We all love our dogs, but sometimes they can *ahem* push our buttons a bit, so to speak. Three of Rhody’s favorite tricks when he was a young pup were trash diving, eating dirty socks, and toilet papering the hallway.
We didn’t really worry about it much at first because, well, he was a puppy and puppies can be adorable little jerks some of the time. But when he was still happily munching away on used Q-tips in the bathroom trash when he was 2, we knew that we were behind the ball on our house proofing efforts.
We took a look around the house and started to figure out where we could make changes, hide trash baskets, and create new laundry systems. And lo and behold, as soon as we managed to arrange our environment to head off any bad dog habits, things really started to turn around and I was picking up fewer chewed up socks on our walks.
Here are 10 of our top tips for keeping your pup out of trouble at home.
1) Keep your home tidy!
Dogs are nosy. They love to smell and chew things, often things they’re not supposed to so don’t leave stuff on the floor that can temp them! In many ways it’s the same as if you were keeping the house safe for a child. Avoid leaving anything laying around that your dog could easily swallow or choke on.
2) Safety Checks
Always take time to do safety checks! Are there power chords or wires that could be chewed or tripped on? Any floorboards that need fixing?
Once when I was dogsitting a friend’s puppy, he and Rhody found a slightly elevated floorboard and proceeded to gnaw a ditch into the floor while I was at work.
Most of these things are common sense but they’ll save your dog getting injured or worse by something that could have easily been prevented. Covers for electrical outlets and power strip covers can also come in handy and give you peace of mind.
3) Secure your cupboards and doors!
Kitchens are often a dogs favorite place to loiter due to the chance of finding food. So make sure you have your trash cans in cupboards or with heavy, well-fitting lids that Fido can’t open.
And don’t think that child proof latches are just for kids! Your dog is a perpetual toddler so locks on the cupboards will stop your inquisitive little friend from poking his nose where it doesn’t belong!
Of course, everyone knows that dogs will steal food if given the chance. But many will also eat almost anything so when it comes to your bathroom. So make sure you keep any cosmetics, shampoos or any other potentially hazardous materials or liquids well out of his reach.
4) Don’t forget your bedroom…
Although on the face of it, a bedroom seems like a pretty safe place for your pup, don’t get complacent! Keep small things like hair clips, jewelry and cosmetics in a drawer or well out of reach of your exploring pup. And make sure laundry is out of reach. It may be cute for Fido to chew on an old sock the first time, but it has the potential to do some serious internal damage. And if you have a “no dogs on the furniture” rule, you’d be smart to keep them out of the very tempting bedroom where they just might get attached to that comfy king sized sleeper!
5) Use a stair or baby gate
If you want to easily protect your dog against potential harm then sometimes the use of a baby gate can be super effective. You can restrict access to certain rooms or even prevent your dog going upstairs while you are out. You can also use these while you’re at home too if you want to keep your pooch out of the way whilst you cook dinner. Dogs have a habit of sometimes getting under your feet and this is not good if you are carrying hot pans or kitchen utensils.
6) Shut your garden gate
Always check gates are shut properly, making sure there are no gaps for your dog to squeeze under. Open gates are a common way for dogs to escape and unfortunately these circumstances don’t always end well so it’s always worth checking your gate is well maintained and secure. Adding a slide lock or padlock could be beneficial so that there is no chance of it blowing open or being opened from the outside.
7) Secure all fences
Your fence needs to be high enough that your dog cannot jump over it and dug deep enough that he can’t burrow under it. Fix any gaps and don’t leave anything close to them (such as patio furniture BBQ’s) that your dog could climb on and use to escape!
8) Look out for garden & garage hazards
Gardens & garages can be great fun for dogs but are full of potential hazards so always use common sense and due diligence to keep your furry buddy safe. Open paint tins, slug pellets, fertilizers, tools – none of these are safe for dogs so think twice about how you’ll protect your dog when using anything potentially harmful. Cover garden ponds especially if you have a puppy and keep your dog safely out of the way when gardening, painting or mowing the lawn.
9) Check for toxic plants
Some plants are toxic to dogs so when your green thumb starts a-calling, bear this in mind. Rhododendron, cyclamen, bluebells and even some types of daffodil bulbs can make your dog unwell if consumed so avoid having these in your garden. Even some fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions and rhubarb can be toxic to dogs so always do your research and avoid leaving any food scraps around where your dog could grab an unauthorized snack!
10) Mental Stimulation
Sometimes dogs become mischievous when bored. Lots of interaction and play will keep them stimulated and not to mention offer great opportunities to bond with your little buddy!
If your dog is an enthusiastic digger and likes to destroy your garden, give him a play area of his own where he can dig to his hearts content and hopefully keep him out of mischief! Hide toys and treats in this special area to keep him busy and focused on his task which will not only save your garden but will stop him looking for things to do that could potentially cause harm.
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