Moving into a new home is an emotional time. After being squashed into a placethat was ‘just what you can afford’ for so long, now you have space andpermission to do what you like and really make it your own. Once things areunpacked, the pictures hung and your new neighbourhood explored, it’s notuncommon to start to feel like something is missing. Maybe it doesn’t feelquite as much like ‘home’ as you were expecting, or maybe you are ready totake the next step and care for someone else now. A new baby may be too muchof a commitment, but a pet can be ‘just the right amount of life changing’ asa transitory step to actual parenthood.

There are plenty of options for pets for beginners – from goldfish andterrapins to cats and guinea pigs. Nothing says home though as much as anadorable puppy dog racing to the door to meet you each day. Dogs offerunconditional love and companionship and are known for being instinctive tohuman emotions, so can be a great support and company, especially if you livealone. There are plenty of breeds to choose from to suit whatever size homeyou have – even those with limited outdoor space. Some aspects of yourlifestyle will change however as a puppy needs to be trained and supporteduntil it grows into its new family and environment. The rewards are well worththe investment, however, and as long as you keep these 5 tips in mind, the twoof you will be well into the happily-ever-after stage before you know it.

1. Safety first

Many of the strategies parents use to childproof their home come in handy withpuppies too. Before the puppy moves in, go through every room in the house anddeal with any things that might present a safety risk. All cords should bewell out of reach or firmly secured in chew proof tubing. Doors and cupboardsthat may be easily accessible should have childproof latches attached andeveryone in the house trained to keep the toilet lid down (or just latch it).Blocking off areas you don’t want them to go into can be useful too – ratherthan dealing with the mess just don’t give them access. Child safety gateswork fine here.

2. Chew proofing

One of the ways puppies explore their new environment is by chewing througheverything that stands in their way. They will also chew anything that smellslike you, which in your bedroom is basically everything. From toilet rolls toPrada heels, TV remotes to chair legs – nothing is sacred and the damage canbe devastating. The saying ‘the dog ate my homework’ is not a work of fictionafter all. Habits such as kicking your shoes off on the floor, or draping yourjacket over a chair when you get home, or leaving wardrobe doors open, shouldbe changed immediately. Every new thing or space is a chance for them toindulge their curiosity. Keep lids on rubbish bins and waste paper baskets,and scraps of carpet secured temporarily around furniture legs or edges willprevent them becoming pseudo chew toys. Distraction such as actual chew toyscan be a great help.

3. Choke and swallow proofing

Just as you need to remove things so the dog can’t chew them, you shouldremove things for their own safety too. The condition called pica is commonamongst many puppies, causing them to eat things that are not food. Just likechildren, the list of things dogs will get into their mouths is endless and ifthey can’t chew it, they may swallow it instead which presents a chokinghazard. Buckets of clothes pegs, remote controls with loose backs that couldeasily release batteries, socks, earrings, razors, light globes, dental floss,sofa cushions and more. There are so many things that get randomly left aroundthe house that can present sincere danger. You only have to google ‘thingsdogs have swallowed’ to get a sense of the possibilities. As is the case forchildren you should also keep poisons cupboards locked and dangerous liquidsand objects well out of reach. If your puppy has swallowed something theyshouldn’t have there are some clear signs, and it may be worth considering petinsurance before your puppy gets into too much trouble.

4. Toilet training

If your dog is inside a lot of the time they will need a routine when it comesto toileting. Start toilet training your puppy as soon as they move in,remembering that consistency is key and establishing a routine will get youboth into a good rhythm and reduce the frequency of ‘accidents’ in the home.Your puppy should be taken outside first thing in the morning and last thingat night and be able to access an outside area regularly throughout the day.Identifying a spot in the garden they can use every time is useful too and ifthey do go inside by mistake, make sure you clean it well so they can’tidentify it later for a repeat performance. Never, and we mean never, rub yourpuppy’s nose in any accidental messes it has made. Reward outside toiletingimmediately with small treats and plenty of praise.

5. Dog vibes

Sometimes a dog becomes another part of the furniture and sometimes the dogtakes over the entire house, giving new meaning to the term ‘dog person’.Putting protective rugs over sofas can reduce clumps of unsightly hairaccumulating and training the dog to go to the toilet outside will minimisesmells in the home. The comparison with children is again useful – is it ahouse that children live in or the children’s house? If toys and dogparaphernalia are strewn all over the house, not only does your house lookuntidy and potentially put people off from visiting, it also teaches the dogthey have some ownership of the space – which they do not. Have a designatedbox with a lid for puppy toys (this keeps them tidied away and also containssmells that some much loved dog toys can accumulate. Wash soft toys andblankets regularly and get fresh air in the house to minimise the smell of wetdog/dog pee/dog food/hairy dog and so on. Yes, they are adorable but they arealso still an animal so pay attention to the basics and the two of you will beloved up in domestic bliss with a long and happy future together ahead of you.


The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broadguide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estateadvice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professionaladvice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal,financial or real estate decisions.

About Tamara Wrigley

Media personality Tamara Wrigley is a successful award-winning businesswoman.A fashionista, TV presenter, former magazine editor and property mogul, whenshe’s not rubbing shoulders with celebrities on the red carpet, Tam can befound in her real estate office or renovating homes and commercial buildings.Tam purchased her first property at the age of 21 and now has an empire of 30+properties worth millions. For more information, follow her Instagram andblog.

Previous Learn new tricks with RSPCA NSW’s online training courses

Next Spring pet care tips from VET Dr Alison Kemp:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *