Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Puppy-proofing your house is only important if you value any of your belongings . . . because  everything a puppy can reach is fair game! Puppies are like babies—they put everything in their mouths. However, unlike a toothless human baby, a puppy has a full set of razor-sharp teeth that can destroy pretty much anything.
  Think of a Puppy as a Toddler.
Just as parents child-proof a house to protect children as they begin to walk, you need to puppy-proof for the puppy’s sake. Evaluate every room your puppy will go into: put away anything breakable to keep the little critter from ingesting bits and pieces of things that can make her sick. The puppy’s well-being and safety are often overlooked as people worry about protecting their belongings. As much as you need to puppy-proof for your own benefit, your little pup is as vulnerable and foolish as a toddler when it comes to the dangerous things she will put in her mouth.
Puppy-proof Before You Bring the Puppy Home.
You don’t want to make the first days miserable by dashing from room to room, snatching objects out of the puppy’s mouth and reprimanding her for doing what comes naturally—which is to taste everything.
Although the checklist covers the major temptations to puppies, don’t think your house is safe just because you’ve removed the most desirable items. Even in an empty room, a puppy with the craving to chew is going to do so, especially if he’s teething. Some puppies are demolition experts: they will gnaw on baseboards (where your walls meet the floor); others have been known to eat right through Sheetrock on the walls. This is not good for the long-term stability of your house, but it is also dangerous for the dog, who will be swallowing substances never meant to enter an alimentary canal.
  Get a Chew-deterrent Spray.
There are nasty-tasting liquids that can be sprayed as a deterrent on almost anything that the puppy has already tasted—or might taste next. “Bitter Apple” and similar products are sold in pet stores.
You can also mix up your own version of bitter-tasting spray by filling a squirt bottle with rubbing alcohol and adding some drops of Angostura Bitters and Tabasco or other hot sauce. Remember to test the spray on a small patch of the surfaces you want to protect, since this concoction may stain. But don’t expect these sprays to be some sort of guarantee that an item is now safe from the pup—some dogs have much less sensitive taste buds and/or a much higher drive to chew and will do so no matter how foul the object tastes.
  Use a Crate for Both Your Sakes.
Crate-training takes on a new meaning when you have a chewing-aggressive puppy. It will no longer seem cruel or unfair to have the puppy confined in the crate. A variety of puppy-safe chew toys will satisfy his urges and keep your possessions intact.

A little puppy cannot “hold it” for more than a few hours, so she can’t stay in the crate for more than three hours at a time when she is very young. That means that if there isn’t going to be someone at home who can take her out every three hours or so, then you’ll either have to come home within that time frame or have a friend, neighbor or pet-sitter come in to take her out. In the early weeks her life is basically going to be potty-play-potty-sleep-potty-eat-potty-play-potty-sleep, etc. She needs a chance to relieve herself before and after everything she does, and her small bladder (a tiny bladder if she is a small-breed dog) has an extremely limited capacity. 
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

1 comment:

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