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How to Puppy Proof Your House

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Bringing home a new puppy is a fun and exciting experience, though it can be quite a change if you are not used to having a puppy around. There are ways to make this transition more enjoyable for you and your puppy.

Puppies are curious and happy little animals. However, this playfulness and curiosity can potentially become dangerous and frustrating. Making sure your house is puppy-proofed will lead to a more enjoyable experience for both you and your new puppy.

Chew Proofing

All puppies have the urge to teethe and chew. This is normal and necessary to help their baby teeth fall out, and it can be managed.

Giving your puppy free access to chew toys can help. By offering a large assortment of toys, you increase the chance that your puppy will choose an appropriate chew toy. You will have to teach your puppy what is appropriate to chew on and what is not.

Begin by getting on all fours. This perspective will give you a better idea of what a dog will see. Hunt around for things that a dog would be tempted to chew on.

Power cords are a frequent chew choice, so they must be tucked away or secured out of reach. Trinkets, decorations, or other objects that are low to the ground or swiped off a low table or shelf can also be a potential chew toy.

Not all items will be able to be moved out of reach. While the puppy is in training, there are safe deterrents that can be applied to these items such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray. No-chew sprays are a safe way to teach your puppy what they can and cannot chew.

If you have children, be sure that they understand that a puppy will want to chew on things. Encourage them to keep their favorite toys away from their new furry friend.

They will also have to be more aware of their food. They will not be able to leave snacks unattended in places that the puppy can reach. Even older dogs who are well trained have difficulty controlling themselves around unattended food.


Little cute yorkshire terrier puppy hiding under the table

When you are bringing home a puppy, you must be prepared to clean up after it. Dogs are not housebroken right away; housetraining a puppy requires time and patience. Staying calm and consistent will help a puppy learn where they can defecate more quickly.

Training pads aka puppy pads aka pee pads are great tools. If you want a dog to go outside to poop, the pads can be placed right by the door to train a puppy to go to a specific door when they want to go out.

Small dogs may use these pads for pooping indoors. Most of the pads have an attractant in them to make the pad more appealing to the puppy. They can be found at pet stores or bought online. However, keep in mind that some dogs will tear them up if they are in a crate with a training pad.

Try to keep any dirty laundry or towels off of the floor. Some dogs will become confused and think that these are appropriate places for them to pee or poop. By keeping them off the floor, the puppy will not be tempted or become confused about where to go.

When an accident does occur, stay calm about it and clean it up right away. Ignoring a puppy for 5-10 minutes after an accident is a more effective way to communicate than negative attention because puppies love attention.

Cleaning up an accident is a more involved process than soaking it up with a paper towel and using a regular household cleaner. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and not all cleaners are effective at removing the odor of canine urine or feces. If they smell their own scent in an area, they will want to continue defecating there. Use cleansers that are specially made to destroy the scent of canine waste, such as Nature’s Miracle Advanced.

Protecting Furniture

girl yorkie puppy with pink bow and blanket

Puppies can destroy couches, chairs, and tables in a number of different ways. Puppies may try to dig into a couch or chair. Pillows or edges of furniture may feel good to chew on when they are teething. Their teeth and nails can rip into the fabric as they chew and grip the item to chew it.

Once this rip is made, most dogs will proceed to pull out the stuffing. As such, puppies should not be left unsupervised with items that can be torn apart with stuffing inside, because, in some circumstances, they will ingest the stuffing which can result in choking or in an intestinal blockage. An intestinal blockage has the potential to cause death; many have to be removed surgically and depending upon the severity, may impact a dog for the rest of their life.

You have to teach a dog what they are allowed to do in the house. Consistent training can help prevent chewing, but know that some dogs may continue to chew on inappropriate items when left unsupervised even with training. Some dogs will not be able to be left alone because they will express boredom or separation anxiety by chewing furniture, requiring them to be crated or placed in a playpen for their safety when home alone.

As the old saying goes, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. That goes for dogs too.

Most dogs shed. To keep pet hair and dander from being embedded into the fabric, slipcovers are a good investment. Even though Yorkies don’t really shed, they do sometimes vomit, pee or poop on furniture so it may still be a good idea to have some washable slipcovers.

These can go on chairs, couches, and love seats. They can be easily removed and washed. There are also pet hair-specific vacuum cleaners available that make dog hair removal more efficient.

Puppies can be tempted to chew on wood furniture when they teethe. With good training, this behavior will eventually go away. In the meantime, spray deterrents such as VetClassics YUCK!, can be used on specific items.

To encourage your wood-favoring puppy to chew on an appropriate item, consider purchasing a dog-safe wood chew toy such as the pet stages dogwood bone.

2 small yorkie puppies in grass

Toxic Substances and Hazards To Your Puppy

Since puppies are curious creatures and have a knack for finding things to get into, you will need to be sure to remove toxic or hazardous items from areas your puppy has access to. Examples are:

  • Toxic foods such as alcohol, coffee, chocolate, raisins, grapes, xylitol (also known as Birch Sugar), and more. See a complete list by ASPCA here.
  • Toxic substances such as rat poison or other chemicals; anti-freeze for example can sometimes smell sweet, and other interesting-smelling items such as poisoned rat food can attract a puppy’s attention.
  • Dog toys that have pieces that can easily be broken off cause a choking hazard or the potential for an intestinal blockage.
  • Small items that may capture a puppy’s attention due to strong odors such as underwear, socks (especially baby socks), sanitary napkins, items found in trash cans, etc, may pose a choking hazard or an intestinal blockage risk.

To help protect your puppy when you cannot supervise him or her, create a puppy safe area in a playpen with safe toys in it to keep your puppy busy. Safe toys to leave your puppy unsupervised with are:

*For maximum entertainment, fill Kongs with treats such as dog-safe peanut butter or KONG Stuff’N Easy Treat and freeze in the freezer the night before. Don’t worry about the clean-up; Kong toys are dishwasher safe!

closeup of yorkie puppy


Knowing what to expect from a new puppy can help you be more prepared for it. Teaching your puppy and getting to know his or her personality is a fun and fulfilling process. Enjoy this precious new addition to your family!

Share your experiences with your puppy and any tips you may have about puppy-proofing your home.

And for more puppy fun, read this article about fascinating Yorkie puppy facts.

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing
Blond woman holding a Yorkie and Chorkie sitting outside

Cathy Bendzunas

Dog Blogger, Former Dog Groomer

I have adored Yorkies for well over 50 years. As a young adult, I began to show and breed them. Now, I just write about them and have several in my little pack of small dogs.

I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.

Check out my bio for more information about me.