Monday, June 2, 2014

Puppy Proof Your House

Prevent harm to both your baby dog and your possessions

Puppies are like water. They can get in everything. And like liquid, once a puppy is in something he shouldn’t be, that object might very well be ruined. Cute as they are, puppies can wreak havoc in your home and yard in a matter of minutes with their shredding, chewing and, uh, “elimination” issues.

In order to prevent puppies from doing enormous amounts of damage to both your house and themselves, you need to puppy-proof your home. And the best time to do that is before that little pooch comes to live in his new house.

It’s really no different than baby-proofing your house to prevent your child from injury. You don’t want your kid to stick a fork in an electrical outlet and you don’t want a puppy to gnaw on a box of chocolates or a particularly poisonous houseplant or a plugged-in lamp cord.

First, think like a puppy. Puppies are explorers and you need to be one, too. Crawl down on the floor and see what might entice your baby dog. Then protect those items of interest by putting them out of reach, hiding the object in a closet or drawer, or lashing it to something strong.

What might be of interest?

  • Garbage cans 
  • Children’s toys 
  • Books, newspapers, mail 
  • Houseplants
  • Pillows and rugs
  • Computer, lamp and other electrical cords
  • Furniture
  • Shoes
  • Household cleaners both in the house or garage
  • Paper products such as tissue and toilet paper
  • Other small animals, such as reptiles, gerbils, hamsters
  • Dishes with or without food in them
  • Discarded table scraps
  • Medications and cosmetics

And then there’s teething. Your puppy will chew on anything possible and will consider it his birthright to do so, especially when the teething process kicks in. Make sure your new dog has toys that can withstand puppy teeth to call its own. With an especially destructive puppy, you don’t want to offer a lot of toys because then he may not be able to tell the difference between what’s yours and what’s his. If you have children, he may filch one of their toys and that may cause problems, not only because the puppy may destroy one of your child’s favorite playthings but because it might have small parts that your animal can choke on. Skip the rawhide and choose something both chewy and durable, such as the highly recommended Kong rubber toys and Jolly Pet balls. Keep an eye for wear on the toys, especially squeaky ones whose squeakers might choke a puppy.

  • Barricade areas of the house your puppy shouldn’t wander into using baby gates. How many people have lost untold pairs of shoes to a puppy finding an open, untended closet? 

  • Housebreak your puppy. Review training methods before your puppy comes home, then pick a suitable one and follow it. 

  • Use a chewing prohibitive spray, like Bitter Apple, on your furniture. 

  • Crate your puppy when you’re not home or can’t supervise him. Crating is an effective and safe tool when used properly. Don’t ever use the crate as punishment. It should be associated with positive experiences, such as food or other treats. 

  • Train your dog. A badly behaved dog is most often directly the result of its owner. Seek positive, cruelty free training for your puppy so he can learn good behavior from the onset. Love your dog but educate him, too. You’ll both be happier. 

Source:, article by Diana Lundin

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