Bringing home a new puppy? As adorable as your new furry family member will inevitably be, they’re experts at causing mischief and wreaking havoc through the home. Chewed up shoes, “accidents” on the carpet, scratched-up furniture… and that’s all on day one!
If you’re a first-time dog mum or dad, or even if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a puppy, this puppy-proofing guide will expertly steer you through preparing your home for the bundle of joy.
Clear Up Inside and Outside
You might think your puppy will come perfectly behaved, knowing not to chew up your belongings. And you’d be wrong. Very wrong indeed.
Puppies can’t tell the difference between their chew toys and your expensive pair of sunnies. And unlike humans, dogs don’t have opposable thumbs to explore their surroundings. They use their mouth instead.
Do a proper clean up inside and dog-proof the yard to ensure there’s nothing left out / in reach that you don’t want ruined or that could be potentially harmful. This includes shoes, clothes, household cleaning products, rubbish (should be kept in a closed-lid bin), medicine, plants and batteries.
Set Up a Puppy Area
First thing on the puppy checklist is making sure there’s a suitable area to leave your puppy when you can’t watch them. It’s much more likely they’ll run off and chew something they shouldn’t while you’re having a shower or cooking dinner. A playpen with a bed, water bowl and some toys is all you need. Your puppy may also benefit from having a fake grass square in their pen to help work on their toilet training.
Dog-Proof the Furniture
The other reason puppies are particularly chew-happy is because they’re going through teething – and your favourite furniture pieces will most likely be the victims. Chair legs and tables, couches and carpets are the top targets for tiny teeth to tear into.
Protect your couches with a slipcover or blanket, and keep certain rooms closed off to limit any destruction. You can also purchase products (such as bitter apple spray) to squirt on your wooden chair and table legs to repel them from chewing.
A pet hair vacuum cleaner will expertly keep your furniture and floors fur-free.
Puppy Toilet Training
One of the most important things you’ll want your fur baby to master from the get-go is their toilet training. This requires a lot of patience and consistency by giving your puppy every opportunity to empty his/her bladder. The key points are:
- Have regular feeding times every day.
- Take your puppy outside every 30 minutes to an hour.
- Regularly take them out first thing in the morning, after meals and right before bed time.
- Give them lots of praise (and maybe even a treat!) every time they go to the toilet in the right spot. Do not punish them when they don’t get it right.
Smaller breeds of dogs will have smaller bladders and may need to be taken out more regularly to nail their toilet training.
When you have a puppy-proof home, it’s easier to set them up for success and have your home escape the puppy-phase fairly unscathed.
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