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How to Prepare Your House for a Puppy: A Puppy-Proofing Guide

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

We can all agree that doodle pups are absolutely adorable but when they are not busy snuggling with you, they can make quick work of your house with their razor sharp teeth and tiny bladders!

First, let’s talk safety. Ensuring your home is safe for your new puppy is the top priority. Some of the biggest hazards are things a puppy may ingest. This includes almost everything. Some puppies are chewers but seem to know not to swallow foreign objects, but others have no discretion and will readily eat socks, rocks, or whatever else they can get their jaws on.

Preparing Your Home for a Puppy Includes Cleaning & Organizing

Keeping your house clean is of critical importance to avoid a sick puppy, a costly vet bill, or worse. Any small items like coins, kids toys, etc. should be safely out of reach. Fabric items are another dangerous temptation for a pup—clothes, socks, etc. should be stored away. It is also important to keep an eye on a young pup outdoors to ensure they don’t attempt to actually eat sticks or rocks.

Another common potential hazard are electrical cords. Make sure your pup does not have access to a cord that is plugged in—chewing through the outer cord into the wires below can lead to electric shock.

This may sound overwhelming, but remember it's just a phase. As your pup gets older, he will outgrow the obsessive need to chew on everything he sees. Your pup will gradually learn what toys, treats, etc. are appropriate to chew on.

Another tricky household item for puppies is plants. There are many plants that are actually highly toxic to dogs including azaleas, ivy, tulips, sago palm, and hydrangeas. Even if you’re confident that your particular plants are non-toxic to your puppy, it’s best that these are kept well out of reach if you want to avoid chewed up leaves and a pot full of soil on the floor.

Medicine is a more obvious item to make sure your pup avoids. While most people would keep their medicine bottles safely stored away, pups often find such off-limits items in handbags left within reach. It’s easy to come home after a long day and haphazardly toss your handbag on a chair. However, if you have a puppy at home, he may see your careless act as an opportunity! Not only may you find some slobbery receipts, but many items that are regularly kept in handbags can be dangerous for dogs. As an example, Tylenol is highly toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

Setup a Puppy Potty Training Area in a Small Part of the House

Another thing to keep in mind is your potty training plan. Puppies typically do well with a small area of the house to start. They tend to be more attracted to rugs or carpet when it comes to potty accidents. If you have mostly hardwood floors, with an area rug or two, it may be helpful to move the rugs for the time being. You also want to make sure that you and the pup have easy access to the door to the backyard (or whichever door you plan to take your pup out for potty breaks).

Quick action is often key when it comes to potty training. You will want to be able to quickly respond to your pup’s request to go outside so keeping this area clear of obstacles and distractions can help your pup focus on the task at hand!

As you can probably tell from the long list of things to do in order to properly puppy-proof your house, puppies can be a bit of a handful during their first few months of life. Even if you think you have perfectly puppy-proofed your house, we recommend keeping a close eye on your pup whenever he is up and playing. When you are not able to keep an eye on him, it is best that he is in a confined area such as a crate or puppy exercise pen.

Otherwise, he may find a furniture leg tastes delicious or some other mischief that you had not previously thought to consider. Furthermore, puppies do not understand correction after the fact. If there is an item you do not want him chewing, you must catch him in the act for him to make the connection. The same goes for potty accidents.

So making sure you are watching your pup will ensure you don’t miss any important training opportunities. Fortunately, puppies play hard, but they also nap hard. So giving your puppy regular nap times in his crate is not only beneficial for your sanity, but also important for him to have some needed rest and sleep.

Also if you are anything like us, keeping your house perfectly clean might seem unattainable, particularly if you have kids. This is why we recommend starting your pup out in a smaller area of the house. Initially limiting your pup to just one or two rooms of the house is beneficial both to keep them from chewing unwanted items as well as with potty training. It will be easier to fully puppy proof a smaller area of the house.

Your pup, who has spent much of his past 8 weeks in a confined area with his siblings, won’t mind the smaller space. In fact it can make his first few days at home more predictable and less overwhelming.

It is also easier for a pup to be successful with potty training in a smaller space. The larger the space, the easier it is for the pup to find a secret corner to potty in. Also, the closer the door is, the easier it will be for him to alert you before it’s too late. Young pups are really just learning bladder control at 8 weeks of age, so often have only a very short time between realizing their bladder is full (if they notice at all!) and needing to go. If the door to their potty area is several rooms away or down a set of stairs, then you will almost certainly have an accident to clean up.

If Your Puppy Still Gets Into Trouble At Home, Try Using a Leash Around Your Arm or Waist

If you are unable to keep your eye on your pup because you are busy with another task in the home such as cooking, we recommend keeping your pup on a leash attached to your arm or waist. This not only aids in the puppy bonding with you—he is learning that being close to you is a safe and fun place to be, but it also enables you to make sure he is staying safe and not getting into trouble while still allowing him some freedom to move around and chew his toys.

In conclusion, it is important to prepare your house to ensure it's safe for your puppy. In addition to puppy-proofing steps, it is important to keep a close eye on your pup as he is learning what behaviors are appropriate in the house.

It can be a lot to manage at first, but if you plan ahead with puppy-proofing and are consistent with your training, then before you know it, your doodle will grow into a very well-mannered, trust-worthy member of the household.

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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