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Moving House? Emotional and Practical Support for Your Dog

By ToniShelbourne. | Dog Info Traveling with Dogs

We are moving! We live with an anxious dog, so it occurred to me whilst thinking up ways to make it easier for him that a blog on preparing and helping your dog cope with the move might be appropriate.

Preparation is the key and although some of these points might not be possible in all cases, trying to cover as many as is practically possible, would really help.

  • If you can have access to the new house before you move in, take your dog to visit the space before you move. Play some games and let him have a good sniff around. If you can visit more than once, all the better.
  • When packing, consider how strange this is for your dog having all that is familiar to him being popped into boxes. Take some time out to play with him, go for a walk or have a reassuring cuddle or some calming Tellington TTouch bodywork.
  • Familiarise your dog with a Tellington TTouch body wrap or a Thundershirt so on the day, he can have the emotional support from it when you might be otherwise engaged.
  • If possible and your dog is comfortable have him stay with a friend or trusted dog sitter. Make sure he is used to that person though, don’t pass him off to a stranger.
  • If your dog needs to be with you, pre-clear a favourite room for him to be in with his bed, toys and a bowl of water. If he struggles to be in a room with the door closed without you, think of installing a baby gate. If he is comfortable in a crate, all the better and safer. Also, provide him with a safe long lasting chew or some enrichment toys. Remember removal workers can’t be relied on or expected to close doors, so think about possible escape routes. If possible and you can stay with your dog or he can go out for a nice walk with a family member whist the house is being packed up, mores the better.
  • Make sure you have all your dog’s essential supplies for the day at hand, bed, bowls, lead, toys, food, treats etc. Try as best you can to stick to the same routine for walks and feeding to minimise stress.
  • Once at the new house, take your dog, first into the garden on leash and let him have a good sniff and relief himself. Some dogs will want to mark a new environment and best that is the garden and not your new house.
  • Get hold of some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. In one bowl of water put four drops but have a second bowl with just water in. Some dogs will choose to drink from the bowl with the soothing flower remedy but not all so he will need choice. Do this for a few days. He can also have four drops on his food. So he gets regular doses, at least four a day, you can pop some on a treat for him to eat, or wipe a few drops on his lips, forehead, paws or belly, to help him stay calm. It is very safe but if your dog is on any medication, check with your veterinary surgeon first.
  • Over the next few days and week, take your dog’s needs and fears into consideration, he may not know which door leads to the garden so house training may break down for a while, he may similarly not want to be left alone in the house at first, so be prepared to work on alone training or ask a family member to stay home with him.

There is so much you can do to help your dog cope and adjust. I realise that it is a stressful time for all concerned, and actually, you can help each other with a distressing walk. game or cuddle in between the unpacking. 

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toni shelbourneToni Shelbourne

Animal Behaviourist, Tellington TTouch Practitioner, Real Dog Yoga Instructor & Author

Toni has worked with domesticated and wild canids since 1989. After a long and successful career with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, she started her own business as a Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner. She is now one of the highest qualified Practitioners in the UK. In 2001 her skills in TTouch took Toni to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust were she meet a pack of socialised wolves. She went on to work with them for over a decade as a Senior Wolf Handler and Education Officer for the organisation. In more recent years, Toni has gone on to become a Real Dog Yoga Instructor, (Visit to find out more) and updated her qualifications in behaviour with the International School of Psychology and Behaviour, for which she is also an affiliate. She is now a full member of The Association of INTO Dogs as a certified canine behaviourist. She teaches all over the UK and abroad, works with clients' one to one, and writes. Toni lives in Oxfordshire, England with her husband and their dog MrP. 

Over the last two decades, Toni has been developing her writing. She spent two years editing and writing features for Wolf Print, the UK Wolf Conservation Trust's international magazine. She went on to write for national dog magazines, rescue society newsletters and blogs. Her first and second book, The Truth about Wolves & Dogs, (Hubble and Hattie 2012) and Among the Wolves (Hubble and Hattie 2015) have been a great success. Her latest writing collaboration with co-author Karen Bush sees a series of books entitled HELP! My Dog is…. Titles include, HELP! My Dog's Scared of Fireworks, HELP! My Dog doesn't Travel Well in the Car, HELP! My Dog is Destroying the Garden and HELP! My Dog has a Canine Compulsive Disorder. All are available in paperback and eBook format on Amazon. Toni and Karen have many more titles planned under the banner of Skinny Dog Books – named as they both own sighthounds and the books are small and concise. Visit for more details about Toni, her work and books. Facebook: Twitter: @tonishelbourne

d her work. Facebook: Twitter: @tonishelbourne


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