Thanks to Alexander Harris of the SpareFoot blog for this guest post. Find out more below!
Dogs need a lot of love and attention—but they also need plenty of space. Dogs are territorial animals, so it is important they have areas in your home set up for them sleep, play and hide out if they feel the urge. Whether you’re bringing home a Great Dane, a Chiweenie, or something in between, here are some expert-sourced tricks to get your home ready.
Nick Braun, founder and CEO of Petinsurancequotes.com says he lives in small house with his wife and two-year-old son. They just got a new Labrador retriever puppy named Gus.
“We finished our basement and turned that into Gus’ room,” Braun said. “His crate is down there and his toys are down there. It’s a safe, comfortable space that’s all his own.”
Braun said they put up a new fence in their backyard. “Gus can roam freely outside without us having to watch him 24/7,” Braun said.
Dog doors can be a great way to create easy access to the outdoors, and certain brands help in keeping your home energy-efficient.
Before adopting a dog, get your pet supplies first. Professional organizer Amy Trager recommends figuring out how larger items, like a crate or dog food bin, will fit into your home before you buy them.
“Measure spaces before heading to the store so you don’t buy items that don’t fit your space,” Trager said.
Trager says to consider smaller items you’ll need to buy too, such a basket for toys, a jar for treats, and a wall hook for a leash. “Each pet comes with many accessories and needs,” Trager said.
Dog blogger Brad Nierenberg noticed his Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Bitsy, like to lay on cool tiles during the summer. Nierenberg decided to lay out a few tiles in the corner next to her bed.
“She lays on them for a while before she curls up in her bed,” Nierenberg said.
Nierenberg said to help a rescue dog get acclimated to your scent, put an old T-shirt you don’t wear anymore in there bed or crate. This will help them get used to your scent and feel more comfortable with you. The Blissful Dog makes aromatherapy oils just for dogs to help calm anxiety.
If you are crate training, remember to never use the crate as punishment. Nierenberg said many dogs feel safe and relaxed in small confined spaces. Your dog should always think of their crate as a safe haven.
“Adding blankets and a T-shirt helps with this, but so does associating the space with something positive, like word of praise or a treat,” Nierenberg said.
Use bed raisers to provide more room for your pooch to fit underneath, says Harrison Vigersky who blogs at BoneandYarn.com. “New or shy dogs will really like this space if there isn’t a lot of room in your apartment,” Vigersky said.
In a small apartment, every extra square foot you can make for your dog to play matters. Vigersky says to use wall shelves instead of book cases or cabinets that take up floor space. Doing so can free up more space for a dog bed or toys.
Vigersky says to rearrange large and bulky furniture. “If your couch is in the middle of a wall or in the middle of a room, consider moving it to a corner where it will occupy less room and free up a large open area for your dog to run around in,” Vigersky said. SpareFoot.com can help you find a place to stash extra clutter until you decided what to do with it.
When introducing a newly rescued dog to a new environment, “Pet Lady” Dana Humphrey, says to skip the loud celebration or welcome home party. “Limit the number of people and animals the pet meets at first,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey says to consider getting a dog trainer right away. “A trainer keeps you honest and on track,” Humphrey said, “Even if you think you are a savvy pet owner, be open to new ideas.”
Blogger Jody Miller-Young says to think outside the box when it comes to making space in small apartments. Living in NYC, Miller-Young said she’s seen some innovative solutions such as a pull out panel that houses dog bowls and a place setting.
“I’ve come across beds created in faux fireplace nooks and under stair cubbies,” Miller-Young said.
Dog trainer Tonya Wilhelm says to keep everyday accessories in designated places that make sense. She keeps her dog’s leash, boots, towels, treats and raincoat in the laundry room, which is where they go outside from. Plastic hooks hold the dog’s leashes, harnesses and coat. Wilhelm keeps supplements, herbs and treats in a kitchen cupboard.
Wilhelm says to keep extra supplies and accessories in plastic bins, such as extra leashes, medications, treats, first aid supplies and medical records. “The bins are “back up” and our daily supplies are in other places,” Wilhelm said.
Wilhelm says to put lots of beds in various locations around the house, where she wants her pets to gravitate to. “If there are pet beds, they are more likely to hang in that spot versus in the middle of the floor,” Wilhelm explained.
Alexander Harris is an editor and reporter for the SpareFoot blog. SpareFoot is an online marketplace to find the best deals on self-storage. The company created a video series with talking dogs to promote pet adoption and raise money for two deserving local Austin non-profit organizations. Each time the ad is shared, SpareFoot will donate $1 to these organizations, up to $5,000 total. Check out the SparePups video and share to help them reach their goal.