A puppy can put a smile on just about anyone’s face but it’s worth doing a bit of preparation before you welcome one into your family.
Prepping your home for the arrival of a puppy will help them to feel welcomed into your family and hopefully help you preserve some of your décor too.Though when it comes to dog toys strewn across the floor and hairs embedded into the carpet, you can expect to fight an uphill battle once there’s a furry friend in your midst!
Setting up puppy corner
I have to admit to being one of the 49% of Chihuahua owners who describe their dog as their baby. And I also fall into the 44% who allow their dog to share a sleeping space, despite the advice from dog experts that doing so can cause confusion about the pecking order in the home.
Whichever way you decide to play it with your puppy, it’s good to establish boundaries with dogs very early on. Set up their own puppy corner complete with dog bed or cushion, water bowl and food bowl and they’ll know which area to call their own from the start.
Some dog owners choose to set up a crate for their pooch with their bed or blankets inside. This can help to get the dog used to being enclosed and in addition to preparing them for future trips in the car, having a coverable crate can actually help them to sleep at night.
While you shouldn’t leave your puppy locked up in a crate alone all day, it can be useful to leave them in the crate if you’re popping out for a short time. Especially if you want to be sure you won’t have chewed door frames or scratched wallpaper when you return!
During puppy training, accidents are almost inevitable. You may want to designate a target area for the puppy to use as their toilet until they are able to hold things in and if you choose to do so, puppy training pads can be useful. However, it’s advisable to get your dog used to going outside as soon as possible.
Just like potty training a toddler, this requires lots of patience and positive reinforcement, but your carpets will definitely be thankful if you put the time and effort in early on.
One of the hardest parts of puppy potty training is getting them to tell you when they want to be let out and let back in, this process is made a little easier if you can see outside and in. If you already have or are planning to fit glass doors, it can be worthwhile purchasing some protective vinyl for the bottom of the glass to protect them from marks made from dirty paws and wet noses!
When dogs have an established area of their own for resting in, you’ll be surprised how happy they are to head there to lay down after a busy play session or a walk. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to jump up on the sofa and if, like me, you’re happy for them to do so then that’s completely your call. If denied the privilege from an early age, most dogs are happy enough to lounge on the floor.
Deciding if upstairs is off limits
With their boundless enthusiasm, it won’t be long before your furry friend tries to follow you up the stairs. If your stairs aren’t closed off by a door, it is perfectly possible to train your dog to stay downstairs by teaching them to sit and wait for you there. But for extra peace of mind, you could choose to fit baby gates to your stairs.
Whatever you opt for, be mindful that puppies find it a lot easier to get upstairs than down and will need supervision until they’re steady enough on their paws not to take a tumble! You may even find that you have to guide your puppy through the process of putting one paw in front of the other as they head downstairs.
Getting your garden ready
Puppies love to play, so make it your priority to get your garden or other outdoor space ready for them to roam in. Make sure any fencing or hedges are secure, so they don’t squeeze through any gaps.
You’ll also need to consider whether your plants are puppy safe (they do like to eat things at low levels) and of course, whether your plants are safe from your pet too!
Raised beds can go some way towards stopping your plants being ravaged but your best protection is keeping an eye on your pooch.
Another option you might consider is sectioning off an area where your dog is allowed to dig, couple that with lots of walks and active play with toys and they will hopefully be distracted from attacking your favourite flowers!