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As a pet parent, you do all you can to make sure that your darling dog is spoiled with love. But now it's time to set some ground rules on furniture usage and you find that you're torn: you want your dog to feel welcome and comfortable everywhere in your house, but you also don't want to create any behavioral, health or housekeeping problems.
There's no arguing that your fur baby gives some of the best cuddles. As such, it's no wonder that you would want to cuddle up with your pooch on the couch to watch a movie or to snuggle up in bed after a long day at work.
To prevent excessive wear of your furniture, consider how dog friendly a piece of furniture is before buying it. For instance, leather, microfiber and canvas are all durable options that clean up easily when you have a dog prone to shedding. Alternatively, a woven material like tweed or chenille can be a nightmare, as dog hair can get caught in the weave and be difficult to remove, so be sure to avoid those types of upholstery.
When it comes to letting the dog sleep in bed with you, your dog's restless sleep could compromise your sleep quality. However, studies have shown that sleeping with your dog in your room can have a soothing effect. The key is to have a good setup in your room so that you both have enough space to sleep soundly. If you currently have a small twin or double bed, upgrade to a queen mattress so that you and your furry friend have ample space to stretch out and snooze.
One main concern of letting a dog on the furniture is that he will assert his dominance and take rule of the house. However, as your dog's owner, it is up to you to maintain a healthy relationship in which you are the boss. If this is a concern for you, all it really takes is a little training and some consistency to break your dog of any bad habits. For instance, if your dog is on the bed and growls at you as you approach it to climb in, it is best to make the dog get off the bed immediately to show him that you are in charge. Train your dog to slide over and make room for you on the couch, bed or chair as soon as you approach by reinforcing the positive behavior with praise.
For dogs who are particularly adventurous outdoors and love getting messy, climbing up on the furniture can leave you with plenty of extra work in daily clean up. This also presents a health concern, as there are some fungal and parasitic infections that dogs can spread to humans.
To minimize this risk, it is critical to keep your dog clean with regular baths, nail trims and by wiping your dog's paws after walking him outside. You should also take your dog to a veterinarian for annual or biannual checkups to ensure he is in good health.
Overall, you need to decide for yourself what is right for you, your family and your home. Whether you decide to give your dog furniture privileges or not, your dog will undoubtedly still feel your unconditional love through all that you do for him.