Puppies come into our lives and fill our homes with love, laughter and warmth. Unfortunately, they also fill our homes with hair, slobber and toys! It is definitely possible to have it all- a dog and a clean home, that is. If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, your dog and your family can coexist in shiny, fresh smelling harmony!
Choose a non-shedding breed: The best way to keep your furniture fur-free is to adopt a dog that doesn’t shed! Poodles, Shih Tzus and Maltese are known for their low shedding coats. Just remember that with these breeds come constant grooming expenses!
If you are already in love with a dog of the shedding variety, prepare to do some damage control! Popular breeds like Pugs, Labradors and Huskies shed quite heavily and will need frequent sessions with the brush. Be sure to establish a routine so that your dog will grow to expect brushing and cooperate. Brush your dog outside to prevent stray hairs from scattering through your home. Certain products may help reduce shedding, but frequent brushing and a steady cleaning routine are the best ways to minimize dog hair tumbleweeds in your home.
Limit access to select areas in the home: Decide if you would like your dog to have full access to the house or only select rooms. Begin enforcing that decision from the start. Your dog needs a comfortable place to sleep, a play area, and a feeding spot. The dog friendly area of your home should be where your family spends most of their time. Dogs are social animals and if they are kept isolated it can lead to anxiety and destructive behavior.
Provide plenty of exercise: Any dog trainer will confirm that a well exercised dog is a happy dog. Caesar Milan lists exercise as the number one need for a dog, above food, water and shelter! A bored dog is more likely to develop destructive nervous habits, like chewing furniture or soiling in the house.
Crate train and potty train your dog early. Relying on puppy training pads teaches your dog that eliminating indoors is ok. It is important to spend the time and effort it takes to potty train your dog from the very start. Bad potty habits can continue throughout the life of some dogs if training is neglected.
Spay/neuter. Intact male dogs are much more likely to mark indoors. This is an act of dominance and territoriality that is far less common in females. Intact female dogs develop urinary tract infections and hormone related incontinence more frequently than spayed females. There is also the messy heat cycle to take into account with female dogs.
Feed your pet in an easy clean up area. Laundry rooms, mud rooms and enclosed porches work well for doggy dining rooms. Tile flooring is ideal, but a stylish doggy placemat works, too. If your dog has longer hair, be sure to wipe his face after he eats to save your carpets and furniture from becoming his personal napkins.