Just like parents expecting a baby, if you’re about to bring home a brand new fluffy puppy, it’s important to make sure your home is safe and properly prepared. Puppies are naturally curious creatures, and they learn and discover new things by investigating through licking, scratching, chewing, and crawling into all sorts of interesting looking places.
This inquisitive nature can get your pup into a lot of trouble if you're not careful, but the good news is, you can take proactive steps to reduce the mischief and mayhem. To puppy proof your home, you just need to include several key items on your puppy checklist, take a few precautions with how your home is set up, and most importantly, be ready to keep a close eye on your new furry friend.
6 Items To Puppy Proof Your House
Of course, every home is different, and your expectations and limits for your puppy will differ from other pup parents. However, there are several puppy essentials that every dog owner should plan on using to create a safe environment for his pooch.
What You Need To Keep Your Puppy Safe
A lot of the ways you can make sure your pup stays safe are proactive, meaning you implement them before your puppy has the chance to get hurt or into trouble.
Here are the items that can help ensure your dog’s safety, especially since you really can’t watch him all of the time:
1. A Puppy Gate — One of the best ways you can safety-proof your home for your puppy is to limit the available space that he has access to. The fewer rooms your pup can go into, the fewer places he has to get into trouble. Place puppy gates across the entrance of every room that your pup is banned from unless you plan to keep the doors closed. You should also place gates across the bottom and tops of staircases.
Another option is to use a series of puppy gates to create a designated area for your dog. There are a number of different gates on the market, so make sure to choose a style that works well for you and your pup. If he’s a jumper make sure the gate is tall enough; if he’s a chewer opt for one made from metal, and if you don’t want to constantly step over a dog gate, then go for one that has a functioning door built into it.
2. Cable Ties — Since one of the main ways a puppy investigates is with his mouth, the odds are very high that if your dog finds an electrical cord or wire, he’s going to chow down. You can remove the temptation (and risk of electric shock) by using cable ties to gather cords together and clip them out of your pup’s reach. For example, you can wrap a tie around several cords and use a hook on the back of a piece of furniture to hang the wires far from the floor so your pup can’t easily find them.
What You Need To Keep Your Home Clean
A puppy’s mischievous ways not only can bring him harm, but they also can wreak havoc on your home. Before you know it, this cute furball can destroy your furniture, rip up your baseboards, stain your carpets, and leave a number of other messes in his wake. It might seem inconceivable that something so small and sweet can cause such big damage, but it is completely possible when the proper practices aren’t put into place.
When you gather the products meant to shield your dog from harm, don’t forget to build your arsenal of protective gear for your home. The bitter apple spray mentioned above is a perfect example, since you can use it to discourage your pet from putting holes in your carpet, shoes, and a variety of other items you would rather keep in one piece.
Here are a few other items that you should keep on hand when you know a puppy is about to move into your house:
3. Stain/Odor Remover — Even with thorough potty training, accidents are inevitable; plus, they always seem to end up on the worst possible surfaces. Having a reliable, high-quality enzyme cleaner close at hand is a great idea because you can attack stains as soon as they happen. Enzyme cleaners are specifically designed to target stubborn pet stains and odors, leaving no trace behind so your pet isn’t tempted to have a repeat offense. When you choose a cleaner, avoid ones that contain ammonia, which has a scent similar to urine; this can make it very tricky for your pet to understand he is not supposed to use that spot as a bathroom.
What You Need To Keep Your Puppy Happy
Often, just like a bored toddler, a puppy can get into trouble simply because he has nothing better to do. Prepping your home and having the right supplies on hand is important, but so is providing your pup with the items he needs to stay engaged and happy.
Make sure your puppy has access to the following items:
4. Cozy Crate — The right-sized crate makes all the difference in how comfortable your dog is in his new surroundings, as well as the success rate of crate training. Find a crate that is large enough for your pup to lay down in and turn in a circle, and place a towel or warm blanket on the surface to create a cozy space for your pooch. If he kicks out the blanket and prefers the cold surface of the crate’s floor, that’s okay too, after all, it’s all about what makes him feel safe and secure.
5. Stimulating Dog Toys — One toy does not fit all when it comes to dogs. Plus, different toys have different purposes; some toys are for snuggling, some are for chewing, others are to encourage exercise, and others are for mental stimulation. Keep your dog engaged and don’t let him get bored, especially when you are away, by providing him with an eclectic assortment of toys that fulfill his needs, like the interactive Rolly Cannoli.
6. Puppy Sleep Zone — If you plan to let your pup sleep in bed with you, that’s your choice, but if he isn’t allowed in your bed, he needs his own safe space. His sleep zone might be inside of his crate with the door open, or it might be a special dog bed or even one of your old T-shirts that carries your scent. Wherever you set up your dog’s sleep area, incorporating items that hold your scent and the scent of other household members is a great way to help your dog get used to his new family, while also instilling a sense of comfort.
3 Steps To Ensure Your Home Is Safe for Your Puppy
In addition to the various supplies you'll use to puppy proof your home, it's also important that you perform a few necessary tasks to further increase your pup's safety. These activities range from quick actions you do by yourself to more thorough ones that will include your dog:
1. Test things out from your pup's point of view. Did you know that new parents are advised to get on their hands and knees and crawl around their homes when they are baby-proofing the house? It’s because when you’re standing up at an adult level, you miss a lot of things that are front-and-center for a crawling baby. Although you puppy proof differently from how you baby-proof, the same concept of perspective applies; humans see things very differently at their taller height than a small pup. Channel your inner canine and crawl around on all fours, seriously, and see what you can see. You might be surprised.
Bring a notebook around with you and jot down anything that needs to be addressed, such as hanging wires and curtain cords, small spaces where your puppy could potentially get stuck, and small items that your puppy could ingest leading to choking or obstruction issues. You might want to also do this “crawl test” on occasion after you bring your puppy home to keep things in tip-top shape.
2. Be as prepared as possible before Fido comes home. After your new pooch is already home is not the time to puppy proof. Be prepared and have everything in place before your new addition’s arrival.
3. Incorporate regular basic training into your puppy schedule. Allow time every day to work with your pup on basic obedience training. The sessions do not have to be lengthy, just a few minutes at a time will do, as long as you are consistent and follow through with the expected behavior and the process. If you’re struggling with dog training and need a helping hand, you can find a list of professional trainers at www.ccpdt.org. Closely monitor your pup and follow through with any behavior mishaps. Despite implementing all of these different tools and safety precautions, you can’t let them lull you into a false sense of security. You still need to keep an eye on your pup and offer guidance when he strays from the path.Instilling good habits in your puppy from the beginning, being firm and clear with limits and boundaries, and knowing how to properly puppy proof your home goes a long way in keeping your dog safe and sound. It’s also important to follow the proper precautions for certain activities, such as swim safety and being in public places with your dog, to further ensure his well-being. For more great resources on how to care for your pets, check out the rest of our blogs. Wishing you all the best with your new playful puppy!