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I am a computer geek who has always wanted a dog but felt that apartment life made it difficult. However, I am finally ready and plan to obtain a dog very soon. But can anyone suggest solutions/mitigation methods for my problem: clutter!
First, I am generally a pretty lousy housekeeper. It does not help that I am a bookworm and computer geek. That means I keep an awful lot of gadgets around. That includes power chords, cables, adapters, routers and internet modems. Also, my natural tendency is to leave things around,,something I'm going to have to curtail obviously...
In the TV area, I have two power chords which now I keep on the floor near the TV. Both chords have an average of 6 chords connected to it. I may not have much flexibility in their position because of where the outlet is.
My router is located near my TV. I have a long cable extending from the kitchen to near the TV on the opposite side of the apartment which connects to 1)the power chord, 2)the router and 3)the modem itself.
My computer desk (adjacent to the kitchen) has a power chord to the left of it, with 6 cables. Generally, around the computer area, I have lots of cables,wires/and charges at the desk label, some of which hang down from the desk (the usb hub). I am worried that the dog will jump on the chair to mess around with equipment around my desk. Does this kind of thing happen?
In addition I usually keep a space heater with a long chord and a floor lamp with a chord.
(I should say that the apartment is rather small, but it's located inside a lovely apartment complex and across the street from a spacious park).
How much should I worry about these things? I can try rearranging cables somewhat and lining them along the ceiling, but the modem/router is going to be a problem. And I would hate to come home and find that the dog has electrocuted himself.
Are there any steps (physical or behavioral) I can take to prevent these sorts of mishaps? (even if we're only talking about property damage). I realize that the obvious answer is to hide the chords, but I have to deal with the space I live in. I can reduce the amount of chords which are visible, but I'm not going to be able to eliminate the risk altogether. Another factor is that I don't have much furniture to keep these things above dog level; even if I did, I'm not sure I will be able to prevent the modem/router chord from being accessible.
One possibility I'm debating is getting rid of the couch (my only bit of furniture besides the kitchen table and recliner chair)to free up more room for dog-related stuff. On the other hand, if I leave a dog bed/crate there, I still will have the cables crisscrossing the room.
I appreciate any suggestions you can offer and practical experience with the issue. Also, I'd like to know what is typical dog behavior for this kind of equipment. Should I just assume that dogs will play with anything? Or should I assume that dogs will leave alone things which smell like plastic or metal?
First, get a crate. Crate train the dog. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and your dog. When you are not home, put the dog in the crate. When you can't watch him, put him in the crate.
Being that this is your first dog, and given your situation, it would be better to adopt an adult dog. Shelter/rescue dogs aren't behavioral trainwrecks like some are led to believe. They are usually trained in the basics, mature, and you know exactly what you are getting. With puppies, you never know how the dog will turn out.
Most adult dogs generally won't chew wires and such. Or at least, they won't do it in your presence. So when you are out of the room, you can crate them if needed be.
01-09-2010 12:18 AM OMG! Brilliant post! You are like...a total genius *swoon* <3 <3 <3 Kobe the Fluffy Tail - Mar '05 Syl Stormblessed - Dec '13
I am a computer user, not a geek. My family gets a new Lab puppy every year, ones bred to be strong will and active. The worst possible dogs to have around electrical cords and let something else distract you from the dog.
I have a large computer desk with the tower at the very top. I installed the cable and ethernet outlets 48'' off the floor. I replaced the cord on the surge protector with the metal BX cable. Most of my cords start at the desk top and go up towards the tower or the rack I made to hold the router, telephone adaptor (VOIP), TV tuner, etc.
I am very internet oriented and use very few CD's, DVD's, etc.
You will just have to add tables and shelves and keep everything off the floor.
The best thing you can do is keep it crated while you can't supervise. NOT just when you're not home. My puppy chewed up an ethernet cable right next to me while I was playing WoW, and I noticed waayyyy later.
I agree with the suggestion to get a dog from a rescue group - preferably an older dog that is over his/her puppy tendencies to chew things. If you go through a foster organization rather than a shelter, you will be able to ask the foster parent about the dog's behavior in their own home. Ask about chewing behavior, and steer clear if they admit the dog has a chewing problem.
As RBark said, many dogs will not chew up things. I got my dog from a shelter at 7 months and she never chewed up anything of value. If it doesn't taste good or contain calories, she's simply not interested.
My husband and I have a lot of computer stuff and we also have cables in easily reachable areas. We started by crate training the puppy we got about seven weeks ago. We also confined him to the least problematic area (our kitchen) by using baby gates. As he has gotten calmer we have allowed him into other areas but only when we can watch him pretty carefully. He has not been chewing on the cords much at this point. We also provided a lot of other things to chew on that he finds more interesting. Right now he is laying at my feet on top of the cord to this computer chewing on a very smelly bully stick.
I have 2 adult rescues, the only dog proofing is leather sofas rather than cloth as they don't collect dog hair as badly, a trash can with a closing lid (with the foot pedal to open it) and I had to keep the counters and tables clean of food for a few months.
Cables and cords have never been an issue with any adult dog I have ever had.
Puppies chew on things a lot more and getting cables etc. out of the way and keeping anything chewable and expensive out of reach is more of an issue. I've lost a few boots and shoes and things to pups.
You might want to get a rescue dog that has been kept at a foster home, so you can know if it likes to chew things and has likely been house trained and somewhat behavior trained already.
My dog has yet to be a nuisance with my electrical stuff in my room, but my cats were at one point. I did the obvious things such as running cords against the walls and hiding them behind furniture. Though for the ones I couldn't hide I use double sided tape and rubbed a little Vics Vapor Rub. My cats hate the smell and it kept them away.
Don't know if the tape and Vics will work for dogs, but there are sprays such as Bitter Apple that will usually keep dogs from chewing.
I am a very big computer geek and book worm- when i got Bones I discovered how much of a chewer he was when he chewed the plug off a humidifier. Luckily I made sure all my live plugs (the humidifier was not plugged in) were carefully placed behind things (tables, desk, bed) so that he couldn't get to them without causing a racket and me noticing.
Having a crate is big if you are going to leave him home alone. If your dog isn't a big chewer it may not be a problem for you, but if he is you will have to redirect his energy. Make sure the most succulent items are out of reach (shoes, socks, etc).
Also make sure your trashcan(s) is sealed or out of reach. I thought I had mine out of reach (stuffed in a corner between my dresser and desk) but he somehow managed to push the chair away and crawl through the shelves of the desk to get to the trashcan. I came back from washing the dishes to find dog food cans, empty water bottles, and shredded tissue all over my bed room, heh.
Eventually you should be able to train your dog not to touch the stuff that is yours. When I noticed how much of a chewer he was I became very concerned. In my bed room I have my PC, two laptops, three external hard drives, a USB hub, and tons of cables. Then in my office I have another pc and etc. However, now he doesn't even touch my shoes so I can leave my slippers on the floor without that worry.
IMO the best ways to keep him out of trouble are by having a crate for when the dog can't be supervised and then training them
Gather the cables together wherever you can and zip tie them to table legs or the backs of cabinets. Basically make them a lot harder for the dog to wrap his mouth around. You can also zip tie them together and duct tape them to the back to the tables and such to keep them from dangling temptingly.
Try out the inexpensive plastic cable wraps that are kinda like a clear garden hose that has a slit in the side to slip all the cords into for a little added protection (and hey, less mess!)
Provide chew toys and direct the dogs attention there.
Put everything on power strips that you can shut off before you leave the dog unattended in the room (presumably after he's proven not to be a chewer) as a just in case.
Put peripherals in a cabinet with doors or in a desk drawer, drill holes for wires if need be.
Push your desk chair under the desk to keep the dog off it, although I'd bet its not very interesting/comfy to the dog anyway.
Play around with arrangements and think creative-- maybe furniture from Goodwill to house electronics that can be cut and modified to your needs.
You can buy metal stove pipe at the hardware store that comes open and can be wrapped around things and the seam snapped together. I used a length on the vapor line and control wires to my A/C compressor outside.
I agree with the suggestions of zip tying cables to the desk legs, getting some cable wrap/procetors and such for places the cables have to be out in the open. Try to block the wall outlets with furniture when you can.
If you have power strips/surge protectors that are in areas that can't be hidden make a power box for them. I had one I used for all my aquarium plugs. Basically it was just a wooden box big enough to fit a couple of powerstrips. I cut some holes on either side for the cords to feed through. Place the power strips in the box, feed the cords throught he holes in the side so that all the plugs are contained inside the box. You can coil up extra cord length and ziptie it together inside the box to keep everything neater and less cord out in the open. You could use almost anything for this box, as long as it has a lid/cover that is fairly secure. Even a study rubbermaid bin with holes cut in it would work. It'll keep all the plugs and loose wires out of the pups immediate reach. He might try to chew through the box but it should prevent him from chewing the plugs and power strips. If you have some type of cord protectors over the cords as they come out of the box even better.
When I got my second dog we had 3 computer geeks in a 2 bedroom apartment. Now we had cables and computers all over the place.
-We crated when she could not be supervised.
-Lots of toys of all types (kongs, ball, stuffies, bones etc.) get a bunch with different textures and sizes this help curve the need to chew on other things
- lots of exercise helps too
The only thing she ever ate was a few cat toys. Cable Wrap with bitter apple or other deterrent also helps with the cable clutter.
Last edited by Zack_the_Mouse; 01-02-2010 at 10:41 PM.
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