One of the things we discussed when we were making the decision to get a dog is the fact that we’d have to make quite a few changes in order to puppy-proof our house. While it’s kind of a pain to have to do some of these things, and I kind of hate the way my house looks right now, it’s totally worth it to make sure that Ruby is safe and happy in her new home.
Here are the eight ways we puppy-proofed our house before Ruby came home, and some things we’ve learned since then:
1. Tape down cords/wires. Right now my computer and printer are on the dining room table (while the office is still under construction), and all the cords are stretched across the floor, like a big old billboard asking Ruby to chew on them or at the very least get tripped up while running around on her not-so-coordinated baby legs. So before she came home, I taped down all the cords and wires, directly onto the wood floor and carpet, using masking tape, which has worked like a charm.
2. Put away all the rugs. This one makes me sad. We started by putting away the super fluffy, thick, white, shag rug in the rumpus room because we didn’t want Ruby to have any accidents on it. We thought the rest of our low-pile rugs would be fine because we know (from experience) that they clean up well. What we didn’t know before Ruby came along was that she would want to chew ALL THE RUGS ALL THE TIME. She’s a maniac about it. She chews the edges, the middle, whatever she can get her sharp little baby teeth into. When she starts to focus on a particular rug, we roll it up and store it away, until hopefully there’s a day she outgrows this rug-obsessed phase.
3. Lock cabinet doors. In our pantry, our lower cabinets are full of small appliances with electrical cords, chemicals, cat treats, and lots of other things we don’t want Ruby to get her paws on, so we wanted to make sure Ruby wouldn’t be able to open the doors if she got curious. Since there aren’t handles on those doors and those standard baby-proof locks won’t work, we went old school and just taped the doors closed at the top with some masking tape. It won’t work forever, and if we find that Ruby becomes really determined to open a cabinet, we’ll find another solution. For now, she hasn’t shown any interest.
4. Put everything out of reach. It’s obvious that you want all your fragile nicknacks out of the puppy’s reach. But what I didn’t think about before Ruby was that she wants to put ANYTHING and EVERYTHING into her mouth. I mean, junk mail, kleenexes, paper towels, plastic wrappers — Ruby has snatched all of these things off of our coffee table. We’re quickly learning that we just can’t put anything where she can reach — fragile or not. She’s even been known to knock cups of water over… and she’s not even very tall yet.
5. Put away chemicals. Again, this is pretty obvious, but worth mentioning. Make sure you don’t have a bottle of drain cleaner on the bathroom floor — um, like someone I know.
6. Put away those shoes. I had heard all the stories about puppies eating shoes, but I didn’t realize just how true it is. Ruby LOVES shoes. And boots. And slippers. And socks. And bare feet. We don’t really have a good place to put our boots when we come inside, out of her reach, so we put a baby gate across the pantry/mud room door. With the baby gate, we can safely store our boots/shoes, even slippers, in there and she just stares at them longingly through the bars.
7. Make room for a crate. If you’re going to crate train your puppy (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t because it’s kind of a
life sanity saver), you’re going to need a crate, and if your puppy is going to grow into a large dog like Ruby (50-60 pounds), you’re going to need a really big crate to grow into. Ours is 42″, which takes up a huge amount of space. We started out having it in the pantry, which we figured was a nice, out of the way place for it, but after a couple of days we realized that Ruby really wanted to be as close to us as possible all of the time, so having her crate in a completely separate room meant she never wanted to go in there. Her crate should be like her favorite place, so we ended up moving some chairs and making room for the crate in the rumpus room right next to the couch. It’s not pretty. But now she happily goes in there on her own to hang out, take naps, and play with her toys while we’re watching TV, which has made all of our lives a million times less stressful.
8. Place cat food/cat litter out of reach. It’s really important to us to make sure our cats Trixie and Mocha feel as safe and as undisrupted as possible, which includes giving them a nice place to eat and go to the bathroom. We actually built a new credenza in the rumpus room (pictures soon!) so the cats could eat on top of it away from Ruby. We moved their food onto the credenza a few weeks before Ruby came home so the cats would be really used to it. So far it’s worked perfectly, and when Ruby gets tall enough to reach the top, we’ll cross our fingers that she’ll be trained to stay away. And as gross as it sounds, kitty litter is VERY interesting to puppies. We used to have a litter box in our entryway, which we moved upstairs (um, until she starts going upstairs and then we’ll have to get really creative!).
So what do you think? Is there anything else you would do to puppy-proof your home? Any more recommendations or advice for us?