You are finally taking the plunge and getting a puppy – this is such an exciting time! Before your puppy comes home, there are some things you will need to do in order to prepare. Similar to preparing for a new baby, preparing for a dog requires the elimination of any potential dangers. Puppy proofing is completely necessary for the well being of your apartment, your puppy, and you. Make sure to do all of this before your pup comes home in order to provide a safe and comfortable environment for him/her and to help you maintain your sanity, then check out Apartminty’s Pinterest board for everything else you need to know about apartment dwelling pets.
MAKE THEM FEEL AT HOME
One of the first things you should do is to designate a special spot for your furry friend in the apartment. This is going to give them somewhere to retreat to and feel comfortable and safe when you’re not home. This space can consist of their food, water, bed, toys, and newspaper (for accidents) or any combination of those items. If you choose to crate train, their crate will need to be a part of their personal space as well. Scattering some toys and chews throughout the apartment can be crucial as they go through the teething phase, helping to keep your favorite things from being destroyed. It seems to be a hard and fast rule that puppies love to chew the things they aren’t supposed. Be sure to enforce from the beginning that your shoes (and any other personal items) are not their toys while providing appropriate alternatives. This takes care of some of their needs, now lets take care of yours…
KEEP YOUR SANITY
For starters, start stocking up on cleaning products. Puppy accidents are inevitable. You are going to want carpet cleaner/cleanser, paper towels, a mop, etc. on hand at all times in the case of an accident. Getting an air purifier is a good idea too – this will help with the puppy smell and will clean the air, making it healthier for both of you. If you have certain areas of your apartment that you do not want your pup to have access to, purchase some baby gates to block them off. The same goes for stairs – if you have stairs that you don’t want them going up or down, block them off (check Craigslist for used gates to save some money here). When it comes to furniture, you’ll want to set the rules now regarding whether or not they are allowed on couches, beds, etc. One option is to get slipcovers for your sofas and chairs, allowing your furry friend can climb up and sit with you without ruining the furniture. If you decide that you do not want them up on the furniture, consider having a couple of doggy beds throughout the apartment so they have their own places to sit close by.
COVER YOUR BASES (AND CORDS)
A couple general rules for the whole apartment…anything you don’t want chewed up, pick up! This might sound like a no brainer, but you will be infinitely amazed by what they deem as a good chew toy (basically, anything and everything). Cords are a major concern as they are dangerous for the puppy to chew on, and good luck replacing damaged cords for your various electronics. Go ahead and duct tape them down or get chew-friendly covers that will prevent them from being damaged. Consider childproof latches for all the low lying cabinets (and refrigerator: we have a friend who’s Boxer used to steal whole sticks of butter out of the fridge!) throughout your apartment. Cover all your trashcans with lids that lock so that you don’t come home to half-eaten trash spilled all over the ground. As for toilet bowls, leave them covered or just close all bathroom doors and make sure the water bowl is always full so they aren’t tempted to drink the toilet water. Another important precaution that’s easy to overlook is to store all medications, cleaning products, and anything that is potentially toxic to animals in a place where they can never be reached by your curious pooch.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
The first few months of getting used to your new puppy will be the hardest- you’ll miss some sleep and you might lose a shoe or two. You will need to be pretty disciplined about cleaning up after yourself in every room, but with time and practice, this will become second nature. If you have roommates, make sure they are up to speed on all of the precautions or you’ll be in for some uncomfortable conversations. Do your part to keep your pup away from their personal belongings but know that some apologies and bribes are likely to be in your future.
From the beginning, teach your puppy about what is allowed and what isn’t around the house; put in the work now as opposed to trying to back track and break bad habits that may form. Preparation is the key to success for both you and your pooch; follow these tips and you’ll be off to a great start!