Day 1 of 7

Physical Environment

Day 1 kicks off with creating a comfortable space in your home which plays an important part in laying a foundation of mutual trust.

Objective #1

Establish a comfortable and secure home.

  Tasks to Complete  

[ ] Designate a "safe space"
[ ] Dog-proof the area
[ ] Set up food and water stations
[ ] Introduce positive crate training
[ ] Manage noise for mutual benefit
[ ] Provide mental enrichment

  Step 1: Designate Their Space  

Creating a dedicated safe space for your dog in your home starts with selecting the location...

  • Choose a quiet corner in your home that's away from high-traffic areas, yet accessible to your dog.
  • This spot should ideally be where your dog naturally retreats to for a break​​.
  • Make sure the area is either permanently or semi-permanently set up for your dog, ensuring consistency​​.

Next, think about some basic comfort factors...

  • The temperature should be cool in the summer and warm in the winter with enough space for your pup to stretch out and sleep in peace​.
  • Arrange for comfortable bedding and consider placing a crate as a secure den, draping it with a well-used blanket to provide the familiarity of your scent around their zone.

  Step 2: Dog-Proof Your Home  

After designating their own space, consider establishing some no-go zones.

  • Create boundaries by setting up pet gates to block access to rooms with items dangerous for your dog​.

Make sure you secure any hazardous items.

  • Remove dangerous items from your dog's reach by using high shelves and locked cabinets.
  • You may want to install childproof latches for added security and ensure poisonous house plants, medicines, and small objects that could be choked on are well out of reach​​.

Check things out from your dog's perspective.

  • Evaluate room safety from your dog's height to identify any unsafe objects that might grab their attention​.

  Step 3: Food and Water Stations  

Find the right spot for your food and water stations.

  • Choose a location that’s easily accessible to your dog yet away from high traffic areas to avoid distractions while eating​​.

If you have a taller dog, try to elevate the bowls.

  • Elevate food and water bowls to your dog’s shoulder height. This is not only comfortable but also promotes better posture and aids dogs with arthritis​.

Let the water flow!

  • While food should be reserved for consistent, designated feeding times, you'll want to make sure the water bowl is always full with clean, fresh drinking water. You might also want to explore various types of dishes, feeders, and fountains to find what suits your dog best​​.

  Step 4: Introduce Crate Training  

Start with crate exploration.

  • Encourage your dog to explore the crate by keeping the door open and placing some treats inside​​. Make it inviting by adding soft bedding and some of your dog’s favorite toys​.

Create positive associations.

  • Create a positive association by rewarding your dog whenever they enter or settle in the crate voluntarily​​. It's recommended not to use your dogs crate or bed as a place of punishment.

Take your time :)

  • Settling into a new den in a new home can take some time - don't get discouraged! Begin by closing the door for short periods while they are inside, gradually increasing the time as they become comfortable​.

  Step 5: Managing Noise  

Crate placement can help.

  • Place the crate in a quieter part of the house but not too isolated, to provide a peaceful retreat​​. A serene ambiance helps in reducing anxiety and promoting calmness in dogs.

Make it comfortable!

  • Beyond their physical comfort, extra bedding in their crate and blankets around their create can help muffle outside noise can be effective in creating a calmer environment​. Blankets shouldn't complete block their ability to see out of their crate - try just draping around the sides and back.

Work gradually to desensitize.

  • Gradually expose your dog to different sounds at a low volume to help them get accustomed to various noises without feeling anxious​.

  Step 6: Mental Enrichment  

Try food puzzles.

  • Food puzzles are a fantastic way to make mealtime fun and mentally stimulating for your dog​​.

Don't forget to exercise!

  • Beyond the physical health benefits, exercise is a great way to support your dog mentally. Incorporate activities that challenge both the mind and body such as hikes, exploratory walks, or swimming​​.

Training, playing, and new experiences can keep your dog stimulated.

  • Engage in different forms of mental enrichment like training sessions, playtime, new scents, and social interactions. These activities not only keep your dog’s mind sharp but also strengthen the bond between you two​​.

  Recap & What's Next  

Today's Reflection

  • Take a moment to observe how your dog reacts to the newly set-up environment. Do they seem at ease? Are they exploring the space with curiosity? Your observations will provide invaluable insights as you progress in building your relationship together.


  • Each of these steps, when incorporated into your dog's routine, will foster a conducive environment for their growth, well-being, and the blossoming of a beautiful friendship between you and your furry companion. As you progress through the 7-Day Challenge, you're not only establishing a solid foundation for a nurturing relationship but also ensuring your dog's overall happiness and health.

Up Next

  • Feel free to revisit this guide throughout the coming days and experiment with various physical environment adjustments to find what feels right for both of you. Tomorrow, we'll start training name recognition and recall (AKA, "come!").

Want More Training Resources?

Check out the Kibbies Learning Center for Tools, Articles, and FAQs related to creating a healthy dog and owner relationship!



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