Apart from a cosy bed where your furry friend gets to sleep, preparing a designated comfort zone where your pooch can retreat to when she needs a break from all that’s going on and to feel relaxed, makes a big difference.
So, how can I create a dog safe zone? Follow these steps to create a dog safe zone at home:
Continue reading to find out what makes each step important and what you should consider, especially when bringing your pup home for the first time, from the breeders or a shelter.
Watch our quick tutorial here:
A dog safe zone isn’t hard to create, but it does require some thought. You want to make sure that your dog’s spot is safe and comfortable for her inquisitive nose and playful manners.
Providing your pooch with a cosy and quiet place where she can retreat to (at all times) is very important for many reasons:
If you have kids, your dog’s safe zone is a tool to teach your children boundaries when they interact with the family dog.
When the dog is in her zone, she should be left alone, no petting or playing allowed. This rule can help prevent bite incidents.
Let’s find out how to create this dog safe zone!
First of all, consider where you have room to create a permanent area just for your dog. Think of it as an extended crate or sleeping area. The goal is that your pooch sees this zone as the BEST PLACE ever!
This will depend on the design of your home. But here are some helpful guidelines to choose such a space:
|❐ Choose a space that your dog will be able to access at all times.|
|❐ Consider a quieter area in your house so your dog can rest (also helps if you have a nervous doggy). It’s best to avoid the living room or kitchen.|
|❐ Take into account your dog’s size. A dog safe zone doesn’t have to be huge. Usually, dogs prefer smaller spaces that are quiet, comfortable, and enclosed, which reminds them of their ancestral dens.|
|❐ Contemplate restricting your dog’s access to the rest of the house to prevent unwanted behaviours like chewing, barking, and potty accidents.|
|❐ Look at a space with the least safety hazards to be removed (such as cables, plants, curtain cords, breakable items, etc.)|
|❐ Favour your dog’s preferences and cater her quirks 😉 Where does she like to go for rest? Has she shown any interest in a particular corner?|
Here are some ideas:
Next, you need to make sure that your dog’s haven is safe and toxin-free. Especially before bringing your pooch home, it’s best to dog-proof your house.
Even if you already have a dog-friendly home, you might need to make some changes when creating your dog’s safe zone.
Here’s how to dog-proof your dog’s space and the surrounding areas:
P.S. Get the full guide with a room-by-room checklist at our How to Make Your Home Dog-Friendly and Safe blog post.
After making it safe, it’s time to consider your dog’s needs and make it comfortable for you and your pooch, at the same time.
How can you make your dog’s safe zone comfy?
The temperature should be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Dogs can overheat during hot weather, tiled floors or a ceiling fan can keep them cool, for instance. During cold weather, a blanket and the house heating system should be enough.
What does your pooch need?
For some ideas, have a look at dog beds and other basic needs at my Dog Safe Zone Kit list on Amazon.
Dogs spend more than half of the day sleeping, so comfort counts!
With all that sleeping, your dog’s needs a resting place that is cosy and where she feels safe. So, make your dog’s bed the focal point of your doggy zone.
Even if your dog is allowed on the sofa or/and your bed, she also needs her own bed!
Types of dog beds:
Check my favourite dog beds page to find the right bed for your dog according to size and special needs. There I go deeper into bed features and which bed is best for who. 😉
Does your pooch need extra cosiness and comfort?
Add a doggy blanket (Amazon link) for burrowing and extra warmth, and one of your own old t-shirts with your scent (because they never can get enough of you ;)).
Finally, if your dog is going to be sleeping with you, consider using a bed raiser to provide more room at the feet of your bed. There are dog stairs or steps if your pooch has trouble reaching your bed or even your sofa!
Crate training should be considered as part of house-training your puppy; your dog could sleep in her crate at night and take naps in it throughout the day. This will help your puppy learn to stay in a restricted area by herself and feel good about it.
The ultimate goal of crate training is that your pooch goes into this area on her own, and also when you give her a verbal cue, as opposed to needing to be shoved or coaxed in when you’re leaving or as a punishment.
Your pooch should always think of her crate as a safe haven. This is easy to know as once your pup is in, she remains relaxed, comfortable and quiet.
For making your dog’s crate comfortable:
When getting a dog crate:
Playpens come in handy when you live in a small apartment or/and open-plan space. A sturdy and foldable playpen creates an enclosed dog space accessible by a gate or door.
Alternatively, a wall fixed baby gate or an adaptable barrier can also provide a secure boundary. Also, portable playpens can be useful if you want to put it away and of sight when you are home or to take with you on holidays.
Keep water accessible at all times and change your dog’s water daily to keep it fresh and clean.
You can place a water bowl in or near your dog’s safe zone. If your pooch is a bit messy when she slurps water or drools a fair bit, consider a spill-proof water bowl instead or place an absorbent mat underneath her bowl.
Establish a feeding area in your dog’s safe space where you can place your dog’s bowls for food and water.
This also reinforces the positive association that your pup has with her area. Plus, it provides a stress-free mealtime away from the household hustle and bustle.
Setting a feeding area can help prevent food guarding behaviour and possible incidents for you and the children in your family. Ideally, your dog’s trust towards you permits you to grab her bowl anytime or interrupt her meal if needed without consequences.
You probably want to remove the food bowl after your doggy finishes eating, so you have some control over the feeding schedule. But, always keep a water bowl around a corner so your furry friend always has fresh water available.
There are some innovative solutions such as a pull-out panel or draw that houses dog bowls.
However, there are more affordable dog food bowl solutions that work very well to keep the feeding area neat and comfortable for your dog’s height.
P.S. In my Dog Safe Zone Kit list on Amazon, you’ll find ideas for dog beds and other basic needs that you can browse through.
When it comes to toys, I am an advocate for tidying up dog toys after playing for many reasons:
However, there are some toys and some occasions when I like to leave toys laying in the safe zone.
Interactive toys help with your dog’s mental stimulation and some plush toys like Cuddle Clones (brand site) provide emotional comfort.
These interactive toys are a great addition to your dog room:
All these toys are a great option to leave around in your absence.
There are other accessories that come in handy:
Head over to my Dog Safe Zone Kit list on Amazon to view my favourite options.
The first step in getting your pooch to use her new safe zone is to show it to her. Introducing the space to your pup will make her feel secure there with you and also you will give her the confidence to explore it by herself.
In preparing for the time when your dog should use her safe zone, like when you go to work or at bedtime, here’s what to consider:
Insider Tip: If your pooch only uses her space when alone or at night, she’s likely to develop a negative association towards her safe zone.
Also, avoid getting angry or being forceful with your pooch to get her where you want her to be. This will only discourage her from wanting to return to her space.
If you have multiple dogs, consider:
There are at least another two dog-friendly solutions to adapt your home to, for your pooch, and also keeping the mess at bay as much as possible.
Instead of walking straight to the interior of the house when your doggy gets home full of mud, or simply wet, create an area where you can dry her off and wash down before she can enter the home.
If who have an entryway door or vestibule, convert the space between both doors into a room for your dog. Otherwise, just establishing a dog-friendly area at a hall entry or in a mudroom can prevent dirt from being tracked throughout your home.
As well, you can store her gear, towels, healthy treats and other essentials in a cupboard at this entrance to keep the area tidy.
You can use a storage shelf or basket to keep towels within arm’s reach when you need to dry fur. Then, add an attractive hook to give you a handy place to hang a leash.
Planning to install a dog door?
The hall entry is a great place to put it to restrict your dog from the rest of the house, while still providing free access to the outdoors.
If you have a garden, consider the outdoors as an extension of your dog’s safe zone.
Regarding your dog’s safety, make sure that the fence is secure and high enough for your dog. Also, make sure your pooch has access back home at any point.
You might want to facilitate the access through a dog door or dog flap. Certain brands help in keeping your home energy-efficient.
If your doggy enjoys the outdoors so much, you can consider placing a permanent outdoors dog house (Amazon link) there too. However, don’t let your dog sleep outside at night, especially if she’s a house dog.
What next? Head on over to our Dog Care Pillars blog post for more tips about raising a happy and healthy dog!