by Haylie + Amber

Fur kids, they make our hearts smile, enrich our lives immensely, and are constant entertainment. However, just like human kids, they come with their fair share of messes and challenges. Since we both have big dogs that are quite a presence we thought we would share with you guys some of our collective challenges around living with doggies and some quick solutions that we have found to make life easier or make life a little less…. gross.


Cooper: This is Cooper aka Cooper-Jo or Coop. He is spoiled rotten and is Amber and Daniel’s baby.

Cooper is a 4-year-old Labradoodle and is full of energy and personality.  After talking to a lot of doodle parents I have determined there are two types of doodles: very chill and easy-going, or hyper.  Ours is hyper!  He constantly keeps us on our toes, pouts if he doesn’t get two walks a day, and has the most telling facial expressions you will ever meet in a dog.  He has never met a person that he didn’t like and cries when he doesn’t get to go to Lowe’s with us.  If he could go to school with my husband everyday he would be the happiest dog ever!!

Damon: This is Damon aka Damon-dog or Damaroni. He belongs to Haylie and Cole’s family.

Damon is a Great Dane/ Boxer mix who likes to mean mug when I pull out my camera… Just like a teenage boy he feels the need to “look tough” in photos. He rescued us a little over 5 years ago and will turn 6 this October. He believes himself to be one of the humans and can’t be bothered to play with dog toys because, well… he’s not a dog, at least he doesn’t think so. His favorite pass time is sleeping. He is enamored by the stray cats that live in our neighborhood and is offended when they run from him when he wants to play. He is a popcorn junkie and even though we don’t give him people food, he looses his mind when he hears you open a popcorn bag, and continues to remain popcorn drunk until the bag is gone.



#1: Bare paths in the yard

We love watching our pups run and play in the yard. We don’t love the trenches that they run in the yard by running the same path over and over and over again, so that grass no longer grows there.


Chances are their path leads to another part of the yard. That was certainly the case in both of our experiences. This was Amber’s yard this past March and you can see the perfect path Cooper started.

Amber remedied Cooper’s preferred walkway two ways: first she seeded the area above really well in the spring and second by turning part of his path into a paver foot path.  Since the area at the bottom of the steps that you can see below would never grow grass anyways, it was the perfect solution. The less likely he will get grass or mud stuck in his paws the better.

Haylie plan’s to do the same in her yard. She wants to add a flower bed at the base of the deck and line it with a brick path leading to the other side of the yard. In the meantime their patio that they had installed has helped.


#2: Muddy feet

Doggie feet are so cute but that doesn’t mean that we want to see not so little paw prints all over our house when it rains. Some may say that its doggie art. While we appreciate the thought, we would much rather have morning snuggles as a display of affection.


Training! Turns out dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. We both have gotten into the habit of wiping their paws when its wet out. Believe it or not our dogs are so used to it at this point, and they are mostly cooperative (keyword mostly).

Cooper is allergic to grass and with all the extra fur, the mud and grass would cause itchy irritated paws which makes for an unhappy Cooper.  It only took us 3 vet visits to finally find out what it was but after that we were determined to find a situation.  In the photo below is one of his 15 towels that we leave at the back door for his feet.  We could care less if it gets dirty so I would recommend pulling out an old towel for this.  We lay it out like so and he knows to stop on it to have his feet wiped off.  Most days it isn’t a big deal but others he acts like you are trying to torture him.  It may not be the prettiest solution but it cuts down on the mud in the house and vet visits due to infected paws.

Haylie and Cole always made Damon sit before coming inside and when they started wiping his feet he caught on to the habit. Now he automatically gives them his paw for a shake when they pulled out the towel. Haylie thinks Damon may like having his feet wiped being a non-dog, it is important to be clean….


#3: Table Manners don’t exist in the dog world

Dogs drool… it’s what they do. They do it a lot more when delicious food is around.  Feeding areas are a war zone at dinner time. It’s pretty gross.  Water + Food= Sloppy Doggies.


Placements! It kinda makes sense right? That’s what we do at the dinner table. Both of us found machine washable mats to go under dog bowls that we can throw into the wash when they get grimy.

This is Coopers place mat under his bowl.  Side note: I see this bowl everyday but until I took this photos I didn’t realize just how in need of a paint job it is.  Add this to the list of ever-growing projects!  Anyways, the mat helps most in our house with the water.  That very long red beard of his just gets soaking wet and drips all over the floor and kitchen.  I didn’t love it at first but now I don’t know what I would do without it.  I bought this mat almost 3 years ago at Home Goods for around $10 and it is still in pretty much perfect shape.

Since Damon is about as tall as I am when he is standing on his back two legs, he requires a raised feeding station. The great part about this is that the higher off the floor he is the more floor space he drenches with his sloppy drinking.  As you can imagine most mats that are made for dogs, simply aren’t big enough for Damon. We actually use a bath mat for Damon’s placemat. It’s cute, is the perfect size and is machine washable.


#4: Dogs come with lots of stuff

Beds, leashes, collars, brushes, toys, more toys, the toys you thought were gone but now live permanently under your dresser… Dogs come with stuff. Unlike kids they usually don’t require a full room to themselves but you probably could use one given all of the things they have.


Amber and Daniel have found a storage solution that works for them. Since morning and nightly walks are a ritual for them they keep Cooper’s leash, harness and bags on their entryway table in a little basket. It makes it quick and easy to head out the door when its time for a w.a.l.k.  Anyone with dogs knows not to say that word out loud.  At this point we also can’t say “W” or “go” without him getting excited. 

For toys, bones, and Cooper’s blanket, Amber has an old Pepsi-Cola wood crate in their bedroom where Cooper has access to them but is also inconspicuous.  For his medicine, brush, and other needs he has a shelf in the laundry room where it all lives along with extra treats.

Haylie and Cole keep a basket by their backdoor that houses Damon’s collar, a towel for wiping paws, and a brush to make the morning routine a breeze.

They also have a storage box for doggie first aid, treats, and other things, that fits into an Ikea storage shelf in the office where Damon spends the day while they are away.

#5: Walls…. yes dogs = dirty walls

Sloppy eaters, dripping wet gross-ness from rain or the creek in the back, ball bounce marks on the wall; these are a few of my not so favorite things.  All of this mess ends up on the walls over time.


Satin finish paint! Builder grade paint it typically flat paint that is the equivalent to liquid chalk. It is good at hiding nicks, dents and dings in the walls, but it is a pain in the behind when it comes to cleaning. In each of our individual experiences we have found a saving grace in satin or eggshell paint. With just a damp cloth and some elbow grease, your walls can withstand the mess and be good as new in no time.

Of course living with dogs is different for everyone. Each dog has their own personality, quirks and needs. These were the top 5 challenges that we found to be common in our households. We hope that these tips and tricks were helpful to you and if not… at least this post has photos of our adorable puppies… Can’t go wrong there. Am I right?  If you have any tips and tricks of your own feel free to share them in the comments below.


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