Many if not most of us spoil our pets rotten and turn a blind eye to where they park themselves. Some of us even encourage sharing beds, chairs and couches with our pets, but not everyone rolls that way. The problem is even worse when we’re not home, with Fido or Miss Kitty making themselves right at home on the softest, cushiest pieces of furniture they can find. The sticking point for a lot of folks is the hair, dander and drool/lick marks they leave behind, often times staining the fabric or at the very least contributing to grime that requires periodic scrubbing. If this is an issue in your home, here are some tips for keeping pets off furniture.
The first and most obvious answer to this problem is to not allow your pets on the furniture from the time you initially welcome them into your life. This means not allowing them or encouraging them to come on up. The deal is you can’t just allow it when you’re feeling extra warm and fuzzy and then expect them to not do it at other times. It doesn’t work that way, because you’re sending mixed signals they just don’t understand.
This is especially true for puppies and sleeping in beds. Starting off by allowing a puppy on any piece of furniture will present huge problems in the future, and once a dog or cat is allowed to sleep with you good luck breaking them of it in the future. With a dog you’ll go through days if not weeks of them pacing and whining until you let them up, and your cat will just disregard your admonitions and do whatever it wants, anyway.
Keeping Pets Off Furniture
Besides just not starting it in the first place or scolding them constantly, one of the best ways to keep an animal off furniture is to buy a pet alarm. What this is, is a battery-operated mat that can be unrolled and spread across a surface you’re trying to discourage your pets from lounging on. If they do jump up on it an alarm sounds immediately, frightening them off instantly. Once they’re off, the mats stop sounding. It’s like aversion therapy.
My dogs stay inside during the summer while we’re away at work and when we’d come home the couch would be covered in hair, dander and large, soggy lick marks. I purchased one of these mats and it worked like a charm. There are a few manufacturers of these products that carry names like Sofa Scram Sonic and Tattle Tale Sonic. Look for them at pet stores and online.
Cat Scratch Fever
If you’ve got a cat that is basically destroying your furniture in a scratching frenzy every chance it gets, there are a couple of things you can do. The first, of course, is to get a scratching post, bed, mat or tree to allow them to go nuts on. If they’ve never had one before it could take a while for you to redirect this destructive behavior that is actually a natural instinct on their part. The other is to sacrifice a particular piece of furniture you know needs replacing or reupholstering anyway and try to keep the behavior confined to that one piece. You will need to firmly tell them “no” each time they try and scratch something else and then carry them back to whatever you’ve condoned for scratching.
The latter of these two suggestions worked best for me. I also took my cats’ front paws and lightly drug them in a downward scratching motion over the surface of whatever I wanted them to scratch (a small footstool) each time I tried to re-enforce this. They seemed to get it, because it worked.
Tips for Pet Owners
I’ve personally tried all of these methods, from not allowing my pets up in the first place and holding fast on my decision, to giving in as I got older and having to buy the mats after getting tired of covering all the furniture with objects to deter them from getting up or putting up baby gates to keep them from accessing it in the first place, to the cat scratching tips. Whatever you do, as with most things with pets, be consistent if you want to savor the smell of success.