Monday, April 7, 2014

Couch-Friendly Canines: The Right Way to Let Fido on the Furniture

Guest Post

No matter how you feel about the goings-on in Washington, D.C., you must admit the White House is a pretty cool pad for a pooch.

There's a dog-friendly apartment on the second floor, and 43 dogs have called the White House home since FDR and his beloved Fala lived there, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

We can't help but wonder how many were allowed to spend time on the couch with the commander in chief, because no matter how much people love their dogs, they tend to be either firmly "pro" or "con" when it comes to canines on couches…or beds...or chairs.

But we think these cons are surmountable.

'He'll Think He Runs the House'

The secret to sharing your bed or sofa with your dog is to let him know his place, literally and figuratively. Make it OK to share your couch or bed, but he cannot leap up uninvited. He must sit and wait for permission. If the answer is no, he should go with the alternative—his own comfy dog bed.

Photo by twodolla via Flickr
Before you entertain the idea of letting him on the furniture, teach him the commands "sit" and "go to your bed." Only when he is responsive to these should you give him clearance. Keep in mind, it's infinitely easier to teach correct behavior than it is to correct wrong behavior.

'He'll Get Everything Filthy and Covered with Hair'

Easy: Keep your dog clean and well-groomed. Daily brushing is not only an excellent way to spend quality time with your dog, it removes hair that would otherwise be shed on your upholstery, and it distributes natural oils that keep him cleaner longer.

The American Humane Society suggests a thorough brushing at least every two days and bathing every two to four months.

Photo by Brief Gasp via Flickr
Of course, even a well-groomed dog will leave a hair or two around. The next line of defense is to go with dog-friendly upholstery. Stay away from tightly woven cloth—dog hairs have a way of weaving themselves in—and avoid velvet and velour (they are hair magnets). Your best bets are leather, smooth cotton and corduroy. Chenille is also a good choice, because it doesn't show snags.

If you don't care for any of these, you can always put a barrier between the dog and the furniture. Purchase inexpensive slipcovers for everyday use in the living room and protect your quilts and comforters with a duvet cover.

'He'll Infest It with Fleas'

Truth be told, if you don't protect him from fleas, he's going to infest the house no matter where he lies. Ask your vet whether you should treat him with a topical product or an oral one, because factors such as breed, age, size and use can affect their effectiveness.

'He'll Be a Pest When Guests Come Over'

Remember the "sit" and "go to your bed" advice? A well-trained dog is never a pest.

Photo by Thirteen Of Clubs via Flickr
Do you let your pets on the furniture?

Guest post by Carol Ward, writer, dog trainer and volunteer.


  1. Opps must admit to an epic fail over here as I do what I want. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

    1. We don't consider that a fail at all! Rocco IS allowed on the furniture, but he doesn't get to wander all over the house when I'm out. He has a nice comfy crate that he enjoys and it helps keep him safe and out of trouble while I'm out!
      Diane and Rocco

  2. My feelings are that if you are afraid of pet fur, then don't get a pet. If you can't treat your pet for fleas then you don't deserve to have a pet. And if anybody is bothered by my dogs when they come over then LEAVE.

  3. BOL! We agree with Brutus! I'm allowed on the furniture too, but will get down if asked.

    1. We think pets BELONG on the furniture, right next to their humans!
      Diane and Rocco

  4. Of course. Family is family. And couches are for Family. And Guests.

  5. No dogs on the furniture in our house, but those darn cats are on everything! Bailie does sleep in bed with Mom, but she has to wait for Mom to put her in the bed.

  6. Yes, furniture and beds are open to everyone. But if guests come over, then the guest gets access to the couches. Also, since where we moved to has so much dust, we have sheets on the couches to protect them from the hair and dust. Baths might start happening more often than they used to until we can do some landscaping and put some grass in.

  7. Yes, our guys are allowed on the furniture. Now, sometimes there isn't any room left for us ... but they're just so cute up there. I never have the heart to make them move LOL

  8. We don't mind sharing our space or furniture with our four-legged sweeties. After all, they are family :)

  9. Our dogs are allowed on the furniture. I had always grown up without dogs being allowed on the couch, so when we got our first dog he had the same rule. That lasted about two days. I love having my dogs on the couch to cuddle with :)