Stella’s Puppy Blanket
When Stella was a puppy, we had a blanket for her within her crate when we took her home for the first time. The blanket was very basic and not very large but large enough for her as a puppy to cuddle up and lie flat on. We read a lot about the importance of creating a safe space for your puppy so we got the blanket as an addition to her crate. Very shortly, this blanket became an absolute godsend for not only us but also for Stella when she was becoming accustomed to the big bad world outside of her crate and home.
Cafes, Restaurants or friends houses the blanket would be with us (it was very light so easy to stuff into my bag). If we laid that blanket on the floor Stella would settle on it, (after a few minutes of course, she’s not that perfect!). Not only was this amazing for us as we had the confidence that wherever we went she would settle nicely but it was lovely knowing that she had this ‘safe place’ outside of the home and she was comfortable. The familiar smells were obviously very comforting to her and to this day she has that blanket in her bed, although she seems to sleep anywhere else but her bed these days. Now that she’s all grown up we don’t use the blanket of course, generally she’ll just lie on my jacket instead….🙄
The importance of a safe space for your dog
Dogs aren’t that different to humans really, we all like to get away from it all at times and sometimes you just want to take a moment to ourselves. Dogs can get anxious when they hear fireworks and might need their safe space, my husband Chris gets a little anxious when he hears the hoover and runs off to his safe space to get away from doing any house work!
Our vet told us that creating a space for dogs can not only reduce anxiety and help them deal with stressful situations but also provides them with a huge sense of calm as this is their space with the smells and comforts that they recognise.
Creating our dogs safe space
Stella’s safe space as a puppy was her crate. The crate was in the kitchen so she was able to access it at any time. Inside it there was her water bowl, her blanket and the crate had a cover which we pulled over from time to time to create a bit of darkness for her like a wee hideaway.
She was initially a bit unsure of her new safe space and would never go into it by herself (this was also where she slept, and at first this wasn’t very popular either). We really wanted her to love her crate so we would always put her food in the crate with the door open to try and develop some positive feelings towards the space. Progress was slow until I pulled out the big guns….and got in the crate! I was in there with her for a wee while (the things you do for your puppy) and as if like magic the next day we saw her go into her crate and settle down all by herself, I was so proud I almost cried (I definitely did cry). Stella now had her safe space where she felt comfortable and from then on she would use it regularly!