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Ask Casa: Decorating With a Puppy in Mind

Hi Casa,

We've just recently adopted an adorable puppy, and we're having a great time with her. The only problem is she's taken over the house! We had to move and hide anything she might eat or chew, so our living room and bookcases look empty.

Our kitchen is overwhelmed by her dog bed, and her doggy toys are scattered all over. Plus there's always that dog "smell." I know we need to just find the right system of organization and storage that will be safe for her and attractive to us, but I don't even know where to start! Any suggestions or tips?


To see my suggestions,


Hi Alex,

As it happens, I'm pretty well-versed on this one, since my husband and I adopted a puppy back in June (that's him lounging on a friend's sofa a few months ago). It's been eight years since I dealt with a puppy, and I'd forgotten how much work it is! Here are the most helpful things that I've gleaned from my experience of living with, and decorating around, a puppy.

  • During the day, the puppy is crated, so I usually air out his dog bed on our deck, to keep it smelling fresh. This helps cut the doggy smell.
  • To organize his toys, I placed a blue tin bucket in one corner. It's actually a really cute container in itself. While Haiko, our puppy, will take his toys out (and won't return them, sigh), it's easier to just toss them all in this bucket once he's abandoned one. This keeps us from tripping over bones and balls, and also keeps the house tidier.
  • Try to teach your puppy to enjoy one place in common areas as her spot. You can do this by placing her bed in that area, and then rewarding her with praise and treats when she stays there. Eventually, she'll settle in that spot.
  • I sympathize with you and your empty bookshelves, but don't worry, your puppy will grow out of the chewing stage. I'd try replacing your books little by little. Make sure to sternly tell your pup "No!" if she tries to chew on them, and give her a Kong or bone when she approaches your books. Our puppy went through a long chewing phase, but with simple reprimands and redirecting, he's now left our books and records alone.
  • To cut down on the doggy smell further, air out your house by opening windows. You can also try a natural air freshener or Nature's Miracle to eliminate odors.
  • Since doggy smells tend to stick to upholstery, keeping your pets off of furniture will reduce doggy smells as well. If you can't bear to keep your pup off the sofa or bed, you can try laying down a fleece blanket where your puppy usually rests. Make sure to regularly wash the blanket to cut down on smells.
  • You might also want to look into investing in a dog bed that will fit into your decorating scheme easier. Check out these dog beds on PetSugar for more ideas.

Anyone else have a great puppy strategy? Tell Alex about it when you leave a comment.

Hope this helps!

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