It is not for naught that dogs have earned the moniker ‘man’s best friend’. Dogs play many roles in our lives – trusted protector, loyal companion, exercise partner. As such they deserve to be taken into consideration when it comes to the features and fixtures in our homes. Some great ideas to help you and your fur children coexist in harmony.
Starting with the basics, you need to proof your home for dogs, especially puppies and rescue dogs that are still learning the ropes. Much as you would do for toddlers, place plug covers over low-lying sockets and tuck away electric cords. Keep pups out of the pool with a solid cover if you don’t have fencing around this area. Baby gates are also a great way to keep them out of restricted areas like your bedroom.
Dogs like familiarity and routine, so set a designated feeding and watering area and be sure to store their food well out of the way so they don’t help themselves. The same applies to tempting waste and toxic chemicals.
As valued members of the family, many (older) dogs have the run of the home and the furniture too. In this instance, go for long-wearing flooring options that are non-porous, easy-to-clean and scratch-resistant. Ideal choices include tiles, hardwoods and bamboo or polished concrete with a robust rug covering that can be removed for cleaning. To protect your furniture, use washable cotton drop covers or an old duvet or opt for leather which is claw-proof or Crypton fabric which is stain resistant. They can also be trained to use their own special mat or bed in the living room which saves the furniture.
Dogs have loads of energy and it’s up to you to channel this in a positive direction.
Digging, barking and chewing are part of the normal behavioural repertoire of dogs. However, usually as the result of an under-stimulating environment dogs become bored and frustrated, and these behaviours become excessive and eventually unacceptable. Fortunately there are measures you can take to prevent normal behaviour from becoming problem behaviour.
Dogs enjoy looking over their domain and seeing humans and activities. A good view through palisade fencing is interesting and stimulating rather high walls all round. Visual access to activity within the home is also stimulating. A bored dog enclosed within four walls would really appreciate a jungle gym on which to climb in order to survey the happenings outside.
What Dogs Dig
As for digging, most dogs do so because they are genetically wired that way. Dogs also dig for thermal regulation; when it’s hot, the soil helps keep them cool and in the cold it warms them up. To solve this consider providing an attractive sandpit. Use temporary fencing to block access to sensitive areas until your dog has become conditioned to digging only in the designated area. A shallow plastic paddling pool is also a great option for keeping your pet cool.
Chewing is a basic need for dogs so be sure to provide a variety of suitable toys like rawhide chews, hooves, Kongs, Buster cubes, Rogz toys, and rope toys. Toys are really appreciated by dogs, large and small, and rotate toys on an unpredictable basis so they retain their value. Keep the children’s and pup’s toys separate to avoid unhappy incidents.
Don’t give your dog old shoes to chew on as this simply teaches him that all shoes are chew toys. Be very aware of where you kick off your Jimmy Choo’s as Rover can’t tell the difference between old tekkies and your prized footwear.