HOW TO PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOME
Many expectant parents go through the ritual of “baby proofing” their homes. Proofing consists of checking table corners, counters and securing cabinets. When you bring a puppy into your house for the first time, you need to make some special preparation for him/her as well.
The following are some helpful hints to make your puppy safe and give you some peace of mind! The first few days will be an adjustment for your puppy. Having left the place they knew as “home” along with their family, expect them to be very curious and to do a little investigating. If at all possible, try to pick up your puppy when you are able to spend a couple of days at home. This will allow him/her to get used to the new surroundings. A couple days together will also allow you to work on transitioning your puppy into their new schedule.
Here are a few items you can have prepared for your new puppy:
- Crate pad or blankets
- Dog gate(s)
- Food and water bowls
The above consists of the very basic necessities.
A crate is a place for your puppy to have his or her own place to be and feel safe. Crates come in many shapes, types and sizes. A #200 (medium) Vari Kennel is perfect for a Cavalier. A soft crate pad or blanket is the perfect “nest” for your puppy. Be prepared for your puppy to have a few accidents until he/she becomes used to their new schedule.
You will want to find that a water bowl that hangs inside the crate. This prevents the puppy from spilling their water while moving around in the crate. There are different types of water bowls. The “best” depends on your puppy. A metal water bowl with a screw on hanger is the best option. Some puppies like to chew on their water bowl (even when given numerous chew toys, so a metal bowl is the best option.
Dog gates are a great way to keep your puppy in a confined space to keep them out of trouble and dangerous places. There are so many different types to choose from, including extended heights and widths for large doorways. Pick a gate tall enough to not tempt your puppy to jump over it, and sturdy enough to withstand their pushing against it.
Puppies LOVE to chew! They like to put anything around them in their mouths. Here are some things to secure or relocate before you bring your puppy home.
- Electric cords
- Telephone cords
- Computer cords
- Game controller cords
- Remote controls
- Free-standing trash cans
- Pens, pencils, paper, coins
- Child toys (especially small pieces like Legos, color crayons, clay, etc.)
Go into a house with a puppy, and you will most likely find a chewed electrical or telephone cord. Since cords often run along a floor, they are an easy target. Wire guards can be purchased anywhere and will cover wires running across a floor or along a baseboard.
While you may think your puppy is too small to push over the trash can you have in your kitchen, never underestimate the power of those little paws! All it takes is leftovers from last night’s dinner to bring the can to your puppy’s attention. Once detected, they will try to see what prizes are inside.
Puppies also like the feel of wood between their little teeth. Of course, as they begin to lose their puppy teeth, this chewing will become more extensive. Beware of furniture, cabinets, windowsills and bookshelves. Some people use hot sauce on the furniture and others spray Bitter Apple to try to deter their puppy from chewing on their chairs, etc.
Houseplants are another attraction, along with outdoor plants. Puppies like to help “garden” when the new foliage starts to grow. They will pull out bulbs (which are poisonous), rip out new plants, eat tomatoes off the vine and chew any size stick they can find. Be sure to keep an eye on your puppy when he is outside. Be careful of what is planted in your puppy’s yard. Many plants have toxic or poisonous leaves, stems or bulbs. Be careful of hoses and any landscaping tools as well.
If you are going to have your puppy outside and can’t watch him/her, you may want to purchase an ex-pen. Some of these may also be used indoors to give your puppy it’s own, secure play area. Again, you want to purchase an ex-pen that is tall enough to keep then in and is also sturdy. Many of the outdoor pens come with yard stakes so you can keep them from toppling over if your puppy jumps on the side. If you have the pen outdoors, make sure to have a bowl of water, a few toys, and protection from the sun. Never leave your puppy outside unattended.
Your puppy may take a few days to become accustomed to their new routine. And may be a little sad the first few nights. This is normal “I miss my mommy and my siblings,”
whining. A toy or a blanket from the breeder helps give them a sense of security. It won’t take long for your puppy to become attached to you. Cavaliers are wonderful “bed dogs”. But if you do not want your dog sleeping with you, don’t take the puppy to bed with you.
Show your puppy it’s new bed, toys and where it will need to go to be let out. If you have a dog door, you may have to hold it open the first several times until the puppy becomes accustomed to it. Try to start right away with getting them used to going out to go potty. Keep a regular routine so your puppy can adjust to the new routine. Be patient with any accidents, and quickly take them outside to show them where to go.
If you have to leave him for a few hours let your puppy out a couple of times before you leave. Put the puppy in his crate and leave a TV or radio on for the puppy while you are gone. This will make him not feel so alone. Something soothing provides a calming effect.
Congratulations on the newest member of your family. May you and your puppy enjoy the process of getting to know one another. PUPPY RESOURCES The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – A Puppy Buyers Guide
Published by the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc. Mother Knows Best, The Natural Way to Train Your Dog
By Carol Lea Benjamin Surviving Your Dog’s Adolescence
By Carol Lea Benjamin Before and After Getting Your Puppy
By Ian Dunbar