Congratulations, you've decided to take the leap and get a new puppy...now what? Your house is going to be the primary place your new friend is going to spend the majority of their life. It is essential that you puppy proof your home to provide a safe and comfortable space while they explore their new environment. It will take them awhile to learn where they can go, what they can play with and what behaviors are acceptable.
Puppy proofing your home will take a bit of work and time but is well worth it to keep them out of potentially hazardous or dangerous situations. So, let's get started!
Here's a checklist for you to puppy proof your home.
· Furniture - Certain types of furniture could potentially become hazardous to your pup. A rocking chair can roll on a foot or tail and cause a break or other type of injury to a puppy. Check your surroundings to make sure your pup isn't in close proximity to the chair. Also, be sure to slowly lower any foot rests while getting out of a reclining chair or couch. Coffee and/or end tables, low cabinets and/or shelves, and/or other furniture or items on the floor can attract a curious puppy. If you don't want to tempt a puppy chewing on something, knock an item over with their tail or is dangerous for them, you will want to relocate the item to a higher place or completely remove it. This can include plants, books, media centers, video game consoles, hand held controls, remote controls, cell phones, glass objects, sculptures, food stored on the bottom shelf in the pantry, etc.
· Slippery Floors - Flooring like linoleum, tile and hardwood can be slippery and cause a puppy to fall. Puppies initially are a little unsure in their step and trying to develop coordination when learning to walk, run and maneuver through the house. Placing rugs throughout the house that have these surfaces insures better footing. The rugs with the rubber back are the best. Running outside, especially for medium to large dogs, is encouraged and usually better for the pup.
· Doors and Windows - If a room isn't in use, or the door doesn't need to be open, close it. It will save the frustration of a puppy wandering into any room and doing something undesirable or isn't safe and you can also keep a better watch on them. Windows should be closed and the screens should be secured. Sliding glass doors should always be securely closed. Double check all windows and doors so that a puppy is unable to escape or fall out. Always be careful when exiting a room and a puppy has followed you to make sure they exit the room with you before closing the door. I would like to point out here, that certain types of dogs we breed (and others), because of their size and intelligence, can easily learn to open a lever door handle. This would include the golden retrievers, labrador retrievers, goldadors and goldendoodles. If this becomes the case, you can easily change the handles or keep the doors locked. Rooms with exercise equipment should be always be secured and doors closed so puppies can't get inside. Heavy weights and mechanical equipment can be dangerous.
· Drapery, Blinds and Window Cords - All Drapery and blinds should be raised so your puppy doesn't chew them. Long window cords that are within a puppy's reach should also be raised, removed or cut so that puppies can't get tangled or worse yet, injured or strangled.
· Trash Cans - Puppies are attracted to the smells in the garbage. Trash cans have a myriad of unsuspecting hazards or problems that potentially can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach obstructions or can be toxic or poisonous. Of course, we should mention the horrid mess a pup can make if they get into the trash and scatters rubbish all around the house. You could end up cleaning for hours or have the expense of hiring a company for deep cleaning. Make sure trash cans, out in the open, all have lids that are tightly secured or heavy enough a pup can't knock them over. Also, be cognitive of plastic liners sticking out of the trash can. Pups love to jump and tear the liners that could put the pup at risk of choking amongst other health conditions.
· Stairs - Block stairwells with baby gates. Not only does this prevent the puppy from slipping or falling down the stairs, it limits their accessibility to upstairs and downstairs where they can get themselves into trouble and out of your eyesight. The training we utilize is to make the pup sit at the gate. Then, invite them into another room with a specific command. Eventually when the gate is removed it will be easy to continue the learned skill without any barriers.
· Open fire and other heat devices - Fireplaces, wood stoves, barbeques or portable heaters can get very hot and cause degree of burns. Always make sure these items are blocked off. Be aware of surfaces and grates that additionally can become hot. Never leave a puppy unattended in an area with hot surfaces or portable heaters.
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