How much freedom is too much freedom?

Is there such a thing as too much freedom? In case of dogs, I don’t think that such a thing exists! Atleast in my house. What I believe is, dogs are already confined to in one house, if you have a backyard, then one house and a backyard. In that, if you restrict them to not enter the kitchen or bedroom or on the bed, then it is not fair. But this is entirely my perspective. And far more easier for me as I live alone.

Casper and Junior had no restrictions in the house. They were and are allowed on the couch, bed, kitchen, practically everywhere. They had full access to the house. But before we achieved this freedom, I have paid a little price for it. That is, I had to train both my dogs so that there were no accidents or damage. The price I paid was, eaten walls, eaten wires, damaged shoes, a little fall here and there, peeing anywhere, broken crockery, eating scraps in the kitchen, and some more little accidents.

But this freedom still comes with a price. There is dog hair everywhere. On the couch, bed, kitchen platform, wardrobes, bathrooms, etc. As I mentioned earlier, it is easier for me as I live alone and I pretty much now cannot live without coming across dog hair from anything I use.

However, there are some dogs that cannot be left loose in the whole house. If that’s the case with your dog, do not get disappointed. You can always crate train them. Crates are great to keep the dog safe and out of trouble. Since I was always of the opinion that dogs should be left loose in the house, I never found the need to get a crate and trained them accordingly. I had also trained my dogs to stay alone at home when I was not there. Again, initially I paid a price for it, because when I came home, I would find poop at random places or torn mattress or chewed bottles, etc. I never left them alone for long hours and they always had access to fresh drinking water. Also, they were always fed before I left the house as I have also managed my time according to their feeding schedule.

So, if you are thinking about giving your dog full freedom and if your dog is still having accidents or if he’s chewing off-limit items, it may be too challenging for him to be left loose while home alone at this point. Just keep working on the basics and use a crate for now. There is no magic age that says dogs can suddenly be given more freedom. It all depends on your unique dog’s behavior, so just be patient.

Don’t think about giving your dog too much freedom too quickly. You have to build a solid behavioral foundation for him first. I would like to bring one important point to your notice, i.e. never force your dog into the crate and never use it as a punishment. Always create a positive atmosphere by using treats and extra goodies like stuffed toys or durable toys while you are away.

Besides crates, there are also pet gates. They are fold-able and portable. Let’s say, you do not want your dog in the kitchen. You can put the gate at your kitchen entrance and restrict your dogs from entering the kitchen. Or you can use these gates anywhere in the house where you do not want your dog to have access to.

Now, let me make one thing clear. If your dog is trained and goes hours without any trouble in house, doesn’t mean he can be let off leash or let roam free outside your house and in your locality. No matter how well trained and well behaved your dog is, it is neither safe nor appropriate to allow your dog to roam free or off leash outside, even with supervision.

Every dog is unique. With time, you will understand your dog’s behavior and will be able to take a call if your dog can be allowed in the whole house or restricted to a particular area. None of the decisions will be wrong. Start by leaving your dog alone for 30 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. Accordingly adjust the time as per their meal schedules and your work schedules. If you do not want them on the bed, get them their own bed. I would also like to suggest to not leaving your dogs in the crate all day long. Besides their walks, let them play or roam a little in the house or your backyard.

Never punish your dogs, specially for making funny Instagram or TikTok Videos

Although everyone wants to give their puppy plenty of space to play and explore, allowing it free run of the house too early on is a sure recipe for disaster. Keep setting your puppy up for success by making sure it has toys to play with, has had plenty of exercise beforehand, and has already gone to the toilet.

Eventually, once he is able to go a full month without making any mistakes, he will be truly ready to roam the house on his own. Don’t expect a completely smooth process- but do expect a rewarding one as you develop an unspoken bond with your dog.

Beginners Guide for a new puppy

Brining up a dog is no different than brining up child. The efforts that go into both are the same. Just like how no 2 children are the same, similarly, no 2 dogs are the same either. Every dog has its unique characteristic traits and learning habit, but the essential personality characteristics of the dogs are universal.  I am no expert, and, am still learning every day. I would like to share my experience with Casper and Junior and bring light to the mistakes I made in the beginning when I got Casper home. I hope this helps to anyone out there, and makes it a little easy and pre hand knowledge for first time dog parents.

As mentioned in my previous posts, I was extremely scared of dogs and accidentally I became a dog mom. Having no knowledge about the handling of dogs, I took each day as it came facing a new challenge and overcoming it. Most important, I was well versed when Junior came into the picture and it was a piece of cake to then look after him.

Let’s begin:

  • Choose the breed of dog you want to bring home. Do your research or ask for advice from a vet or shelter employees. I would always suggest adopting a dog and giving a pure soul a home and family
  • Be firm and prepared as the dog will spend around 15 years of his life with you’ll. See to it that everyone in the house agrees to have a dog. No one is allergic. Space, time and money also to be taken into consideration. Who will take care of the dog when you are away? Will future changes affect your dog like moving to a different state or country, getting married, having a baby, etc.

  • Set the rules pre hand as to allowing him/her on the bed or in the kitchen, etc.
  • Keep a collar and leash ready
  • Since I do not believe in keeping dogs in crates, I never bought one. But if you intend to do so, invest in a size bigger as per the size of the dog to ensure he/she is comfortable
  • Food and Water bowls should be ready. They should be given high quality food and fresh drinking water at all times. Do not begin with raw home food
  • Once you get your dog, the first thing to do should be to take him/her to the vet for suggested food and vaccinations
  • Normally, till 3 months and till all the vaccinations are done, puppies shouldn’t be taken out of the house to protect them from diseases like Parvo, Distemper, Tick Fever, etc.
  • Puppies tend to sleep for 16-18 hours a day. So do not force play with them
  • Start training them for House and obedience. There are various ways to train them. Either hire a professional dog trainer or see some YouTube Videos. But start at the earliest and establish a schedule
  • When they are young, they have a lot of energy and will be teething. They will also chew on things like shoes, remote controls, wires, clothes, etc. Keep all these away from them and instead give them chewys. But make sure to keep a check on them so that they do choke on it

  • Ask your vet for over the counter medicines to keep at home in case of emergencies
  • NEVER get choke collars. I repeat, NEVER
  • Till they are trained, a regular collar is advisable. You can shift to a harness later
  • Take them for enough walks or play with them to burn their energy
  • Dog do not understand guilt; as shown in many Instagram Videos or YouTube Videos. They just get scared of loud noises. They feel sad. Never shout at them, but correct them by rolling a newspaper and snapping it on some surface to just make a little noise if the dog does something that he/she shouldn’t
  • In the initial days, never leave them without a leash in public places unless the recall command is strong
  • Bring some safe toys for your dog
  • Always keep your Vet’s number handy
  • Do not ignore the dog. This may create a lot of issues. Your dog may develop separation anxiety or biting problem or anger issues

  • Get his nails cut and ears cleaned timely
  • Any signs of abnormality, contact the vet immediately
  • Do not feed them heavy meals before a car ride or a day at the beach or park
  • Keep a good boarding/lodging or day care in sight to keep your dog incase everyone in the house is going out or you are a single parent and have to go to work
  • Most important, BE PATIENT!

There may be many things to keep in mind, but as you take each day, you will learn on your own. All the above may sound scary, but trust me, they are not. And compared to the love and happiness these dogs bring in our lives, no matter how much we do for them is never enough. As a first-time dog owner, this may have been a lot to take in one go. However, being equipped and more informed should help direct you in a direction that will create a long-lasting relationship with your dog – you know the one you’ve always been dreaming of!