How To: Puppy Proof Your Home
This weekend Dan and I got a puppy! I was over-the-moon excited. We picked him out from the shelter and wound up being able to adopt him 2 weeks before originally anticipated. Suddenly, I found myself in a position of trying to rapidly puppy proof a house that’s partially under construction. It was no easy task…But totally worth it, might I add. Just look at that face.
First of all, you need to pick up all the little things on the floor that you don’t want your puppy to eat. For me, that meant scraps of sand paper, paint brushes and rollers, paint cans, etc, etc, etc. Once you’ve got the floors cleaned, think about anything else that might be at puppy level. That includes cleaning supplies, food, cords, and anything you don’t want your puppy to get his little teeth on, like shoes. Move things up out of puppy’s reach or behind closed doors.
Up next, move any rugs, pillows, furniture that you don’t want to get chewed and/or peed on. We were in the lucky position of having very little furniture in our home to worry about at the moment. But the last thing you want is for your new dog to relieve himself all over your favorite/most expensive rug. The only place Oliver has peed in the house so far is on the carpet. It must have something to do with the absorbant textrue and the dog’s sixth sense about what you least want destroyed. Don’t take any chances! Roll up your favorite rug until your puppy is house trained! Oliver also likes to try his hand at chewing almost everything in sight – especially things made of wood (tables, couch legs, baseboards). Which leads me to my next point…
In fact, the best place to keep your puppy is in a puppy playpen. Dan and I bought one for Oliver and while I feel extremely guilty when I put him in it, I realize it is making my life a lot easier and his, too, in the log run. Putting puppies in confined spaces where they can’t get in trouble makes a lot of sense. Just be sure to leave them with everything they need to be comfortable – a place to sleep, food and water, and plenty of toys to keep them busy. Now you don’t have to incessantly watch your dog and it is good training for when Fido eventually is left alone. It teaches him to play by himself, will ease any separation anxiety, and helps to house train him – your puppy doesn’t want to go to the bathroom in his own little space. And some day, once he has learned appropriate house manners, he’ll be able to have free range of the house all day long!
Finally, don’t forget the outside! Your puppy will love to spend time with you outside and if you have an outdoor area you plan to take her to, make sure it’s safe for her. First of all, make sure you patch any holes in your fence/areas for easy escape – not that your dog will be necessarily be running away from you, but you never know what might catch its attention and cause it to wander off. Also, make sure you don’t have any plants that are poisonous to puppies – rhododendrons are a common one – around. Your curious little puppy is going to want to eat anything and everything in sight.
Disclaimer: this is just a quick list of some of the things I did and is by no means complete or comprehensive. If you’re really thinking about getting a new puppy or dog, consult local veterinarians, pet stores, and books to make sure you are fully prepared.