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Puppy Proofing

Preparing for Puppy May 13, 2013

One of the puppy homes suggested that I talk about puppy proofing a home. This blog post could go on for a LONG time, but I will try to boil it down to a couple of simple bits of advice. In my experience, Vizsla puppies love dirty socks, dirty underwear, toilet paper, paper towels, glasses (eye glasses and sun glasses), lip gloss, chapstick, lipstick, stuffed toys of all kinds, and soft plastic anything. Children’s toys must be placed high on shelves or closed away when not being used. When you come home from the store DO NOT put your paper towels and toilet paper packages within reach. They will instantly be transformed into tiny bits of paper. Close your bathroom doors or your toilet paper rolls will be pulled around the house. You might laugh the first time, but after a while, that gets very old. Put your sunglasses and eyeglasses high up or away in their cases. Get used to your dirty underwear floating around the house. My girl Cassie once answered the front door (a screen door on a summer’s day) with my unmentionables in her mouth. Adorable. Personally, I leave dog toys all over the house even though the dog trainers say you shouldn’t do it. I would rather they grab the toys than my laundry or the furniture. Furniture legs and the wood molding around doorways might get chewed. I use a product called Bitter Apple if I see little teeth touching anything of value. Just spray it on. It doesn’t work all that well, but it might get you through the horrible chewing phase.

I have never had a Vizsla chew up a remote control, but I hear of dogs doing that all the time. One of the Vizslas that I rescued was into books - not just any book, but the one I was currently reading. Remember this bit of advice - if you have touched something and left your scent on it, the dog wants it. The dog wants you to want what he has. To him, that is the ultimate game. If you have touched something, that means you will want it. In dog think, that means the dog will get attention if he picks up something you touched recently.

Whatever you leave around the house for the dog to chew up is not the dog’s fault. It is yours. If you leave something you value in the dog’s reach, don’t get mad at the dog for chewing it.

Look around your house for electric wires that can be chewed. You can try spraying them with Bitter Apple too, but I have found that places like Best Buy carry cable covers/cable protectors - they are like long garden hoses split down the middle. That should work well. I tend to keep my wires behind baby gates. I keep puppies in secure safe areas of the house until they prove to me that wires and furniture will not be chewed. Baby gates are a great thing to have. Lots of baby gates.

Speaking of baby gates, you should keep your puppy safe from stairs until you are sure the puppy can negotiate them without any assistance. If you have seen the video that went viral on You Tube of the mother dog teaching her baby to go down the stairs, just know that I was appalled at anyone who would let a puppy do this. It’s no different for puppies than for human kids.

Another thing you need to watch out for is the things you keep in your cabinets. Some cabinets are easy to open, so you might need to use child locks to keep your dog out of the garbage, or food pantries, or your cleaning solutions cabinet. One of our houses years ago had those cabinets that you slightly push and they pop open. It didn’t take long for the dogs to figure that one out.

Check your garden for toxic plants or mulch. Mulch made from cocoa plants is very toxic to dogs. Some trees have toxic seeds/pods, so review your garden and google toxic plants. Also be aware that small garden rocks can be swallowed and will need to be removed by surgery. I avoid having small decorative rocks in my yard. I only know of one Vizsla that swallowed rocks, but I sure know a lot of labs that swallow whatever gets in their mouths.

One more thing, make sure you check in your garage for any dangerous chemicals. Snail bait has been known to kill dogs. Rat poison is very dangerous too - please don’t use any mouse/rat bait around the house. Antifreeze is very dangerous, so keep it up high and out of sight. The laundry room will have many dangerous items - bleach, laundry packets, etc. I keep the laundry room door closed to keep the dogs out, but if you have shelves to keep the nasty stuff out of reach, I would highly recommend you store things well out of reach.

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