Puppies are naturally inquisitive so will want to explore your house at any given opportunity. However, this does come with some challenges and risks which could not just give you problems now, but also in the future.
If you’re not sure whether you should let your puppy roam free in the house, here’s my experience of what you will be letting yourself in for. It’s followed by tips on when you might give the puppy more freedom in the home.
Should you let puppy explore the house? You can let a puppy explore the house as it will aid their development and social learning, but it depends on their age and how you do it. For example, up to 12 months I would not let puppy explore the house and have free reign of the home without close supervision.
The bottom line is this. Puppies tend to stop teething at 6 months, some even later. However, even when they have stopped teething, puppies still like to chew and bite things. If your puppy is still in that mode, don’t let your puppy explore the house.
Some puppies will still be having mishaps with their potty training. And again, only you know your puppy best. If he’s still peeing on the floor, your puppy should not roam the house, even when you are at home.
You should also consider the dangers in your home including stairs. Puppies can often climb stairs with no problem, but coming down can result in a fall.
If your puppy has a free reign of the house, everything needs to be locked down. And by that, I mean windows, balconies, and potential escape routes.
Unlike older dogs, puppies don’t have a concept of how heights can be dangerous as it takes time for them to develop distance perception. It’s not unheard of for puppies to jump from balconies and get seriously injured.
When to give puppy more space in house
The final decision on giving a puppy more space in the house and when to let your puppy explore the house lies with you. Before you make your mind up, here’s some more detail including some tips on how to do it and how to puppy-proof your home.
Should I let my puppy roam free in the house?
It’s okay to let your puppy roam free around the house, but only once they are house-trained are you’re confident they won’t cause chaos or hurt themselves. I recommend that you always take the time to supervise them, and you’ve puppy-proofed any potential risk.
Things to consider before letting the puppy explore
Life would be less chaotic for you as a puppy parent if you could just sit your canine family member down and tell them how you’d want them to act around your house.
A one-on-one conversation that goes a little like this:
“Welcome to your new home. Let’s strike a deal. I’ll feed you well, take you on leisure walks regularly, sort out your medical needs and be your all-time playmate. The only thing I’m asking for in return is for you to behave yourself as you roam in the house. Deal?”
Well, no deal. Sadly like won’t be like that, because the reality is, you can’t have such a conversation with your pup… they might understand pointing, but that’s about it.
But you sure can teach them how to “honor” their end of the deal.
We all know how active our fur babies can be. You may find your curtain sheers shredded almost to pieces, your flower vases knocked over, pee on the floor of different rooms, or walk in on them chewing your favorite sneakers!
Of course, all these can drive you nuts and make you consider changing your pup’s name to “Chewbacca” or “little toothy beast”.
For this reason, it’s a wise idea to first house train your pup and puppy-proof your home before letting them explore the house.
House training your puppy before letting them roam free
House training, in this case, includes the following:
- Training your puppy to always poop or pee in your preferred location.
- Providing a crate or playpen in one area of the house to make your pup familiar with one place for first.
- Teaching your pup to avoid chewing inappropriate objects.
The goal of house training is to let your pup learn proper canine manners. When you choose to introduce your pup to every room in the house from the word go without training, you’re asking for two things — your puppy getting hurt and your house turning into a hot mess!
Confining your pup in a crate for at least six months
It’s advisable to train your pup to stay in a crate or playpen for about six months. To make your pup feel secure, consider setting up the crate or playpen where you spend most of your time — for instance, in the living room.
Be sure to fill the crate with appropriate chew toys and scratching posts to keep your fur baby entertained.
Should a puppy be confined to one room?
No, a puppy should not be confined to one room. They should be walked, and inside the house you can put them on a lead to introduce them to new rooms. No puppy should spend the entire day confined in one space.
Make sure you create time for leisure walks and play sessions, whether indoors or outdoors (make sure they have their always leash on)
Most importantly, crate training also makes it easier for you to observe and guide your pup to take potty breaks in the right place. You shouldn’t let your puppy roam free about the house if they aren’t fully potty trained.
When can my puppy explore the house?
Some people will let their puppy explore the house at six months, but under strict supervision, and possibly even on a leash.
If it’s been six months of house training your pup, and you’ve noticed they are responding well to your rules — they aren’t destroying items in your living room and are fully-potty trained – then now would be the perfect time to introduce them to other rooms.
Start by introducing them to one room at a time as you closely supervise them. Strict supervision means pausing your favorite TV show and accompanying your pup to the new room.
Make sure they have their leash so you can quickly intervene when they misbehave or start showing signs of wanting to take a toilet break.
Take a few minutes to observe how they behave while in the new environment.
When your furry companion meets your expectations, you can gradually introduce them to other areas in the house. Let this be supervised roaming too, until you’re confident that your pup behaves well whenever you allow them to move from one room to another.
Plus, be consistent in correcting undesirable chewing behaviors as your pup explores each room.
When to let a puppy roam free in the house and unsupervised
Once you realize your pup has had several destruction-free days, it’s a sign you can trust them to stay out of trouble while roaming the house.
When this is the case, it’s perfectly fine to reward your pup with longer unsupervised roaming time in the puppy-proofed areas in your home.
Puppy-proofing your house
Even though your pup is fully house-trained, they’re likely to run into accidents if you haven’t taken any safety precautions around the house.
Puppy proofing is all about ensuring your home is puppy-friendly so that your furry pal (and your stuff) is safe when they roam the house unsupervised.
If your home isn’t puppy-proofed, your roaming pup can:
- Choke on objects and suffocate.
- Swallow something sharp that can cause internal bleeding.
- Ingest a poisonous product (such as an ant trap).
- Get hurt when a heavy item accidentally falls on them.
Here’s how you can make your home safe for your furry family member:
- Decide on the spaces you don’t want your pup to access and make the area inaccessible by keeping the doors always locked. If it’s an open space, consider setting up a baby gate that’s at least high enough to prevent your pup from jumping over.
- Make sure your indoor trash bin lids are tightly secured. This will ensure your pup doesn’t knock over your bin and chew on dangerous items in the trash.
- Gather all unused power cables and wires, tie them up with duct tapes, and hide them where your pup can’t reach them.
- Tuck any visible electrical wires behind your furniture and use electrical tape to secure hanging wires protruding from spoiled sockets.
- Keep your bathroom door closed at all times to prevent your pup from ingesting hazardous items like cotton swabs, soaps, blue toilet water, and spilled pills.
- Ensure all your household cleaning products and medications are always inaccessible.
- Find a safe space for all your valuable accessories like earrings which are small enough for your pup to accidentally swallow.
- Get rid of any small-yet-sharp ingestible items away from places where your pup can reach without struggling — like on the floor, your bookshelf, or coffee table. Such items include coins, razor blades, scissors, and paper clips.
- Be aware that some dogs are known to eat through drywall. If you have this in your house, be careful about where you let your puppy explore in the home.
- If you’re a fan of houseplants and have several in the house, take time to research whether any of your plants are poisonous to puppies, and get rid of them.
Handy Hint: Here’s how you can stop a dog from jumping over a fence. Do this now before your puppy gets older and can jump higher!
When to let the puppy explore the house?
As stated earlier, you can let your puppy explore your house when you’ve house trained them, and puppy-proofed your home. There’s no specific age as it’s completely dependent on the individual puppy.
When can my puppy explore the house?
Your puppy can explore the house when he’s fully house trained, and your home is puppy proofed. House training will help your pup stick to acceptable potty habits and chewing behaviors as they roam the house. This might be around the age of 12 months old once they reach physical maturity.
Should I let my puppy roam the house when I’m home?
It’s okay to give your pup the freedom to roam the house when you are home. But this should only be after you’ve house trained them to be more disciplined while exploring.
You’ve brought home your new furry friend and can’t wait to spend every waking moment with them in your house. While you want your pup to feel at home, it’s not always a good idea to let them roam free around the house.
People have different views on whether you should let a puppy be free in the house. It’s a personal thing, and will depend on your puppy’s develop, your training, and their personality.