WOOF, are you keeping your dog confined in one room while at work or away for the day? Here are the Dos and Don’ts for dog-proofing a room!
First Posted 9/29/20, Last Updated 7/8/23
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Let’s be honest : If your dog were ever given a choice to be locked up in a cage or confined to one room, I am confident that he’ll choose the larger space any day (unless he has been conditioned to crate confinement). Keeping your dog confined in one room is a great alternative to crating your dog, especially if you plan to leave your dog unattended for more than several hours. However, there are guidelines that you should follow to ensure utmost comfort, safety, and overall wellness of your dog. Although keeping your dog in one room is still considered “confinement,” your dog will be happy to have extra space to move and walk around compared to a “crate,” which is essentially a fancy word for a cage. Think about it, no wolf den should be locked by someone else.
If you choose not to give your dog the run of the house while you’re away (like I have all the time), providing your dog with additional space in a dog-proofed room will give your dog the much needed mental and physical stimulation versus confining them to a crate or cage! Believe it or not, dogs really do feel emotions like humans.
Why You Should Confine Your Dog to One Room INSTEAD of Crate Your Dog?
Although largely pawpular in the U.S., crating your dog is a practice not frequently exercised in other parts of the world. Crate training is founded on the concept that dogs do not like to soil their beds; hence, the crate must be small enough so your dog will “hold it” until it’s convenient for YOU to take them out for potty breaks. Unfortunately, such an outdated practice is still heavily promoted by dog trainers to this day. If you believe that dogs love their crates, think again – they are simply conditioned to being confined to their crates for hours on end.
Before my rescue and transformation as the world traveling Yorkie, I was caged or “crated” for over 16-18 hours daily (during the day when my former human was at work AND overnight when he was sleeping). Let me first bark that prolonged excessive solitary confinement is not only inhumane and cruel, but also detrimental to your dog’s mental and physical health. How long is too long? A dog should NOT be crated for more than 8 hours TOTAL daily, ideally 6-8 hours TOPS. But yet, many crated dogs frequently spend more than 10 hours in confinement during the day, NOT including overnight confinement.
Now that I live the most spoiled rescue Yorkie life ever with the complete run of the house every single day, I cannot imagine going back to a crate life. However, I recognize that not every dog can have the same free-roaming lifestyle. AWOOO, that’s why I’m here to bark out some imPAWtant dog-proofing tips so my canine buddies can live a safe, comfortable life WITHOUT the use of crates.
Sniff out my Dos and Don’ts when keeping a dog confined in one room below:
My DOs on keeping a dog confined in one room…
DO provide a room or area that is significantly larger than a crate to ensure utmost comfort and wellness for your dog. My rule of claw is at least TRIPLE the size of crate suitable for your dog’s size. But, arf course, the larger the space, the better.
DO think how HIGH your dog can jump, not just how big or strong your dog is. Bigger dogs will obviously require more work and planning to dog-proof a room. Don’t underestimate your dog’s strength and ability to break free.
DO consider safety first! Remove potential dangers: electrical cords, old carpet, household cleaners – anything that can get knocked over, easily swallowed, chewed, etc. DON’T overlook the everyday items – plastic bags (including poop bags), batteries, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.
DO think about your dog’s habits! For instance, does he tend to chew on almost everything? Does he like to dig? Remove any items that may trigger those habits.
If you have a big dog (one who’s capable of destruction), it’s best not to leave your dog in a room with carpeting.
DO keep your dog entertained! Leave toys and chews to keep him or her busy and mentally stimulated.
DO provide fresh water and food for your dog. ALWAYS.
DO keep unnecessary food out of reach (besides your dog’s meal during the time).
DO let your dog roam around the house when you return. Dogs are part of the family and should not be left alone for long periods.
DO leave a nice, comfy bed and blanket! Your dog’s comfort is KEY. If you prefer to use a crate, be sure to leave the door open so your dog can freely walk in and out.
DO give your dog daily exercise upon your return! You should provide your dog with at least 2 walks per day for physical, mental, and social stimulation IN ADDITION to potty breaks.
DO assure excellent ventilation in the room. No one wants to be trapped inside a closet! Make sure there is a slightly open (but locked) window or air conditioning for easy breathing.
DO keep your dog safe by securing any openings or potential escape routes. If the window is slightly open, please make sure that it is securely LOCKED with a screen so your dog cannot escape. This is very impawtant if you have a bigger dog whose strength should not be underestimated.
DO make sure the area is comfortable and clean! DO clean your dog’s room routinely. DON’T keep trash around. Confined dogs tend to get bored and will find anything to keep themselves entertained.
DO keep plants out of reach! Besides potential destruction by your dog, plants may cause allergic reactions.
DO remove valuable items and belongings. Keep your nice shoes, bags, backpacks, jackets, and whatever you don’t want destroyed OUT OF REACH. When it comes to confining your dog in one room, less is more – only keep the essentials around like water, toys, bed, and blanket.
DO compare dog-proofing to baby-proofing! If an item is hazardous to a human baby, it’s likely also dangerous to your dog.
DO leave a light for your dog if you’ll be gone during the evening. Although dogs can see better than humans in the dark (and can see in low light), they should not be left in complete darkness as their view of such is the same for humans.
DO spy on your dog with Furbo Dog Cam! If you’re unsure of how your dog will react when confined to a room, use Furbo Dog Cam to test it out a few times (for 2-3 hours each time in the beginning)! With a full HD camera, 160-degree wide-angle view (day & night), and 2-way audio, Furbo Dog Cam is arguably the best way for humans to monitor (a.k.a. “spy”) on their dogs and interact with them virtually. Heck, humans can see, talk, and even toss TREATS to their dogs through the camera. As you see what your dog is likely to do in confinement, you can make then adjustments accordingly.
In the first 4-5 monitorings, you should stay nearby in a room next door to your dog in case of destruction. It may take more than several adjustments and attempts to safely dog-proof the house, area, or room. Be patient, as your efforts will pay off!
Is your dog barking in the crate? Find out WHY now!
Now, for my DON’Ts on keeping a dog confined in one room…
DON’T forget to leave a pee pad or artificial lawn. DO train him to use a pee pad or artificial lawn indoors for accidents (but again, outdoor potty breaks and exercise are a MUST). Learn how to potty train your dog without a crate here.
And, just how long can dogs “hold it”? Find out HERE!
DON’T leave your dog alone for more than 6-8 hours TOTAL each day, once acquainted with the confined space. Be sure to limit the first 3-4 times of confinement to just 2-3 hours each time to test it out (again, don’t forget to monitor him on Furbo Dog Cam). Again, dogs are social creatures and do not enjoy being by themselves all the time, even if given space larger than a cage. Even if two or three dogs are confined together, they still need constant human interaction, which is part of a dog’s nature.
If you don’t have Furbo Dog Cam and plan to confine your dog in one room for longer than 8 hours, be sure to have someone check on him once every 4 hours.
DON’T expect your dog to “hold it” for more than 8 hrs! It’s cruel to expect a dog to hold it for a long time until it’s convenient for you to take him or her out. That’s why training your dog to use a pee pad or artificial lawn is crucial.
DON’T keep your dog inside a laundry room. Imagine your dog inhaling chemicals (not to mention the excess toxic detergent on the floor).
DON’T keep your dog inside a garage. Due to toxic chemicals and vehicle emissions, car garages are not ideal places for dogs. In addition, tools, heavy equipment, ladder, unused cords, screws, nails, etc. should not be present in any dog’s living quarters. Furthermore, extreme temperatures pose a great danger to your dog; the garage can be as hot or as cold as the outside – nothing beats the comfort of living inside the house. Remember, dogs are family!
DON’T keep your dog inside the kitchen (unless you have a small dog or gigantic kitchen). The scent of food and trash may be too enticing for your dog, especially if he is hyperactive or destructive.
March 2023 UPDATE: Recent studies have shown that confined dogs felt the most comfortable in the kitchen followed by the living room, with the bedroom being the worst room for confinement (due to PAWsible confusion that their humans only use the space for sleep). If you choose to confine your dog to the kitchen, be sure to keep the countertop and floor clean and SPAWTless. Remove all trash bins, condiments, utensils (especially knives), food particles, and leftovers from reachable areas. While I still do not recommend confining your dog to the kitchen, the kitchen could work (with careful planning and preparation) for smaller dogs unable to jump on the countertop or open the cabinets in search of food. Get your dog gate HERE – pressure mounted, hardware mounted, or free-standing!
DON’T allow your dog access to the toilet bowl. Drinking out of the toilet can be extremely harmful to your dog (plus it’s disgusting. YUCK)! Be sure to put down the toilet seat or keep the bathroom door closed. For small dogs unable to reach the toilet bowl, a decent-sized bathroom may be used for short-term confinement.
DON’T keep different types of animals in a room together, especially new additions to the family (unless you truly believe that they get along). Whether it’s a dog and a cat or a dog and a rabbit, don’t keep them together in one room unattended. Even putting two dogs together may be risky if one dog is new to the family or tension exists between the two. However, it’s fine for two dogs who have developed a friendship to stay together. Use your judgment!
DON’T neglect your dog’s nails! Keep them trimmed routinely, whether professionally or carefully by you (research thoroughly beforehand, safety first). Not only does it ensure comfort for your dog, but it also lowers the risk for destruction in confinement (e.g. scratched walls or furniture).
DON’T neglect your dog PERIOD! I will bark over and over that your dog should be an equally valued member of the FAMILY! Treat him or her as a real family member. Prolonged solitary confinement is indisputably catastrophic to your dog’s well-being. Your dog is NOT a toy that you can put away whenever you are done or want out of sight. Don’t get a dog just to confine him for long periods. Again, ALL dogs are unique individuals with feelings.
Again, do a few trial runs with Furbo Dog Cam! Make changes accordingly once you see what your dog is likely to do in confinement.
WOOF, I hope you like all my Dos and Don’ts when keeping a dog confined in one room! Got a tip? BARK AT ME! Sharing is caring.
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Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob