If you've decided to adopt a fuzzy new member for your family, be prepared for lots of giggling, tail wagging, yippy barks and the repetitive use of the word "no" as you train your puppy in proper house behavior. The best way to introduce your newest family member to the home with the fewest number of incidents is to puppy-proof your home before the dog's arrival. Here are some helpful tips from the staff at Homestead Gardens Farm & Pet to help you get started:
1. Bring everything up at least 2 to 3 feet off the floor, depending on how large your puppy is. To get the best idea of all the enticing "toys" your puppy will be tempted to play with, get down on your hands and knees and crawl the perimeter of each room. You might be surprised at how much stuff is right at eye level for puppies. Shoes, dangling chords from blinds, table cloths, clothes on hangers ... the list goes on. If you have items that cannot be placed out of puppy reach, we have several "no chew" sprays available that will give your puppy a bad taste in his mouth when he tries to lick or chew the item it's sprayed on. Other household alternatives include deodorant, soap, mouth wash or hot sauce.
2. Put up puppy gates for two reasons. The first is that, until your puppy is house trained, puppy gates will keep your furry new family member limited to one area of the house and minimize the the number of places where he can cause problems. Plus, smaller breeds might not be able to negotiate stairs at a young age, so the gates will help protect your dog until he grows.
3. Set up a kennel location. Kennels are a private, personal space for dogs. Keep your puppy in the kennel when you're not at home. To help keep your puppy occupied, give him chew toys with treats while he stays in the kennel. Some families will keep dogs in kennels overnight as well, and that is a decision your family will have to make to determine what's best for your household. When you are home, your dog will be free from the kennel, so have several chew toys available throughout the space your puppy will occupy. They will work as approved distractions and help you train him on what's appropriate for chewing.