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Preparing a home for your new pet

Adopting a pet from a shelter can transform your house into a home. But without careful preparation, your new furry friend can turn your house into a mess. The following household and training tips will get you on your way to making sure this doesn't happen.

Put a comfortable bed or cushion for your pet in every room. Pets are much more likely to keep off of furniture if they have alternatives.

Until your pet learns house rules, don't give them unsupervised access to rooms with sofas, beds or any other furniture you don't want them on. Instead, spend time with your pet in those rooms, and be ready to gently but persistently discourage them from jumping up on the furniture. It may help to leave a short leash on your dog if he or she tries to hop up on your sofa. The moment he or she does, say "Oops!" Then take hold of the leash and gently lead him or her away from the sofa.

During "chill time" together, teach your dog that you'd like them to spend time on his own bed rather than on your furniture. Tie a short tether (about four feet in length) to the leg of a sofa. Place your dog's bed next to the tether. When you're ready to sit back and relax, tether your dog and give them something exciting to chew. While the dog chews on his treat, you can sit on the sofa and read a book or watch TV.

If you have a cat, try putting double-sided sticky tape or upside-down carpet runner on furniture to discourage him or her from scratching.

Training 
1.  Use dog crates and gates to confine your new dog when home alone until his or her house manners earn him unsupervised freedom.
2.  Provide plenty of "legal" things for your dog to chew. If your dog has attractive toys and bones of his or her own, he or she will be much less likely to gnaw on your things.
3.  Provide cats with a variety of scratching posts and perches—cat trees are helpful.
4.  Be sure to give your dog AT LEAST 30 minutes of aerobic exercise—running, fetching, playing or swimming—each day. A tired dog will be much less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
5.  And remember to increase your pet's roaming privileges slowly, room by room. Going from restriction to complete freedom can set a pet up to fail.

Keep things clean 
1.  Spill-proof water bowls help prevent drooly drinkers from spilling on the floor.
2.  A large, absorbent placemat under food and water bowls will make for easier clean-up after messy eaters.
3.  Frequently wash your pet's blanket and bedding; use a lint roller on pillows.
4.  Scoop the poop out of your cat's litter box at least once or twice a day.

Cleaners 
If you use a product that contains ammonia to clean up your pet's urine, you won't be able to smell remaining odors, but your pet will! In fact, ammonia-based cleaners can actually attract pets and encourage them to urinate where they've made mistakes before. Instead, have on-hand a special enzymatic cleaner specifically made for cleaning up pet messes—all major pet stores carry them. For best results, be sure to follow the directions on the product label.