Puppysitting 101

6 quick tips for taking care of a puppy

By Leslie Phelan

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If you’ve never had a puppy, or if it has been a while since you last had one in the house and you forget what to expect, these helpful tips may end up being the reason you survive with your sanity (and most of your home’s low-lying belongings) intact if you agree to take care of someone else’s puppy:

1. Puppy will probably pee on that

Do you care deeply about the pristine look and smell of your carpets, slippers, boots, and mats? Be ready to lift them off the floor and stash ‘em, or protect them with some kind of covering, because puppies love to pee on things. If preventative measures fail, be ready with a scrubbing brush and some stain remover, because there is nothing more enticing to a puppy’s baby bladder than things that should never have pee on them.

2. Puppy will probably take that

Puppies love to take things with their teeth and hide them; it’s instinct. They especially love taking things you use on a regular basis, like keys, remote controllers, wallets, and underwear. If you are missing anything, look under couches, in their beds and crates, in gardens, and in the hidden nooks and corners of your home you didn’t previously know existed; that’s where you are likely to dig up your treasures.

3. Puppy will most likely chew thatPuppy chewing shoe puppysitting101

They can’t help themselves! Nor can they tell the difference between a chew toy and your favorite new pair of shoes when they’re teething, so if you value it, take it off the floor and hide it. Because if it’s at eye level to a puppy, it’s fair game. (Worth noting: if you forget to lift valuables off the floor while puppy-sitting, it is considered in poor taste to ask the puppy’s parent(s) to replace your destroyed belongings.)

4. Puppy might run

We all want to give the animals in our care a taste of sweet freedom, but when dealing with someone else’s prized pooch, it is best to play it safe. As a rule, you should keep other people’s puppies close and on a leash when walking them near roads, cliffs, and any other potentially dangerous areas. Let them run free in off-leash parks and test out their responsiveness to your call-backs. If they pass the test, you can unleash them to enjoy a grassy knoll here and there, but stay alert and watch them like a hawk, lest you end up owing your friend a replacement puppy.

5. Puppy will find hiding places

Just like their penchant for hiding things on you, they are equally talented at hiding themselves. As with children, if things suddenly go too silent, it can be a sign that something bad is going down. So if you can’t see or hear the puppy but know they haven’t left the house, it’s probably because they found an amazing hiding spot under your bed in which to chew the left side of your new pair of Louboutins until they are just scraps of red and patent leather. If you wish to stay two steps ahead, crawl around before puppy arrives to familiarize yourself with the world from their point of view.

6. Puppy might not make it to the curb

The wickedest thing about having a puppy in the house? Waking up to their whining and having to get dressed immediately so you can take them outside for their first pee and poo of the day. It’s a jarring moment, made extra frustrating when, instead of making it to the curb, puppy creates an extra mess for you to clean up somewhere along the way out. Advice: don’t delay; take the puppy out first thing, before your coffee, before you check Facebook. And when you do, carry the puppy out in your arms. Try not to put pressure on their bladder as you do so, but if you are able and they are light enough, carry them until you are safely hovering over a patch of grass.

There are no guarantees with puppies, but a bit of preparedness can go a long way!