Maybe your dog is nervous by nature, or maybe certain stimuli trigger his or her nervousness such as thunderstorms or out of town visitors. Whatever the case may be, setting up a space just for your pup will provide him or her with a special place they can feel safe when your dog starts feeling nervous.
The Importance of a Dog Safe Space
When you’re in a stressful situation, you often want to escape to a place that is relaxing, a place where you can be alone and calm down. Your dog is the same way. For your dog, this can either be something as small and simple as a crate or as big as a room.
While you may not have a spare room to hand over to the dog, a laundry room, guest bedroom, or large closet can suffice (Geier). According to Elisabeth Geier, “A dog zone doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, many dogs prefer smaller spaces. Quiet, comfortable, enclosed spaces remind them of their ancestral dens. In addition, limiting your dog’s access to the rest of the house may prevent unwanted behaviors like chewing, barking, and potty accidents” (Geier). In other words, setting up a safe space for your dog is a win-win. Not only will it help them feel secure, but it can prevent your dog from destroying belongings and trashing your home during bouts of nervousness.
Creating a Dog Room
The first thing you need to do when creating a room for your dog is to choose a suitable location. If there is a particular room or area your dog already likes to go to when they are nervous or scared, start there. Otherwise, select a location that can work for your dog on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. For your dog to feel safe, the area you choose needs to possess a certain level of privacy and seclusion. In order to help your dog relax, his or her safe space should be removed from the busiest and noisiest areas of your home.
Next, you need to make sure that the safe space is dog proof and safe. This involves removing or securing any hazardous, electrical cables and chords. You should also make sure the room is a comfortable temperature for your dog as you don’t want him or her to get overheated.
Lastly, you need to make sure that the space is welcoming and that your dog knows the space is theirs. This can be done by placing certain necessities and items your dog enjoys in the space. By including familiar treats and belongings, it will be easier for your dog to adapt to the space and in turn, they will seek it out.
What to Include in a Dog Room
Making your dog’s room or crate comfortable is important to helping him or her feel safe. If setting up a room for your dog, you should include the following items:
- A comfortable bed
- A water bowl and food bowl
- An old t-shirt or sweatshirt with your scent
- A radio, television, or sound machine to provide ambient noise
- A durable toy if your dog is a chewer
If your dog’s safe space is a crate, you should place a bed and durable toy in their crate. You can also cover the crate with a lightweight sheet or blanket in order to give your dog a cozy, den-like environment. If you know that your dog has the tendency to chew and pull on items when they are nervous, many pet stores and online retailers sell crate covers that fit snugly against the crate.
While your dog doesn’t need anything lavish, it is important to give them a place where they can feel comfortable and safe. Instead of them feeling like they have nowhere to go, you are giving them somewhere to run to when they feel nervous.
- Geier, Elisabeth. “7 Simple Steps to Creating a Room Just for Your Dog.” The Dog People by Rover.com, 9 Aug. 2018, https://www.rover.com/blog/7-simple-steps-creating-room-just-dog/.