You couldn’t help it, it was love at first sight, that gorgeous ball of fluff with it’s waggy tail. Having a new puppy in the home is such an exciting time. However, once you get past those loving eyes you realise what a whirlwind you’ve brought into your home, your new puppy is going to want to investigate, it will be into everything, absolutely anything it can reach (imagine when a baby starts crawling and/or walking, except your puppy can move quicker and can usually reach higher). And this is why you need to puppy proof your home.
Your new puppy isn’t being naughty, they just need to learn what they should and shouldn’t do, or can and can’t have. To help with the first few weeks and months the best thing you can do to keep your puppy safe (and retain your sanity), is puppy proof your home.
By preventing access to certain things your puppy might want to get to, it will stop your new puppy rehearsing unwanted behaviour until they have learnt what you expect of them; we call this management.
If you’re new to having a pup in the house, or it has been a while, please read our 5 top tips for how to puppy proof your home to make the first few months easier.
1 – Slippers, socks and shoes are extra smelly which means extra fun for puppies
These always seem to be a favourite for puppies and actually dogs of all ages.
Pop them away, yes all of them, all of the time. Easier said than done when you have children, but remember puppies love to chew, they are teething after all, so this is only natural. If you don’t want your best pair of slippers, or your favourite shoes being chewed up, then put them away and keep them out of reach.
Try not to be tempted to give them an old pair to play with to keep them happy as this will only encourage them and teach them that they’re ok to play with. Dogs do not understand the difference between an old pair of slippers to a new pair.
Also remember that some puppies will consume what they’ve chewed, so this doesn’t just save your slippers, it might also save a trip to the vets.
2 – Stair gates are your friend
Have a think about where your puppy will be when you’re not with them. This could even be for a short time, while you pop to the loo or have a shower for instance.
Just to point out, I’m referring to the first few weeks and months, not for their lifetime. You’ll need to remember that your puppy is unlikely to be toilet trained when you bring them home. Toilet training doesn’t take very long but it can be a frustrating time. Accidents are inevitable while your pup is still learning to go outside, limiting room access when you’re not around will stop accidents happening where they’re harder to clean up, such as on the carpet in the living room.
You may choose to keep your pup in the kitchen while you can’t watch them, after all the floor is much easier to clean. Stair gates are your friend when you puppy proof your home. A lot of pups won’t want a door shut on them as they’re still young and settling in; a stair gate creates a physical barrier that still allows your pup to see through. So think about putting up a stair gate across the room your puppy will be in, such as the kitchen, to limit access to carpet or other areas of the house while you’re unable to watch them.
Also think about if you want your puppy going upstairs or staying downstairs? Instead of chasing your pup downstairs whenever they start exploring, placing a stair gate at the bottom will easily stop your puppy going upstairs. If you have a larger breed dog or one that likes to jump, look at taller stair gates to prevent them jumping over.
3 – Chewing
The dreaded chewing; for most pups it will happen as they’re teething, so as well as getting them things they can chew, such as chew roots and teething toys, while they’re learning what they should and shouldn’t chew the following should help you puppy proof your home from chewing. We’ve already covered, slippers, socks and shoes above, here are some other things to address to keep your puppy safe and out of mischief:
🐾 Restrict access to cables, especially dangly or loose cables
🐾 Avoid wearing flappy bottomed clothes, dressing gown cords and scarves, to a pup these look like something to grab hold of and chew
🐾 Tie up long hair
🐾 Keep tissues and paper out of reach
🐾 If your pup has a penchant for a particular item that can’t be removed, such as a table, consider blocking off access to the item with something like a puppy pen
4 – Counter surfing
You’ve just taken a joint of beef out of the oven and left it on the side to rest. Mmmmmm that wafting aroma is irresistible to your new pup, and they’re going to do everything in their power to get to it.
Dogs are scavengers by nature, if you’ve left food on the worktop or table, then understandably they’re going to take it.
My old labrador was a pickle for taking anything off the counter as soon as my back was turned if he had access to the kitchen, he just couldn’t help himself, the reward was too great.
Management is key, don’t leave any food on the kitchen counter or table, even crumbs. If you’re struggling with your pup jumping up to get food while you’re preparing it, keep them occupied with a tasty chew, or out of the kitchen altogether. They’re clever creatures, they know that’s where you prepare food, once your dog gets something from the counter once, they will keep looking for it again and again in the same place. Within time you can teach your pup not to take food, but this will take time, it’s much harder to undo a behaviour than it is to create one in the first place which is why preventing it from happening in the first place is so important.
5 – Bins are a source of tasty fun
Think about a bin from your dog’s point of view, packaging to be licked and torn apart, and scraps of food to be eaten equals endless amounts of entertainment. It doesn’t matter that it’s rubbish to you, to your pup you’ve put all this fun stuff in a bin to be played with and eaten, bins are so easy to access or tip over and your pup can have a field day given the chance.
Fortunately, this is an easy area to address, it is well worth investing in a lockable bin, and of course keeping it locked. If this isn’t an option for you, think about putting your bin up out of reach.
Now you’ve read our tips above and you know how to puppy proof your home to make those first few weeks and months with your pup easier. I hope that this information has been useful for you. Remember, none of this is forever, it’s just while your pup is learning, and with the right training, they learn very quickly.
If you would like more help with common puppy problems, you can download our free ebook here.
If you live near Sittingbourne, Kent, and would like to bring your puppy to our training classes to give them the right start in life, you can sign up directly from our website.
Or if you would like information on how Canine Connection Company can help you with tailored packages for training your dog, training classes, provding dog walking services or if you would like to hire our private fields, feel free to book a call with us today.