How to keep your pets off the furniture…kind of

After we got Helo, Boris went from a great dog to a terror.  His obsessive traits got worse, and he started marking all over, including inside the house.  It was awesome.  After trying EVERYTHING I could read about online to no avail, we finally broke down and paid to have a behaviorist come out and work with us.  And it was cheap too.  $150.  That might seem a little steep for someone to come to your house, sit down, watch your dogs be total snots, then fill a sheet of legal paper front and back with instructions for you.  It’s way cheaper than spending $8,000 putting tile in your house because your dogs pissed all over your carpet and your house reeks.  The best part of it was that there was nothing surprising, and it was all stuff that I knew we should be doing, but I was either not interested in doing so, or couldn’t get Craig on board with on my own.  The general gist of what the behaviorist had to say was that the dogs didn’t respect us or our things, and didn’t get enough exercise.  Bingo!  Her recommendations have been to make them work for everything, including pets, going outside, inside, meals, etc; going for long walks every day (I was initially pretty good with this and have slowly scaled back, I should really increase these… the dogs love them); and keeping them off the furniture.  The furniture thing has been a point of contention between Craig and I.  He liked having them on the sofa and bed.  I hated cleaning their fur off the sofa and bed.  But with the new rules (we were willing to try anything to get the marking to stop!), no doggies allowed on the furniture.

x-mat on sofa

That’s all well and good to enforce when you’re at home, but a lot more difficult when you’re gone.  My mother in law kept their old dog off the furniture by piling chairs on the sofas when they were gone for the day.  It was a huge pain in the ass, and something neither Craig nor I had any interest in participating in at our own house.  The behaviorist suggested something called X-Mats.  I researched it.  They were reviewed fairly highly on Amazon, but I didn’t expect that they’d be particularly effective against dogs with thick undercoats and high pain tolerances.  I was wrong.

Close-up of X-Mat

They’re basically just a rolling chair mats that go under desks, but smaller, with taller, denser spikes.  I was initially concerned about the price and spent several hours trying to devise something similar to save a little money, but it turns out that they’re cheaper per square foot than chair pads.  After buying these, I did read about someone going to Home Depot and buying vinyl carpet protector rolls and using those on her sofa.  Seems smart, though when I looked at them at a store later, the spikes do not appear to have the density or the height that the X-Mats have, and I suspect that’s what makes them effective in my particular situation.  They’ve worked wonders.  They cost us around $11 each, but the price varies between $10 and $20 on Amazon, so keep your eye out.  When I’m writing this, they’re about $14.50.  5 does a good job of protecting our sectional sofa, but if we didn’t have a huge pile of pillows in the corner all the time, it would take 6.  It only took one try for the dogs to realize they hurt.

sofa protected with x-mats

When you want them gone, they’re easy to grab, stack up, and slide under the sofa.  If we want to keep the dogs away from the front window, we will just throw a mat on the floor in front of the window.  We have even used them to keep the dogs from bothering Craig’s 94 year old grandmother by making a moat of X-Mats around her on the floor in front of the sofa.  We haven’t spent the money to do something about the bed yet, but Boris stays off of it, and Helo generally has the decency to pretend like he doesn’t get on the bed when we’re not around. We have been sure to put dog beds all over around the house so they have soft comfortable places to lay now that the sofa and carpet are gone through most of the house.  We have 2 fancy bolstered memory foam beds in the bedroom (they were Costco returns that I bought at Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $20 ea), and 2 fluffy round beds from Costco in the living room, although Perry the cat tends to take over one of them and the dogs don’t dare challenge him.

So.. Much less dog hair all over the sofa, and no more marking in the house!

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