Feeling safe is an essential need for every living creature, just like having access to clean water and food. While humans can choose to retreat to a quite place, install security cameras and alarm systems when they’re scared, dogs doesn’t have that choice. That’s why creating a safe and quiet place for your dog is vital for your dog’s physical and mental health.
What Does Safe Mean For Dogs?
Safe means being “protected from or not exposed to danger or risk: not likely to be harmed” per Merriam-Webster dictionary. This means a dog learns to feel safe and secure when they are away from scary things, such as other dogs, visiting guests, repairmen, children or loud sounds.
Choosing A Safe Place
This step is critical and depends on your dog’s needs. It’s best to choose a bedroom that’s easily closed off by a secure door. By far, choosing the master bedroom works best as it smells like the dog’s pet parents. Also, your dog can practice nightly and enjoy sleeping in the room with her pet parents, which is another great way to teach your dog that this room is safe, relaxing and comfortable.
Creating A Safe Space
Once a bedroom has been located, it’s time to set up the room to address your dog’s needs.
• Your dog should have access to a very comfortable bed and water bowl.
• To drown out noises, place a white noise machine or large box fan (used on medium to high volume) near the door or windows. White noise drowns out construction, thunderstorm, visitors talking loudly, barking dogs or any other scary noises from stressing your dog.
• Tightly close drapes and blinds to prevent sounds (such as construction) or shadows (from people or dogs walking by) from distracting of scarring your dog.
• If a dog is afraid of lightening, turn on a light to prevent prevent lightening flashes from lighting up the bedroom.
• Plug in or regularly spray a calming pheromone (such as Adaptial) in the room.
• Essential oils are very calming to for dogs, try adding 2-3 drops of a dog safe essential oil into a diffuser in a far corner of the room.
Teaching Your Dog To Enjoy Their New Space
Before placing your dog into her safe place when visitors arrive, you should plant to spend 2 weeks teaching your dog that her safe place is truly safe.
- Grab high value treats, such as string cheese. Walk to your dog’s safe place and toss food inside the room. Do this 10 times (don’t close the door yet) twice a day. Practice this for two days
- Using high value treats, toss a large chunk of cheese or several small peas size pieces inside the room. When your dog goes inside to eat the treats, close the door for one second, then open the door. Dog this 10 times twice a day. Practice this for 2 days.
- Follow step 2 but increase the time that the door is closed. Start with 2 seconds and slowly add 1-2 seconds per training session. If your dog should scratch at the door or whine, take a step back and decrease the duration of the door closed. Practice 10-20 times and twice a day.
- When your quietly dog can stay behind the door for 5 minutes, give your dog a yummy food filled Kong toy. Do this everything you place your dog inside her safe place.
- Now turn on the sound machine and essential oil diffuser and toss your dog a food stuffed toy every time she goes into her safe place.
- Slow increase the time.
When To Use Your Dog’s Safe Place?
Place your dog into her space place whenever she needs it. Most dogs enjoy lounging in their safe place during dinner and birthday parties, when guests visit, when strangers arrive, during thunderstorms or during construction. Let your dog chose to go to her safe place whenever she needs it.
Many dogs dislike lots of commotion or loud parties, they would rather relax in their safe place. Additionally, you never know if your dog will eat something or get out the front door. When in doubt, keep your dog safe in her safe room.
Safe Place For Multiple Dogs?
It’s best to keep dogs separate in their safe space. When unpredicted scary things appear, many dogs may become so stressed and take their frustration out on the other dog. Plus, it’s never safe to have two dogs in a room with food stuffed Kongs. Place each dog in a crate or behind a secure barrier when unsupervised. If housemate dogs have squabbled in the best, it may be best to give them their own safe room (two different rooms with securely closed doors)
Which Dogs Should Have A Safe Place?
All dogs should have a safe place. Most dogs enjoy their crate it it’s not located near high traffic areas, near windows or doors. Ideally, a dog’s crate should be placed into a bedroom that has a door, which can be closed. This prevents someone or something walking near or toward a dog, when they are crated.
If you have any questions about creating or teaching your dog to enjoy a safe space, please contact us.