Sharing a stylish home with a dog

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Picture this: you’ve embarked on an epic clean, painted your walls and selected the perfect furniture and accessories for your scheme. Fast-forward a few months and, despite your best efforts to look after your rooms, they are beginning to transcend ‘rustic’. Marks are appearing on the sofa, your chairs are becoming scratched and everything is covered in hair. These issues are getting worse, so you’ve decided it’s time to resolve them with your family member, friend or flatmate. Yet this is far from straightforward when the culprit happens to be of the four-legged variety.

Dogs can rarely be blamed, of course. Scratches, hair and marks come hand in hand with owning an animal and, fortunately, there are many simple, effective ways to address these pet peeves. Where passive-aggressive Post-Its and cleaning rotas may fail, these useful techniques will work wonders when it comes to maintaining a beautifully decorated home. Here are just a few of the methods you should try in order to guard your faux shagreen, velvet and Chinoiserie from your pet’s teeth, fur and claws.

Hair of the dog

It’s perfectly natural for dogs to moult, but regular brushing will help to an extent. If your dog is long haired, make sure they’re on first name terms with the owner of a local grooming parlour. If they don’t like being pampered, use treats or toys to distract them. Ensure you’re using a gentle brush that is suitable for their breed and let them sniff its bristles and handle before beginning their grooming routine.

Chewing the furniture

Every dog is unique, but some of them like to chew and scratch random objects around the home, such as slippers, curtains and the legs on a table or chair. This isn’t their way of informing you that you have bad taste, it’s more likely that they’re bored. To keep your pet engaged in between playtime and walks, we’d suggest placing varied and interesting chew toys in rooms where the urge to nibble furniture may strike. The toys could be kept in luxurious wicker baskets, which complement all kinds of homes.

Take cover

Houses are meant to be lived in, so you may have to sacrifice your sofa to make sure your furry friend feels completely at home. If your sofa is loose-covered, why not purchase spare sets of covers and alternate them between washes? If your sofa is upholstered, use a throw as an antidote to paw-prints and fur. Not only is this a great way of protecting your sofa, but a throw will also bring a pop of colour and more texture to a room and provide a comfortable place for your dog to lie on. Stock up on wool throws and self-cooling blankets so that you have every season covered.

It’s good to get into the habit of keeping extra water bottles and hand towels in your hallway. If you’ve taken your dog on a particularly adventurous walk, you can grab these items quickly on your return and wash their muddy paws before they enter the house.

A bed of one’s own

If they don’t own one already, it might be an idea to treat your pet to their very own basket or cushion. This will work in your favour and make them happier than a dog with two tails. If they normally sleep on your bed, you can look forward to using your finest linen; if you own a pocket-size dog who prefers curling up on their favourite seat, it’s time to enjoy the first pick of the armchairs again.

On the safe side

If your dog is bouncier than a ball and loves to play, it may be worth taking a few precautions. If you love the relaxed atmosphere a scattering of candles creates, but are concerned about them being knocked over during a particularly exhilarating game of fetch, opt for LEDs instead; place fragile decorations on a high shelf or in a cabinet and cover your floors with stylish rugs, which are far easier to spot-clean than carpets.

In training

It’s no secret that dogs are far more obedient than their feline counterparts, who usually do as they please. They certainly wouldn’t say yes to their very own pet bed; they’d much rather ambush your sock drawer or get their forty winks from the comfort of their very own box. As for dogs, a little bit of training and positive reinforcement goes a long way. This could take shape in the form of extra treats or cuddles. Reward them if they sleep in their bed or leave your furniture alone when commanded.

Consistency is key, so it’s worth setting boundaries before getting your dog and then sticking to them religiously – even when they make puppy dog eyes at you. For example, if you’ve decided that your dog isn’t allowed in your bedroom, stick with this decision – changing your mind may cause unnecessary confusion.

If you’re familiar with OKA, you may already be aware of the brand’s love of dogs. Ours enjoy testing our pet beds, starring in our seasonal magazines and are even allowed to roam our offices. Many of us own dogs ourselves, so we fully appreciate just how challenging it can be sharing a stylish home with a pet. Nevertheless, we’re sure you’re in total agreement that a little bit of mess is a fair price to pay if it means getting to live with man’s best friend.

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