Recently, I’ve been writing about my trials and tribulations while moving. So, when it came to finally decorating my apartment, I wanted do it right. I mentioned in a past post that my nine year old Beagle presented some challenges during my move, but I failed to mention that I also have a much younger, eight month old puppy named Gus. And Gus likes to get in trouble. All. The. Time.
Now, Gus has had a couple of accidents while settling in – I have the vet on speed dial – so when I set out to decorate the apartment, I took extra caution to be sure it was completely pet proof. If you are moving into a new place, or are bringing a new pet into an old place, I suggest you do the same. Animals can take a long time to feel comfortable and at home in a new environment, and that can lead to uncharacteristic behavior, even in older, trained pets (i.e. chewing). It’s important that they are safe in your home when you aren’t around.
Of course, crating is an option when you are out of the home, but only if you will be returning within a few hours. For those of you working full time, here are my pet proofing suggestions:
Stay organized. Your pet is actually a great reason to stay organized. If you don’t want him/her tearing apart books, magazines, or important papers, be sure to keep them somewhere safe and out of reach. I converted an old window and some scrap wood into a storage cabinet for my books and magazines. It’s vintage style, functional and, best of all, way too heavy for my puppy to get into.
Use weight to your advantage. If you have a lot of empty floor space, you might not want to confine all of your decorative accents to the high points on your walls. Floor lamps, decorative end tables, or other design accents don’t need to be shunned just because your pet tries to wreak havoc on your home every time you go to work. Find things with a little extra weight to them so they can withstand a fast, wagging tail, or a failed attempt to stop sliding before a collision.
Don’t mistake your pet for a person. Believe me, I know that this happens. We all love our pets. But animals don’t think the way that people do. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your furry friend knows not to do something. Even with years of obedience training under his belt, in an uncomfortable situation (like a new home), he doesn’t know your laptop from his rawhide bone.
Think baby-proof. This was advice that my father gave me after my first mishap with Gus. Gus had somehow managed to unzip a bag that was still packed from a weekend away and gotten himself into all sorts of trouble. My dad told me to look around my apartment and secure anything the way I would if I were watching an infant or a toddler. When you are decorating your new place, imagine a young child running around. Is there anything that could be easily reached and broken? Move it.
Of course, the number one way to keep your pet safe and in check is with proper training, but I would make the same recommendations regardless. Just as it takes time for you to adjust to your new home and location, it will take time for your pet as well. The difference is your pet can’t talk to you about it – and is more likely to take it out on your furniture and shoes.
Gus and I both wish you the best of luck settling into your new, pet-proofed home!
If you have any additional tips, we’d love to hear them. Please share below.