, or he may forget the old house rules. Be patient and help him to readjust.
We hope that these dog separation anxiety training tips will help your dog’s transition to a new home.
What Separation Anxiety Looks Like in Dogs
Separation anxiety is a condition in which animals exhibit symptoms of anxiety or distress when they are left alone. There are many signs that manifest with separation anxiety, and if you know the signs you can try to deal with the problem.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety.
- Destructive behavior
- House soiling
- Excessive barking and vocalization
- Refusal to eat or drink when left alone
- Panting and salivating
- Trying to escape from confinement
Why Dogs Get Separation Anxiety
In nature, dogs are almost never separated from their pack. So being left alone is an unnatural situation that we need to help our dogs deal with.
Sometimes we can encourage our dog’s separation anxiety by making a big deal about leaving or coming home. Instead, stay calm and make the situation seem like no big deal.
A change in routine can cause separation anxiety, but it can also be caused by boredom or lack of exercise.
How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Here are some tips to help treat separation anxiety in dogs.
- Take your dog for a walk before you leave. Exercise will help to release any pent up energy, and a tired dog has less energy to be anxious and destructive.
- Treat your dog to food and water before you leave. Afterward, your dog will want to rest, and this is a good time to leave the house.
- Don’t make a big deal out of saying goodbye when you leave the house and don’t make a big fuss when you get back home. Ignore your dog for the first few minutes, then calmly pet them. By doing this you are telling your dog that your time apart is no big deal, it’s just a normal part of the day.
- Change up your routine. Your dog will look for familiar “cues” to signal your departure, so change things up a bit.
- Be calm and assertive when you leave. This will help to let your dog know that everything is going to be okay.
- Start out small and work up to a longer absence, conditioning your dog to be alone. Start by leaving your dog alone for just 10 minutes. Then work your way up to a half-hour, then an hour. Before you know it you’ll be leaving your dog alone for several hours.
- Leave some worn clothing that smells like you. Your scent will help to comfort your dog while you are away.
- Establish a word or an action that you use every time you leave that will tell your dog that you’ll be coming back.
- Crate training can help with anxiety. When you are at home, get your dog used to being in the crate. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase the amount of time he spends in the crate. Feed your dog in the crate and give him his favorite chew toy there. In time the crate will become your dog’s safe haven. He will feel secure there.
- Try using some calming products like Comfort Zone (DAP) that may help to ease your dog’s anxiety.
- Ask your veterinarian about drug therapy to help ease your dog’s anxiety.
To learn more about moving with dogs, read our article Moving with Dogs: The Importance of Preparation.
To learn more about separation anxiety in dogs read our article Separation Anxiety in Dogs.