Puppy-Proofing Tips

Puppies are adventurous and prone to getting into trouble. Here are some ways to make your home safe and puppy-ready.

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Many of the tips have been provided by the North Shore Animal League America.

1. Put away anything that you don’t want to lose. Sharp puppy teeth can cause hundreds, even thousands of dollars' worth of damage. Make sure kids keep their dolls and toys away from the puppy so they're not mistaken for chew toys.

2. If you catch your puppy in the act of chewing something he shouldn’t be, make a loud noise (such as a loud clap) to interrupt him. Then give him an appropriate object to chew on. If you just hand him a bone without the loud interruption, you will be praising the behavior.

3. Provide the puppy with a “toy box” so he knows what items he is permitted to have. Introduce the box to him by putting his favorite toys inside. Drop a treat in the box and encourage him to take it. This will let him know that he is permitted to take from the box. Rotate the toys regularly to prevent boredom rather than having numerous toys out all at once.

4. Keep all electrical cords out of your puppy’s reach. A puppy can easily get shocked chewing on electrical cords.

5. Put all chemicals, like fertilizers, antifreeze and insecticides, on high shelves or in cabinets with a safety latch.

6. Know what kind of plants you have inside and outside your home. Many common plants can make your puppy very sick.

7. Set up barriers or baby gates to keep your puppy out of areas where he isn't allowed.

8. Toilet cleaners can be toxic if swallowed, so keep the lid down.

9. Consider crate training, especially at night. This will keep your puppy from roaming around the house unsupervised. Introduce to the puppy to the crate in a positive way when you are home and confine him at various times when you are home, so the puppy does not associate being confined with you leaving. The puppy should have a long-lasting bone or activity toy while in the crate and plenty of water.

10. Never leave your puppy alone with an open flame or space heater. Screen off fireplaces and wood stoves.

11. Crawl on your hands and knees around the house. If you see something that might hurt your puppy, put it away.

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