Set Up Your Dog to Succeed
Use these tips to help you build understandable communication, prevent problems, strengthen your relationship with your puppy, and keep your pet safe.
It's up to you to set up your puppy to succeed, rather than putting her in a position to fail. Learn to focus on what you want from your puppy rather than on what you don't want. Pick up your shoes, toys, newspapers, etc so she can't grab and chew on them! Make sure that you create your home environment for your puppy to achieve success.
- Put safety caps on all of your electrical outlets because your puppy might lick or put a toenail in the outlets.
- Keep electrical cords out of your puppy's reach because she will chew on them.
- Keep all cabinets in the kitchen, laundry, bathroom and garage locked. Most cabinets contain cleaning supplies that are caustic and dangerous for your puppy. Be sure to keep all medications on the highest shelf in the highest cabinet so your puppy can't reach these.
- Be careful that your puppy can't tug on a hanging tablecloth, pulling all the contents on her and the floor.
- Watch the pots and pans on the stove or counter. The handle might be in reach of a jumping puppy who can pull it and the hot contents on her. Watch for open oven doors that are very hot and can seriously burn your puppy.
- Garage doors and swinging doors can clip your puppy's tail and break her bones if she tries to dash through as it's closing. Watch, too, that a dragging leash doesn't get caught in any doors.
- Fireplaces and space heaters can burn your puppy. Never leave your puppy unattended around these heat products.
- Soaps, toothpastes, lotions, shampoos, razors, deodorants and creams can be very harmful to your puppy. Check counters, vanities, bathtubs and shower stalls to be sure you keep everything out of her reach.
- Plastic canisters can create an airtight seal if your puppy sticks her head inside.
- Trash containers and pails of all sizes contain decaying food, bottles, bones, plastic bags/wrap, foil, and old food containers (the possibilities are endless) and your puppy will want to investigate everything. Any of these items can make her sick or choke her. Be sure you keep all of these containers out of her reach, and that she can't grab hold of the pail's handle and get it off the counter. A diaper pail is also a danger if she got into it.
- Unattached furniture can easily topple on a jumping puppy, like bookcases, dressers and china cabinets.
- If your puppy doesn't know how to walk steps yet, keep them blocked so she doesn't fall up or down them.
- Cords from window blinds are very dangerous for your puppy. If she happened to get her head through the cord, she could be strangled. Keep the cords tucked into the blinds, never hanging within her reach.
- Pick up the loose change from your floor. Pennies can cause zinc toxicity that can sicken your puppy, and require expensive emergency surgery to remove from her intestines.
- Decks and patios might have open sides that you puppy can jump or fall through. It takes only a small opening that your puppy can squeeze through, sometimes falling several feet or stories. Seal your deck and patio openings with something like chicken wire to keep her safe.
- Open windows can also be a source of falling for you puppy, even if there is a screen she might be able to dislodge.
- Glass doors are dangerous because your puppy can't see the glass. If she ran into the glass, she can seriously injure her neck and back. Put duct tape in a pattern on the glass (such as x's) so she learns that glass is in front of her. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows can also be dangerous.
- Most communities require a fence around a pool, and many people will put their puppy in that fenced area to play. Be sure that your puppy is safe around the pool and can't fall/slip in. Not all puppies naturally know how to swim and have to be taught how to use all four legs to keep themselves afloat, otherwise they can easily drown. If your puppy is loose in an area with a pool, teach her first how to swim (use a puppy life jacket) before ever allowing her in the pool area.
- Unsealed deck wood, fencing, and railroad ties are often treated with arsenic. The arsenic can leach into the soil, exposing puppy feet (and your feet, too) and be toxic when absorbed by the skin. Worse if licked by a little puppy. Seal all wood in your yard to be safe.
- Twigs and branches on your lawn can poke your puppy's eye. They can also be source of chewing for your puppy, and she can get splinters in her mouth and intestines. Keep your lawn free of branches and twigs.
- If your puppy is near your car, don't drive anywhere until you know your puppy is safely away from car tires. She might dash under the tires, run behind the car where you can't see, or even be napping under the car's wheels.
- Be careful that your puppy doesn't investigate poisonous and dangerous plants, snakes, rats, bees, toads, turtles and whatever else is natural to your environment. She might be bitten, stung, or chew on something dangerous for her.
- Before you give your puppy peanut butter, be sure that she's not allergic to it. If you have nut trees in your yard, pick up the nuts before she eats them. She can choke on them, and some are poisonous for your puppy.
- Yard chemicals can be toxic for your puppy. This includes garden fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, slug bait, and lawn fertilizers. If your lawn has been freshly treated, keep your puppy off it.
- Garden mulch and decorative rock can break puppy teeth, be a source of choking, and also lodge in your puppy's intestines. Cocoa mulch is extremely dangerous for your puppy because it contains theobromine, which is the same substance in chocolate that can kill your puppy.
- Your garage is full of attractive and dangerous things for your puppy: antifreeze kills quickly, gasoline, oil, diesel fuel, carburetor cleaners, windshield fluid, furniture polish and stains, paint and paint thinners, glue, batteries, kerosene, car additives, and lawn additives (to name a few) are toxic and can kill your puppy. Keep them out of your puppy's reach, as well as making sure they don't contact your puppy's food in any way if you store the bag in your garage. Tools, tires, and garden equipment can fall on your puppy.