When preparing to puppy-proof your home, you first need to decide which rooms in your house will be “Puppy Friendly”. Many times, new puppy owners choose to limit their new puppy to certain sections of the house until he has completed obedience training. Once you have decided which rooms you will leave open to your dog, block off the entries to the rooms that are off-limits. Baby-gates are a popular barrier for new dog owners. If you are deeming several room as “puppy friendly”, we recommend those rooms be adjoining. This makes sense for two reasons. From a cost perspective, you will need to purchase less baby-gates to section off the puppy’s area. Logistically, it would not make sense for you to need to transport your dog to the different areas where he is allowed to play.
Once you have chosen your rooms, it’s time to get proofing! It may sound crazy, but a great way to puppy proof your home is to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around on the floor. This will allow you to see your home from the same perspective as your new dog. While crawling around, there are a few particular things you should be watching out for:
- “Dangerous” Nooks: While it is likely there are no nooks in your home that a full grown human would consider dangerous, the world will be quite different through the eyes of a puppy. A dangerous nook would be someplace your puppy could wander and accidentally get stuck or hurt. Places that could be considered dangerous nooks are gaps between furniture and the wall, places with small holes in the floor, and gaps between appliances. It is wise to block these areas to prevent your puppy from accidentally stumbling into trouble.
- Choking Hazards: When your new puppy arrives home and begins to explore, he will likely want to put nearly everything into his mouth. Puppies love to bite and nibble. Check under couches, recliners, shelves, tables, and appliances for anything that may be a choking hazard for your pup. Choking hazards could include buttons, thumbtacks, tiny toy figurines, or any other small, forgotten knick-knack that may have taken up residence under your couch over the past fifteen years.
- Exposed Wires: Exposed wires pose a threat to mouthy-young puppies for obvious reasons. If you have exposed wires in your house, aggregate them into places that are out of reach for your puppy (inside television stand, behind shelves, etc.). If wires are unable to be hidden, block off the area of the room containing the exposed wires. If this is not possible, make that room off-limits for your new puppy altogether.
- Chemicals: While chances are you don’t live in a laboratory, there are still everyday chemicals that can be found around your house. If consumed, these chemicals could seriously hurt your dog. Before you have brought your new dog home, be sure all cleaners, detergents, and medications are safely locked away.
Once you have finished your investigation and puppy prep, it makes sense to set up an exercise pen. Despite your best intentions, chances are you won’t be able to closely monitor your puppy 24/7. An exercise pen set up in your puppy-sanctioned area will give you dog the ability to feel like he is part of the pack while you go about your day to day household activities.