I’ve had multiple Instagram messages about this particular topic… more than I expected to receive over the past year, but it’s a very valid concern. The timing couldn’t be better to chat renovating & dogs because we JUST finished the guest bathroom– which marks the official start to our third home renovation (the big reveal is happening tomorrow, BTW). During each home remodel, Emmett and I have always had a furry friend by our side. We wouldn’t have it any other way, but renovations can be stressful for pets and their safety is always our primary concern. Click through to read my tips for helping your dog through a renovation or remodel.
#1 : Create a safe place.
First and foremost, our dogs know their “safe place”… even if we’re not renovating, their happy or safe spot is their bed or crate. Crosby’s bed is inside his crate and Cash has a bed in the laundry room tucked out of the way (although he sneaks onto human beds too, prime example above). They genuinely enjoy spending time in their safe place and will even put themselves to bed there each night. When things get stressful, we send them to their safe spot for peace and comfort. It’s a good habit for any situation- house guests, mail delivery, an unexpected knock at the door, renovating, etc.
#2 : Supervise your dog in the construction zone at all times.
This probably goes without saying, but keep a VERY close eye on your pup in the construction zone. Our dogs like to eat anything and everything…. dried mud, bits of drywall, insulation, plastic, you get the point. I watch them like a hawk to prevent anything going into their mouth that shouldn’t. Finn was especially bad about eating paper, cardboard, and tape… bless his heart. I miss that big guy!
#3 : Show them there is nothing to be afraid of.
Our dogs basically get a treat buffet if something new or loud is happening. At this point, they know loud noises, crazy tools, and giant pieces of material come in and out of the house and are used on the daily. Since they’re often rewarded when something that could be potentially “scary” happens, they’ve learned it’s just part of our routine. I literally have to move them out my way to vacuum and shampoo the carpet- nothing phases them anymore (proof below).
#4 : Stick to a routine.
Speaking of routine, it’s important to keep a consistent schedule so your dog knows what to expect. I feed our dogs every night at the same time, go for a walk or play, Emmett and I work on a project, we make dinner, snuggle on the sofa, then go to bed. It’s the same every night and I think they enjoy the consistency. It’s hard to believe Crosby was that little (below), he was the cutest puppy!
#5 : Keep an eye on the gate or door.
If you hire the help of a contractor or have nice friends or family who are willing to lend a hand with your project, keep an eye on gates and doors. We’ve had friends help in the past and since they weren’t aware how our door shuts, it didn’t latch properly. I quickly realized Finn was missing and noticed the front door was wide open. He ran out the open door and was wandering around our neighborhood. Luckily someone spotted him and brought him back home. Now I ALWAYS keep that in the back of my head and closely monitor the backyard gates and entryway doors. Pets are little escape artists, so don’t give them the opportunity to jet into a dangerous situation or run away.
#6 : Brush up on training.
My dogs are very good at the “leave it” and “drop it” commands mostly because of construction projects. As I mentioned in #2, they’re constantly trying to eat things they shouldn’t. I know if they try to scarf something while I’m watching, I can make them spit it out with a simple “drop it”. On the contrary, if I see them eyeing something they shouldn’t… I’ll give a stern “leave it” command. This really gives me peace of mind and helps me feel more confident bringing them into our work zone. After all, they’re super nosey and always want to be by our side… they like hanging out while we work and their obedience allows them to do just that!
#7 : Close off or dog-proof the construction zone after working hours.
We have a couple pet gates we use to close off the construction zone. Since the dogs often roam the house, it’s an easy way to keep a certain area restricted. In addition to closing off the room, we always clean up anything harmful or hazardous should they make it past our first line of defense. I would never want them to chomp a live electrical wire or eat something poisonous that could kill them, when it’s as easy as puppy proofing and cleaning up a space. This is essential, in my opinion! Better safe than sorry.
#8 : Respect contractors and keep your dog put away.
Not everyone likes dogs… that’s shocking, I know. I’m not friends with those people, but hey- whatever. Joking! Sort of. If you hire a contractor (even if they are a dog person), your dog will usually end up in his or her way. That is a waste of your contractor’s time, which equals your money. It’s best to keep your dogs crated or sequestered in another room away from hired help.
#9 : Go the extra mile.
Honestly, Emmett and I struggle with this one because projects tend to keep us preoccupied and take up a ton of our time, but it seriously makes a difference! Whether it’s extra walks, treats, a special outing, a car ride, an adventure, or a swim, treat your dog to something “extra” they enjoy. They’ll feel less neglected or confused during the renovation and will be happier getting additional attention. A happy dog is one that listens, feels safe, and is less anxious.
#10 : Monitor stress and anxiety.
Lastly, even if you’re doing all of these things… it’s still important to monitor your dog’s stress and anxiety. If you’re dog just can’t cope with construction or remodeling, it might be time to consider boarding them, enrolling them in doggie daycare, or asking a family member to watch them for the project duration. We’ve never had to do this, but I’ve heard of some dogs who truly can’t cope. In that circumstance, it’s probably healthier to send your dog to a better environment until the project is complete- or at least remove them from the extremely stressful construction days (extra loud noises, vibration from heavy machinery and tools, etc).
Hopefully this post helped offer insight and ideas to alleviate stress for your dog during your construction, renovating, or remodeling projects. They look to you for comfort and safety- their attitude will reflect how you handle and introduce them to the situation. Help your dog navigate the uncertainty in a calm and confident manner! I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below. Trust me when I say, we’ve completed A LOT of dog training over the years. Ha! You guys know I’m alllll about the dogs. I can’t wait to show you the bathroom tomorrow… please come back for that!