Getting a puppy is always an exciting time! Just like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. In this case I'm talking about making your home a place where pup can not just exist, but thrive. Whether this is your first puppy or its been a while since you have had a puppy, myself included, it's time to start thinking about and doing somethings around the house in preparation for Jr.'s arrival. Yes, that means prepping the house and yard.
Before I cover some of the more typical and mundane things, I need to stress that modern veterinary science has shown dysplasia of the hip and elbow are predominantly environmentally driven! So just what does that mean, and how does it apply to us as puppy stewards? Slick floors and stairs are not your puppy's friend! If you have them, It is time to head out to Costco or your favorite home goods retailer and buy some throw rugs. Because, we do not want pup skittering all over the place, and we really don't want to have pup chasing a ball on your hardwood/tile floors! The other high-risk area is your stairs. In particular, descending is very stressful on the elbow joint. If your stairs are hard and smooth they are really not your puppy's friend. Solve this by carrying pup up and down. Once they are too big for that use a leash to control the rate of their ascent and descent. Please be sure to prevent them from jumping off the last three steps! On this note, your puppy will need exercise, but please stay away from activities which include lots of jumping (intro to agility is the main offender here) or pushing pup too hard/much with becoming your running companion too early. Your pup's growth plates remain open until up to around 18 months of age. You will learn first hand the Drent growth rate, it is pretty impressive. Figure on doing more serious physical stuff with your Drent no sooner than 11 months, and just ease into it.
- Get your trash under wraps. Put it behind a door, or install a child safety device
- Cover/contain electrical cords. Your main strategy may just be aware of where you have them because you can't do much about them,,,
- Properly stow your backpacks and purses! All kinds of not dog-friendly things are hidden away in them e. g. gum w/ Xylitol, make up, you name it
- Secure your medications in a drawer. Drents will eat the damnedist things! Best case this will result in a very expensive trip to the emergency vet
- Do you have poisonous house plants/landscaping? If you can't answer that question in less than 2-seconds...you need to do some research
- Where is puppy's area going to be? Try setting it up now to see if it works the way it does in your head...you may have to go back to the drawing board
- It goes without saying, household cleaners need to be secured.
- Have you ever deployed a chemical mouse or some other bait trap(s)? Go find them, and dispose of them. Once you think you are good, check again!
- Your garage is a high-risk zone. Lawn chemicals, cleaners, and whatnot. Find a way to secure all of this, or just do like us - the garage is a no dog zone
- The puppy should never have unfettered unsupervised access to anything. As they learn and become better potty trained and learn what is and isn't theirs, you can expand this bubble...
- Puppies should stay on the ground unless you are directly supervising/handling them. A puppy rolling off a piece of furniture can be a significant and unpleasant event
- Batteries...yes, they will chew them and swallow them. Secure all batteries and monitor devices pup has access to which contain them. Swallowed batteries = emergency vet visit
- Any cooked bone is a serious high-risk to your puppy or dog, doesn't matter what animal it is from Cooked = Very Bad, raw = could be okay (large beef knuckles generally) if you really want your dog to chew a bone. I prefer Nyla bones. They make wonderful puppy chewers (which adults love even more and if you have Booker visit, they will last about 1 second - chomp and goneski)
- If you have nicknacks on a low shelf, it's time to move them up, or find a way to protect them. Puppies do not know the difference between your stuff and theirs
- If you have a cat, please plan on moving the litter box into an area your puppy cannot get to it. This is for a myriad of reasons, at best it has a high likelihood of becoming a snack bar - how about EEEEEeeewwwww
- Remember those rugs I told you to buy? Did they have a non-slip backing? If not invest in a roll of carpet tape and put it to use
- How about that fence? Is it secure? Is it stable? What can it keep in? What can it keep out?
- Once you have assessed your fence - do what you need to do?
- Get to know your landscaping. Some mulches and plants are poisonous to dogs. If you don't know off the top of your head and don't look into it, you will be making a trip to your veterinarian...maybe worse
- Does your yard have a place or places which have shade all or most of the day? If not, be aware of when you let pup spend time out back and limit direct sun exposure. Ambient temps can be reasonable but being stuck in direct sunlight can be quite brutal and unforgiving
- Pup's water bowl should be in one of those shaded areas
Well, it's feeding time - again!
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I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some years later this is what you get.