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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Tips for Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard for Your New Aussie

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

So you've decided to add a new puppy to your family. This will be a fun and exciting time for everyone but it will also bring a lot of changes to your regular routine. With a growing puppy to look after, you'll need to take some extra precautions to ensure your pup's safety, which includes puppy-proofing your home and yard.

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Like human babies, puppies are just beginning to learn about the world and will be curious about everything around them. Unfortunately, as they begin to explore they may not recognize potential dangers and they rely on you to protect them.

Puppy-proofing is a way to ensure that both your house and yard are safe environments for your new puppy. Just be aware that some items that may seem perfectly innocuous could actually present a tremendous threat to puppies, so you can't afford to overlook any details.

Tips for Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard for Your New Aussie - Photo: Winking Australian Shepherd puppy.

Florian Fritsch /

After your initial puppy-proofing, maintain a "puppy-proofing mindset" so you stay alert to, and ahead of, any potential problems before they arise.

Things to Consider When Puppy-Proofing Your House

When it comes to puppy-proofing your house, there are a few key areas to focus on:

  • Secure electrical cords – Puppies love to chew and they don't recognize that the cord from your computer, TV or air conditioner may be dangerous. Chewing on cords can result in burns or electrical shock, so keep all cords up and out of the way or covered by protectors so that your pup can't reach them.
  • Carefully store cleaning supplies and medications – As with human babies, cleaning supplies and prescription medications can both be deadly to puppies so they should be kept out of reach in a closed cabinet.
  • Close the toilet lid – Drinking out of the toilet is a common habit for many dogs but it should be discouraged as toilet water can contain high levels of bacteria. Also, a pup that climbs up to drink could be in danger of falling in and drowning, so keep those lids closed at all times!
  • Close doors and windows – This is especially important if you live on the upper floors of an apartment building or for the second story of your home, so your pup won't be in danger of falling out. Also, be sure to secure the cords of window blinds so they don't become a choking hazard.
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
  • Keep small items out of reach – Again, like babies, puppies will often explore the world around them using their mouths, so any small items like paper clips, coins, rubber bands, jewelry and small children's toys that could become a choking hazard should be kept up off the floor.
  • Be careful with sharp objects – Obviously objects like knives, scissors, razors and tools can be an extreme safety hazard so they should always be put away and out of reach of curious pups.
  • Keep houseplants out of reach – One of the most important steps for puppy-proofing is also one of the most overlooked. There are many types of common houseplants, including lilies, tulips, and cyclamen, that are poisonous to dogs, so you should move any of your plants out of reach of pups.
  • Secure your trash cans – Another often overlooked step is securing your trashcan. It may not seem attractive to you but the smells coming from your trash can be very enticing to puppies. Unfortunately, not everything in the trash is good for them so be sure to keep the lids on your trash cans securely.
  • Don't feed him table scraps – Most human food is not actually good for pups so refrain from feeding him scraps and be sure to keep potentially toxic foods like chocolate, raisins and sugarless gum out of his reach.
Tips for Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard for Your New Aussie - Photo: Young woman showing Australian Shepherd puppy a dandelion.

Fauren /

While it's vital to puppy-proof your home, it's also important to not overlook potential threats in the yard.

Don't Forget About Puppy-Proofing Your Yard

Of course, the house isn't the only area your pup will be exploring so you need to do some puppy-proofing in the yard as well. This will be both his playground and his bathroom and ensuring safety here is vital.

  • Fence the yard and the pool – Keeping a fence around your yard and pool that is tall enough to keep him protected is key, and be sure that there no holes that he can crawl through.
  • Remove toxic plants – As with houseplants, many plants found around your yard can present a danger. Avoid planting things like English ivy, hemlock, chrysanthemums, foxglove and lily of the valley so he won't be tempted to eat them.
  • Designate a bathroom area – If possible, you should have one section of your yard that is set aside for his bathroom needs. Be sure to keep it cleaned to prevent him from eating his own feces or rolling in it, both favorite puppy pastimes!
  • Keep the lawn and brush trimmed – Ticks can hide in long grass and brush, so keeping everything well trimmed will protect your pup from infestation.
  • Avoid using pesticides or fertilizers – Since substances like pesticide and fertilizer can be toxic to puppies, you should avoid using them whenever possible and if you do use them then keep your puppy away from the yard immediately after it is treated.
  • Always supervise – Since you can never be sure what your puppy could get into, it's crucial to keep an eye on him at all times when he's out in the yard. Also, try not to leave him outside too long in the heat and always be sure he has access to shade and water.

Remember that Australian Shepherds are naturally very intelligent and energetic, so keeping up with your Aussie pup may be even more of a challenge. Just keep these puppy-proofing tips in mind and you'll be able to provide a safe, happy home that you and your pup can enjoy together.

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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