These are the exciting times! When a new puppy joins the family, it's sure to be fun. Since puppies, much like babies, are susceptible to dangers if left to their own devices, it's important to plan ahead. Their busy little brains are fully developed at 7 weeks
of age and they are always learning. There are many adjustments you'll need to make in your routine and to your home to keep them safe while they learn the rules of the house. Here are a few tips to help you with puppy proofing your life!
This is step number one in keeping your puppy safe. Get an appropriately sized crate so that you can keep your puppy safe and secure when you can't supervise. Think of a crate like a playpen or a crib for a baby. It's a crucial component in keeping the puppy out of harms way while he grows and learns the rules of the house.
Puppy Chew Toys
You'll want to provide your puppy with a variety of safe chew toys. Be sure they are durable enough that the puppy can't destroy and possible swallow pieces of them. Note that there is a huge difference between chew toys and interactive toys. Check out our previous post on Chewing Safety Reminders for some good examples of what's safe as a chew toy and what's not.
You'll want to be ready with your leash, collar or harness and any other supplies right away. For example, if it's winter, you may want a coat for the puppy if it's not a coated dog. If the puppy will be accompanying you on canoe trips or boating, you will want to have a life jacket for them. Even if they are a breed adept at swimming, you'll need a handle to haul them back into the boat if they jump or fall overboard. Think about what you'll need and have it at the ready.
Baby Gates or Exercise Pens
You'll want to keep the puppy contained within the area you are in. That way, you won't have to chase them through the house if they grab something and run with it. Also, you don't want to risk them sneaking away while you are preoccupied. They may end up chewing something they shouldn't or having an accident in the home. If you live in a home with doorways, you can section off the room with a baby gate. If not, an Exercise Pen can help to create a large enclosure for the puppy. These are also great for outdoor use if you have a large or unfenced yard. Puppy proofing is important in all areas the young dog will spend time.
Setting the Puppy Up for Success is the #1 step in Puppy Proofing
Creating a situation where you set the puppy up for success is always a good way to get a puppy started. The last thing we want to do is let the puppy have too much freedom too quickly and watch them make mistakes. Our goal should be to set the puppy up for success. That way, they will learn what we want them to do. Don't let them learn on their own as they'll potentially learn the wrong things.
A little bit of advanced planning will go a long way to helping you and your new puppy develop into a team that works! Have fun and happy training!
Check out this "Dog Walk & Training Talk" video for more details on puppy proofing your life!