How to Introduce A Dog To A New Home

introducing a dog to a new home

Coming into a new home can be difficult, the feeling of uncertainty can be overwhelming. This can be particularly difficult for a dog as they don’t fully understand what is going on. This article aims to help owners introduce their dogs to a new home in the most comfortable way possible.

In order to comfortably introduce a dog to a new home, it is vital that the owner allows them the freedom to explore the house both inside and outside. Walk around the house with your dog offering positive sounds and even some treats, this will make them feel calm and relaxed whilst they explore. 

Whether you are moving to a new home or this is a new member of the family, your dog will need time to adjust to its new environment. In this article, we delve deeper into how best to introduce your dog to a new home.


How To Introduce a Dog To A New Home

  • Freedom to explore is an important aspect when introducing a dog to a new home. Leads can make your dog feel trapped or out of control, so let them roam wherever it is safe to do so. Giving your dog some freedom can help allow them to explore at their own pace, don’t try rushing them into new areas of the house before they have finished exploring the current area.
  • As your dog’s owner they will most likely see you as their safety blanket, they understand that you are leading them and would not let them get harmed. Of course, dogs may not completely trust you on this matter after all you probably tricked them into having a bath which they certainly won’t forget. Because of this trust, it is important you walk around the house with them making sure to feel comfortable in this environment too. Your dog will most likely follow you around so be sure to show them every area of the house inside and out.
  • As you are probably aware dogs love treats and if you have trained them well they will recognize that treats relate to positivity. Bringing some treats along with you whilst your dog explores the new home can help encourage them into areas of the house they don’t want to go. This will most likely include smaller rooms such as the bathroom. Remember that dogs love open spaces that is what they live for, so if you have a garden at your new home then allowing them to trot in and out can help. Of course try not to give your dog treats constantly, remember you want them to look around. If they are so fixated on you and the bag of treats the next time they explore the house they won’t be as familiar as they should be.
  • The fact may be that you and your pooch are the only ones visiting this new home and so it may be good to consider having some more people with you. Of course, you don’t want people your dog doesn’t know, in fact, people they are more familiar with will give them a better sense of security. You can even go one step further and have some of their doggy friends there too. If you do this watch out for scent marking as there may be some competition for territory.
  • Developing a consistent routine can be key to effective introduction. Although first impressions are important when it comes to introducing your dog to a new home, the following days and weeks are also important. Dogs enjoy routine and it is this that makes them easier to train than other animals. As you have provided them with an established area for eating, drinking, and sleeping, try to feed your dog at the same time each day, this also goes for exercise. Establishing a good walking route to explore the local area helps settle them in, they are going to want to know what other dogs are around and what they have to say.

Prepare Your Home For your Dog

One of the first steps for introducing a dog to a new home is preparation, taking a dog into an unfamiliar environment is going to put them on edge instantly, it’s all about familiarization. Below are some great ways to prepare a home that your dog is unfamiliar with.

  • Something to remember when letting your dog explore freely is that they may start peeing on items, particularly if they are male. Be sure you are familiar with your dog’s personality and be ready to stop them when they start really sniffing something.
  • Another great way to help your dog feel comfortable is to leave the door open. Of course, you will have to be sure your dog is trained not to run off at the first sight of freedom. In addition to this be sure there are no main roads they could run out onto. Having the door open will let your dog know they can escape if needed, this will make them feel more comfortable and can concentrate on exploring the new home without fearing being trapped.
  • Making your dog feel comfortable inside and outside their new home is important. The best way to accomplish this is by having familiar items such as toys, bedding, and items of your own too. If you are moving house, it is advisable to fill your new home full of everything from your old home, this will create even more familiarity for your dog. You may notice them acting timid at first but this will be partly due to the fear of a new environment and some confusion as to why everything they are so familiar with is now in a different location. Remember try playing some games with your pooch to keep their mind off the scary situation, playing whilst going around the house will help introduce them to each new room.
  • As highlighted above dogs do love treats and to add a little twist on the previous advice, try leaving them scattered in different areas of the house. You don’t just have to give treats to your dog by hand try hiding them under items or behind furniture. Dogs are scavengers at heart and love to sniff out anything they can, especially treats. The placement of these treats gives a positive signal to your dog, showing them that this environment is a good place to be.
  • It’s not just about preparing your new home with all of your items, remember to place some of your dog’s items down too. The best way to help your dog settle in is to prepare their sleeping and eating area, these are the two biggest parts of a dog’s life and so it is important they are around when your dog first visits this new home.

why does my dog sleep in another room

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Adjust To A New Home

A common amount of time for dogs to adjust to a new home is around 1 month for new dogs and 2 weeks for dogs with whom you are already familiar. The length of time it takes can change depending on your dog’s breed and general personality. 

Although most dogs will adjust to a home fairly easily, providing you are there with them for the initial stages of their introduction, some dogs may struggle. The time it takes can be very dependent on your dog’s personality, the more dogs you own over the years the more you realize how different their personalities can be. You will often find bigger differences across breeds however the same breed may share certain traits but ultimately act differently in certain situations.

Using the methods previously outlined you can help your dog adjust to a new home quicker than normal. It’s always important to give your pooch time and let them become more confident as an individual in their home.

Is Moving House Stressful For Dogs

It’s true! Moving house is stressful for dogs. Just like humans dogs experience anxiety when life starts to get out of control. It can be a good idea to keep your dog out the way whilst you move everything from your old home to your new home.

If you have ever done a spring clean in your home then you will know the dog becomes either very animated following you around everywhere, or they get right out the way and hide in another room. In many cases, your dog is trying to understand what is going on when you start disrupting the normal way of life. Dogs are very regimented, they love a routine and are quite happy staying that same routine for most of their life.

Of course, It’s not that you shouldn’t let your dog join in with the move, but you should know how your dog reacts in chaotic situations. If they enjoy the frenzy then let them help, if they tend to pant and back away a lot of the time then maybe consider removing them from the situation.

One thing that many owners forget when moving house, is not just your dog’s reaction to the chaos but to the journey. Travel can be tricky with small and large dogs, which is why preparation is a key element. Check out our article on “How To Travel With A Dog” for some extra tips on moving to a new home with your dog.

How Do You Introduce A Puppy To A New Home

Puppies can sometimes be a more complicated situation, where you are dealing with a dog that is more vulnerable. This means that puppies are still learning what they should interact with and what they should not. Sometimes this can help the situation making your pup more confident, but at the same time, they may feel intimidated about the situation. Below are some tips on introducing a puppy to a new home.

  • Just like a regular dog, it is important to prepare your home for the pup. This means creating safe spaces with food, water toys, and bedding, allowing them to escape any scary moments.
  • Treats are a good way to help settle your puppy and hiding them in locations around the house can get your little pooch to explore with a bit more confidence.
  • If this is your puppy’s first time away from its mother, it can be a good idea to have a blanket that smells just like them. Puppies start using their sense of smell as soon as they are born, this is what allows them to find their mother and begin feeding.
  • If you have other pets, try to introduce them outside. An open area can help reduce fear and provide an opportunity to get closer if they choose to. Bigger dogs may act in different ways to your pup so be sure to first know the bigger dog’s personality and even possibly have them on a lead. It is better to have freedom but if you are unsure, safer is better than sorry.
  • Puppy proofing your house and garden should be part of your preparation. cordon off any unsafe areas such as ponds and make sure there is nothing your puppy will inevitably eat whilst exploring. Learn more about puppy proofing your garden in our other article, “How To Puppy Proof Your Garden”.

puppy proofing

Do Dogs Get Sad When You Move House

It is perfectly normal for dogs to feel sad when moving house. Because dogs enjoy stability, anything that changes from their day to day can upset them.
Dogs can feel depression just like humans and it can be quite obvious when it happens. Some dogs will simply start sleeping more or even go into another room to sulk for a bit. Don’t worry if this happens, even though dogs depend on stability they are also extremely resilient and tend to get over any changes fairly quickly. The best thing an owner can do is follow the tips in this article and create a comfortable loving home for their pooch.


Changes to routine, environment, and family are all part of life for both humans and dogs. Both experience these changes in similar ways and so giving you and your dog time to adapt is important. Remember the old saying “Time Heals All Wounds” and although it may not be totally true it certainly helps to introduce your dog to a new home slowly whilst giving them time to adapt. If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to check out our other content on our homepage.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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