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The first thing you must do before bringing your puppy home is to make the place safe for and from him.  Puppies are wonderful, but unsupervised in a normal home, they can wreck havoc way out of proportion to their size.  To ensure minimal damage to your home and maximum safety for your puppy, a few changes will be needed.  This is very similar to making a house safe for a crawling infant - which, after all, it what your puppy is.

You should set aside an area where the puppy can be left alone without damage to himself or your home.  If you can't do this, then you should consider an older dog.  You should be able to close off the room with a puppy gate or door.  Dutch doors are very effective - you can look in, air can circulate, but the puppy is contained.
You should set aside an area where the puppy can be left alone without damage to himself or your home. If you can't do this, then you should consider an older dog. You should be able to close off the room with a puppy gate or door. Dutch doors are very effective - you can look in, air can circulate, but the puppy is contained.

For most people, the ideal puppy-proof room is the kitchen or spare room. Ideally, the room should have linoleum or tile floor (accidents will happen and the easier to clean up, the better). However, the floor should not be slippery. A slippery floor could cause your dog to injure himself.

Puppies chew anything that catches their attention. All electrical outlets, cords and plugs should be out of reach. Child proof plugs can be inserted into unused outlets. All floor level outlets should be blocked by something. Any furniture in the room should be considered expendable - it will be usable after the puppy is grown, but its edges may be battered. It's clearly not a place for your favorite antiques, heirlooms, or breakable china.

Bitter Apple is a fairly effective short term deterrent to chewing. It tastes awful (although we have had dogs who liked the taste), but it wears off quickly. The liquid kind can temporarily change the color of wooden furniture; there is a cream for that purpose. However, the best way to avoid damage to furniture is to keep the furniture and the puppy apart unless you are there to supervise and correct misbehavior.

Anything the puppy can carry and chew should be removed from the puppy's reach - books, magazines, and shoes seem especially tasty. The contents of open or openable (even if that means chewing through a box) household supplies, laundry hampers, or garbage pails can provide endless hours of entertainment for your puppy - or can poison or kill him. Remember, it's just like guarding your home from a curious, inquisitive and impish child.

Assume that the puppy will find a way to pull down or topple anything he is interested in. Blankets, towels, long tablecloths (and anything that was on them) will wind up on the floor. They will chew pillows and scatter foam or feathers everywhere. This stage is usually temporary (some dogs seem to get stuck here), but every dog does go through it for some period before maturation and training have their effect.
Your puppy should not roam free unless you're there to supervise. While you don't have to go to extremes to puppy-proof every room, you should make sure there are nothing breakable or chewable at his eye level.

Remember, it's just like child-proofing, except his tastes are more exotic. Everything he notices will wind up in his mouth at some point. Don't leave shoes lying around and be compulsive about picking up coins, screws, bottle caps, etc. You will be amazed by the variety of things you wind up taking out of your puppy's mouth . Some dogs love to pick up pebbles outside and bring them in to chew. Sometimes you won't be sure if the sound from his cheeks was a pebble or his brain rattling around.

Decide before he arrives about your rules about dogs on furniture. Make sure that every family member and guest enforces the rules consistently. He can't be blamed for not learning rules which change from person to person. If you decide to allow the dog on furniture, you will find sturdy, earth toned, patterned fabrics stand up best.

There's no right or wrong about this issue (but it's hard to resist their pleas to cuddle in your lap when you're sitting on a chair or couch), just decide what makes you comfortable and be consistent. You need to make the same decision about your bed. the rules are yours to enforce -- dogs can be allowed on furniture, but not on the bed, or whatever combination you want. Just be consistent in your rules.

Stairs and pools pose major safety hazards. Puppies have no sense of their own capabilities and no fear of falling. They will step off a step and roll or tumble down the rest of the stairs or step into a pool that's too deep and take an unplanned swim. Your dog can permanently injure or kill himself this way.

To the extent possible, stairs should be blocked off until the puppy has learned to climb safely up and down the stairs under your supervision. Some people put gates or doors at the top of all stairways - either full doors or half doors - to prevent accidental falls. Bulldogs have heavier front ends than hindquarters. This can cause them to overbalance and fall (going down stairs or into a pool, for example) until they get a good sense of balance and how to move all their parts together. This takes learning and time. Be sure to supervise your puppy inside and outside to prevent accidents.

Bulldogs can swim. However, if they can't get out of a pool by themselves, they can easily drown. The same precautions need to be taken around pools for dogs as for young children. Secure gates and fences are critical. Many bulldogs love water. People put small kiddy wading pools in their yards in the summer to provide a place for the dogs to cool off and play.
Bulldogs are generally one of the best breeds with children. Most bulldogs are sturdy and relatively tolerant of poking and prodding compared to other breeds. They are generally very calm animals and seem to like kids.

However, this does not mean that young puppies can be turned loose to play with children unsupervised or that children should be left alone with dogs unsupervised. The puppy is a baby himself now. He doesn't know when to stop playing - he'll play till he drops. They are adorable, but undisciplined. Puppies wrestle, chase, chew on and bite each other when they play - even at this age they have a strong bite and sharp baby teeth. At this age, he hasn't learned the difference between other puppies and people, so he'll play this way with children. This could be threatening to the child, if the puppy is not managed carefully by an adult.

A similar rule applies to children with older dogs. The child may inadvertently do something that the dogs interprets as aggressive or may hurt then dog while playing with it. Dogs and children need close supervision when together to prevent unintentional harm to either.
Stairs can pose major safety hazards.  Puppies have no sense of their own capabilities and no fear of falling.  They will step off a step and roll or tumble down the rest of the stairs.  Your dog can permanently injure or kill himself this way.

To the extent possible, stairs should be blocked off until the puppy has learned to climb safely up and down the stairs under your supervision.  Some people put gates or doors at the top of all stairways - either full doors or half doors - to prevent accidental falls.  Bulldogs have heavier front ends than hindquarters.  This can cause them to overbalance and fall (going down stairs) until they get a good sense of balance and how to move all their parts together.  This takes learning and time.  Be sure to supervise your puppy inside and outside to prevent accidents.

Be careful about games near stairs. He may accidentally fall down and injure himself or may decide to explore stair climbing before he is ready. One very nice show dog fractured his shoulder falling down a flight of stairs when he was three months old. Bulldogs can take a lot of pain and not show it, but he could carry the limp with him the rest of his life. You can teach him to climb stairs when he's ready, but you need to supervise him whenever he has access to stairs until he really has it down pat. Again, he has no real fear of falling at this age.
Puppies like hard, solid rubber toys and puppy Nylabones. Do not give rawhide toys, soft rubber squeaky toys, or any toy with a squeaker or small part that could be chewed off or dislodged. If you let him play with old socks, he will raid the hamper for the rest of his life. When he's older, he'll swallow the socks whole, certainly making him sick and possibly killing him. In addition, teaching a Bulldog to play pulling games may be fun for only a while. One day you are going to want your dog to release something he's holding and the famous Bulldog grip will not let it go unless he's trained to release as well as pull. This will be especially important if you want to try your hand at obedience showing.

Do not give bones of any kind. Bulldogs, even puppies, have especially powerful jaws and can splinter a large bone that will cause severe internal bleeding. Do not teach the dogs to play with sticks - they can splinter even sizable branches quite easily and can puncture their mouths with splinters.

Don't give the dogs old shoes or old clothes to chew - they can't tell what is old from what is new and expensive and your absolute favorite. If you leave shoes around, the puppy will chew them - they prefer to chew expensive shoes when given the choice, although we knew one dog that only ate lifts and heels.

Bulldog games generally involve chewing - they will play with chew toys throughout their entire lives. Your puppy likes to chase balls (hard rubber or Nylabone only) or other toys when thrown where he can see them. He doesn't catch them - most Bulldogs aren't too good at that - but he likes running, pouncing, shaking and carrying toys. Most Bulldogs like to play tug-of war - just make sure that you teach the dog to release what's in its mouth on command when it's young or you may have a problem when it's older
Pools can pose major safety hazards.  Puppies have no sense of their own capabilities and no fear of falling.  They will step off a step and roll or tumble into a pool that's too deep and take an unplanned swim.  Your dog can permanently injure or kill himself this way.

Bulldogs have heavier front ends than hindquarters.  This can cause them to overbalance and fall into a pool until they get a good sense of balance and how to move all their parts together.  This takes learning and time.  Be sure to supervise your puppy to prevent accidents.

Bulldogs can swim.  However, if they can't get out of a pool by themselves, they can easily drown.  The same precautions need to be taken around pools for dogs as for young children.  Secure gates and fences are critical.  Many bulldogs love water.  People put small kiddy wading pools in their yards in the summer to provide a place for the dogs to cool off and play.

Most Bulldogs love wading pools and water. He'll probably like the hose or sprinkler. Just make sure the water is shallow and the puppy can get in and out easily. Supervise - don't let him swim alone in the lake or river. Even though Bulldogs swim instinctively, they shouldn't be allowed in water that's more than elbow deep unless supervised closely.
We've heard of Bulldogs drowning when there was any kind of current or wake from boats. Their heavy breathing makes it easy for them to inhale water. In addition, if they panic, swelling of the throat tissue could result in closing off the airway even if they don't inhale water. If you take him out in a boat, which we don't recommend, a life jacket made for dogs is a necessary safety precaution.