Dog-proof furniture?
April 4, 2008 6:19 PM   Subscribe

My husband's dogs have done vile things to our furniture. What dog-proof materials should we look for in replacement furniture?

We have two CRAAAAAAAAAAZY miniature dachshunds, 15 months old. They have destroyed our living room furniture. They have slobbered, barfed, peed, and shed hair and dander all over the suede couch and loveseat set (as well as chewing a hole in the loveseat) and chewed up and peed on the wooden coffee table legs. My husband refuses to keep them outside or off the furniture and has given up on training them, so please, no suggestions along those lines because I'm sick of having that argument with him.

We're eventually going to need to replace our nasty furniture, and I was wondering what materials are relatively "dog-proof"? Something we can easily wipe or wash dog hair/dander/slobber/barf/pee off of and that they can't scratch or chew up. Being able to quickly, easily, and thoroughly clean dander and dust off is important because I'm really allergic and right now I can hardly stand being in the living room at all. :( I was thinking regular (non-suede) leather for its wipeability but I'm concerned that they'll scratch it up, so I don't know if that will work.

Ideas? Thanks in advance.
posted by Jacqueline to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and I would like to have cats again someday, so cat-proof would be nice too (although I am experienced with cats and already know how to keep them from destroying furniture).
posted by Jacqueline at 6:24 PM on April 4, 2008

Look into the artificial microfibre 'nusuede' ... my sister's cats haven't managed to destroy her couch yet, so a couple of weiner dogs shouldn't be able to.

And look into some serious training for those two. There's no reason they should be doing those things. If they're doing them when no one's home, then crate the little ankle biters when you leave the house. Their destructive behaviour is a sign of inadequate supervision and training. (I'm a dog lover, trainer, and owner, and I fear what my Ridgeback would do if I hadn't trained her to leave the furniture alone.)
posted by SpecialK at 6:38 PM on April 4, 2008

Orvis specializes in making high-quality (albeit expensive) and durable items for dogs.

Some starting points:
Standard Couch Guardian
Deluxe Couch Guardian
Waterproof Blanket/Coverlet
Dog-Proof Down Duvet

Another option- get them hooked on an Orvis Dog Bed.

Good luck!
posted by invisible ink at 6:42 PM on April 4, 2008

Maybe something in lucite (although you might have to worry about scratches),


posted by amtho at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2008

I have a couple of queen-sized comforters that I put over the sofas - leave them there most of the time. They are quick to pull off when you have visitors and soak up dog-slobber, mud, and other stuff (!). Otherwise a cotton cover is probably easiest to clean.
posted by sgmax at 7:29 PM on April 4, 2008

Performance twill slipcovers come Scotch-guarded, are stain repellent, machine washable, and reasonably affordable.
posted by netbros at 8:41 PM on April 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

A rolled up newspaper and a few days is all you need.

PLEASE ignore this! There is never any reason to hit a dog. Virtually every dog can be trained to be well-behaved using positive methods, and I'm sure your mini-dachsies are no exception. If your husband isn't interested in doing it, why don't you take it up, or hire a professional trainer for one or two sessions? It's fun, and it will certainly be cheaper than replacing all your furniture. And I agree with SpecialK that you should be crating them when you can't keep an eye on them.

To answer your question, if you are allergic to the dogs, then I really think you will want furniture with machine-washable slipcovers. It may seem like insanity to get white slipcovers, but if you do, you will be able to bleach them.
posted by Enroute at 12:52 AM on April 5, 2008

Ooh, I like the slipcovers ideas, since that way we don't have to go through the hassle and expense of replacing of our current nasty couches, instead we can just cover them up and wash the covers. In considering the problem I'd completely forgotten that other options like slipcovers exist! Thank you!

I think I am likely to go the slipcover route... if anyone has suggestions for slipcover materials that are dog-resistant and easy to clean of dander and dust (mites), or where to buy these things and how much I should expect to spend, I would love to hear them. Thank you.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:40 AM on April 5, 2008

Oh, and whatever we get has to cover the arm rests and backs of the couches as well as the seats, because our dogs like to perch up high where they can keep an eye on everything and everyone. So they spend more time in those spots than on the actual seat cushions.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:43 AM on April 5, 2008

if anyone has suggestions for slipcover materials that are dog-resistant and easy to clean of dander and dust (mites), or where to buy these things and how much I should expect to spend, I would love to hear them.

See my link above.
posted by netbros at 5:40 AM on April 5, 2008

i wonder if you need marriage counseling more than a slipcover. your husband's attitude toward those dogs (and you) is horrible.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:28 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I got a decent, easily washed cotton slipcover at Target. You might also check
posted by PatoPata at 7:19 AM on April 5, 2008

Nano-tex slipcovers will be particularly stain- and wrinkle-resistant.

An air filter may help with your allergy problems as well.

Do you have gallons and gallons of Nature's Miracle? It truly works on both stains (all kinds, from puke to poop) and smells and in my experience, doesn't damage even delicate materials.

Do they have lots of chew toys? Rawhide (although some people have reservations about these), bully sticks, Nylabones (only the durable kind)? Not everyone likes the idea of raw marrow bones, but there's nothing that can keep dogs busier and happier for longer, and they help clean teeth. Make sure they're raw so they don't splinter.

Also, I know you didn't ask for this kind of advice, but it sounds like some good runs in the dog park might help. Tired dogs being good dogs and all that. If it's any consolation, your dogs are still very young and are likely to mellow out somewhat as they mature.

Do not hit them with a newspaper or anything else. That's just dumb and will make matters worse. You could, however, try spraying them with a spray bottle to startle them when they're doing something you don't want them to be doing. A can filled with change can work when used judiciously, too. Some dogs may be immune to either of these methods, but it's worth a try.

Good luck!!!
posted by walla at 7:41 AM on April 5, 2008

Get some bitter cherry spray. Tastes vile and smells reasonably pleasant. It helps with any chewing. My dog isn't allowed on furniture, but nearly ate the back seat of the car. Bitter cheery has helped a lot.
posted by theora55 at 8:31 AM on April 5, 2008

I'm sorry, I don't have any furniture suggestions. But for the dogs: toys, lots of exercise and interaction with their humans, and training. Don't give up on training the dogs, please! They will be happier dogs if they know what behaviour is expected of them. Also, tired tired dogs are happy dogs. You will be much happier dog owners, too.
posted by Savannah at 9:09 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend microfiber upholstery, and you can get a teflon spray treatment on it as well from the furniture shop. We got four new pieces of furniture (couch, loveseat, armchair and ottoman) about a year ago, and our dogs can be somewhat slobbery, as well as pukey, and dirty mud-footed. But we haven't seen any shmutz yet that couldn't be wiped off with a wet sponge.

You can also get microfiber slip-covers for any cruddy old furniture you'd like to keep around. We got a nice one for a couch in the rec room for about $80.00 at Bed Bath and Beyond.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:12 AM on April 5, 2008

"i wonder if you need marriage counseling more than a slipcover. your husband's attitude toward those dogs (and you) is horrible."

Nah, our marriage is great, we just have a huge difference in our attitudes about dogs. He is in the "dogs are my precious little children and everything they do is adorable and if they do something bad it's because they can't help it or they don't know better" camp and I am in the "dogs are destructive beasts and not a pet I would have ever chosen for myself" camp. He's had dogs his whole life and I this is my first experience with dogs since I was a very small child and my parents had an old, mellow dog who mostly slept all day.

We've worked out compromises -- there are parts of the house the dogs aren't allowed in (bedroom, my office) -- and we are working on mitigating their impact on the rest of our living space (we moved into a house with tile floors and a fenced yard, I'm researching more durable furniture, etc.).

The dogs have plenty of toys, chew and otherwise, and a big yard to run around in all day. We spent time with them every day and take them to the park at least a few times per week. I think the problem is that they are just young and CRAZED. Also, one of them spent most of the first six months of his life in a cage in a pet store, so he has been impossible to housetrain :( and he freaks out and starts destroying things if he's left alone for even a few minutes. Seriously -- they chewed off the back of my cell phone once while I was out of the room using the bathroom, even though there were plenty of chew toys around that were easier for them to reach than my cell phone. We've learned not to leave ANYTHING in the "kill zone" because even a minute's inattention and they will start destroying it.

So, if anything, we need a dog therapist, because it's the dogs who have issues.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:05 PM on April 5, 2008

It sounds like at least one of your dogs has separation anxiety. There are all kinds of therapy for this - the most common being desensitization therapy, which basically involves leaving him alone for very short but increasing periods of time until he gets used to the idea and starts believing you'll be coming back. This worked wonders for my traumatized shelter dog. There's also medication for this - Clomicalm (available generically with a prescription as clomipramine), could help a lot, especially in combination with desensitization. Ask your vet.
posted by walla at 6:38 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Note that those Orvis covers are made of microsuede. You might want to look for a sofa made of that. It's durable, and cats won't want to sharpen their nails on it as much as they might with, say, a tweed material. Covers that are removeable and washable should be your main goal, however. And you could go ultra-modern and get something with metal legs. Check out CB2 or even (I haven't bought from either place, I just know I've seen that style of sofa there.)

And I'm sorry to hear your husband bought a dog from a pet store! There are all sorts of reasons why that's never a good idea, and it sounds like you found out one of them already (difficulty in house-training). I am sincerely, non-snarkily sorry for both you and the dog! Your dogs still have some maturing to do, though, so it may get better in the next couple of years. Good luck!
posted by chowflap at 2:28 PM on April 22, 2008

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