Getting your home ready for your new furry, four-legged family member takes careful planning (if you want to avoid unnecessary headaches and added expenses later, that is!) Whether you’re about to open your home to a frisky puppy, or you’ve rescued a dog from the local pound which has been homeless for a while, here are some ways to prepare your home (and family):
Put Your Shoes Away
If there’s usually a pile of flip-flops, sneakers, and slippers in the mudroom or stacked up by your main entrance, you’ll have to relocate them (unless, of course, you don’t mind having them chewed on!) While not every dog gnaws on shoes, many do. Get the kids’ shoes (and yours) out of sight. It will save you from having to buy replacement soccer shoes further down the road and from having to hear the screams, cries, and complaints from the kids about how their new dog ate their favorite shoes.
Put The Garbage Away
Don’t leave wastepaper baskets filled with used Kleenex tissues, almost-empty bags of chips, and candy bar wrappers in places where they are easily accessible for your dog. Put your kitchen garbage bin away under the sink or in the pantry. This is especially important to remember when you leave the dog home alone. The last thing you want to do after a day of driving from your son’s wrestling practice to your daughter’s dance class and then to the grocery store for dinner items is to return home to find banana peels, empty cereal boxes, and other garbage is strewn across the kitchen floor.
Decide If The Dog Will Be Allowed On The Furniture
Don’t confuse your new dog by having half of your family members allow him on the furniture and the other half not. While it’s a personal preference, decide before you bring the dog home if it’s welcome to nap on your furniture and sleep in your bed.
Stock Up On Interesting Pet Toys
Have a variety of toys ready for when you bring your new dog home. From squeaky toys, balls, and long-lasting chew bones to toys where you can hide treats inside them, having an excellent selection will keep your dog busy for hours and will give both you and your pet a fun activity. When deciding which toys to buy, it’s better to get a variety so that you can see which ones your dog prefers instead of buying only a basket of balls. Keep the toys organized in the corner area of a room so that your dog can easily access them when it feels like playing or chewing.
Get A Fence
The upfront investment for a fenced-in backyard will pay for itself a million times over throughout the years. When it’s raining, there’s a blizzard, or in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll appreciate that you need to open the back door and let your dog outside! He’ll be able to explore areas in the yard that he couldn’t if you were standing back there with him at the end of a short leash. Plus, when the whole family is outside enjoying an afternoon BBQ or a summer’s evening, your dog can be outside with you, too!
Hide The Throw Pillows.
When you head out with the family for the day, take the time to pick up and store all the throw pillows on your couch and chairs. Although your dog may not be interested in shredding them apart as she does with her dog toys, why take the chance? Make it a routine to always collect the pillows and put them in a safe spot when no one will be home.
Cover The Couch
If your couch and chairs have detachable seat cushions, cover them with oversized sheets or blankets before you leave your dog alone in the house. This will help to deter and distract it from eating the cushions.
Everyone in your family has to be on board and diligent with how you are prepping your home and the new rules you’re implementing; otherwise it will all be for naught. If you want to keep doors closed to rooms where you don’t want your new dog exploring, everyone has to be mindful about keeping the doors closed. If you’re creating a designated area for your dog to eat and drink, you can’t let your kids also keep a dog dish (for the dog’s late-night snacking enjoyment) in their rooms. Don’t want the dog on the furniture? The family meeting before you welcome the new dog into your home is a great time to discuss it! Taking the time to prep your home for your new pet will make this new, wonderful addition to your home stress-free and truly enjoyable!