Organizing For Your Dog (and You)
Updated: Jun 21
Our Pet Background if you care...
On Valentines day 2020, we brought home a small dog from the Westport Humane Society. She had been given up by her previous owners in North Carolina because she was "too much responsibility". Turns out, she's pretty wonderful and she likes us! We named her Rosalind aka "Roz"to pay homage to William Shakespeare, as Kyle and I met at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 2012. Now, we all live together and Roz pays $0 in rent, which is some bullshit, because she's home all day long doing nothing. We have each had family dogs before, but never as a couple.
I'm going to share some organizing tips that have worked for us as dog owners. A couple things: 1. Our routine changes almost daily, so she really only gets a sense of routine from our systems. 2. Since Roz is pretty low maintenance, and we don't buy her excessive amount of things, there aren't a ton of things to organize. She has three toys and only plays with one, minimalist to an extreme. Love.
One of the things I did to prepare our apartment for a dog, was to determine how we wanted to set up zones for her, to make it an easy transition for all of us. Just like a kindergarten class room, zones makes it easy for everyone to identify what belongs where.
Whether it's food, walking, grooming, or other, everything for Roz has a zone.
All of her food is in one drawer, except her treats, but more on that in a minute. Her bowl is as close to where we store the food as possible, without the chance of her getting to it. This makes it easy for us to feed her, but also allows her to understand that being in the kitchen in that specific spot means chow time. Inside the drawer is a post it note which has her food measurements written on it. In case we have an emergency and need to send someone over to feed her, we can simply say "the instructions are in the drawer above her dog bowl" and they will find it easily.
Treats are intentionally stored away from the food so when she sees us go to the treat zone, she knows she's done something to deserve the treat. It increases the chance of enforcing good behavior. Not sure this is real dog science, but it seems to work for us!
Just FYI - When we buy surplus dog food on sale, we put it in our "backstock" area in storage (aka a closet) and just fill in the drawer as needed. This way we never overload the drawer and make it messy or heavy.
DOG WALKING ZONE
Most people already know about setting up a hook by the door for your dog's leash. What I find is that some dog owners often do not know where to put all the other "stuff". The rolls of dog poop bags, towels to dry their feet, extra collars/leashes, or other dog walking items. I don't want to blow your mind but like....create a "dog walking" basket by the door. Whatever you have available will do the trick. Just throw everything in there that relates to dog walking, and leave your leash hanging on the wall for convenience. It's going to change your life, man. Please enjoy the photo of our makeshift mudroom, below. It was $free.99 to create, and I didn't want to invest any money into a rental.
HEALTH & GROOMING ZONE
We have the worlds-weirdest-coat-closet, with worlds-most-awkward-shelf. While we used to store seasonal scarves and hats there for Kyle, he never really used it because it's so awkward to get to it. I decided to reclaim the territory as Health & Grooming storage for Roz. This Bin holds all things Roz that aren't Food, Medicine or Dog Walking.
Contents include: dental kit, extra poop bags (don't want to overcrowd the dog walking bin!), and grooming items. We also have pee pads but homegirl never got on board for them. I decided to keep them because I know that she may need them if she gets sick and cant do stairs easily to get outside. *weep*
We only have Roz go to her bed when we are going to bed for the night. We say "Roz, let's go to bed!" and she runs up the stairs, under the bed, and then curls up in her bed. Actually, sometimes she sleeps under the bed. No clue why, but she seems to like it so, you do you. But let's be real, she will sleep wherever she damn well pleases when it isn't time "to go to bed."
SEE YA LATER ZONE
This is not a physical zone, but a verbal/scent zone. Since quarantine, Roz's separation anxiety has tripled in intensity (just an estimate, I have no statistics). We hired a local Connecticut Dog Trainer Behaviorist, Jody Rosengarten, to help us figure out how to make it easier for her. I highly recommend hiring her if you are in CT. She mentioned that dogs associate smell the way humans associate sight. Jody told us to spit on her favorite toy a little to really get our scent in there. While it grossed me out initially, I see the results and I'm a believer. So now, every time we leave, we give Roz her favorite toy and say the same thing to her right before we leave. I say, "See ya later!" and Kyle says, "Lock the door behind me." - which he toooootally ripped off from Jody's example during our session! :) While it's only been a few days of practice, it's made such a difference. She's hasn't had any accidents and seems to bounce back upon our arrival much quicker.
That's right, you heard it here first! Spit on alllllll your dog's toys.
I hope this helps you and your pup become more organized together! If not, then like...I tried my best, ok?