June 10, 2011
Puppy-Proofing and Preparation: What You Need Before Bringing Puppy Home
With 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:
____ 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.
____ 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.
____ Clean up the yard. Put away any hoses, tools, toys, or other objects the puppy could chew on or try to eat.
____ 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 post »
May 19, 2010
Dogs and Gardens: Not an Either-Or Situation
Contrary to many people’s fears, dogs and gardens can coexist quite nicely. They don’t have to be an either or situation. Dog-loving gardeners can take a few precautions around ground rules, containment and training, plant selections, and lawn and garden treatments.
Ground Rules: avid gardener Yvonne Cunnington suggests setting ground rules first. She says dog owners should be clear about how they want their dog to behave in the garden, decide where the dog is allowed to go, and be consistent.
Containment and Training: As a dog-loving gardener, there is an easy way you can keep your dog away from plants without building an expensive fence that hides the beauty of your garden. Hidden underground electronic fences can be used in a variety of ways to keep your pet safe in your yard as well as to keep your dog out of specific areas such as your garden, the children’s sandbox or the swimming pool. With a Hidden Fence, your dog wears a special collar that warns him when he is approaching an area that is off-limits. The dog is trained to understand that when he hears the warning beeps he shouldn’t go any further. Learn more about DogWatch Hidden Fences and products.
Plant Selections: Take care in choosing non-toxic plants. An excellent resource to help in your selections is the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
Lawn & Garden Treatments:
Non-Toxic— Robin Tierney author of “Dog Tip: Warm Weather, Lawn Care and Outdoor Safety Guide” suggests seeking non-toxic ways to maintain your yard and garden by finding alternatives. To control: 1) slugs—caffeinated coffee, products containing iron phosphate, 2) insects—canola oil, 3) critters—castor oil, 4) weeds—white vinegar. You can learn more useful tips by visiting her post here.
Chemicals—If you decide to use a chemical treatment, insecticide or fertilizer be sure to keep your dog off the lawn for the recommended amount of time (usually 24 hours). Read all information carefully.
**Additional Resources worth exploring are:
Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs by Cheryl S. Smith
Dogscaping: Creating the Perfect Backyard and Garden for You and Your Dog by Thoma Barthel
Create the perfect garden and yard for you and your dog. Everyone will have a much happier spring and summer!
Do you have any dog-friendly garden suggestions or resources to share?