The number of first-time home buyers in the UK hit an all-time high in 2021 with more than 409,000 taking the first step on the property ladder, while according to the Kennel Club figures dog ownership soared by nearly eight percent in the same period.
So it’s clear that many people are currently settling into a new home with a lovable pup in tow – or will shortly be doing so, with over 250,000 households expected to move in the next three months.
To help dog owners who are unsure how to settle their dog into their new home, dog-friendly holiday letting specialist Canine Cottages have teamed up with accredited dog trainer Joe Nutkins to bring you the best tips on how to settle your dog into a new home.
Here are his top pieces of advice.
Keep a daily routine
One of the best ways to help your dog settle into the home without too much trouble is to keep a daily routine. This applies to feeding time, when you go on walks, as well as designated time for the dog to rest. This can contribute to your dog building their confidence and safety.
Nutkins said: “Transferring your usual routine to your new home will help the transition such as times of meals, times you usually go for a walk or groom your dog or even brushing their teeth! It shows your dog that even with some big changes happening there are still lots of things staying familiar.”
Let your dog run
It could be useful to go on longer walks than usual to tire your pooch out; this will not only help them relax, but reduces anxiety.
For owners who are unable to take their dogs on long walks, Nutkins offers some tips on how to keep your dog stimulated throughout the day, saying: “Mental stimulation is a wonderful way to help our dogs have something to focus on instead of all the changes happening around them.
"Challenging our dog's mind can be as mentally tiring as a physical walk but without the walk itself - or you can have a shorter walk and add in some mental stimulation on the same day.“Ideas for mental stimulation can include using an interactive toy or snuffle mat with small treats, or your dog's kibble, and take a few minutes to sit with your dog to encourage them to find the food.
"Make sure you praise them for figuring it out, so you have a little dedicated time with your dog while they are working on a challenge.”
Give your pooch space
It’s important for your pooch to have its own space where it can relax and take the time to recharge and feel safe. Nutkins also recommends bringing your dog to your new home before you even start moving your things.
Nutkins explains: “For dogs, with their amazing sense of smell, being somewhere brand new to them causes a cocktail of new scents in quick succession, as well as sights and sounds, which can be exciting for some dogs or overwhelming for others.
"If you can take your dog to your new home before you move in, this would give them a chance to experience all the new stimuli while it's calm and can build a positive association with the new home.”
Shower them with love
Although moving can be stressful for humans, dogs do not understand what is going on. Moving from one home to another can be scary, so make sure to shower your pooch with love and affection to help them feel safe and cared for.
This will not only help build that bond between you, but will inevitably help the dog to settle down, too.
Include your dog’s scent
Scent-swapping is a method to help the dog to recognise the house as their own. Use a soft cloth or a soft sponge and rub it gently around the dog’s face before you pat the cloth on the sofa and other furniture. While you might not smell it, your pooch will.
Your dog will find moving house quite stressful and might have accidents that would normally leave you annoyed. Instead of getting angry, help your dog by showing where they can go to relieve themselves, or, if they are chewing on things, buy or make something they can use instead to let out stress.