The hubs and I are dog people. We love life with our dogs. We have had Piper since she was 11 weeks old and Finnley has been apart of the fam since August and he has been perfect. He is such a GREAT dog. We don't like to be ruled by our dogs. Of course owning dogs mean you change your lifestyle a little bit and we did that but I refuse to let my dogs rule the roost. We set boundaries but to be honest with you the dogs are happy within their boundaries and they do well with structure. Here is how we keep our home dog friendly yet not dog ruled.
1. We have a space for them.
This is why finishing the laundry room was so important. This is their space too. They sleep here at night and if its cold or rainy outside they stay in this room while they are gone. They play with each other and can roam freely in this room. When we don't want to deal with dogs then in their room they go. You could come in our front door and never know they are in the house.
3.) They have their own personal space.
We made this platform bed for Finnley's kennel. We trust him more and more each day to not have to be in this kennel but the funny thing is that he LOVES it. He will go in when the doors open. Since we are kennel training Finnley we placed his kennel on the platform bed. So it would aesthetically match the laundry area I sewed a cover for the kennel. I made his bedding and this is what it looks like on the inside.
Do you blame him for loving it in here. Its comfy, its dim, and the cover keeps the draft out. I made his (and Piper's bed) out of scrap fabric I had. I just made a large removable pillow case like the ones I made here. Here is piper's bed.
Why is it lopsided? Well, you tell me from the pic below. She sleeps on one side of the bed.
4. Everything that is theirs is washable.
I wash their bedding once a week. A little excessive? Maybe, but it helps my home smell nice and fresh. They are outside a lot so they get dirty. I wash their toys and I was their towels and blankets.
5. We have dog friendly floors
The floors in the laundry room are concrete with machine washable rugs. The rest of the house is laminate hardwood with the bedrooms being carpet. In three years our dogs have only gone to the bathroom in the house three times. Piper did twice when she was a puppy and Finn did the first week he was here (to be expected for a rescue dog) Three times in almost four years is nothing, but I am thankful for the concrete and laminate floor because its easy mop-up with no absorption of liquid. We always have a bottle of Natures Miracle on hand. It's awesome for getting out stains and smells. We have only had to use it three times but it has literally worked miracle's those three times.
6.) They eat in one place
Their food is outside in the garage but they have eaten in the same place since we got them. ITs great because its consistent and its in a place where I can clean up things pretty easily.
7.) They are not allowed to roam freely in the house when we are gone…just in their room.
I actually would trust Piper to do this and she has gotten in the house before while we were gone. If the pocket door is cracked she can open it with her nose. Where does she go? To sleep on our bed. She won't do anything or go anywhere else. They just sleep if they are inside and that is why they are mostly outside chasing squirrels and playing around. My thought is if all they are going to do is sleep, they can sleep in their own
space. It makes keeping a house clean so much easier.
8.) The dogs are not allowed on the furniture….with some exceptions
This is a huge time commitment in training…but its worth it. You have to say “no” a lot and be CONSISTENT! Our dogs cannot be in any other part of our house without us present so we can say “no”. Our house is small so if I am in the kitchen I can see them in the living room and we usually keep all the bedroom doors shut anyway. I don't want my friends to have to keep a lint roller in their car for when they leave my house. This is huge for me. There are exceptions because why have dogs if you can't enjoy them right?
- They can get on the couch when invited and ONLY when I cover the couch with a blanket just for that purpose. There is nothing more fun in the winter than sitting on the couch with a fire going, watching a movie and your two dogs snuggled in slumber. The funny thing about Piper (Finnley is still learning) is she won't even try to get on the couch but when she sees me pull out the blanket that is stored in the basket under the bench…she knows and she goes nuts. She loves it! The great thing about this is that when we have kids I don't want them near the couch, they won't even try.
- They have claimed the reading chair in the laundry room. It's a $20 thrift store chair. When I mop and vacuum I cover the chair in Pet carpet powder and vacuum it. It does the trick in keeping it fresh and worth sitting on yourself.
- They are allowed on our bed. The dogs are only in there if we are present or just around the corner. (Piper likes to wait on me to get ready in the morning on the bed) I wash our bedding once a week anyway so it stays fresh.
9. From the beginning, toys were present.
I have a basket that stores the little toys we have but I made sure when they were little that they had toys and things to chew on. They associate toys with chewing so we have never had a chewing problem. I don't even worry about that at all.
10. There are spaces that are off limit's to dogs
- Guest bedroom. To maintain this we mostly keep the door shut but not all of our guests like dogs. We keep this area dog free.
- Third bedroom. They can come in when we go in there, but I don't want it to be a space they feel is theirs. It could be a kids room some day and it will be limited if not off-limits for them when that happens,so why not start now.
- Bathrooms – except for bath time…see below.
Our bedrooms are carpeted and honestly we are rarely in there unless we are sleeping or getting ready The doors are usually shut and they are not in there much at all.
This is such an easy step and it really helps your house not smell like a dog.
12.) Glade Plug-ins and Candles are a staple in our home. Especially in the dog room.
13.) We have a bell for going outside. This eliminates scratching at a door. They want to go outside…they ring the bell.
This was a tedious training process taught to us by our good friends. Thanks Erika! With Piper we literally took her nose and nudged the bell every time we put her outside. She now rings it herself when she wants out. Finnley was easy…he learned watching her.
14.) Our dogs get
bath's showers often.
Where? The hubs gets in his swim trunks and gets in the shower. That is a huge reason why we have a removable spray shower. We wash them and dry them there and then rinse the shower down when we are done. (This is a shot in our master bath transition
Piper hates showers….HATES them. She loves to swim but hates showers. Finnley Hates to swim…but loves showers. Weird. Piper hides in our closet when we turn the shower on and she is in the room. (this is our closet way before our master bedroom transformation.
..right after we took the mirrors down we put a random sheet up)
I hope this gives you some tips how to live with dogs happily but not chaotically. One other thing I did not mention is the timing of a dog in your life is huge. We wanted our dogs way before kids. That way they are trained and ready so I can focus on kids when that time comes. Two is our max so new ones won't come until they are no longer with us (so sad that I can't even watch Marley and Me), but if I had kids, a new dog wouldn't come until the kids were old enough to help train and take care of them. Training and consistency is key and I don't know how moms of little ones have time..but then again…I know some super moms out there that I think could do it.
Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading,