Dogs come in all kinds of shapes, ages, and sizes and keeping them safe—and out of your hair—sometimes can be a challenge. It’s not that they want to aggravate you or get into trouble. But dogs are not VCRs and can’t be switched off and shoved under a bed.
Dogs could be compared to four-year-old children who whine on rainy days about boredom and wanting something to do. If not given safe and productive alternatives, they will certainly find a pastime and it might be un-planting your potted palm, countertop cruising for munchies, or leaving shed fur all over the guest bedroom’s new chenille spread. Old dogs may develop problems “holding it” and act embarrassed when they make a mess on the antique rug. Giving your dog a legal place to lounge, sleep or play makes good sense. This also gives them a safe retreat away from that pestering toddler or the aggravating kitten. Yes, dogs need a special space to call their own, just like people do.
There are a number of ways you can create a special space for your dog. Depending on their size, the space can be a whole back yard to a small corner of the bedroom. Here are some ideas to start.
Offer A Doggy Condo
A variety of kennels and crates come in various sizes and styles to fit your dog’s needs as well as your decorating ideas. You can situate the crate in a back room, or in the middle of the action in the living area. A decorative throw rug placed over the top of wire crates turns them into stylish furniture accents while giving the dog some privacy. To make it extra special, why not add a special bowl inside the crate where you can leave treat “surprises” now and then to make the space even more welcoming.
Create A Napping Zone
Special beds sized to snuggle puppies or soothe arthritic old dog bones are available. These work extremely well to offer a welcoming space especially on less than appealing hard floors. For the little dogs, you can set a dog bed on the end of a sofa or your own bed to get them out from underfoot and protect the upholstery or bedding. Adding a bed underneath a table works well, too, and creates a cave-like retreat that many dogs relish.
Open (Or Close) A Door
Another great way to create a special place for your dog is to employ a “pet door” that opens into an enclosed porch, or even into an interior room designed with their needs in mind. Pet doors can be installed in existing solid or sliding glass doors so the dogs can come and go as they wish. Another option is to use a “pet gate” that installs in an open doorway or hall. That way an owner can control access to areas as requirements change. For instance, a pet gate can provide a barrier to a staircase so your dog’s sanctuary remains the downstairs area at bedtime.
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry and the award winning author of 23 pet care books.