Torn couches and clods of dirt flung across the patio are funny in somebody else’s home video. When you have a pooch, you still want a habitable house and yard. With a few cheap ideas it’s possible to pet-proof without taking out a loan or fretting over gnawed furniture.
Closed doors are cheap; forgetting is costly. You don’t want to realize you forgot to close the bedroom door as you snuggle into the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching a chick flick, and Fido joins you with a fab stiletto in his mouth. Make a habit of closing doors where pooch presence is off-limits, and don’t allow him in the room even if you are inside. Offer welcoming pooch places, such as a basket of dog toys and a pet bed in the family room to help teach him indoor boundaries.
Baby gates make great pooch barriers in the house, and are relatively inexpensive. If you have a two-story or split-level home, use a gate to deny access upstairs or down.
A fenced backyard seems ideal, but don’t overuse it or Fido will get the backyard blues. While he may be contained, he could become isolated, bored and destructive, as in chewing up a lawn chair or digging halfway to China. Pooches are great companions because they love being with you, not your yard. The best pet-proofing is to keep Fido happy with daily walks, training and attention. Keep him focused on pleasing you and he’ll be a better backyard pet.
The cheapest solution for a pet-proof yard is supervision. However, if Fido has yard access, you can use inexpensive chicken wire to save flower beds from being trampled or to fortify your garden plot. Depending on Fido’s size, you can contain him in a dog run or a toddler play area. Keep the yard clean -- free of dangerous items like fertilizer or briquette lighter, and free of pooch poop piles. You can spread straw over potential muddy spots where grass might be sparse. Not only will it protect the yard, it will reduce muddy paw syndrome.
Charli Mills has covered the natural food industry since 2001 as a marketing communications manager for a highly successful retail cooperative. She built teams, brands and strategies. She is a writer and editor of "This is Living Naturally," a consultant for Carrot Ranch Communications and a Master Cooperative Communicator.