Puppy-Proofing

Puppies are fun but also require lots of care. Living with a puppy can be time consuming and stressful at times. Puppies require supervision, plenty of exercise, and attention.

One common question I receive is "How do I stop my puppy from chewing things around the house?". I have created a puppy-proofing checklist to help (preferably before bringing your puppy home). You can also read about puppy mouthing and biting if you are having those issues.

Your Puppy Is A Baby

Puppies naturally explore with their mouths. It is important to puppy-proof your house for his or her safety (and for the safety of your expensive shoes !).

No amount of puppy-proofing can replace supervision and management until your puppy starts to earn more freedom around the house. When I say management or managing your puppy’s environment, I mean installing baby gates, keeping bedroom doors closed, and puppy-proofing.

What is Puppy Proofing?

Puppy -proofing means keeping your puppy safe by putting items away or out of reach to prevent your puppy from chewing on or ingesting them. Puppies are natural explorers and will investigate everything with their mouth. Over time, a dog can learn that chewing, shredding and/or ingesting inappropriate things is fun, fun, fun!!! The goal is to set your puppy up for success, not failure.

Here is a simple checklist to help with puppy-proofing your home. Taking preventative steps early on will keep your puppy safe and keep your household from suffering damage inflicted by sharp puppy teeth. As your puppy grows older, slowly introduce those items back into your puppy's environment.

Puppy-Proofing Checklist:

Things to consider when puppy-proofing include:

  • Loose electrical wires, especially ones under and/or behind furniture. Consider unplugging those you don’t need and storing them away or tuck the wires out of the puppy's reach.
  • Medications- place all medications in a secure location.
  • Paper products such as notepads, notebooks, magazines, paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues should be out of reach as puppy may find them fun to rip and possibly ingest.
  • Shoes- place them in a closet where puppy cannot chew on the laces and soles.
  • Remotes- keep them up high or in a drawer.
  • Your eye glasses - 'nuff said.
  • Cell phones- sometimes puppy might want to call up one of their buddies, so keep it out of reach so that next month’s cell phone bill doesn’t increase!
  • Garbage and trash cans- make sure your puppy does not have access to trash as this can become a very tenacious habit. Your puppy could also ingest potentially harmful items.
  • Keep doors closed- close off all doors to areas in the house where puppy should not be.
  • Stairs- keep puppy away from stairs so that she does not get hurt.
  • Baby gates- baby gates can be helpful if you need an area blocked off.
  • Rugs- if you have small or large area rugs it is a good idea to roll them up until your pup has established reliable elimination habits. No matter how well you clean up, your pup will remember that place. If you have carpeted floors my advice would be that puppy should only be allowed on that space only after he has eliminated so that he is less likely to have an accident.
  • Kitchen table- push in the chairs so that puppy does not learn to jump up on the chairs and table.
  • Use a crate and exercise pen- when you cannot fully supervise your puppy, safely confine him to a crate or an exercise pen. This will prevent him from chewing on forbidden items, ingesting harmful object, or having an elimination accident. To learn how to crate and teach your puppy to enjoy is pen, train your puppy take a look at my article called Have a Crate Time.

Finally, enjoy your puppy! Before you know it he or she will be a grown-up, hopefully with good habits in place.


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Positively Expert: Anthony De Marinis

Anthony De Marinis is a graduate of distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior. He is also a Certified Victoria Stilwell Licensed Positively Dog Trainer and a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer. Anthony runs his dog training business, The Gold Coast Dog, based out of Long Island, NY.


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