Buying a couch when you have a dog
January 4, 2006 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Dog safe couches and buying on the internet?

I’m in the market for a new couch or living room set. I have a large dog that I frankly don’t feel like training to stay off the new couches. I went to a store and looked at the leather couches there. When I took my fingernail to the cushions it left a scratch. That would not work for me at all. Are some couches more durable than others? I’d like to get something contemporary.

I can get a pretty large discount from La-Z-Boy so I was looking the Todd Oldham stuff online:
Does anyone know how durable that line is?

Finally, can anyone recommend any online stores that I should be looking at?
posted by hokie409 to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Would you consider a microfiber type of material rather than leather? No matter how durable the couch is, leather won't hold up to a dog's nails over time. If you can get a microfiber couch with washable cushion covers, a good vacuum cleaner, and an excellent warranty (covering cleanings), you should be in great shape.

We have one from Robinson's May, but they don't appear to list their furniture online.
posted by booknerd at 1:02 PM on January 4, 2006

Your post isn't clear on whether you're intent on getting a leather couch. If you are, I'd say you best train your dog to not get on it or eventually it'll be wasted cash.

If you're fine with a non-leather couch, yes, some are more durable than others. I had a regular upholstered couch for the first 7 years of my dog's life (he's about 80 lbs), and he was welcome on it. He would even dig at the cushions and caused zero damage.

However, I now have a leather couch and some original modern furniture. I "trained" the dog not to get on them as they're too expensive/difficult to replace to risk.

I trained him easily:

1. Make sure he has his own, large, comfy bed in the living room.

2. For the first few weeks, I just put stuff on the furniture when I wasn't there (piles of magazines/books, big pillows) so that he wouldn't attempt to get on them.

3. I kept a few cushions from the old couch and put them on the living room floor. When I was out of the house, he slept on those (I could see him thru the window).

4. When I was home, I removed all of this stuff from the new furniture and sat in the living room and whenever he attempted to get on the furniture, I made sure he didn't (verbal reprimands and encouraged him to get on his own bed by putting treats there).

It worked pretty easily. He's never been on any of my four new pieces of furniture, and this is after 7+ years of a free-for-all couch.

As for buying online, if you're looking for authentic designer modern furniture, I recommend eBay. Sellers like this (who I found on Ask) have amazing pieces (though he's not offering any at the moment).
posted by Manhasset at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the posts. To clarify:
I don't care about the material at all. I just want something that'll look good in my new loft apartment. I just want it durable. I'd prefer to be able to find something online and order it now as I'm two weeks away form moving (far) and shopping is not a priority. I understand that even if you go to a store if often takes weeks to get them anyway.
And my dog knows not to get on furniture when staying with my parents but I really don't mind having her on the couch at my place.
posted by hokie409 at 2:13 PM on January 4, 2006

Our sofa is a heavy twill and it has withstood our dog's paws very well. We do keep a throw on the sofa for him to lie on so that we don't have to have the lint-brush on constant standby. But he jumps onto and off of the sofa itself, and walks around on it a bit, and so far after three years there's not a mark on it.

I think one of the keys is to find something fairly well stuffed so that there's no loose fabric to get pulled or snagged. And if you have it coated with some sort of stainproofing treatment, it should also hold up fairly well to the inevitable drool. (I just heard all the "non-dog people" gross out in unison.)

If you like those fitted-slipcover models, you'll have the added bonus of being able to wash it from time to time. Most slipcovered sofas I've seen aren't really what I would call contemporary, but you never know what you might find.
posted by boomchicka at 2:44 PM on January 4, 2006

Also, I don't think it's a very good idea to buy a sofa sight-unseen, if that's what you were planning to do. Furniture is a big-ticket item and you don't want to buy without seeing it and trying it out at least once. Even the coolest-looking and most dog-resistant sofa will wind up being a massive mistake if it's not comfortable, or worse, doesn't fit properly in the room where you intend to use it.

Even if you end up ordering on line, go to the store first and try it out. Just make sure it's a store that has enough of a national presence to deliver to your new address. Good luck with your move.
posted by boomchicka at 2:49 PM on January 4, 2006

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