(Shown in photo: the very first piece of furniture I ever purchased. This is an old pic because these two have now destroyed it to the point that the foam is showing through on the seat. Horrifyingly, it is still in the house. We hope that keeping it around gives them further enticement to stay off our stuff. We’re delusional.)
The barricading begins in the dark of night.
The start of the routine is always the same. Go around, make sure all the doors are locked and the blinds are down.
The ritual isn’t to ward off any outside threats, but rather to control the beasts within: Those stupid big dogs keep getting on the furniture. The new furniture.
It’s driving me crazy.
A friend highly recommended shock pads to put on the couches. I suspect those dummies would actually enjoy the jolt. Also, they’re so big we’d have to set it on “stun elephant” and then what happens when some two-legged insomniac drowsily flops onto one. I don’t think electroshock therapy cures sleeplessness.
So, after much trial and error, we’ve settled on this very Clampett-like setup: A baby gate to block off one entry into the living room and — since the space was too big for any commercially-made gate on the other side — we prop up a flattened cardboard box that once held a men’s bike. Two tall end tables anchor each side of the box. One table wasn’t enough — the dogs would just push through the un-reinforced side and have their way with the nice leather sofa and chair. The 40-pound dog bed — big enough to comfortably sleep two horses — gets dragged out of its usual spot in the living room and into the hallway where it’s accessible to them. See, ladies? We buy you nice things JUST FOR YOU that YOU can lay down on.
And I thought baby-proofing was a chore. At least you do that once. This is every night and get this, there’s more. Next, we booby-trap, or make that booby-tape.
Sticky, loud packaging tape — gooey side up — gets draped across the couch and chair in the family room. It is pretty effective — the one time Dumb Dog No. 1 tried to sneak up there, she immediately jumped off. I could hear the crackling sound of tape getting dragged behind her. Side note: It works pretty well on unsuspecting husbands, too.
That’s it for the big dogs. Then, the chew-proofing begins for the little one. All the bathroom doors must be shut, lest she pounce in and up her fiber intake for the day with an entire roll of toilet paper or snag a towel off the rack to munch into stringy bits. Kleenex boxes must be far out of reach. A smidge more tape goes onto the ends of the dog bed where she’s already begun to nibble and rip off the decorative cording around the rolled bolster part of the bed. Yeah, it’s a nice dog bed. Well, was.
I make sure shoes and shirts are up off the floor and my nibbled Nike slides — her preferred chew toy — are tucked safely away. Then and only then can we slide into bed. On the up side, it’s so exhausting I typically have no trouble falling asleep. Now if we could just get them to sleep in later….
*Demodogs: A reference to the nasty creatures (see below) on “Stranger Things.” There’s a bit of a resemblance. And yes, ours can open their mouths that wide when it’s dinner time.