Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for everyone. Hopefully you are reading this before you have picked up your new bundle of fluff so that you are well prepared for their arrival and know how to puppy proof your home.
To help, make sure you have a read of the article on Preparing for a Puppy article as well to ensure you have everything you need before you collect them and for the big day itself! Also, check out our tips on bringing your puppy home in the car for the first time here.
Making sure your home is safe and secure for your puppy is also a must to help avoid any accidents and to help make sure your puppy settles in well.
Or if you happen to be caring for someone else’s puppy whilst they are away, even if you have dogs of your own it’s worth reminding yourself of some of those little things that puppies like to do.
Lets start outside
Firstly, look for escape routes. If your puppy can fit its head through a gap or hole then it can most certainly get the rest of its body through. Err on the side of caution – you would be surprised what a persistent dog can achieve no matter how small the gap may look!
Are gates and fences secure? Can the puppy get under the house or stuck behind the shed? Can your pup get access to a pool? If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘yes’ then you need to invest in some D.I.Y to puppy proof your home.
If you live in an apartment and have a balcony, make sure any gaps (no matter how small) are closed off and that there is nothing the puppy can climb up on…and over!
Fence height may also be an issue for certain breeds. As a Kelpie owner, I know first hand how high some dogs can reach and how even the highest of walls can be scaled, so make a visit to your local hardware store to invest in some lattice to affix at an inward slant to prevent them climbing over as they grow.
Secondly, think safety for our new arrival. Quite often around our homes there is exposed wiring (ducted heating units for example) whilst gas pipes from BBQ’s can be entertaining and great to chew! Make sure anything exposed is made safe. We do not our “investigating” puppy chewing through wires.
Store any chemicals or garden products safely away and if do you have plants in your garden you should research any potential toxic varieties.
Inside your home
Again, electrical cables and cords need to be addressed and watched once puppy arrives home. Always pick up any items your pup could choke on. Puppies love to chew and they will eat anything they can wrap their lips around once they get into chew mode…power cords, shoes, toys, bottle tops, balls, bits of lego, small plants and anything on low tables they can reach.
Check that the puppy can’t pull any heavy items down on top of themselves when you are considering how to puppy proof your home.
As with outside, make sure chemicals such as cleaning products are stored safely out of reach. Remember to do the same with any medication in your home and familiarise yourself as to what foods are toxic to dogs.
If you do plan to “barrier” off an area (stairways or carpet areas) now is a good time to get it organised. Consistency is key. If dogs aren’t allowed in the bedrooms, keep the doors closed at all times or for extra peace of mind, you can also put in doggy gates or doors (especially for smaller dogs) between rooms. Crate training is great for puppies and can help with toilet training, so learn about the benefits and how to crate train your dog here.
Make sure all of these potential problems are put right well in advance of bringing your puppy home so that you can both embrace and enjoy the experience of starting a new family.
Once you have brought your puppy home then it is also all about ensuring you set clear boundaries and do not reinforce behaviour you may not want once it becomes an adult dog such as jumping, anxiety, barking and more. Remember dogs don’t grow out of behaviour problems, they grow into them!
Billy Cheron is a dog trainer based in Melbourne’s Bayside area.