How to Help Your Dog Adjust to Apartment Life


Moving is a strenuous time for everyone involved. Of course, it will be stressful for you and your family if you have one. However, a lot of people do not think about the amount of stress that moving to a new home puts on their dogs.

In addition to the clamor and commotion that a move takes, moving to an area that is significantly smaller than your previous house can be extremely jarring for your dog.

With a smaller backyard, if there even is one, new sounds, and new surroundings, a dog can feel entirely overwhelmed. An overwhelmed dog is not going to contribute anything to the ease of your move.

Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your dog is not as stressed about the move. The areas that you are going to want to pay attention to are:

  • What can you do before moving with your dog to your new home?
  • What can you do to help your dog during the moving process?
  • What can you do after moving in to help your dog adjust to apartment life?

What Can You Do Before Moving with Your Dog to Your New Home?

how to help a dog adjust to a new home

You might be wondering why anything you do before the move is going to have an effect on how your dog adjusts to the new environment. The truth is that making sure that your dog is more familiar with apartment-like surroundings will help your dog be better adjusted to the apartment itself.

Visit the New Apartment

Depending on how far you are moving, you might want to take your dog to visit the apartment once you are able to visit the room freely. This will allow your dog to get used to the sounds, smells, and sights that your new apartment has to offer.

Once your dog knows the place a little bit, he won’t be as terrified as it otherwise would be when you begin the moving process.

Introduce Your Dog to the New Neighbors

If this is something that you and your neighbors are okay with, introduce your dog to the neighbors before you start moving. Because you might need to ask your neighbors for help bringing stuff in or if your neighbors offer help, you will want to be sure that your dog does not consider them complete strangers.

When your dog is less focused on being stressed about strangers in a new area, it will be a lot easier to keep track of your dog when you are moving things in and out of the area. After all, a calm dog is one that is pretty easy to manage, leaving you able to devote more of your attention to the move itself.

What If You Can’t Visit the Apartment Beforehand?

If visiting the apartment before the day of the move isn’t possible, there are still several ways that you can help your dog get used to the hustle and bustle of moving and the fear of unfamiliarity.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

Explore New Places with Your Dog

For instance, you could consider taking your dog for a walk around other unfamiliar houses and apartments. While it might not be the same, it will still help your dog realize that not every single new place is something to be afraid of.

When the day of the move comes, you won’t have to worry as much about your dog panicking.

Stay Over at a Friend’s House

If you have some friends who are willing to help you with this, then you also might want to consider staying over at a friend’s house. This will help your dog figure out how to sleep in a place that is unfamiliar and different from the norm as well as helping the dog realize that it cannot just back out of a stressful situation.

With that being said, if your dog begins to show signs of stress or extreme anxiety beyond what it normally would in such a situation, then you might want to consider cutting the trip short.

During these excursions, you will want to bring extra treats, particularly one of your dog’s favorites. These can be used to reduce stress and encourage your dog to continue exploring even if it is uncomfortable at first.

What Can You Do to Help Your Dog During the Moving Process?

Moving dog to new apartment

The actual process of moving is arguably the most chaotic time. This goes for both you and your dog. Sadly, your dog will probably become more stressed when it senses that you are stressed. This will create a vicious cycle of stress that nobody wants.

During the move, from making sure that you stick with a routine to keeping your dog entertained all throughout the process, you will surely be able to help your dog adjust to his new apartment life.

Keep Your Routine as Stable as Possible

Dogs, much the same as humans, are creatures of habit. While moves are time-consuming and stressful for everyone, do the best that you can to keep your routine steady.

If you take your dog out for a walk at a specific time, make sure that you continue to do that both during the move and after. This will help keep a sense of normality in your dog’s life.

Keep Your Dog Entertained

You will also want to increase the number of toys, specifically puzzle toys, that your dog can play with. Not only will this increase the amount of time that your dog spends playing with the toy (and thus less time pestering you), but this will also help your dog have something to focus on during the move.

When a dog isn’t as focused on everything going on, it will have an easier time adjusting to the new changes.

What Can You Do After Moving in to Help Your Dog Adjust to Apartment Life?

dog adjusting to apartment living

Once you have been completely moved into your new apartment, the real trouble will begin. This will be the most important time to help your dog adjust to the new home.

Create a Safe Area for Your Dog

Once you have moved into the apartment, you will want to create a specific zone for your pet. Depending on the size of your dog and the apartment, this could be the corner of your bedroom or this could be an entire room dedicated to the pet.

In this area, you should put food, water, dog toys, puzzles, treats, and some blankets that smell of the old home. If your dog has some comfort toys, these should also be added to this area as well.

This area will act as a place where your dog can be safe as it will smell and feel familiar to it.

If you want to make sure that your dog is encouraged to stay in its little zone, you can also hide some treats around there for your dog to find when it is feeling up to it and curious.

Introduce Your Dog to His New Home

After your dog has been settled down, you should then start introducing your dog to more parts of the apartment bit by bit, room by room. The rest of the doors should remain shut during this process so that your dog won’t be scared or curious about them.

If you have a designated area where your dog can use the bathroom, you should show this to the dog first.

As you let the dog explore, hide some treats around the apartment. This will be a reward for your dog, encouraging him to explore even more and become more comfortable in your new apartment. Most dogs will be more than happy with some new treats.

Keep Your Dog’s Daily Routine

Just as you need to keep the daily routine going during the process of moving, you still need to keep the routine going once you have moved into the apartment. In fact, it is even more important now that you have completely moved into the apartment.

Your dog will be looking for something, anything, that provides a sense of familiarity.

This routine could be something as simple as feeding and refilling a dog’s food dish at a certain time and going for walks at the chime of the hour.

If you really want to help your dog, you can also nail your schedule down including playtime, cuddles, and exercise. Bringing these factors into your dog’s schedule will further increase the familiarity of everything, reducing the overall stress that your dog experiences.

Cover Your Dog’s Potty Needs

The final and arguably most important thing that you need to consider is where the dog is going to use the bathroom.

Some apartments don’t have space for a large yard, and some apartment rooms are located several floors above ground level.

You will need to show your dog the bathroom area, possibly repeating potty training for the dog in the process, as one of the very first things that you do.

How Can These Things Help Your Dog Adjust to Apartment Living?

By making sure that your dog is properly cared for before, during, and after you have been moved into the apartment, you can rest assured knowing that your dog will have an easier time adjusting to all the stresses that come with moving.

Moving isn’t fun for either humans and dogs, although they both have different things to worry about when it comes to moves.

Before the move, you will want to make sure that your dog becomes accustomed to seeing new places and being in the car for extended periods of time. This will help ensure that when the real deal is happening, your dog isn’t panicking and making it more difficult for everyone else in the process.

During the move, making sure that your dog is distracted with entertaining puzzles will help both you and your dog focus on not stressing out about other things.

Making sure that you stick to a daily routine for your dog as much as possible will also help your dog adjust better.

Once you have fully moved in, making sure that your dog can explore at a reasonable pace while still having a comfort zone is the best thing that you can do to help your dog adjust to everything that is going on.

With this in addition to sticking with the same routine, your dog will adjust to being in an apartment before you know it.