It’s safe to say, my dog has me well trained. My “best friend” since she was six weeks old, my precious pup is now a fourteen year old peke-a-poo, missing teeth, missing vision, and missing manners. She growls at me whenever she wants MY dinner, she awakes me at three a.m. so I can give her a drink from my glass and free her from having to walk the ten steps to her water bowl, and she bites me whenever I accidentally touch her as she sleeps in our bed (90 percent of the bed, she has decided, belongs to her ten pound frame). Yes, it’s fair to say, when it comes to my dog, I am nothing if not obedient.
I’d like to say it hasn’t always been like this; I’d like to claim that I once had the upper hand and behaved like, well, the superior species. But, the truth is, I never did. Even before I brought her home, I found myself running around and getting things ready for her arrival. I bought her everything she needed, stopping just short of getting her a diamond studded collar from Tiffany’s, and I puppy proofed my house; I puppy proofed my house like a maniac: there was no way my dog was going to get hurt in my, oh I’m sorry, her, home.
This brings me to the topic of puppy proofing. As essential as it is, it’s not that hard to overlook; new dog owners might find themselves forgetting to make a safe environment as they become so wrapped up simply in loving their puppy. Still, puppy proofing your house helps you assure that you will have a puppy to love. So, before you bring home your new bundle of joy, try to engage in the following:
Secure your cords: Like moths to flames, puppies have been known to flock towards electrical cords, placing them in their mouths, and chewing away. Not only does this ruin your cord, but it can give your puppy quite a shock. To avoid this, keep cords out of the area where your puppy will be. If it’s impossible to keep cords out completely – if your puppy is in the TV room, it might be hard to not have a cord for your plasma television – place them out of your puppy’s reach: hang them from something high, tape them to the wall, or purchase a wire cover.
Guard your Balcony: All puppies have some Christopher Columbus in them: they like to explore. While this is often harmless, when a puppy starts to explore high areas, such as a deck or upstairs balcony, they run the risk of falling. Since you probably won’t be able to keep an eye on your puppy twenty four hours a day, buying a balcony guard is your best bet. A balcony guard allows your puppy to explore higher areas all while assuring that he or she won’t suddenly be thrown off course.
Latch Your Cabinets: If there’s one thing puppies know how to do, it’s get into things they shouldn’t. Cabinets, particularly ones that house kitchen or bathroom trash, are prime goals for puppy pursuing. If successful in their venture, puppies can find things in cabinets that could harm them: household cleaners, chicken bones, mouse traps, bleach. Simply putting latches on your cabinets can assure your puppy won’t be able to open the door on this danger.
Hang Your Plants: I remember my dog, as a puppy, had an affinity for getting into plants. Sometimes she would dig them up, sometimes she would pee on them, and sometimes – mistaking them for a salad bar – she would eat them. This, turns out, wasn't a good idea: some plants are edible, but others can be poisonous. Your veterinarian can provide you with a list of plants that are harmful to pets, including Aloe Vera, tomato plants, rhododendron, English Ivy, and mistletoe. Instead of leaving these, or any plants, on ground level, hang them from the ceiling. Chances are your puppy won’t figure out how to use a ladder.
Puppy proofing your home can take time and money. But, it’s worth it all in the end. It helps us keep our best friend safe, which speaks to those of us who know that there is no such thing as “just a dog.”