It’s tough enough when your dog occasionally chews something they shouldn’t, but what can you do if he starts digging or clawing at things. Some stuff isn’t a big deal, like the beat-up couch you’ve had for a decade. However, when your pet starts scratching up expensive leather furniture, it’s past time to fix this bad behavior. Honestly, you should never let your dog destroy things. The good news is that you can teach old dogs new tricks. I’ll help you get to the bottom of why he’s scratching and show you how to fix the issue.
How to Stop a Dog From Scratching Leather Furniture
- Don’t let your dog on the furniture. Establishing your place as pack leader by refusing them access isn’t ‘mean.’ It’s training.
- Cover the couch with a piece of heavy-duty fabric. There are plenty of pre-made couch covers, but some thick blankets will do the same job in a pinch.
- Keep your dog’s claws trimmed. A smaller, rounded nail can’t do as much damage.
- Put claw caps on a persistent scratcher. These ingenious devices will help stop claw marks.
- Use a deterrent. There are lots of smells dogs dislike. Some humans can’t even detect. Similarly, you can use vibrating collars and other deterrent methods to make that leather undesirable for your dog.
- Distract the dog when he tries to misbehave. Diverting the lousy behavior into play or other positive actions can help teach your dog what is okay to do in the house.
- Reward a dog who stops. Show your pet that they’re doing what you, as pack leader, want. Give praise, petting, and treats when they follow the command.
Choosing Leather for Dog Owners
Dogs scratching your leather is one problem few new pet owners anticipate. Naturally, a seasoned pet parent can also have a sudden problem with a pet who acts out, or a new animal even if they know all the tricks. Instead of worrying and laying blame, take steps to protect the leather. You can always forbid your dog from climbing on the furniture.
Don’t feel guilty for making your dog use his own furniture instead of yours. Get your favorite Fido an incredible leather bed of his own to sit on when you want to hang out and watch TV together. The Enchanted Home Brisbane Bed from Amazon looks just like a little leather sofa, but it’s designed with doggy comfort in mind. Your pooch can lounge in luxury on a bed that’s off the floor, and not need to climb on your couch. Check prices and availability by clicking here.
Place your dogs’ new couch beside yours or off to one side. By doing this, you can still spend time together. The bonus is that you don’t ever have to worry about scratched up leather on the couch, footstool, or wherever the damage occurred that led you to this article.
Having the Right Leather Matters
Lucky dogs who have people that want them to relax on the couch can still avoid causing damage. It may surprise you to learn that leather and microfiber are the top choices for pet owners because they stand up to pet wear and tear, and fur, better than most alternatives.
For pet owners who are looking into leather furniture, there are some basic things you need to know. First, not all leather is created equal. For obvious reasons, you may not want to choose a delicate, light-colored leather if you plan to have animals. Suede should be your last choice. Though it’s attractive, it stains easily, and over time simply sitting on it will show.
Natural oils from their coat can stain your sofas and chairs easily. Moreover, the fur itself shows up incredibly well on pale-colored furniture. Opt for a thicker, high-quality grain leather instead. Choose a color that is less likely to show hair. You’ll be surprised at how well some leather holds up against claws and feisty pets.
Secondly, you need to ask how the leather is treated. Some of the chemicals used to dye or tan leather can be terrible for your pets. Although this is more of a concern for chewing than scratching, you should still check into it before adding leather furniture or accessories to your home.
Save Existing Leather From Scratches
There are two things every dog owner with leather furniture needs to know about scratches. The first is how to repair them, and the second is how to prevent them. Even the most careful dog owner will eventually see some small scratch on the leather, which is why learning leather repair is the priority.
Repair Scratched Leather
So long as the scratches aren’t too deep, there’s a simple solution for fixing the damage. You’ll need a piece of soft cloth that won’t scratch the surface plus olive oil, mineral oil, or saddle oil for this trick. Make sure you chose an oil that doesn’t have any dyes or additional ingredients. Some people use baby oil, but I don’t trust the ‘stuff’ they put in to make it smell.
First, put the oil on the scratch, then rub it in gently. Don’t wipe all the oil off. Next, leave the oil on to dry for about an hour, then clean the remainder off. If the first application doesn’t work, try again, but leave the oil on for longer. You can try this several times to remove and minimize the appearance of scratches. Most minor scratches will disappear.
The Simplest Scratch Prevention for Leather
To keep a dog from scratching leather, you need to keep him off of it. Accidents will happen otherwise. For pet parents who can’t bear the idea of excluding their pooch from couch cuddles, the answer is obvious. Cover the couch.
Whether you opt for a custom-fitted cover or just some thrift store blankets, the same standard applies. You need something thick enough that animal claws won’t pierce it easily. Yet it needs to be large enough to cover the whole couch. In the case of blankets, you can use several.
It helps to choose a material that is easy to launder and will fit in a standard washing machine. Microfiber is the best of all worlds when it comes to couch covering. Because it tends to repel pet fur, it won’t look fuzzy to quickly, and it washes easily. Silk blends are also durable and relatively easy to keep dog hair off of, but they aren’t as cost-effective or easy to launder.
Clipped, Ground & Covered Claws
Removing an animals’ claws to prevent scratching is like cutting off the tips of their ‘fingers.’ In a word, cruel. However, that doesn’t mean you have to let long, sharp nails trash your leather furniture. When you have a leather couch, your dog needs regular manicures. Clipping, grinding, or covering a dogs’ claws will help prevent scratches.
Which is best for your dog and your furniture? That depends on a couple of factors. For example, there are those stubborn or sensitive pooches who are afraid of clippers and grinders. Sometimes past trauma can make it hard for a dog to get past the sound or feel of them. Nail covers, on the other hand, require glue and may break or come loose.
Because some dogs have severe issues with the sound of grinders or the feel of clippers, capping the claws can be a great solution. These plastic shells cover the tips of your dog’s nails to prevent scratching. Plenty of dog owners with wooden floors use caps to keep a dog from scuffing them by merely walking around.
Although claw covers are useful, they can be challenging to install. Unfortunately, they come off over time as the nail grows, and the glue bonding them in place weakens. Hence, I prefer to think of claw caps as a temporary measure, rather than a permanent solution. Nevertheless, they are worth a try, especially if your pooch doesn’t do well with clippers and grinders.
Clipping Vs. Grinding
Most dog owners have seen the clever round claw clippers. Furthermore, many of us have used them. They work well, though there are drawbacks. For example, you can damage a significant amount of a dog’s quick by cutting it off if you somehow don’t see it. Meanwhile, a good grinder doesn’t hurt unless you push too far. Even then, it won’t do the same level of damage in an instant.
Clipping is simple. You need a clear view of the nail. It’s easier for dogs with pale nails because you can see the quick inside them more readily. I highly suggest using a low-noise, professional tool like the Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder on your pets. Skip the outdated tech of dog nail trimmers and upgrade. Not only does it cut down on time, but the light helps you see clearly to cut down on mistakes. No one wants to hurt their dog just to save their furniture some wear. You can pick up this outstanding grinder from Amazon when you click here.
There are several ways to deter a dog who scratches leather furniture. Having options is always good. Anything that makes your dog want to avoid leather furniture is a deterrent. If it saves the furniture and doesn’t hurt your dog, it’s an option. Some of these methods have been around forever. Meanwhile, others are newer, and thus probably news to the average dog owner.
The great news about sprays to keep dogs off leather furniture is that you can DIY some of them at home. A typical recipe includes single ingredients like ammonia, vinegar or rubbing alcohol. You can also try water and lemon. Some people even swear by jalapeno juice or cayenne.
Unfortunately, the downside to these do-it-yourself sprays is that most of the beneficial ingredients will stain or damage your leather furniture. Unlike cats, most dogs won’t slink off if you hit them with a stream of tepid water. The stronger smelling components are necessary to deter your canine companion. Their powerful nose can’t take the pressure.
Although there are plenty of commercial variants of these sprays, sadly, they can also damage your leather. While I suggest using them on many surfaces, tanned animal skin is one fo the few on which I would not encourage you to use a deterrent spray.
I detest electrical collars and suggest that anyone who needs to resort to inducing pain to get their dog to listen should consider getting a pet rock instead. Some people use a spray version that blasts essential oil at the dog instead. However, given the three hundred million scent receptors, and a unique organ in their nose, this seems like it might be more harmful than we humans can understand.
That said, some collars can vibrate at the push of a button. Naturally, these are a whole lot more humane. If you want to keep a very stubborn pup off the couch, an excellent vibrating collar can show them that you don’t like what they’re doing without raised voices, pain, or other trauma-inducing results.
Whistles & Sonic Devices
A dog whistle can be a great deterrent if you’re at home often. However, for dogs who spend your workday alone, they aren’t as useful. You need to be present to activate the whistle if it’s going to work. Luckily, there are alternatives now that work without the need for human intervention.
My favorite sonic device for deterring dogs while I’m not home is the Sofa Scram Sonic from Amazon. This brilliant invention needs just a couple of batteries. Plus, you can drape it over anything your dog gets on, into or scratches to keep them away. It’s touch-activated and emits a startling eighty-five-decibel blast of noise to say no when you aren’t around to do it yourself. Once you get home, simply turn it off. You can get a pair of Sofa Scrams by clicking here.
Positive Training Methods
Dog training is the most basic way to keep your dog from scratching up leather. Moreover, it’s vital to a positive pet-owner relationship. The subject of positive pet programming is a subject worthy of several articles on its own. Fortunately, the basics for deterring bad dog behavior are simple enough.
First, you need to catch your dog in the act. Once or twice is not enough. If the behavior is repetitive, the training must be similar. It’s best if you can catch them every time, but more often than not, will do. Second, give a voice command. “No,” or “Stop” is excellent. It doesn’t need to be complicated, and simple commands work best. You can give a small treat if your dog does what you ask to reinforce the positive behavior.
Next, you need to redirect the dog to another activity. Playing with them is a fantastic way to show your pet that you love them, but not the scratching behavior. If your dog has a kennel, bed, or another hold spot, this is the perfect time to send them there for a brief time-out. When they go and stay where you send them, reward the behavior with praise, treats, and petting.
Dog training takes time. Depending on how smart, stubborn, and determined your favorite Fido is, it may take him longer to get the point. Keep in mind; all dogs are trainable. The toughest part is being patient and making sure you stay consistent and firm but don’t react with anger.
It’s difficult to be patient with a dog who is scratching up your leather furniture, but also vital. Getting angry at your canine companion doesn’t help anything. It may make them fear you, but it won’t help them understand what you want. Fearful dogs are prone to act out more.
Instead of reacting with anger, have patience. Take steps to protect your furniture while you work on the naughty behavior. Your dog doesn’t know right from wrong until you teach them what you expect. It can take time, but they’ll come around if you’re consistent in your training methods.
You don’t need to give up on owning beautiful leather furniture because you have a dog. With the tips in this article, you can have both.