Make Your Puppy Comfortable at Home
by Katherine K. Buxton
That face. Those eyes. The second you spotted him, you knew he was the one for you. But now it’s time to bring that cuddly, curious ball of energy home, and your pad for one can now be made for two.
“You bond right away with your little guy, and you want to make him feel at home,” says Jess Tipton, of Louisville, Kentucky, who recently brought home Dudley, her Maltese.
A few simple touches can do just the trick. Look at it from a puppy’s perspective. Would he enjoy that big comfy recliner? Sure—if he could get into it. But at half-pint size, he’s probably not jumping hurdles that high just yet. He’ll need a comfy place just for him. Try a soft dog bed and fill it with old bed linens and pillows. For a special treat, throw an old t-shirt into the mix. Its soft texture will be irresistible, and your familiar scent will be comforting.
Another suggestion he’s sure to enjoy is creating a special “look-out point”—that is, a special space where he can peer out the window at passing cars, pedestrians, and you coming home from work. Plus, this suggestion does double duty. When outdoor traffic is slow, he’ll love basking in those rays of sunshine. Creating his look-out point might be as simple as raising your heavy blinds a few inches. And if you have a window seat, you’ve got this one in the bag.
One of the most important areas—at least to your puppy—is his special play place. Again, take your puppy’s point of view. And when thinking about furniture in general, remember that puppies can be quite clumsy as they grow into those big paws. Thus, moving, rocking, and swinging furniture is out. Sturdy furniture is in. When he’s stumbling around chasing a ball, bumping the furniture won’t be a problem. Another big play-area plus is to have plenty of toys out at all times. That way, if you happen to leave your favorite shoes in the puppy zone, there’s a chance he’ll overlook them for the yummy-scented chew toy in the corner.
Your backyard provides a whole new opportunity for you and your puppy to have fun. The ever-popular puppy sandbox is a surefire winner, where he’ll be able to dig to his heart’s content. The sandbox happens to be the perfect avenue for a game of hide-and-seek too. Anything will do: Scented balls, puppy-friendly bones, and toys of all kind make for great buried treasure for your pooch to unearth.
While you’re outside, it’s not a bad idea to reserve a puppy potty area in your backyard. When he learns that it’s the designated area, you’ll both enjoy playing in the yard without having to watch your step.
While rearranging your furniture, raising your blinds, or simply scattering toys around the house will certainly comfort your puppy in his new home, in time, you and your puppy will develop a common language too. And next will come the happy home: “A comfortable environment will follow because once there is a level of understanding and communication, each will understand each other’s needs,” says Gail Clark, author of Puppy Parenting. She and her dogs understand each other, and she says, “Therefore, we are comfortable being around each other—are bonded to each other.” Learning together, whether it’s a group class or one-on-one time, helps jumpstart a happy and healthy lifelong relationship with your new best friend.