Photo: Unsplash

Home Setup

Protect those Yeezy's. Here's how to dog-proof your place and set your pup up for success.

8 minute read

A key part of successful training is not giving your dog an opportunity to fail. This means designing an environment where he can’t chew up your favorite shoes or grab a whole chicken off the kitchen counter.

Here’s a checklist of supplies and issues to get ahead of if you want to design the environment so your dog can’t fail:

Limit Access

This is going to be your number one defense against unwanted behavior. If you limit the access your dog has to your home, it’s easier to keep an eye on him and there are less areas you need to worry about dogproofing. Ways you can limit access:

  • Crate - This is why crate training is so important. It’s a win-win. Your dog is a den animal and likes a confined space from time to time. You can’t watch your dog 24/7, thus, you put him in the crate where he’s happy and you can’t become unhappy.
  • Shut doors - Use ‘em if you got ‘em. Make it a habit.
  • X-pen - This is short for “exercise pen.” These are similar to playpens for babies. They give your dog more space than a crate but still confine him to an area where he can’t get into trouble. Depending on the setup of your home or yard, for instance, if you have an open floor plan apartment and can’t really shut doors to confine your dog to a safe space, you may find this to be a valuable tool.
  • Baby gates - Similar to the X-pen, baby gates may help you create boundaries for your dog that keep him out of areas in your home where he may do something you don’t want him to do.

Dogproofing Your House

  • Shoes - If you’re in the bait of taking your shoes off and leaving them around the house, you probably want to stop.
  • Toys - The same goes for your kids’ toys. Your pup needs to be kept separate from the toys, especially if they’re a choking hazard.
  • Papers - Your dog isn’t going to necessarily ignore your kids’ homework because your kid put it on the coffee table. Again, make sure your dog can’t make a mistake by keeping things out of reach.
  • Clothes - Don’t leave them lying around but also don’t allow your dog access to rooms where they can get to clothes that are on hangers. You might find them all pulled off for you.
  • Plants - Before you bring a dog home, you should research all the plants inside your house to make sure they’re not poisonous. Also, you will probably want to limit your dog’s access to even non-poisonous plants until you’re confident he knows his manners.
  • Towels near the door - You should keep towels near the door to make it easy to wipe or dry off your dog so you can limit the amount of mud and dirt he tracks into the house.
  • Electrical cords - Often overlooked, electrical cords can look like fun chew toys to dogs. Make sure yours aren’t easily accessible.
  • Curtain cords - The same is true of curtain cords. Be aware of your dog’s access to these fun play things.

Dogproofing Your Kitchen

  • Counters - Your dog shouldn’t even have a chance to jump on the kitchen counter without you knowing, but you can lessen the temptation by keeping them clean.
  • Cabinet doors - Keep your cabinet doors shut and if your dog is smart enough to open them, consider using child safety latches to make prevent him from doing so.
  • Toxics - Take an inventory of any toxic products you have in your kitchen and make sure your dog can’t reach them.
  • Trash cans - Even if you have a trash can with a lid that closes, your dog may find a way in. Make sure your trash can has a locking lid, or better yet, keep the trash can in a closet or a cabinet.

Dogproofing Your Bathroom

  • Toilets - Make sure you keep the lid down so your dog can’t drink out of it.
  • Toilet paper - Your best bet is to just limit your dog’s access to your bathroom but if he does have access, be aware that unrolling the toilet paper is a fun game.
  • Soap bars - These can be toxic to your dog and at first glance they may look like a chew toy or a fun treat.
  • Toxics - Take an inventory of any toxic products you have in your bathroom and make sure your dog can’t reach them.
  • Trash cans - Even if you have a trash can with a lid that closes, your dog may find a way in. Make sure your trash can has a locking lid, or better yet, keep the trash can in a closet or a cabinet.

Yard

  • Fencing - First of all, make sure you have fencing if you plan to let your dog outside without a leash. Second, make sure there aren’t any gaps in your fencing or if you have a jumper or a digger, make sure he can’t get past the fence using those methods either.
  • Swimming pools - These should be off limits to your dog if your dog is unsupervised. This means fencing around the pool or confining your dog to an area where they can’t get in the pool
  • Areas under the house - Make sure your dog doesn’t have a way to get under your house or under a deck. Often, houses have crawl spaces that are largely out of sight, out of mind for humans, but look like a lot of fun to dogs.
  • Mulch and plants - Before you bring a dog home, you should research all the plants and mulch outside your house to make sure they’re not poisonous. Also, you will probably want to limit your dog’s access to even non-poisonous plants and mulch until you’re confident he knows his manners. Garden fencing can help with this.
  • Septic tank - Make sure your dog cannot pry open the lid.
  • Grill - Make sure to use a cover
  • Bird feeders - Make sure your dog can’t jump and reach the bird feeder, or limit his access to it.
  • Potty area - Designate an area for your dog to go potty. It’s much easier to keep a clean yard if your dog limits his messes to one area.

Car

  • Seat belt for dogs - These not only keep your dog from jumping up into the front seat, but they help protect your dog in the event of an accident.
  • Backseat cover - Don’t be one of those people who’s dog tears up their car. Use a backseat cover to protect your car’s fabric.
  • Car barriers - Sometimes called car gates, these devices can make sure your pet doesn’t jump into the front seat, or if you have a hatchback style vehicle, like an SUV, these make sure your dog doesn’t try to jump into the backseat while you’re traveling.
  • Car ramp - Your car may be too high for your dog to easily jump into. You’ll want to consider getting a car ramp so that you don’t have to try to lift him in every time.

Rules for Children

You’ll want to establish these ground rules with your children (or your boyfriend?) before you bring your dog home:

  • Ask permission - The children should ask your permission if they want to play with the dog.
  • Keep calm - When you first bring the dog home, the children should stay calm so as not to startle the dog while he’s learning a new environment.
  • Get help - If there is an issue with the dog, they should know to go and get you immediately
  • Keep the dog confined - They should know that the dog is supposed to stay in the house and they should know what area he is allowed to be in.
  • No physical punishment - They should know they’re not allowed to hit the dog or otherwise physically harm him.
  • Let the dog sleep - It’s important that they don’t try to wake the dog when he’s sleeping. Stress that sleeping is as important to dogs as it is to humans.
  • No feeding - In order to avoid any disasters, children should not try to feed the dog. Even if the dog does not have any food aggression, they may feed him something toxic, like chocolate.
  • Stay out of the crate - Only because it looks like fun to kids, you should emphasize that they are not allowed to go in the dog’s crate.