Sharing your home with a dog

Maggie (above) has just been featured in a great article on 'camouflaged dogs in the home' by Victoria Harrison from Houzz.co.uk, see link on image below. She said that 'for many of us, a house is not a home without a canine companion' and I have to agree.

It got me thinking about sharing your home with a dog and raises the question 'can you keep you home interiors looking good when you share your home with a dog?'

It's not the first time this pooch has taken centre stage. Last year she featured on the cover of Real Homes magazine so she's becoming quite the little star.

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Maggie - our Havanese, has been with us for 3 and half years and for me, my home wouldn't feel like a home without her. We are very lucky with this breed as despite her wonderful coat, she doesn't shed at all, which I have to say makes things 100 times easier. When growing up we always had black labradors in our family home and I remember it used to drive my Mum mad, constantly hoovering up the hair. Maybe that's why I went for a breed that didn't shed?

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It's important to say that even though Maggie doesn't shed, you are still going to have to accept that having a dog, any dog, will require a little bit of 'extra maintenance' if you want to keep your home 'tidy'. Her coat is a bit like velcro and each time she goes in and out of the garden, she usually brings a little something back in with her....... few twigs here, few leaves there, but nothing a quick hoover at the end of the day won't sort. (and quite frankly you learn not to look at every little speck so the hoovering goes from every day to a couple of times a week - or maybe that's just me?)

Interiors are my passion, my hobby, my job and I love making a house really work. When you have a dog then this has to be taken into consideration and frankly it may not be for everyone but for me, I think it instantly creates a relaxed feel to a home. 

Now I love dogs but at the same time I don't feel the need to sacrifice all sense of interior style just because of them. You just have to make sure that the design of your home makes sense and think carefully about certain material choices you may need to make.

It comes back to the whole 'perfect imperfection' idea around interiors. Sharing a home with a dog ensures, insists even, that your home interiors have to be a bit more 'realistic'. 

We are all guilty of looking at amazingly styled images that ooze glamour and style but these are seriously not how most people actually live on a day to day basis otherwise the interiors feel a little bit too uptight and a bit too staged for it to really feel like a home.

The reality of sharing your home with a dog means that you just have to make sure the design makes sense and works:

in the winter months - muddy paws and wet coat : keep a towel by the front and back door

their bed - some people swear by having a crate. We did use one when puppy training and it was very useful but as Maggie grew older, she much preferred a normal bed. It's important they know what 'bed' is, as there will be times they will need to go in it (after a long muddy walk it's a lot easier for her to dry off on this rather than my sofa!) Reality is though, she still prefers the sofa (who wouldn't) and so doors have to be kept shut on these occasions so open plan living would make this harder and potentially crates would be an essential. 

ground rules - she says, with nearly every image on this post showing Maggie snoozing on sofas, cushions, throws..... 

keeping some areas off limits - sometimes this may be required (although good luck with that as somehow they always seem to be able to sneak in somehow....so get over it and just throw a blanket over the sofa or cushions if necessary until they dry out!)

use indoor/outdoor rugs in the kitchen-dining areas as they mask stains better and are so much easier to clean

keep your high pile - more expensive (treasured) items in a room that you can shut off when / if necessary

Despite the muddy paws and more frequent hoovering, sharing your home with a dog really does make your house feel more like a home and it doesn't mean that you have to suddenly say no to wonderful interiors. Ok, so you will have to make a few 'sensible' choices, especially with regards to flooring options and it will to a certain extent have an impact on how you keep your home, but the advantages of sharing your home with a dog most certainly outweigh any of these.