Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dog-Proofing Your House

Well…I met the newest member of my family today and I’ve gotta tell you, it was love at first sight.  Gigi (see picture above) is a Cane Corso Mastiff my parents rescued from a shelter and even at only 10 months old she’s as adorable as she is giant.  It’s been awhile since we had a puppy barreling through the house but it seems everyone, including our new furry friend, is adjusting quite well.  If you’re considering getting a dog, or even if you’re already a proud but not entirely confident master here are some things you should know about your dog and home.

Protecting your dog from your house

Having a dog is like having a newborn- they require lots of attention, supervision, and interaction and it’s your job to keep them safe.  Check out the “puppy zone”, or any area your dog has access to and look for anything that may endanger your new friend.  Look especially for hazardous plants, (including but not limited to Dumb Cane, Philodendron, Caladium, Elephants Ear, Azaleas, Hydrangea, English Ivy, Oleander, Jasmine, Lilies and Wisteria), medicines, household cleaners, chocolate, macadamia nuts, antifreeze or other known dog poisons.  Additionally, it’s best to clear the area of small objects such as string or ribbon that can be harmful to your pet’s intestines if swallowed.  

Protecting your house from your dog

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but unless you’re bringing home a fully trained and grown dog there will more than likely there will be some casualties in your home.  Keep these to a minimum by keeping bedroom and bathroom doors closed, trash covered, and books and other paper products out of reach. Contrary to how you may feel, your puppy does not have an agenda to destroy your things- it’s probably just teething or needing a bit of time to break some bad habits.  Keep your dog supplied with toys and bones to chew on so your furniture looks less appetizing.  If your dog is a giant like Gigi, check the stability of your tables.  If you’ve got a coffee or side table that’s easily knocked over you may want to keep breakables off it.  And for heavens sake, keep your shoes in a safe place- believe me, I speak from experience!  When my family bought our oldest dog, Solomon, I was at college and thus not immediately recognizable to him as a member of the pack when I came home for the summer.  His way of welcoming me was to destroy no less than 14 pairs of my shoes….a tragedy I get heart palpitations talking about to this day.  Solomon and I have since put the incident behind us, but his non-sanctioned chewing phase didn’t end overnight.  If your puppy is a destroyer of worlds, be patient and know that, with proper training, he or she will eventually move out of this phase and into the “man’s best friend” portion of it’s life. 


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