Founder of The Peaceful Dog Lauren Camerini shares her quick-tips for ‘Zenning Out” your apartment for the arrival of a new dog.
1. The “Baby Sitter”
If your new dog is under 6 months, I recommend buying both a crate and play pen. Your crate is your short-term confinement area (2 hours or less).
If you need to be gone for longer than 2 hours I recommend that you put your dog in a playpen (aka the “Baby Sitter”) with access to their crate. Also include 1 chew toy, 1 play toy and a bathroom spot such as a wee-wee pad or pup-head. Here is a picture of a “Baby Sitter” set up at Lauren’s apartment:
2. Play Room
Before your dog arrives, it is important that you decide what rooms you will and will not allow your puppy to access while they are being housetrained. I suggest limiting access to most of the rooms in your house. Use gates and exercise pens to block off certain rooms. It is best to have the Baby Sitter set up in a family friendly room such as the kitchen or the den. The play room can be another room in your home that you bring your dog to when his bladder is empty and you want him to have some run around time. Ideally, the play room should have no carpet and be very dog friendly.
3. Bins of heaven
Purchase a trash can with a lid or keep them under a cabinet. All dogs think of trash cans as bins of heaven! Tissues and paper towels are great for shredding and human food left overs are the best snacks a dog can find! Avoid letting your dog become a garbage monster by never letting them get in their in the first place.
I love the Simple Human Butterfly because the lid cannot be popped up by a curious nose!
4. Jimmy Choo? Manolo Blahniks? Which one does your pup prefer?
None of the above! Keep all shoes in a closed closet. The days of taking off your shoes and leaving by the door are gone. Well, gone until your dog is 1-2 years old. Fine leather makes a great chew toy so avoid letting your dog get into bad habits by keeping the closet closed.
5. Puppy Shockers
Electrical cords are very dangerous for dogs that chew. They can cause burns in the mouth, shocks and death by electrocution. Use cord covers and cord organizers to minimize the amount of free hanging cords. Another great and sturdy cord guard is PCV piping. My top picks are:
Check out this site for some easy cord guards: http://www.cableorganizer.com/cord-covers/light-capacity-covers.htm
6. Teething and Chewing
All dogs under 1.5 years have a strong desire to chew. Set your dog up for success by providing a variety of chew toys so they don’t take up wood carving and rug shredding as a hobby. Most dogs that chew tables, moldings and rugs do so because they are lacking objects that THEY find interesting to chew. Observe your dog. Does he like rubber, braided rope, hard wood? And then buy toys that match his interests.
If you see your dog chewing an object that does not belong to them say “No” and immediately provide them an object that is appropriate for chewing. As soon as they engage with the object that you provided, give them a big smile and praise them. Sometimes I even take a few minutes to play with the object I gave them to get them really interested in it. I will wave it along the floor for them to chase, show it to them and then hide it behind my back for a moment…Anything to get them curious about what I have and forget about what they had.
TPD Chew Toy Favorites:
- Frozen kong filled with sweet potato
- Bravo Bully Sticks
- StarMark Ever Lasting Treat Ball
7. Dining table or agility jump?
Puppy’s love to jump, climb and explore. Clear all coffee tables, dining tables and benches of all valuables. Tails can knock over candles, puppy mouths can steal coasters and puppy paws can clear a table of magazines in 2 seconds flat. If your puppy investigates these surfaces and hits the jackpot by finding food and fun objects to play with, the behavior of table surfing is reinforced and your dog will repeat it. If you don’t want your dog to get rewarded for table surfing, keep a clean table!