How to Prepare your House for the Arrival of a New Poodle Puppy

How to Prepare your House for the Arrival of a New Poodle Puppy

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Poodles" by Tarah Schwartz. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: Tarah Schwartz

Adjusting Your Current Pets and Children

Bringing a new Poodle home can be a stressful experience, especially if you have other pets or children. Properly introducing your new Poodle to your family is essential to the beginning of their lifelong relationships. Occasionally, not everyone gets along right away, and it may take time to develop a good relationship, so don’t give up if the first day doesn’t go as planned. No matter what, for the first several weeks after bringing your puppy home, do not leave him with other pets or children unattended. Poodle puppies, especially Toy and Miniature Poodles, are small and can easily be injured. Your other pets or kids may not mean to hurt the puppy, but accidents can and do happen.

Introducing them to other Pets

When introducing your new Poodle puppy to current pets, it may be advisable to introduce them on neutral ground. Some pets can become territorial with new animals, so to prevent any issues you should try to introduce them away from your current pets’ territory. Outside spaces such as a front yard or garage work well. If weather doesn’t permit outdoor introductions, try using a room that your pet doesn’t spend much time in, such as a dining room or laundry room.

Prepare your Children, Especially the Youngest Ones

Before you bring the puppy home, spend some time explaining to your children the proper way to interact with a dog. Once they see the puppy, they can easily become excited and it will be impossible to try to explain the rules at that point. This discussion is for their safety as well as the puppy’s. An excited child can easily play too roughly with a delicate puppy and injure it, but it’s possible the child may also scare the puppy. A scared puppy may feel the need to protect himself and may bite the child. Puppies also bite during play, especially when they are playing with a rambunctious child. Explain to the children that slow, gentle touches are best and discourage smaller children from attempting to pick the puppy up.

An Ounce of Prevention is Better than a Pound of Cure

Supervision is key to preventing accidents. It can be a hassle to monitor every interaction between your new puppy and your current pets and children, but it’s better than the alternative. Most fights between animals and accidents between animals and children can be prevented if you keep an eye out for the warning signs. If at any time the dog, child, or other animal seem uncomfortable, it’s time to separate them. Short introductory sessions a few times a day will help everyone adjust to each other, while allowing everyone their own safe space as well.

Dangerous Things that Poodles Might Eat

Poodle dog house
Photo Courtesy – Bec Bland

Puppies explore their world with their mouths and the average household is full of potential dangers. Before bringing your Poodle puppy home, you need to go through your house to make sure that any potential dangers are either removed or placed out of the puppy’s reach.

If you have houseplants, you need to make sure that they are nontoxic to dogs. Some plants can cause serious digestive or neurological problems, or even death, so it’s important to do your research. If you can’t bear to part with your favorite toxic plants, just make sure they are placed somewhere that your puppy will not be able to reach them. If you have an outdoor garden, the same rule applies there as well. Any toxic plants need to be removed from your yard or fenced off.

Watch the Trash Can, Because your Poodle Certainly will!

Trash cans can be incredibly tempting to a curious puppy. They’re full of interesting smells and delicious treats, but they can be full of danger as well. Cooked bones, plastic wrappers, and used household supplies can all be dangerous or even deadly if ingested. If your trash can can’t be hidden inside of a cabinet, try shopping for a can that is large enough and heavy enough that it can’t be tipped over. Some trash cans can even be locked when you’re not using them, so use your best judgment to decide what will work best for your situation.

Beware of Toys, a Potential Danger

If you have children, have a discussion with them about keeping their toys out of the puppy’s reach. Puppies can easily confuse children’s toys for their own, and small toys, such as cars or figurines, can be gulped down in the blink of an eye. Making sure your puppy doesn’t get into your kids’ toys will prevent a potential intestinal blockage, and it will also prevent disappointment and resentment when your kids discover the puppy has eaten their favorite toy.

Other Household Dangers

Although Poodles were bred to be water dogs, pools can be incredibly dangerous to an unsupervised Poodle puppy. If you have a fenced-in pool, make sure the puppy can’t squeeze through the fence into the pool area. You may need to repair holes or line the bottom half of the fence before allowing your puppy into the backyard. If your pool is not fenced in, your Poodle must be supervised at all times. It takes only a second for a dog to slip over the edge and into the water, so keep a close eye on your puppy any time he’s in the yard. There are products available that act as a ramp for animals who have fallen into pools, so you may want to consider purchasing one as a backup in case something happens. Some animals panic enough after falling in that they may not be able to find the ramp, but it at least gives them a way out if they can find it.

Beware: Poodles are Escape Artists

Care must be taken to ensure that all doors and gates in the house and yard are secured. It takes only a second for a puppy to slip out an open door. The world can be a dangerous place for an unaccompanied Poodle puppy, especially the smaller varieties. If your Poodle escapes the house without identification, he can become lost or taken in as a stray. If he wanders into the street, passing cars may have difficulty spotting such a small animal and he may be hit. Predators, such as coyotes, bobcats, or even other dogs also present a danger to Poodle puppies. To prevent tragedy, it’s best to make sure that all doors and gates have been closed tightly before allowing your poodle into the room or yard. When you leave your puppy in his designated area, it’s a good idea to double-check all crate doors and gate latches before leaving, just to make sure that the puppy is safe and secure in his own space.

Stairs = Bad news for puppies

Long flights of stairs can also be a hazard to a clumsy puppy. While it’s unlikely that your puppy will be severely injured if he tumbles down a few steps off the porch, if you have long flights of stairs in your home or live in an apartment building with long flights of stairs, take care to keep your puppy away from them. Never allow your puppy to wander freely in the area without supervision. It’s best if you can place a barrier, such as a pressure-mounted baby gate, at the top of the stairs to prevent your puppy from accidentally falling down the stairs.

Preparing a Space for Your Poodle Inside

Before you bring your Poodle home, you’ll need to prepare a safe and secure area for him to stay. Allowing your puppy access to the entire house right away will only lead to house-training difficulties and chewed-up furniture and personal items. Your puppy’s area should be separated from the rest of the home with a baby gate, or you can use a wire or plastic playpen. Try to choose an area with easy-to-clean floors such as tile or laminate flooring, such as a spare bathroom, laundry room, or section of the kitchen. A room that is near most of the action in the home, but still allows the puppy some quiet time, is ideal. Your puppy’s area should not be too large. During house-training, you don’t want the puppy to have too much space without supervision. The more frequently the puppy is allowed to eliminate inside the house without correction, the more difficult house-training will be.

Look for Potential Dangers

As you set up the room, get down on the puppy’s level to spot any potential dangers. The area must be thoroughly puppy proofed before you bring your Poodle home. If there are any electrical cords, houseplants, or furniture that can be easily knocked over, remove them or place them out of the puppy’s reach. You’ll also need to make sure that any cabinets cannot be opened by a curious puppy. Child-proof cabinet locks work well with even the nosiest puppies. Make sure all doors and gates are secure. Poodle puppies, especially Toy Poodles, can squeeze through small gaps, so make sure the area is secure before bringing your puppy home.

Be Prepared for Accidents!

Toy poodle puppies
Photo Courtesy – Emil Friberg

As you set up the area, consider lining the floor with absorbent puppy pads. Accidents are bound to happen, and puppy pads can make cleanup a bit easier. Be sure to keep an eye on your puppy if you plan on using puppy pads. If you notice him chewing on them or tearing them up, you need to remove them immediately. You’ll also want to think about where you place your puppy’s bed and dishes. Placing the bed in the quietest corner of the space will allow the puppy to have a safe space to retreat to if he gets overwhelmed during the first few days in his new home. If you plan on crate training your puppy, you can place his bed inside of his crate. Some owners choose to cover the crate with a blanket or crate cover to give their dogs a bit more privacy. Your puppy’s food and water dishes need to be placed some distance away from his bedding to prevent him from soiling his bed if he knocks over any dishes. It’s a good idea to keep dishes away from the entrance of the area. The puppy may become excited when you come home or let him out and he may knock over his dishes accidentally.

Preparing Outside Spaces

As with your Poodle’s space indoors, you need to get on his level outdoors and check for any potential dangers. Walk the fence line to be sure there aren’t any holes or loose boards that could allow a puppy to squeeze through. The smaller varieties of Poodle are especially good at squeezing through tight spaces to escape. Keeping your puppy in is just as important as keeping potential predators out. Wild animals such as coyotes and bobcats can easily snatch up your puppy if given the opportunity. If your fence has wide gaps, as in a wrought iron or metal fence, you may want to consider lining the bottom half of the fence with wire fencing with smaller gaps, such as chicken wire. Just make sure to attach the chicken wire securely to the fence itself, so the puppy can’t pull it away.

Garden Dangers and Poodles

As with your houseplants, you need to go through your yard and make sure your plants are nontoxic to dogs. If you have flower beds or a vegetable garden, you may want to fence them off to prevent your puppy from digging up your plants. A garden can be a dangerous place for a puppy, but a puppy can just as easily destroy a garden full of plants or flowers. A small fence or barrier should be enough to keep a curious puppy away from your precious plants. The products you use to keep your yard and garden looking their best can also be a danger to your puppy. If you usually use chemical weed-killer or fertilizer, you may want to examine the ingredients and look for more dog-friendly options.

Supplies

It’s important to make sure you have all of the necessary supplies before you bring your new Poodle home. Introducing a new member of the family will be stressful anyway, so you don’t want the added stress of forgetting to buy food for your puppy. Make your list of the essentials and check it several times before you bring the puppy home, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Some items, such as toys, clothing, and grooming supplies, are not necessary right away, and you can consider buying them at a later time.

Collar

One of the most important items you need for your puppy is a comfortable, securely fitted collar with identification. You may not know the exact size your puppy will wear, but depending on which variety of Poodle you have adopted, you can make a fairly accurate guess. Most collars are adjustable and can adjust several inches if necessary. For the identification, some owners prefer tags, but others prefer metal collar plates. Name plates do not jingle like tags do, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to hear where your puppy is based on the noise from his identification tags.

Leash

You’ll also need a leash, preferably between four and six feet long. Extendable leashes are not recommended while training your dog, but you can consider one later on in your training when you know what to expect from your dog. You’ll also need food and water dishes and a comfortable bed.

Bed

Remember, puppies love to chew, so it may not be a good idea to spend a large amount of money on your Poodle’s first bed since he may just chew it up. Try to find one with a removable cover as it will make washing much easier. There will be times where you will need to wash the whole bed, but it will last longer if you can just wash the cover on occasion. Some dogs also enjoy burrowing under blankets when they sleep.

Blanket

You may want to consider buying a small, inexpensive blanket for your puppy to see if he enjoys the security of being covered while he sleeps. Many stores sell relatively inexpensive fleece blankets and if your puppy chews it up, it can be easily replaced.

Supplies for Horsetrading your New Poodle

Poodle in bed
Photo Courtesy – Joanna and Rob Sgro

When you’re shopping for supplies, you’ll also need to consider how you plan on house-training your puppy. Disposable absorbent puppy pads are a great item to have on hand. They’re great for lining crates and playpens. If you plan on using an indoor potty patch, you may also want to consider buying one at this time. If you would prefer your dog only uses the outdoors, consider buying a bell for the door. There are quite a few companies that make bells designed to hang from a doorknob that can be nudged or pawed at when your dog wants to go outside.

There are items that make living with a puppy easier, but they aren’t entirely necessary. If you want to encourage your puppy to play with toys, consider buying a few different kinds to see what he prefers. Plastic or wooden puzzle toys are also a great way to encourage your puppy to use his mind and keep him busy while you do household chores. Grooming supplies, such as shampoo, combs, nail clippers, and toothbrushes can also make puppy care a little easier. Even if you don’t plan on grooming your Poodle yourself, it can still be nice to have the supplies on hand should you notice your puppy’s coat getting tangled, or if he manages to find a mud puddle on your morning walk.

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Poodles" by Tarah Schwartz, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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