When left unchecked, a dog's claws can grow long and sharp, putting your furniture at risk. It isn't your dog's fault if his nails tear the furniture, though. As his owner, it's your responsibility to keep his nails trimmed and his behavior in check, because his instinct compels him to make himself right at home on the furniture. When he does that, and especially if he does it with untrimmed, sharp nails, your furniture is just waiting to be torn up.
Items You May Need
• Canine nail trimmers
• Aluminum foil or other aversions
• Vinyl nail capping kit
Tip #1 - Trim your dog's nails on a regular basis to prevent them growing long and sharp. Nails that are kept trim and blunt are significantly less likely to puncture your furniture. If you trim them twice a month, the blood vessels inside the nail will recede, effectively stunting the nail's growth and making it even easier to keep them short. If you feel uncomfortable cutting your own dog's nails, schedule twice-monthly appointments with a groomer.
Tip #2 - Train your dog not to jump on the furniture. You have to be strict and consistent with the "no furniture" rule, because inconsistency in training only confuses dogs and undoes whatever progress you've made. If he jumps up, put him back down on the floor with a "down" command, and repeat until the command alone sends him to the floor. Eventually, he won't jump up at all.
Tip #3 - Arrange aversions on your furniture to keep your dog off when you aren't at home. For example, lay a sheet of aluminum foil across your sofa cushions. Dogs hate the sound and texture of foil, and won't climb on it. Remember that consistency is key when training a dog, so if he sits on the furniture in your absence, he's going to keep jumping up when you're at home, too.
Tip #4 - Cover your dog's nails with vinyl nail caps. These caps adhere to your dog's nails with a temporary glue that usually lasts four to six weeks. They round off the tips of your dog's nails, preventing them from puncturing fabric or damaging floors. If you feel uncomfortable applying these caps yourself, some groomers offer this as a service.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.