Moving – Understanding Your Dog’s Stress When Moving Into A New House


Are you planning to move to a new house soon or actually in the middle of a move right now? Uprooting your entire life and planting it somewhere else can be one of the most stressful times a person can go through. And if you think it’s tough for you, consider how tense and confusing this can be for your dog or puppy.

Dogs are creatures that thrive on routine living. They become extremely comfortable and self confident once they get used to the same day to day activities that repeat themselves. This includes waking up at the same time each morning, the same feeding times, knowing when you’re coming home from work, and above all, dogs become accustomed to expecting the same atmosphere in their home.

Moving can completely eradicate your dog’s entire routine expectations. Between you and the rest of the family packing up everything in the home, shipping items, coming and going, constantly traveling back and forth in and out of the house, all of this is enough to drive a dog crazy, especially when you have a young puppy.

When Good Dogs Go Bad Due To Stress

Even the best trained dogs can become so stressed and anxious from a moving experience that they may revert back to their old puppy behavior in order to cope with the stress that they are going through. This behavior may include hyperactivity, urinating inside the house, unexpected jumping and barking, and even some nipping and biting has occurred on rare occasions.

It Is Perfectly Normal Behavior

There is good reason for this bad behavior from a puppy who does not realize what is going on around them during a busy move.  You have basically taken everything that they know and learned and turned everything upside down.

Think about the last time you were upset and nervous, what were your vices? What did you do that helped you cope with the situation which might not have been the best of your character? Now consider the fact that this is a dog we are talking about and so his bad behavior is understandable. He is stressed and confused.

Avoid Scolding Or Punishing Your Dog

I completely understand it if your first response to your pet’s behavior is to yell and punish him. You are also probably stressed with financial matters, having your old home cleaned, ensuring that all of your stuff gets to the new home okay, etc. but when it comes to your dog and dealing with his “vices” towards the situation, be patient and understanding so that your dog will feel safer during the busy transition during the move.


When moving into a new house you are completely changing everything about life that your dog has grown to know. Because he is such a routine-oriented pet, your dog will need some extra understanding and a little bit of patience in order to make him feel safe and confident while undergoing such a radical change, even if it only lasts for a few days. 

Adult dogs may handle the confusing experience of moving a little better than a puppy will, but either way, you should put into practice the following tips that will help your dog cope with the anxiety of moving:

1. Try playing some soothing music. When you are packing up your household items, shipping boxes, coming and going at all times during the day, handling phone calls and delegating family members to help, all of these things create an extremely confusing atmosphere for your dog.  He may resort to urinating on the carpet or practice other bad behavioral problems. 

One way to alleviate this high energy anxiety is to play some soft music, such as classical.  Music like this has a calming effect not only on you and your family members, but on your pet is well. Anything that can help lower the stress vibes of the rest of the family, in which your dog can sense, will go a long way in making him feel safer.

2. Do not isolate your dog. Many people make the mistake of isolating their dog in the backyard or in a crate while they are busy moving and packing boxes. This only adds to your dog’s stress. Instead of treating him as a separate entity and confusing him more, try including him in all the fun and let him run around a little bit to check out what’s going on. Of course he may still display some bad behavior, but it’s better than keeping him locked up while everyone else is so busy.

3. Take your dog with you and the rest of the family when you are moving boxes to and from the new house. If you thought that your dog will get stressed out from all of the changes at the old house with packing and moving, imagine what it’s going to be like when he is faced with a strange and foreign area in the new home.

To alleviate this stress, help him become used to the new house by letting him inside for short intervals when you’re bringing over boxes. Doing so will help your puppy become more comfortable with the changes taking place and slowly adjust to making the new house his home.

The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.

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