If you're considering adopting a dog or a puppy, there are a few must-have items that will come in handy for keeping your home intact. All dogs need a little time to adjust, whether it's a frightened rescue or a romping pup! Consider the following to help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your new furry friend, while keeping your space damage-free.
1. A crate or kennel. I'm a firm believer that a dog (especially a brand new dog) needs a space to call his own and retreat if necessary. Crates also help with separation and house training, offering security and containment. Don't splurge on a huge one, either! I have a chihuahua, so her crate is naturally much smaller than this. Dogs feel safer when they are in a crate that fits their size—provided they can lay down and stretch. Think of it as a den. Some dogs (like mine) especially like this coziness, so the crates with the plastic sidings or a blanket draped over the top of a wire crate are wonderful.
2. Furniture protectant. Before you bring the newest member of your family home, consider using Scotchguard or another furniture protectant. The trick with this is that you have to spray onto a clean surface, so get your couch or rugs cleaned first. You can also get a Scotchguard Carpet Cleaner for house-training accidents that works wonders.
3. House-training pads. Speaking of house-training accidents, these wee pads are an absolute must-have if you're bringing home a puppy. There is a pet-detectable scent on the pad that usually attracts your dog for bathroom breaks (from personal experience, this is not always 100%). Put the pad near the door where you would like to train your dog to wait when he needs to go outside, and you're two steps ahead of the house-training game. I would also recommend these for older dogs as well. You never know how much training you'll have to reiterate when a dog is in a new environment. And remember, above all else: patience.
4. Distilled white vinegar. When your dog or puppy does have an accident, however, I'd recommend cleaning it with a household carpet cleaner, then sprinkling the area with a water and distilled white vinegar solution. Dogs don't like the smell of vinegar and may avoid using that spot as a restroom again in the future.
5. Lint rollers. For all those fuzzy pups, stock up on lint rollers! Vacuuming is best, obviously, but if you don't want your vacuum constantly running, these are good for quick touch-ups to your couch, chairs, or the dog's bed.
6. A pet placemat. While my current dog doesn't have this problem, I have never in my life seen more voracious eating than from a big black lab. Dogs are messy eaters and sloppy drinkers. A non-stick mat helps the bowls stay in place and limits messes on your floor.
7. Bitter apple spray. If you are adopting an older dog, this might be something you'll want to wait on until you assess his personality, but with puppies, it's a must. Puppies of all breeds like to chew everything, including furniture legs and exposed wires. If you notice a pattern developing, spritz your puppy's off-limits chew toy (ex. your brand new wooden console's legs) a few times a day to break the habit. This product works best while wet, so you'll have to spray throughout day until they get bored with that area. Obviously, exercise caution if spraying wires.
8. A baby/pet gate. This item has been a lifesaver for me in the past ten years with my pup. Block off any area you want to keep the dog out of—simple as that! I use the this plastic one because my chihuahua fits right through the bars of the standard dog gates. If you have a larger dog, consider a more convenient gate with a door hinge.
Have any recommendations of your own? We'd love to hear them! Tell us in the comments.