Keep Your Dog Safe While You Cook
Whether you’re an enthusiastic chef or a master of quick meals, you probably don’t want your dog milling around your feet while you’re cooking. Because while your doggo would love to be your furry sous-chef—with the primary job of picking up fallen food off the floor, of course—the truth is, the kitchen is not the safest place for your pup..
The good news is, your dog can learn the rules of your kitchen quite easily. Get your whisks and casserole dishes ready because we’re going to talk about keeping your dog out of the kitchen danger zone!
Plan your training sessions ahead of time
When it comes to teaching your dog a new behavior, it’s always best to be proactive with your training sessions. After all, you won’t be able to focus on Fido when you’re in the middle of a complicated recipe.
Instead, choose a time when your kitchen is empty, such as midmorning or after lunch. Ideally, you’ll want to schedule a few short training sessions of about 15 minutes a couple times per day.
Prepare for your training sessions
One thing to keep in mind is that the kitchen, with all its tantalizing smells and opportunities for table scraps, is one exciting place for a pup! That level of excitement can make it difficult to reign in Fido’s attention. So, it’s a good idea to give your dog the chance to burn off some extra energy before you start your training session.
This could mean a nice long walk or trip to the dog park or an interactive game of tug or fetch in the backyard. If you will be taking your pupper in the car for an exercise session, make sure to keep them safe and sound with BreezeGuard Screens.
Another way to prepare for training sessions is to have some great treat options on hand. This will ensure that you’re able to keep your pup engaged even when there are tasty cooking smells to compete with!
Option One: Teach your dog to stay in a designated area of the kitchen
Often, your dog follows you into the kitchen because they want to be with you (with table scraps as a bonus!) And if you have the space in your kitchen for your dog to lay down out of the way, it’s perfectly acceptable to allow your dog to be there. It’s simply a matter of teaching them how to relax and stay out of the way.
In order to teach this, you’ll want your dog to go to a specific place on cue. This could be a doggy bed, a mat, or their crate. Start by luring your dog to their designated area and having them lie down for a treat. Introduce a specific phrase, such as “go to your bed” and repeat the process several times until they learn to lie down on their mat without you having to lure them.
Getting them to stay in their designated area will be another important component to this cue. If your pup is having trouble, stand in front of them with a treat in your hand. Back up one step and then immediately return and give your dog the treat. Gradually increase the distance, always being sure to walk back to your dog to give them the treat instead of releasing them from their down position.
Because you’ll want your dog to be very reliable with this cue when you have hot dishes in hand, practice these steps repeatedly.
Option Two: Teach your dog not to enter the kitchen
Some dogs simply aren’t relaxed enough to be trusted in the kitchen, and that’s okay, too! If you want your dog to stay out of the room completely, you can use boundary training or physical boundaries to keep them out.
For boundary training, have your dog on a leash and walk towards the kitchen door. Once you’ve reached the doorway or a visual barrier of your choosing, stop and have your dog sit for a treat. Back up and repeat this process several times until your dog automatically sits at the barrier in anticipation of their tasty reward. From there, you can take the next step of walking past your dog into the kitchen while they hold their sit position. If your dog tries to follow you in, lead them back to the visual marker and have them sit. To make the process easier for your dog, you can take very small steps into the kitchen to start with and build from there.
Physical barriers such as baby gates are a great tool, here, if you don’t mind the slight inconvenience! That said, dogs who are large enough to hop over a gate may still need some barrier training.
Option Three: The time crunch solution!
Let’s say that you have family visiting and don’t have time for drawn-out training sessions. If that’s the case, you can still prepare your pup for safe and hassle-free family gatherings.
Playpens are a wonderful way to keep your doggo in an area where they won’t get into too much mischief. You might also consider setting up a dedicated area of the home, such as a spare office, where your dog can relax, nap, and enjoy an engaging puzzle toy at various times throughout the festivities. This is especially helpful for dogs who get overwhelmed by too much excitement.
When your dog is out and about with your houseguests, don’t hesitate to assign a dog-loving relative to the task of keeping your dog safely out of the kitchen. That way, you can be sure that your furry friend is well-cared-for while you’re hard at work whipping up a feast!
Whether your dog is faithfully in their doggy bed in the kitchen or entertaining your guests in another room, remember to take a break every once in a while from cooking to give your furbaby some love and attention! They certainly won’t mind a few bites of your delicious (dog-friendly) food, either!