Puppy proofing your home is very important – preferably BEFORE bringing your puppy home. It’s a similar concept, but a bit different than babyproofing. For example, a puppy can’t poke things into power points, but they likely will chew the cables! Puppies are mobile from a very young age and are likely to be running around – partly unsupervised from an early age too. And they like to chew everything! It’s important that your home is safe for your puppy, but also, your home and belongings are (mostly) safe FROM your puppy!
Chisel’s new home already has another dog – and a rabbit. We know that the yard is secure and has no toxic plants. But there are other things to watch out for too.
- Chisel’s family has spent some of the Covid time at home to plant lots of new plants in the garden. They are mostly Australian natives, and none of them are toxic to dogs. And they have never used snail baits.
The bigger shrubs might be able to fend for themselves, but new plants could be quickly destroyed by puppy teeth! A look at Bunnings website shows all sorts of garden fencing options, some of them quite elaborate – and expensive! Chisel’s family has gone for a simple approach of wooden fence stakes and plastic garden mesh. They know that as Chisel grows, if he’s determined he could get through this fence. But they’re hoping to train him quickly – and if he does break through, at least it’s only the plants at risk not chisel himself. We’ll see how this goes.
- Chisel is too big to get through a pool fence or through the bars of the side-gate. But if you have a smaller puppy, then you’ll need to make sure he doesn’t have access to the pool.
And a visual barrier at the side gate is a good idea too. It can reduce barking at passers-by. And thieves like puppies too, so you don’t want everyone walking past to be able to see your new family member.
- A walk around the yard should also remove any other objects that you don’t want chewed, and anything that could potentially be swallowed such as fabrics, stones or large seeds such as Cocos palm seeds or large gum nuts.
- Every yard is going to be different, but make sure you take a walk-around and look for anything unsafe.
It’s midday now, and getting very hot outside, so with some quick garden fences complete, it’s time to move the puppy-proofing inside. You’ll need to decide which areas of the house your puppy is going to be allowed access to. Puppy proof everything in these areas, and make sure barriers are in place to block off the other areas.
- Child safety gates can be very good for this purpose. Chisel will have access to the family room, and the laundry, but will not be allowed into the carpeted areas of the house and shouldn’t be underfoot while cooking in the kitchen. Baby gates block off access to the kitchen and to the bottom of the stairs.
- The plan is to keep the bathroom and toilet doors shut – otherwise the toilet rolls will be fair game!
- Cables need to be concealed so that they are not chewed.
- Go around the room at make sure that anything (especially below waste height) that is dangerous is removed, as well as anything valuable that you don’t want to risk being chewed up.
- Sometimes a puppy needs to be confined even further when they can’t be supervised. Chisel’s family is going to bring home a second-hand baby pen and try this while Chisel is very small.
Once he’s a bit bigger he will sleep in the laundry, and another baby gate across that door means that on the occasions when it’s necessary, Chisel can be safely confined in this room and still be able to see and hear the rest of the family.
- Of course, his family expects Chisel to quickly become the perfect puppy and that all of these precautions will quickly prove to be unnecessary. Only time will tell!
Every house is different, and every puppy is different. For some dogs, much more robust puppy-proofing may be required!