Moving house with your greyhound: how to make it a smooth transition

April 13, 2023 14:14
How can I prepare my greyhound for a move to a new house?

Moving house can be a stressful experience for everyone involved, and that includes your dog.

The best thing you can do is make sure that your dog has ample opportunity to engage in soothing behaviours (typically sniffing, chewing and/or licking).

Anything that will get your dog to do these low-key sensory behaviours will help them to calm down from a stressful experience.

What steps can I take to prepare my greyhound for the move?

If you are local to the area you are moving to, you can travel there well in advance of moving house and allow your dog to explore the area to increase their familiarity.

Depending on your dog, it might be a good idea to look into increasing that dog's food enrichment or increasing the activities that you notice your dog enjoys to calm down.

If there's anything particularly stressful that your dog doesn't like (i.e. loud noises, left alone for extended periods), it’s best to avoid those activities before move day, because you don't want that to compound with the stress they may experience with the big change of environment.

How can I make sure my greyhound feels comfortable and secure in their new home?

It's a good idea to identify where the important places for the dog will be in the house such as where their food will be, where you're going to feed them, where their water will be, and where their bed or beds will be.

Once you've identified those, you can make sure your dog is introduced to these areas as soon as possible when you move, and that way it'll reduce the level of uncertainty that the dog will have in their new home, which can help considerably in reducing their stress.

What should I do if my greyhound exhibit signs of anxiety or stress after the move?

It's quite common for dogs to be stressed after a change in environment.

If you see behavioural signs of anxiety, like dogs pacing, panting, barking or whining, that's very normal. Offer the opportunity for the dog to recover from these, go to their bed, go to their safe space, give them something to chew, and then just keep an eye on them.

If you notice these behaviours lower in time, that's great.

If you notice these behaviours escalate, then it might be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to see if there are any medical concerns or whether there's anything that can help your dog cope with this sudden change, even if it's a temporary course of medication.

How can I establish a routine for my greyhound in their new home?

The most important thing is to help the dog learn where their bed is, where their water is, and where their dinner will be placed.

That way you'll be able to establish some predictability in the dog's new home, and that can help with reducing their stress.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when moving with a greyhound?

A common mistake may be doing too much too soon. 

For example, after the move, it would be best to take the dog for short walks in their new environment and keep meetings with new people/dogs to a minimum.

Allow your greyhound the opportunity to retreat and recalibrate

It's a good idea to just take things slow, introduce the dog to a few things at a time, create a safe space for the dog to retreat to, and if there is going to be a lot of loud noise with moving furniture, things like that, it might be a good idea to keep the dog in a quiet area and then only introduce them to the new house once everything's settled.

What should I do if my greyhound is afraid of stairs or other features in their new home?

If your grey isn’t experienced with stairs and there are steep stairs in your new house, it's a good idea to plan ahead.

Help them grow accustomed to going up and down stairs prior to your move.

The best stairs to practice on will be wide stairs with a very low gradient, so moving up and down isn't as confronting to the dog. Steep stairs can make a greyhound feel overbalanced.

Getting them used to going up and down shallow stairs, giving them plenty of rewards, and then transitioning them to steeper stairs each time, is a great approach rather than throwing them in the deep end, as it were, by having them have no experience with stairs and then suddenly moving to a house with steep stairs.

How long can I expect it to take for my greyhound to fully adjust to their new home?

This will depend on your individual greyhound and their emotional resilience.

Some dogs are extremely resilient and will bounce back quickly from a change of environment, but many will not, and it might take weeks or months for them to settle.

Use your dog's behaviour as a guide. If your dog's showing behavioural signs of anxiety or fear, work towards those behaviours reducing in frequency and intensity over time.

And if that's happening, then that shows that your dog is slowly settling into their home, and the pace at which that happens should be used as an indication of how long before you resume walks; how long before you resume life as normal.