Puppy-Proofing and Preparation: What You Need Before Bringing Puppy Home

Puppy ready to come homeWith help from last week’s DogTails post, you’ve now decided what breed is a good fit for you and your family, and perhaps you have even the found the perfect puppy already! Congrats! Bringing a puppy home requires a lot more work than just picking it up and putting it in the car, however. DogWatch Hidden Fences encourages all new puppy owners to make sure they are properly prepared to welcome their furry new addition. Here are our tips (and checklists) on how to do just that.

First things first: puppy-proofing your house. A new puppy is akin to a crawling baby or toddler; it can and will get into anything and everything, and has a compulsive tendency to put things in its mouth. Here are our suggestions to protect both your puppy and your property:

Puppy-Proofing Checklist
Inside:

____ Put away floor plants, decorations, shoes, and clothing. Puppies won’t know that plants aren’t food or that those decorations are choking hazards, and they certainly won’t be able to tell the difference between your beat-up old Keds and your brand-new Louboutins. And as they’re learning potty-training, they may also have difficulty telling the difference between their wee-wee pads and your cashmere cardigan. Best to remove anything that could be hazardous if ingested, or that you don’t want potentially turned into a chew toy or bathroom spot.

____ Secure or remove tablecloths and other hanging fabrics. These are an irresistible temptation for puppies, especially if they’ve begun to learn to play tug-of-war with you using a rope toy. It may look like fun to them, but one tug and everything on top of that cloth could come crashing down on top of them.

Westie on table____ Put away breakable and small objects on low-lying tables, ottomans, fireplaces, or other surfaces. Anything the puppy could break and/or eat should be removed from its reach. Also, enthusiastic tail-wagging has been known on many occasions to shatter a vase or glass or picture frame, so pay close attention to objects at tail-height.

____ Lock up cabinets and secure hazardous materials. Make sure your puppy doesn’t have access to chemicals, medications, alcohol, detergents, household cleaners, and any other substances that could be hazardous to it. One good way to do this is to invest in the cabinet-locking mechanisms used in baby-proofing. They can be found at your local superstore for a reasonable price and are generally easy to install yourself.

____ Secure phone wires and electrical cords. Puppies love to chew and tug on things, and they won’t know the difference between these cords and the rope you use to play with them. To avoid accidentally disconnected phone or electric service and your puppy potentially being shocked by chewing through the cord, we recommend tucking these cords as far out of reach as possible and covering them in plastic sheathing or PVC tubing, which you can find at your local pet store or hardware store.

____ If there are children in your household, make sure they put away their toys and any small parts or accessories. General rule of thumb? If the part is smaller than the puppy, put it away. Also, having kids put their toys away when they’re done will limit the amount of tears shed when the puppy chews their favorite stuffed animal or destroys their new Lego creation.

____ Double-check every nook and cranny for small or neglected items that could pose a danger to your puppy. Common overlooked places? Under and behind furniture, tables, cabinets, and appliances.

____ Consider having a DogWatch indoor barrier system installed to keep your puppy out of the places you don’t want him going, or that aren’t safe for him.  Contact your local DogWatch Dealer to learn about the options and to find out when your puppy will be ready to be trained.

Outside:

____ Clean up the yard. Put away any hoses, tools, toys, or other objects the puppy could chew on or try to eat.

Puppy_in_pool____ Prevent access to dangerous areas like the pool or well. Even though your dog’s breed may be known for its swimming prowess, it may take your puppy time to learn, and he may have difficulty finding his way back out of the pool. Puppies have also been known to slip through the grating over storm drains and wells. A DogWatch Hidden Fence system is the perfect way to keep your puppy out of hazardous areas like these! Contact your local DogWatch Dealer to learn more.

____ Secure lawn products and chemicals. This includes fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides, paint and paint thinner, antifreeze, and any other potentially hazardous chemicals. If you wouldn’t ingest it yourself, it should be kept well out of your puppy’s reach.

____ Check for escape routes and install a proper fencing system. If you plan on letting your puppy off-leash in your yard, you need to make sure there’s no way the puppy can escape into a neighbor’s yard, or worse, the street. Traditional fences do not always succeed at this; puppies can dig under the fences and even get themselves stuck in them. Your local DogWatch dealer will be happy to install a DogWatch Hidden Fence for you that will keep your new puppy both safe AND secure in the part of your yard you designate. Contact your local DogWatch Dealer to learn more.

Phew! Now that you’ve prepared your house and yard for the impending puppy invasion, it’s time to focus on what you’ll need to care for the puppy itself! There is a whole arsenal of supplies that you will need before you can safely bring your puppy home. Most, if not all of these, can be purchased online or at your local pet store. Some of the supplies we’ll mention can be considered optional, in that you will most likely eventually need them, but will probably be just fine without them initially. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and your puppy, which ones you’ll most need and when to add them to your kit. Read More

Doggy Paddle: Pool and Beach Safety Tips for Dogs

You have been waiting for months, and it’s finally time to dive in!  Beach and pool season is upon us, and chances are you’ll be enjoying one of these cooling-off options this summer.

But remember, there’s no need to leave the dog at home!  DogWatch Hidden Fences has compiled another batch of summer tips, this time focusing on water safety for dogs.  While the issue of water safety for dogs is very serious, we know that with careful planning, training and attention, you and your dog can stay cool and have a blast this summer.  Let’s start with the basics…

Swimming Lessons

All dogs can swim, right?  Not exactly.  Some dogs, like Portuguese water dogs and retrievers, are terrific natural swimmers, while others, especially short and/or stout dogs like bulldogs, basset hounds, corgis and pugs, have a much harder time than others.  Regardless of breed, all dogs should be gradually introduced to water rather than simply being tossed in unattended.

According to the ASPCA, swim lessons should start as early as possible, preferably when the dog is a still a puppy.  Even if this is not possible, proper training is still key to ensuring that your dog is safe and reacts positively to water.

This video of Ruby the Dogue de Bordeaux learning to swim provides a great lesson plan for dogs. Dog trainers suggest that you get in the water first, and slowly encourage your dog to follow you in, one step at a time. Take your time and give the dog lots of praise and encouragement. Having a dog friend around can also help: your dog may follow her friend into the water if she sees her go in safely.

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Dog Travels, Part III – Home Away From Home

Parts I and II of our Travel Series gave you advice about traveling with your dog.  Whether you choose to travel by airplane or car, you’ve learned that planning ahead is essential.  But what about once you arrive at your destination?

In this last installment of Dog Travels, DogWatch Hidden Fences will guide you through the world of vacationing with your pets.  First we will discuss dog-friendly accommodations, and then show you some ideas of activities that are fun for the whole family – including the four-legged members!

doghotelAccommodations

There are plenty of hotels across the country that welcome dogs, and with the explosion of pet-centric websites now in operation, it is easier than ever to find one.  Bring Fido and Petswelcome.com are easy-to-use search engines to help you find pet-friendly hotels at your desired location.  Once you’ve entered the city and state, the site shows a list of applicable hotels, complete with rates, fees, pet-related amenities and contact information.

There are also several national hotel chains that are traditionally pet-friendly.  These chains include several Marriott brands (Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and Courtyard by Marriott), Hilton Hotels and Holiday Inn. Some hotels limit the number of pet-friendly rooms and some have size limitations, so make sure you check with the hotel before booking to ensure that location has a pet-friendly room available that is appropriate for your pet.

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Dog Travels, Part II: Life Is a Highway

Summer is the season of barbeques, beach days, and of course, car trips.  Most of us will embark on at least one long car trip to our favorite seaside destination or to a family reunion or to another vacation destination.  Will you bring your pet along for ride?nina_car

Part II of the DogTails travel series tackles car travel with your dog.  Far more common and less costly than traveling by air with your furry friend, car travel nonetheless requires careful planning on the part of pet owners.

DogWatch Hidden Fences wants to make this journey easier, safer and happier for you, your family and your pet.  The list is modeled after that other summer tradition – weddings.  It begins with a seating chart, moves on to the menu and finishes with the proper decorations for your special guest.

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