How To Settle a Puppy In a New Home

Settle a Puppy in a New Home

Moving with pets can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be traumatizing for your puppy. There are lots of things that you can do to make the moving experience easier and less stressful for your puppy.

Use these tips from puppy parents and dog behaviorists to make moving easier for your dogs whether you’re moving across the country or just to the other side of town.

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Before The Move

Puppy In a Crate

In order to make the transition to a new home easier for your puppy you should start about a month before you move, if that’s possible.

Start by crate training your puppy. Make the puppy’s crate somewhere that they really want to be. Fill it with comfy blankets and toys and make sure it’s the right size for your puppy.

Keep in mind your puppy will grow and get a crate that is bigger than you think the puppy needs. The Humane Society has a great guide on crate training your puppyOpens in a new tab.. You can ask your vet for advice. If your puppy is not leash trained you also should get your puppy used to wearing a harness and a leash.

A couple of days before the move you can start packing up your puppy’s blankets, beds, and toys. Just make sure that the puppy’s favorite blankets and toys are in their crate. The crate should not be moved until you are on the way to the new house.

It’s a good idea to invest in some pet gatesOpens in a new tab. that you can use to restrict the puppy’s access within the new house. If possible you should go to the new home the day before you move and prepare a small room for the puppy.

Putting the puppy in a small room like a laundry room, mud room, or bathroom where you can shut the door will keep the puppy safe while the movers are going in and out. It will also ensure that the puppy doesn’t get out of the house and get lost or run away.

And if the puppy has any “accidents” they will be easy to clean up instead of being spread all over the house.

Put down some puppy training pads in the room where you plan to keep your puppy along with a water dish, a food bowl, some toys, and one of your puppy’s beds.

Don’t buy a new bed for your puppy. Using one of the beds that your puppy already has will help the puppy adjust to the new house.

Bring one of your puppy’s beds from the current home to the new home so that the puppy will have a bed that they like that smells familiar in the new space. That will help ease the puppy’s anxiety.

Moving Day

Puppy Behind a Baby Gate

When moving day arrives feed your puppy early and give it a drink before packing the food and water bowls. Put a harness and leash on the puppy and leave it on them.

If the puppy gets loose or runs out of the house it will be easier to stop the puppy if it’s wearing a harness and a leash. It’s a good idea to keep the puppy in your vehicle with proper ventilation while the movers are loading up your household goods if possible.

That is the best way to make sure that the puppy is safe and out of the way. If that’s not possible put the puppy in their crate on the porch, patio, or in the yard so that they will be safely contained but out of the way.

Ideally, you should put the puppy in the crate to transport them to the new house.

But if that’s not possible put the crate on the moving truck last (without your puppy in it of course!). If the crate is the last thing loaded onto the truck it will be easily accessible and you can grab it off the truck to put it in the small room where you want to contain the puppy when you get to the new house.

After you put the puppy’s crate in the small room where you contain them bring the puppy in.

Leave the crate open so that the puppy can go inside if they want. Make sure the water bowl is full and give the puppy a little snack. It will be good for the puppy to associate the new space with something positive like food.

Let the puppy rest while the movers unload and get everything put away in the new house.

Settling In

Puppy Laying in the Floor of New House

When you are introducing your puppy to the new home go slowly.

Give the puppy access to just one or two additional rooms at a time. Use pet gates or baby gates to restrict access to the rest of the house. This way the puppy will have a chance to be comfortable in each part of the house before you give them more new spaces to investigate.

Start by showing the puppy where their food and water bowls will be permanently if they will not be in the room where the puppy was hanging out during the move.

Also, show the puppy where the door to the backyard is if you will be taking them into the yard. To make them feel more confident in the new space take the leash and walk them around the space. Walk them through the door to the yard and back in again.

Then let them hang out in that space and get comfortable there.

Repeat this process throughout the rest of the house. In no time your puppy will be fully adjusted and happy in the new home. Just remember that your puppy is going to look to you to be their pack leader.

If you are confident, calm, and relaxed then your puppy will be also. The puppy will be depending on you to protect them from any potential threats in this new scary place. Once they are confident that you are in control of the new space they will be less anxious.

If You Have Multiple Pets

If you are moving a puppy along with other dogs or cats keep all the animals together in a safe space while the movers are moving your things into the house. Your puppy will be much less anxious during the moving process if the other animals that your puppy knows and trusts are there too.

That way your puppy won’t have the added anxiety of wondering where their fur siblings are or wondering if they are being left behind during the move.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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