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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off the Furniture!!

Hi Jan,
I have a 100+ pound chocolate lab. He knows he is not supposed to get on the furniture but as soon as we leave home he is up on the back of the leather couch so he can see out the window. We are in a split level and this is the only way he can see out. He is ruining a rather expensive new couch! Any solution?

Hi Donna,
Many of us have had this problem! Fortunately it's quite fixable.

First, understand that when you leave the house, your dog is in charge. It's his least, he thinks so. To do it, he has to be able to keep watch. That brings him to the window.

You can go one of two ways. Either you can try to keep him away from it altogether, or you can compromise and devise a non-destructive way for him to look out the window.

If you want to keep him away from it, get a "Scat Mat" and lay it on the couch that's in front of the window. Plug the Scat Mat into a wall outlet. When your dog steps on it, he'll get a static charge of electricity, unpleasant enough to keep him from wanting to jump on it again. The problem is, he may go to another window, which would mean purchasing more Scat Mats, or at least moving them around randomly until he has the idea that ANY window is going to "zap" him. You can get Scat Mats at just about any pet store. I think they're wonderful.

If you don't want to be that radical, you can try putting newspaper or aluminum foil on the couch. Those surfaces deter some dogs....but some will just make a worse mess with them. Mouse traps set on the cushions will work well for some dogs too. When the dog leaps up, the traps snap and startle the dog. However, I've heard of Labradors thinking they're toys and chewing them up after they snap!

If you'd rather compromise, which might be the easier way to go, consider moving the couch away from the window. He may start jumping up on the windowsill instead of the couch, which means you'll have to "arm" the windowsill with mousetraps...or you could "armor" it by laying scratch-proof tile or slate on your windowsill. It's amazing how we learn to decorate according to our dogs' habits!

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