Jack’s Trick

Okay, not a trick really, so much as we tricked him into being a good boy. After the infamous couch licking incident – followed by the bald rug mentioned here and the Molly Mutt lunch – we explained to Jack’s vet that we were having a bit of a, um, problem with what he’s allowed to eat (kibble) versus what he can’t (the furniture). She offered this ingenious solution, which we’ve been using for a while with success and thought it’s about time we spread her wealth of knowledge. After all, we often receive emails and comments on how the heck we “keep” house with three drooling, furry kids (tip: it ain’t easy), but here’s a simple trick – there’s that word again – that’ll cost you all of $25 bucks and save your…well, stuff.

Taking the doc’s orders, we bought a cheapo office chair mat, specifically the kind made for sticking to low pile carpets. She suggested we take this ordinary accessory, turn it upside down (pointy tips up), and lay it on any piece of furniture that was off limits. Of course, this was only necessary when we weren’t at home (because gosh, Jack doesn’t dare place a paw on furniture while in our sights). But the shape and size was awkward to say the least, and while we dealt with the funky design for a few months, we finally took some $5, heavy-duty Home Depot shears to it.

Under our pup’s concerned supervision, I made two careful cuts so we would end up with three just-right-sized pieces. Needless to say, he was not thrilled when he saw the disciplinary device come out. You can read that sweet, puppy face like a book.

The two longer pieces fit perfectly on our couch cushions (tucked just so under the pillows), and the smaller chunk – the section that, if used properly, would fit under your desk – is the right size for the seat of our chair, a spot we’d surely hate to see with a puddle of doggie drool.

You’d think our little man could easily slide these training “pads” off the furniture, but lucky for us, that thought hasn’t yet crossed his mind (and this system has been in place for a while now). When not in use, we tuck the plastic pieces under our couch, out of sight. Of course we wish for the days of puppy couch parties and mega-cuddle time, but until our upholstery loving pooch learns to keep those chops in check, he makes a great foot rest.

Any other tips and tricks you use? Or perhaps your pets rule the roost? We know this can be a sticky topic (we often get asked why Jack isn’t allowed on the couch and tend to get puppy eyes from our own pals when we enforce “four on the floor”) so we’d love to hear your thoughts. Or, maybe, this is just the solution you’ve been looking for.

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  • Andrea B - February 14, 2011 - 9:37 AM

    We tried this once with just a floor protector, but we’re not sure how well it worked, and it smelled horrible!

    We flip the couch cushions up, which works as long as we remember to. The remembering is the hard part, and we keep coming home to Zoe-sized indentations on the couch, accompanied by her tell-tale long white hairs.

    We might try the mat thing again, after seeing your custom-cut version. We love our pooch, but we’re really tired of the lint roller not even touching the fur!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 14, 2011 - 9:50 AM

      Andrea, we’re not sure what you mean by the smell? We purchased the cheapest plastic floor protector we could find, and there was no scent. Hmm…ReplyCancel

  • Lauren L. - February 14, 2011 - 10:55 AM

    I have never heard of a dog licking furniture! Our beagle licks just about everything else but not furniture thank goodness! This seems like a good strategy I will have to share it with my sister who is trying to keep her dog off her couch.ReplyCancel

  • Sara @ House Bella - February 14, 2011 - 11:18 AM

    We ran into the same problem (well, not the licking, but the furniture jumping) and it was compounded by the fact that the dogs USED to be allowed on the furniture when we had different furniture.

    What we did was take three wooden mouse traps (you know, the old school kind) and drill them into a piece of 1×1 lumber. The lumber is maybe 4 feet long, and the traps are placed evenly. When we first introduced it, we’d set the traps when we left. We snapped them in our dogs faces (near their faces, not ON their faces!) a few times, and now they don’t want anything to do with the contraption. The best part is that it is rather unobtrusive, and when we get home it easily slides under the couch and out of sight. So during the day it sits on the couch cushions (now unarmed, they are scared of it) and at night under the couch. Works like a charm!ReplyCancel

  • RocketGirl - February 14, 2011 - 11:26 AM

    Brilliant! It also reminds me of my grandmother’s house, who trusted us less than you trust your dog.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl - February 14, 2011 - 12:40 PM

    Great idea! I’ve also heard that tin foil works- they just don’t like the crunchy sound it makes when they climb on it. However, my previous dog Misty figured that one out pretty quick and just easily moved it out of the way. This rigid pokey plastic does a much better job, I’m sure.ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - February 14, 2011 - 8:12 PM

    Our dogs are kenneled during the day, but Dots likes to lick her chair (yes she has one chair she’s allowed on), the quilt on our bed, or the dog beds. Normally we just tell her to stop, and she will quit. Freckles licks the carpet, the camera tripod, etc… He’s weird.ReplyCancel

  • Daniel - February 14, 2011 - 11:48 PM

    Well, my dog is kinda trained not to step on the furniture. I trained her not to climb the furniture so that we wont have trouble. i think you’ve done the same with your doggie but sometimes, they get stupid and tries to cross the master. Oh well, probably my doggie did some bad things while I was away, I’d better check.ReplyCancel

  • Kyle - February 15, 2011 - 7:24 AM

    I subscribe to the rule that, since you invited this dog into your house, its your dog’s house too. Every dog can be trained not to tear things up, chew on things they aren’t supposed to, and stay off the furniture. My dog lives in my house just as much as I do, probably more so. I have no problem with people kenneling their dogs during the day, I just don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - February 15, 2011 - 1:08 PM

    I flip the cushions up on the parts of the couch that the Codeman isn’t allowed on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. He used to chew everything he could get his teeth on so I had to kennel him. Lucky for me (and whoever we visit), he’s grown out of that!

    I love Jack! He’s such a cutie! And his collar is a great color!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 15, 2011 - 2:01 PM

      Thanks, Meghan! We think he’s awfully cute, too.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - February 16, 2011 - 12:38 PM

    I had an ex that was the like the dog whisperer. When I first adopted my little Ella, she wasn’t potty trained, ate my couches, and basically ran a muck all over the place. My ex quickly snapped Ella into shape and she’s now completely potty trained and doesn’t dare touch any furniture. I’ve given her 2 beds, one ultra comfy one with her “blankie” in her crate and 1 in the bedroom so she always has a nice comfortable place to rest where she doesn’t have to leave her little black min pin hairs all over…which are like a million tiny eyelashes and are the devil to get out of upholstery!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - February 16, 2011 - 9:03 PM

    that’s a good tip – Glad I read this because lately I’m thinking hard about the idea of FINALLY adopting my own pup and pretty much the only thing still holding me back is wondering if the dog will make too much of a mess in the space we have or feel cooped up. But I guess we have about the same amount of space in our places, huh?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2011 - 10:20 AM

      Kalli, you’d love your own pup! And really, your place is a great size. If you’re afraid of leaving him alone for quick errands, you can always put up a baby gate that blocks your kitchen from the rest of your home, and he can hang in the kitchen until he’s been properly trained. It takes time, but it’s so worth the effort.ReplyCancel

  • Carole - February 17, 2011 - 10:03 AM

    we have one couch that our pup is allowed to sit on (it’s dark brown and I couldn’t care less about it), and one that he is not (our crate and barrel sectional). However, we do bring him up on the sectional if he’s on our lap. if he’s too squirmy, it’s back to the floor!

    we thought he was too small to jump up on either couch (he’s a bichon frise), but when my husband returned after a week-long trip, he took a flying leap right onto his lap!ReplyCancel

  • […] on the couch, our veterinarian recommended this solution: when we’re not home, place an upside-down office mat (spiky side up) on our cushions. When not in use, we tuck the plastic pieces under our couch, out […]ReplyCancel

  • jennifer lawson - October 9, 2013 - 6:09 PM

    Today i wanted to call it quits with my two 9 month old boy pupps.they are absolutely gremlins. Big over stuffed chair torn apart/ chaise lounge completely torn to shreds. Carpets torn chewed you name it they’v done it. Terrier mix horribly barking/charging. The only time they are well behaved istorn when asleep or inside the dog park. They mind perfectly. Im so in need of help. I’ve been to every website/book/video… Exhausted! my poppy God rest her soul never acted like this. Uhh i miss her…in need of help!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - October 10, 2013 - 8:39 AM

    Thankyou for getting back with me. We have tried everything. From hot sauce – cayene pepper. i think im just going to make a dog room.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 10, 2013 - 8:43 AM

    Jennifer, a dog room is a great idea – a place just for them :)ReplyCancel

  • k - August 31, 2016 - 10:36 AM

    So glad I found someone else who has used this technique successfully. Our dogs aren’t allowed on the couch, and we’ve been putting chairs on the couch to keep the little one from getting up there… she loves to dig before laying down and we’ve got a new couch coming so I’ve been looking into easier ideas!!ReplyCancel

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