Puppy-Proofing Your House or Apartment

Protect Your Curious Pooch from You Home’s Contents

Puppies like to follow their noses, and when they find an interesting scent, they’re likely to try and find out what it’s about. So, before you bring your new puppy home, it’s wise to do some puppy-proofing work to keep dangerous objects out of your dog’s reach.

It’s a fact: Puppies don’t know any better!
Keep them out of BIG trouble before they get into it!


Puppy proofing your home is a process that takes care of three important priorities:

  1. Puppy-proofing keeps your dog safe by finding things that could injure your puppy or make him sick, and getting it out of the dog’s reach.
  2. Protecting your property from the puppy. Can you say “destructive force of nature?”
  3. Training your dog on the rules, especially rules such as no counter surfing, no darting out the door and running away, etc.

Puppy Proofing – How to Puppy Proof Your Home

The general idea is to prevent problems before they happen. Here are specific steps to take when puppy proofing your house or apartment:

General Puppy Proofing Tips:

  • Prepare a kennel space, or a crate, so that you can confine your puppy when you’re not home.
  • Crawl around on your hands and knees – yes, seriously! From that vantage point, find things that can be opened, pulled and chewed on.
  • Buy a bitter-tasting spray, and spray it on furniture legs and the low parts of walls, anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on.
  • Buy chew toys before your puppy comes home, and read about preventing chewing problems.
  • Always supervise your puppy when he’s roaming the house.
  • Don’t blame your puppy if you failed to think of some puppy-proofing step!


Puppy Proofing for Safety:


  • Put latches on cabinets and drawers, especially where knives and cleaning supplies are stored. Don’t rely on a rubber band or twine to keep these shut – your puppy will just chew through it.
  • Find ways to conceal electrical cords, phone cords, etc. PVC tubing is not as good as simply making sure the cords aren’t reachable from the puppy’s point of view. Bitter spray also helps.
  • Ensure that any poisons or baits are locked firmly away, and stored in non-leaking containers. This includes antifreeze, mothballs, fertilizers, pesticides and potting soil.
  • If you use a balcony or patio for your kennel space, make sure the puppy can’t slip through the bars. There are meshes and screens you can add, if necessary.
  • Tell your vet what kinds of house plants you have, and ask if any of them are dangerous.
  • If you have a wood-burning stove or a fireplace, make sure the wood piles are secure and out-of-bounds for your puppy. Buy a barrier to keep the puppy away from the fireplace or stove.
  • Ashtrays and burning candles should be kept where your puppy can’t find them.
  • The garage and tool shed should be off-limits to your puppy, since there’s loads of dangers in most garages. Make sure tools are always put away after use.
  • Check your fences for loose nails and boards, and make sure they’re inescapable.
  • Make sure your swimming pool is fenced off.
  • Identify “abnormal dangers.” This can be anything from a sliding glass door with counter-weights that will cruise shut at a touch, to the classic rocking chair. Keep them in mind, or even put signs on them to remind yourself to be careful with them.

Puppy-Proofing to Prevent Destruction and Bad Behavior:

  • Find anything that your puppy could destroy, and put it out of harm’s reach.
  • The drawstrings on window blinds need to be kept above the window between uses.
  • Remove anything your puppy could break or chew on, from all shelves, benches, etc.
  • Always clean up the table immediately after every meal.
  • Close the toilet lids in your bathrooms, or close the bathroom doors. 
  • Keep your trash cans in a closet, cabinet, or simply buy puppy-proof trash cans.

Remember – it’s impossible for me to list every conceivable household danger to your dog. Don’t forget that you want to avoid both destruction, and danger. Puppy proofing can take a few hours and cost a few dollars, but the peace of mind is priceless.

Don’t forget that when you get a new puppy, you’ll need to start right away with socialization and obedience training. To learn much more about how to keep your puppy out of trouble, consider getting a membership at DogProblems.com.

Return to training a dog or training a puppy.

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