“Happiness is a warm puppy”, said Snoopy creator Charles M. Schulz: a sentiment echoed by dog owners everywhere. Science also reinforces this claim. People with pets suffer less stress, enjoy improved health and benefit from an unlimited supply of unconditional love. Before you begin to reap the rewards of dog ownership, you need to make your home ready for the new arrival. Here's how:
That adorable bundle of fur is hardwired to explore, and its two strongest senses are taste and smell. Every possession in your home has the potential to be sniffed out and chewed. To keep little pooches safe, toxic or dangerous items such as cleaning products, medicines, electrical cords, human food – and even certain houseplants – should be secured well away. Family members are just asking for trouble if they leave shoes or slippers lying around.
Create a safe space
Curious canines find open doors and windows irresistible; there’s a whole world of wonderful smells and experiences out there for them. Small dogs won't hesitate to wiggle through a cat flap, either. Just like babies, puppies can benefit from a secure playpen furnished with toys to avoid the dangers of roaming. Use stair gates to ensure upstairs is a no-go area and purchase a dog basket to keep them safe at night.
Prepare for puddles
Dogs may be cuddly and cute, but they don't suit nappies. The call of nature will come often, and the excitement of unfamiliar places and people can cause young puppies to sprinkle. Establish a routine of visiting the same spot every half an hour, and reward pup lavishly when it urinates outdoors. Encourage it to sleep in a designated space, too, as animals instinctively keep their private habitat clean. When accidents happen – as they will – clear up with minimal fuss and use disinfectant to cleanse the area.
If you really don’t want Fido on the furniture, consistency is key from day one. An indoor training lead will help you implement rules with a swift tug and a firm “no”. If your idea of puppy heaven is cosy cuddles on the sofa, washable throws are a must. Ensure the whole family understands and adheres to the rules so that the new arrival learns the ropes quickly and knows what’s expected. While the puppy is sure to overstep these boundaries at times, always make a great fuss when it behaves well and it'll soon get the message.
Games are the best time for bonding with your dog. Help your puppy use up all that energy by learning new tricks and playing fetch or hide and seek. These all aid your growing relationship and help you to enjoy your time together. Don't save playtime for the park; interact all day long and make the most of all those sloppy smooches.
Engel & Völkers are world-class experts in luxury property, who understand the importance of finding a comfortable and hazard-free environment for homeowners and their beloved companions. Browse our pet-friendly properties online today.