When my Labrador Retriever puppy came home, all I expected was a little ball of fur and energy who would delight me day and night. However, as time passed I realized that he was much more than a delightful cute puppy. I understood this when I found my shoes damaged one day, my socks torn into half the next day and the cotton in my pillow spread all over my room the day after. Well, puppy proofing your home is extremely important. I found it the hard way. You shouldn’t! Remember that a puppy is a very unbiased living being. It does not differentiate between your formal pair of shoes and his favorite chew toy (pun intended!). Here a few ways to puppy proof your home.
A living room is often the place where you and your family members spend most of their time. As a result, it is prone to things such as TV/AC remote, a snacks packet, magazine or your mobile phone left behind on a sofa or a table of less height. Be aware that a puppy would be more than interested in making all these his toys and tearing them to shreds. Yes! A puppy can even bite your TV remote into small, unrecognizable pieces of plastic. So, to puppy proof your living room, keep all small objects tucked away on a high shelf or inside a closet. There should be no electrical outlet at a low height where a puppy may be able to reach. It is advised to get them shifted to a high enough location or seal them so that a puppy can’t lick them. Electrical wires of TV, AC, etc. should be tucked inside PVC electrical pipes to prevent the puppy from chewing them. In case there are decorative show-pieces, grandfather clocks or small glass-top tables which may fall if a puppy jumps onto them, it is best to place them in a corner and reinforce their stands.
A living room will also contain some immovable stuff such as sofas and carpet. A puppy may bite at the legs of the sofa or bite away at the carpet. So, be vigilant and ensure that the puppy doesn’t enter the living room without your supervision.
Your personal belongings such as shoes, clothes, pens and medicines are hot favorites for a puppy. They can put deep bite marks on that classic pen, puncture the eye-drop tube, eat your blood pressure medicine, make holes on that Rs. 5,000 trouser and tear away the leather of your Hush Puppies sandals. So, to puppy proof your bedroom, keep small objects such as pen and medicines inside a drawer. Don’t keep clothes lying around. Hang them in a cupboard. Keep shoes, sandals and slippers in a shoe-rack with a secure lid. Puppies also like you to pick up your slippers and run around the house. So, keep them tucked under a bed even when you intend to put them back on just after a few minutes.
A kitchen is home to food, food smells, drawers, electrical chords and cleaning material. Most puppies love to eat as much as they can. So, food is a natural attraction making kitchen a great place to spend their time. To puppy proof your kitchen, ensure that no food, utensils or cleaning material lies loosely on the floor. Any loose material should be kept on high shelves or inside drawers and cabinets. Keep refrigerator door closed at all times. Electrical chords such as those of a mixer grinder should be kept out of reach of your puppy. And if there is a door to your kitchen, keep it closed.
Things such as razors, soap, tooth-brush, shampoo, accessories and bathroom cleaners should be kept out of reach of your puppy. Make sure to clean up after you have used the bathroom. Toilet seat lids should be kept closed at all times as it’s smell may attract a puppy. In case you have a squat toilet (present in many Indian homes), it’s best to keep the bathroom door closed else your puppy may end up falling into the toilet. You can find a few tips on how to housetrain your puppy here.
Now that we know all about puppy proofing, here is a checklist for quick reference –
- Keep electrical sockets covered or move them to a height where your puppy cannot reach. Power chords should be tucked inside PVC electrical pipes, if required.
- Keep clothes inside a cupboard.
- Shoes, sandals and slippers should be kept inside a shoe rack or tucked deep beneath a bed.
- Personal belongings such as watch, pen, handkerchief, etc. should be kept on a high shelf or inside drawers. Same is the case with medicines.
- Decorative show-pieces, bookshelves, lamps at the risk of being knocked down by a puppy should be secured in a room-corner.
- Trash cans should be kept inside a closet. Cleaning materials are toxic to your puppy should be kept on a high shelf.
- For things which cannot be moved such as carpet and sofa, don’t leave your puppy around them without your supervision.
Once you have puppy proofed your house, it’s time to correct their inappropriate chewing habits. Learn how to do it here.