I can fetch your slippers and newspaper, take you for frequent walks and defend your home from intruders, but one thing I have never quite mastered is cleaning up after myself. Sorry, Boss. Sorry, Mum. But I just don’t have the equipment. I will bury any extra biscuits and bones in the garden, though? Will that do?
So you have to tidy me and tidy up after me. But I can give you a few tips and hints to make it easier. And then I’ll bring you your slippers and the paper so you can have a well-deserved sit-down.
First of all: me. I do hate having a bath. Yes, I like splashing through dirty water, but that warm stuff with those bubbles in… well, you obviously can’t smell exactly what those artificial scents smell like with your substandard noses. All you smell is the nice flowery bits. I can smell the chemicals, and they can really make my skin itch! However, you can make a natural shampoo for dogs out of gentler ingredients, which you can do by mixing 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon liquid soap or soap gel (preferably castile soap), 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel and ½ teaspoon olive or some other vegetable oil. Shake this together and use like any other shampoo when you wash the dog. I will still hate it, but it will stop some of the itches.
How do you clean the dog’s bed? I won’t like you doing it much, as I like the comfortable homely smell. If you have given me a basket filled with cushions and the like, then take the cushions out and give them a good shaking. Some linings are washable and can be put through the washing machine, so make the most of this if you have them. The same goes if you have given me old blankets and towels for my bed (I like these even better – they smell of you and make me feel part of the pack). To wash the basketwork, use warm soapy water and a soft bristly brush such as a toothbrush. Work all over the basket work, but just concentrate on the visibly dirty bits, as you probably have better things to do with your time, like taking me for a walk. Spray a solution of baking soda dissolved in water over the basket to remove any smells (hey, I worked hard to get it smelling just right!).
And… oops. You will have to clean the carpet if I make a mess on it. Well, I’m only a puppy or else you forgot to let me out? What was I supposed to do? At least I do it right out in the open where you’ll see it easily – or step in it – rather than hiding it in a corner like a dumb cat.
If I make a mess, it is important to clean the carpet straight away, or else the smell will remain and give me the idea that it’s OK to go there. The same goes with cleaning wood floors. Tile and lino floors are less urgent smell-wise, but you probably want to clean hard floors promptly if they’ve got dog poo or pee on them.
To clean dog poo from the carpet, remove the solid lumps in a paper towel or a generous wad of loo paper and flush it down the loo. Then dab warm water over the site and apply a bit of ordinary soap to the bristles of a medium-stiff scrubbing brush. Scrub over the site of the poo and get a good foam going, which will lift the residues out of the carpet. Rinse the brush frequently. Blot the site mostly dry with an old towel. For dog pee, use an old towel to blot up as much as possible, then use the scrubbing brush method. Lastly, after blotting the site mostly dry, sprinkle baking soda over the site to absorb the smell and remove the chance of a repeat offence.