If you’ve never had a dog but buying that new house means you finally have room for one, of course you’ll need to plan ahead.

Your new pet is going to find their new home a little unsettling as everything in their world will have suddenly changed around them.

Changes in behaviour – albeit temporary – can be the result. An anxious dog unsure of its surroundings may be more prone to excess barking, aggression towards other dogs or strangers or even withdrawal.

But buying that new house also offers you an opportunity to consider features which can make dog ownership that little bit easier – and some or all of the below might be worth including on your wish list:

Is there an enclosed garden?

Does the place you’re considering putting in an offer on have a garden where you could leave your new dog free to roam unsupervised. If you can allow your dog a little more freedom while you nip to the shops or out on the school run, perhaps even with a kennel for shelter, they may be happier than they would be shut inside. Naturally, if your dog is prone to a bit of barking in your absence at first, it may not be an option but, with an enclosed garden, at least you know you can leave a door open in the summer months without allowing your dog to roam the street.

Does it have a lawn or at least some grass?

A garden composed almost entirely of gravel, wooden decking or paving slabs may be easy to maintain but it’s not great from a dog’s point of view. They’re going to need some grass to do what comes naturally and for those mad moments of play when they have excess energy to burn off. If there isn’t any, then you may have to invest some cash in at least a little bit of turf.

Are there any decent walks nearby?

If you’ve already had a busy day, it’s even less likely you’ll want to get back in the car to take the dog for some exercise if the nearest park or open space is a few miles away. A whizz round the block may be acceptable once in a while but it’s a poor substitute for a run off the lead. Is your new home close to some green space, a common, woodland or a countryside walk? Your new dog may be happier if it is…

Are there many other dogs on the street they can make friends with?

Dogs are social animals and mostly enjoy the company of their own kind. An isolated dog can become reactive over time, barking or showing signs of anxiety or aggression when coming into contact with others if they’re not used to it. Social time is important so, from your dog’s point of view, opportunities to meet and mix with others can be important.

Is there a porch or utility room?

If you’re already a dog owner, you’ll know they don’t mind a bit of mud. In fact, some seem to actively hunt it out – along with all sorts of other unsavoury substances they can find thanks their superior sense of smell. A porch is a useful holding area while you find the necessary equipment for the removal of whatever it is your dog has chosen to roll in. A utility room with a large sink is even better for bathing smaller dogs.

Is there an outside tap?

Granted, you’re unlikely to be able to entice a fully-grown labrador or German shepherd into a sink so an outdoor option is probably required. An outside tap which can be readily connected to a hose and all the various attachments is a bonus; ideally, it needs to one with a threaded spout so the hose doesn’t keep slipping off.

Of course, there are many other features which could help make your new home heaven for your new dog but we’re estate agents rather than animal welfare experts so we hope the ones we’ve listed are a decent start.

And, if there are any other aspects of moving home you think we could help with, why not browse our blog or give us a call. We’d be happy to help if we can.

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