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Adding a New Best Friend to Your Home (Without Sacrificing Your Shoes)

Bringing a puppy into your home is one of life’s sweetest moments. Not only do you have an exciting new addition to the family, but you also have the perfect excuse to get your home clean and organized. Because, like it or not, man’s best friend is not always your house’s best friend!

Some planning and preparation is necessary to make sure your home is ready for your new dog, and that your dog is coming into a safe environment. And don’t assume that already having a dog means you are perfectly prepared. Adding another dog into the mix can lead to new issues. And, because every dog is different, you’ll still need to take the time to evaluate the safety of your furry friend’s new environment.

#1–Make note of all houseplants.

Are they pet safe or are they toxic to your dog? If they are highly toxic it’s best to remove them from the house. Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the health and wellness of your dog.

If you have plants that you are very attached to or are only slightly bad for your dog, you can consider placing them in higher areas or hanging them. Just keep in mind that dogs can jump! And also make sure that there is a barrier to catch any falling leaves that your dog could munch on.

#2–Anything that fits in their mouth will go in their mouth.

Puppy-proofing your home is surprisingly similar to baby-proofing your home. Dogs use their mouths and teeth to learn about their environment, satisfy their curiosity, and keep themselves entertained. This means that any items dangerous for them to ingest (think paint, cleaning supplies, medicine, human food, pest control items, light bulbs…) need to be kept off the floor and in a safe place out of your dog’s reach. Same goes for items you hold dear and don’t want torn to shreds (like shoes, books, scarfs, decorative pillows…). And don’t underestimate your dog. She may surprise you with her ability to get into cabinets and spaces that you thought were inaccessible.

#3–They need a safe space.

More and more people are adopting dogs that have been rescued. Rescue dogs are wonderful companions, but more than ever you need to carefully think about your dog’s mental wellbeing in addition to their physical well being. A big part of allowing them to feel safe and comfortable in their new home is for them to feel like they have spaces that are their own.

Whether you are pro-crate or anti-crate, your dog needs a safe space where he can get away from guests and noise to sleep or relax when he is feeling anxious. Depending on your puppy parenting style, this might be a spot on the bed, a comfy crate, or a dog-bed in the corner of the room. Regardless of what form it takes, make sure it’s cushioned, warm, and in a quiet part of the house.

#4–Who’s furniture is this?

Do you prefer that your dog(s) not sit on the furniture? Then you need to plan out where they will sit instead.

If you are always spending time in the living room on the sofa, but the dog’s only other option is the hardwood floor, you’re going to have a hard time convincing him that the furniture is off limits. Consider designating a piece of furniture as one they are allowed to sit on or buy/make them a dog bed for that room so they can lounge and relax with you.

#5–Keep in mind they have feelings too.

Dogs are people too, and they have a wide range of emotions and needs just like us. If you have an energetic and intelligent pup, they are probably going to get bored if left alone without something to keep them occupied. Similarly, a nervous dog left alone with loud next door neighbors and no human there to calm them down will start seeking out their own ways to burn that nervous energy.

To avoid the headache of coming home to shredded household items or unwelcome accidents, try to put yourself in your dog’s “shoes” and plan ahead. If they get really nervous when they hear a lot of loud noises outside, try leaving on music or having water fountains and noise absorbing curtains to help lessen the volume.

If they are easily bored, make sure they have something parent-approved to keep them busy. Maybe a seat by the window, or toys that require a lot of effort in order to be rewarded. (Toys that hide treats are great for this purpose.) Or if your dog likes to sniff things out, you can hide toys throughout the house so that they have to go on a hunt.

Get the safety stuff out of the way early, and try not to stress too much. There will always be lessons you learn along the way. Bringing a new dog into the family isn’t something that happens every day, so take the time to enjoy the adventure!

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