How To Properly Introduce Your Dog To A Safe, Puppy-Proofed Home

There’s a quote that rings true for many homeowners which says, “A house is not a home without a dog.” After a long day at work, there is nothing better than walking through the front door to find your furry friend waiting, tail wagging as he jumps with excitement at your arrival. They are live-in vacuum cleaners, 24/7 cuddle buddies and always willing to share a few kisses. However, while dogs fill your heart and home with love, puppies typically require some extra patience and time to become your perfect housemate.  The critical first step is to properly introduce your puppy to his new home and create an area in which he will be safe.

Welcome Home

You have just picked up the new puppy and your family’s excitement level is at an all-time high. You can’t wait to get him home, show him the numerous toys you’ve already bought and capture that perfect photo of him exploring his new territory to post on Instagram. However, excitement aside, there are a few steps to take in order to make the transition easier for everyone involved.

Once arriving home, your first stop should be a potty break in the backyard. Keep the puppy on his leash and lead him to the area in which you expect all “business” to be completed. After all, it’s never too early to get started on the tedious task of potty training.

If you have other furry family members, it’s suggested that dogs meet in a neutral area so that your older dogs don’t feel as though their territory is being infringed upon. While your yard would suffice, a neighbor’s yard or a nearby park are ideal areas. An introduction away from the house can help with a smooth transition. Have a family member or friend hold the new dog’s leash, while you stay with your older pal. Remember, just as humans don’t become best friends with someone after five minutes, nether do dogs. It may take some time for the newcomer to be welcomed into the pack.

Set Boundaries

Next it’s time to begin the grand tour of your home. Remember, your house is filled with unknown sights and smells, which can be very overwhelming for a pet. Keeping the puppy on his leash, lead him through the house, avoiding the rooms you wish to keep off limits. Your tour should end in the portion of the house where the dog bowls, beds and crate will reside. It is a good idea to section this area off from the rest of the house. You can use dog gates to close off open areas. Keeping the new puppy confined to a smaller area will help with the potty training process and avoid over stimulating him. Then, over the next few weeks, you can gradually increase the area in which the dog is welcome.

Finally, take off the leash and let your puppy explore his area, making himself at home.

Puppy Proof

Bringing home a new puppy is similar to bringing home a new baby. However, you are thrown directly into the “terrible twos.” Anything and everything looks like a toy and ends up in a mouth full of sharp puppy teeth. After taking the following measures, you can keep all sofas, rugs, paws and tails safe and out of harm’s way.

We’ve all heard those horror stories of dogs who ate entire birthday cakes off the counter, or helped their family finish off the Halloween candy. Human food, such as chocolate, can be toxic to dogs. The first step to puppy proofing any home is to verify that all food, household chemicals and cleaning supplies are out of paws reach. It’s also a good idea to keep trash cans inside of pantries, closets and/or cabinets to ensure your furry friend doesn’t go on any “dumpster diving” adventures. If the puppy does get into human food, you can refer to the ASPCA’s website for a list of toxic foods for pets.

Also remember, just because it isn’t food, doesn’t mean a dog won’t eat it. Puppies have been known to eat articles of clothing (such as underwear and socks), hair ties, earrings, and retainers. Time to break those old habits and say goodbye to the days when half of your closet lived on your bedroom floor. It’s also a good idea to keep all litter boxes in an area unavailable to the new puppy. Dogs view this as a “special” treat, but it can cause digestive issues. Put yourself in your puppy’s shoes. Walk throughout the house, thinking of any ways he could get hurt and make changes as necessary.

By following these steps, you can now sit back and smile. You have an adorable new family member and many wonderful years to look forward to!

 Bailey McMahon is a senior at the University of North Texas studying marketing and economics. She was born and raised in the Dallas/Forth Worth area and loves life in the city. Post-graduation, she hopes to earn a position in the Dallas, New York or San Francisco area working for a marketing agency.