Thunder, fireworks and rambunctious children—there are a hundred and one different reasons your beloved pooch could experience anxiety, so it only makes sense that they have at least one safe space they can escape to: a clean, comforting space where they can really relax.
Being their loving owner—and the only one of you with opposable thumbs—it’s up to you to make this all possible. And Ask Team Clean is here to show you how!
Make sure you take all elements and variables of your home into account when hunting for your pup’s safe space. It should be in an area of the house that’s warm in the winter but cool in the summer—consistent comfort is key here. It should also be large enough for your dog to easily get into, but not so large that they won’t feel a sense of security from all four sides—this goes double for pets that are used to crating (or maybe the crate is even a main part of the retreat!).
One surefire way to pinpoint the perfect location is to let your dog choose the spot naturally. Where do they go to lay down after a long day at the park? Or wherever they scurry off to hide once the fireworks start on the 4th of July—consider making this spot extra special by placing down some old tee-shirts with your scent so your dog can feel even more secure knowing you’re always right there if needed.
And if your dog is a free-roaming kind of soul, consider extending their safe space a bit more with a fenced-in yard, complete with their very own doghouse, where they can stretch their legs or hide inside—whichever their heart desires. If you go this route, it’s worth noting that the right kind of doggy door can help keep your home energy efficient while still giving him or her the freedom to roam free.
Rules in a safe space? Lame. But don’t worry—these are mostly for you! We recommend putting a few rules in place to ensure the spot remains a sanctuary for those lazy, tail-wagging days every dog dreams of:
- Customer Service. Kind of like a mini-storm shelter, your dog’s safe space should have access to a few days’ worth of the essentials. Use a spill-proof doggy dish to keep hydration nearby and be sure to serve plenty of treats and snacks so they associate the space with happy, positive things—like chewable bones!
- Doggie’s Choice. Make sure your four-legged family member has easy access to their space and that it’s not blocked off or used by any of your two-legged family members! While you can treat the space as a retreat for isolation, make sure it’s not too isolated and lonely, and never, ever, ever use this place of refuge as a place of punishment—time outs should take place somewhere else. This is a happy place.
- Hang the “Do Not Disturb” Sign. We know loud sounds can freak dogs out, so aim to have a relatively quiet area of your house serve as home to your doggy den. For example, windows by busy streets or where kids play ball aren’t ideal, but a crawl space under the stairs might make the perfect canine condo—with a little carpeting. And if you can’t guarantee a quiet place? Look into a white noise machine that can help mask the sounds of a busy world and lull even the saltiest old dogs into a puppy-like slumber.
Finally, we all know that dogs are great at making messes, but cleaning them up? Not so much. So once again this chore falls to you (thanks, opposable thumbs!). Here are a few of our favorite tricks and tips for keeping your doggy den clean:
- Wash your dog’s bedding according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, or depending on whether it has a removable cover or not
- For fur that clings beyond your typical vacuum and lint roller routines, toss clothes, towels and linens in the dryer on tumble to remove dog hair
- If your pet has a little accident in his safe space, here’s the best ways to get rid of dog poop
- Clean your dog food bowls and water dishes a few times per week using a non-abrasive sponge with a mild, neutral dish soap and water, rinsing well with cool water and towel drying with a clean, lint-free cotton cloth
Follow these steps and by this point, you should really have one heck of a happy pup hideaway started.
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