As adorable as it is to bring that tiny little puppy on the couch, if you want to create a household with a "no pets on the furniture" policy, think twice. Just like kids, pets are creatures of habit, and allowing them to hang out on the couch or your bed at a young age is likely to create a habit that is hard to break when they're older. Instead, try snuggling them on the floor or get them a posh pet bed and sit on the floor for those great belly rubs.
If the only place your pets have to hang out is in your living room, with that cozy couch or chair taunting them at every move, it's understandable that they're going to want to climb up when they're ready for a snooze. Make sure that your pets have their own dedicated space to play and sleep. Not only will it help keep them off of your furniture, but pets need that sense of ownership over a spot they can call their own.
Bored pets make for naughty pets -- there's no doubt about it. Give your pooch or kitty something else to play with and keep them entertained -- other than your precious furniture -- by investing in some toys that will keep their interest. Cats who love to scratch, especially on the legs of that gorgeous vintage chair you just bought, need a scratching post to get their clawing out. Dogs love things to chew, toss, hide and slobber on -- try out a variety of fun stuff and put them all in a basket to see what they pull out to play with over and over again.
Put the time into keeping your pets exercised and it will pay off in a big way, when it comes to keeping them off of your furniture. Pets who are taken on walk regularly or to the dog park to run their legs off will come home happy ... and exhausted! For muddy trips to the park or walks in the rain, invest in some good pet cleaning towels. Keep them in your car or by the back door to clean off muddy paws as they come back in the house -- it will help keep down on the dirt in the house and your furniture.
In reality, sometimes having pets at home also means sacrificing having a picture-perfect home. Pets shed, drool, sometimes relieve themselves in places they shouldn't and track in mud. If those things freak you out, or you aren't prepared to deal with these things from time to time, then maybe you should reconsider being a pet-owner. Having a pet at home is a life-long commitment that should be taken very seriously, and if the joy of owning a pet doesn't outweigh the potential problems, think twice.
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