There is something uplifting about the presence of a dog in our lives and homes. They offer unconditional love that helps us during our sad moments. Their energy is also quite contagious, lifting us from the couch into long walks in nearby parks.
While dogs can be our best friends they can also be messy. Having a dog at home means we should take a few steps to make the cohabitation as healthy as possible. It’s important to set some ground rules from the get go. For example, it’s necessary to attribute functions to specific areas for their day-to-day activities, such as sleeping, eating and playing. Most importantly though, if you decide to bring some four-legged joy into your home, you must treat it with respect and love in order to secure best friend status! Let's explore ideas on how to turn your home into a dog haven…
Take notes and, as always, be inspired!
First of all you’ll need a solid floor. Carpets are out of the question in terms of hygiene when you get a dog. If it’s a puppy then it will take a few weeks to potty train and if it’s an adult dog, it'll take a while to understand its habits. Remove your rugs and carpets lest they become their spot for physiological needs.
You'll also need to consider that dogs are playful creatures, which means you’ll need a resilient floor that can withstand biting and scratching. The ideal floor would be tile, non-absorbent, easy to clean and resistant to wear and tear.
If you have an outdoor space, such as a terrace, balcony, garden or patio, directly connected to your home then it’s a good idea to teach your dog how to go in and out of the house. This will be especially helpful with its physiological needs but, of course, the absence of outdoor space is not an impediment to having a dog.
It just means that you’ll need to create a schedule so that your dog gets regular air and exercise. Two or three trips per day in the outside world where your dog can run, play and interact with other animals is enough. Luckily, dogs are creatures of habit and obedience so they will stick to the schedule you create.
It’s vital to define a specific spot in the house where your dog will understand is designated for eating. We recommend placing the food bowl at a certain height, which will help avoid mess on the street and teach your dog not to devour things it finds in the street.
It’s also important to designate a comfortable spot in the house for your dog to sleep.
While they often prefer a nice place on the floor or rug for their slumber, you should make them a bed, using a pillows or a crate, as shown in the picture above. The dog will then associate this place with sleeping, thus saving you the trouble of having to move them from your bed when you want to rest.
That is, of course, unless you don’t have a problem cuddling with your pooch!
When a dog sees a puddle of mud they usually can't resist the calling to jump right in! If you own a dog you'll no doubt know that cleaning them after a mud bath can be a messy task. Remember also, mud baths aside, you will need to give your dog a bath every couple of months.
This all means you need to think about whether your bathroom is suitable. You should be able to accommodate a small dog in the sink or with the shower but larger breeds may need more tricky arrangements. You can wash the dog in the garden with a hose or take it to a grooming parlour that offers bathing services.
Either way, it's important to make the process as stress free as possible for the dog.
You should try to make your home as fun and accessible as possible when introducing a dog. Establish from the beginning which areas, such as the kitchen or the office, are off limits for playtime. It’s also crucial to remember that the areas with furniture can often fall foul of a dog's immense sense of curiosity and destructive teeth so try to
dog-proof your room and,remove objects that have sentimental or financial value from their reach.
For more four-legged inspiration, consider: Is Your Home ’Best Friend’ Proof?