There is a simple way to keep dogs and cats from having direct contact with your furniture and that's by covering it with a protective mat or blanket.
But there's another market, besides furniture covers, that many pet owners have chosen to keep their pets off furniture altogether. You see some folks want to train their pets not to go on their furniture, beds, tables, counters, etc. AT ALL. So they purchase various repellents - training devices that make these objects very undesirable to their pets. Here are some very popular and, according to users, very effective devices.
The plastic mat on top of the sofa looks rather benign, and pet owners say it is, but the PetSafe ScatMat actually gives a little shock to your pet if he touches it. Now, before you yourself recoil, the shock emitted is similar to the kind of shock you get when you walk across a carpeted floor and then touch a door handle. You can set the device at one of three levels, in case you have a particularly stubborn pet, but the idea is that your dog and/or cat will learn, in just a few attempts to get on the couch, that it's not a place she should be and she will not go back - ever.
Yes, it's negative reinforcement (ouch!) and most of us recoil from that method of training, but a) the PetSafe Scat Mat is the most popular deterrent product on Amazon, and b) pet parents, like you and I, say it does not hurt their pets, AND, 3) it's effective.
You can purchase the Scat Mat in various sizes and shapes to fit the areas that need protecting.
The mats come with a battery-powered Power Pack that emits the little shocks when touched. The Power Pack can be set to on or off, so you are in control. You can purchase extra Scat Mats that can be easily connected to each other and can be operated by one Power Pack.
You can also purchase Scat Mat strips to place on window sills or other narrow areas where pets should avoid.
If physically shocking your pet doesn't appeal to you, how do you feel about audible shocks? It may surprise you to learn that pet parents who've used the Sofa Scram really like it and say they are not concerned about the effects of the 85 decibel shriek coming from the mat upon pet contact. (The actual loudness level of the shocker is 85 decibels, not 95, as it states on the package.) Apparently their pets get off of the mat fast when the sound goes off that they don't get back on so fast! A couple of times and your dog or cat is convinced your sofa or chair or counter is not for them.
In fact, your pet doesn't even have to get on the Sofa Scram to trigger the "Pet Alert." All it needs is a touch from a paw.
A couple of YouTube users were kind enough to share their video of their dog interacting with the Sofa Scram: "Jerry vs Sofa Scram." Be prepared to be startled.
Now, the question most prospective users have is 'How long does it take to teach a dog or cat not to go on the couch or the bed or the counter or the garbage pail?'
Pets don't like this noise. It doesn't take long for them to get the hint. They will stop trying to get on whatever object is covered by the Sofa Scram mat, as long as it remains on the forbidden object. After a few uses, you can even turn the alarm off and just leave the mat in place. Some pet owners do report that their dogs and cats will stop trying to get on the forbidden object, even after the mat is removed - so that's great!
One more thing I should mention is that the mat has to be exposed and relatively flat for it to work. If you bend the mat, curl it up significantly, or hide it under cushions, it may not be activated.
The original X-Mat 18-inch square can be placed anywhere that is flat. It is studded with "painless pressure points," according to the manufacturer, but many customers say those points are sharp - something that no adult or child would want to walk on barefoot.
The X-Mat comes in two versions: the Foldable X-Mat, above, and the Firm X-Mat, below.
At 18 inches square, you will certainly have to order more than one to cover your couch or entry areas or counters. One may do for a small chair. As with the above pet deterrent covers, you will have to make sure that your family and friends don't sit down on them. From reading the hundreds of reviews on Amazon, it seems that the X-Mats are more effective at preventing dogs than cats from jumping up or jumping at them (if placed on walls or windows).
Many cat parents report that their cats are not moved at all by the 'pressure points.' Literally NOT MOVED AT ALL! They lie down and roll around on the mats - obviously enjoying them!
Can I have a favorite deterrent device? If so, the Couch Defender is it!
I like the simplicity and the fact that it doesn't cause your pet any pain, maybe just a bit of embarrassment. But, truth be told, even though folks who use these Couch Defenders as a sofa and chair protectors really love them, the Defenders do seem a bit fragile (covered wire and mesh) for persistent dogs.
In beige and brown, in sofa and chair sizes, the Couch Defenders just stretch out, sit in place, and obstruct! The arms of your furniture maintain them. And when company comes, you can just collapse the Couch Defenders and store them, maybe under the couch.
Yes, these do awfully resemble cat tunnels, but I wouldn't let my kitty play with these!
This furniture pad will repel cats that cringe when they here 'crinkly,' and dogs who actually enjoy being comfortable. The Pet Repeller Furniture Pad is Mylar, so it crinkles a lot; the underside of the pad is a thin polyester cloth that keeps the pad from sliding off the sofa.
It seems that pets are either fearful of the crinkly sound or not. Pet parents say that at the very least, the pad helps keep their sofa or bed clean! But, if the mat gets dirty it cannot be washed in the machine.
I would not recommend this for pets that scratch their bedding a lot.
Any of the above furniture protectors would work for the right dog or cat. In choosing one that's 'right,' you'll want to examine how you feel about the small shocks your pet might feel if you purchase one of my top three picks, the PetSafe ScatMat, the Sofa Scram Sonic Dog & Cat Deterrent Repellent Mat, or the X-Mat Original Pet Training Mat. They are the most effective and also have the most applications in terms of the types of surfaces they protect. Otherwise, the Couch Defender or the Pet Repeller Furniture Pad would be worth a try at keeping your pets off of your sofa and chairs.
There are spray repellents to keep pets away from a variety of things, which I will cover in a separate blog.
That's the buzz for today!