why your dog needs a den


having our dogs share our personal space is one of the many joys of pet ownership.  from sleeping in bed with us to friendly bathroom visits, there is no denying that our dogs love being near us!  based on this behavior, it’s easy to assume that co-existing in our human spaces is best for the dog but that is not the case.  in reality, your dog needs a den.

why does my dog need a den?  it’s a dog, not a wolf…

believe it or not, your pup descended from a linage of wild canids that have been on this earth for millions of years but were only domesticated in the past few hundred years!  in turn our dogs have ancient wild instincts deep within them, including the instinct to burrow in dens.  (ever find your pup curled up in the corner of your closet when guests come over?  she’s not being rude, it’s instinctual.)  dens provide a safe refuge for your dog when she is stressed, tired or just needs to escape from the world, promoting both mental and physical wellness.

what is a den?  she already has a dog bed…

a dog den is so much more than a dog bed.  it is a sanctuary where our dogs can retreat to for quiet, rest and a sense of security.  unlike dog beds, dens are enclosed creating a true “home away from home” for our dogs.  dens should be placed out-of-the-way in the home’s common space, as they are not meant to isolate the dog but simply provide a personal and quiet refuge for her amongst her beloved humans.  this den should be off limits to other pets, children and family members, making a true sanctuary for canine r&r.  the easiest and most common form of a dog den is none other than the puppy favorite – a crate!

but crates are ugly…

yes, yes they are.  however, a true den is a place with shelter and walls that evokes a sense of enclosed security for your dog so they are indeed necessary to fulfill your dog’s innate desire to have den.  don’t fret, design diva! molly mutt crate covers are the perfect way to mask a dog crate and create a cozy (and even chic) den for your pup.  with over ten durable and gorgeous pattern options, you won’t have to sacrifice style to deck out this den! 

molly mutt: the story of a san francisco startup

how did you decide to start the molly mutt brand?

like most people in the bay area, i live on a wicked hill – it has to be at least a 45 degree angle!  doing laundry means sooooo many trips up & down this hill.  one day i was lugging laundry down the hill, which included a puked-on dog bed, and i thought….

‘why aren’t there covers for these like there are for my human bed? if there were, i wouldn’t have to do laundry nearly as often…’

at the time (2008) i didn’t know how to sew, but thanks to my previous position as a creative director, i did know how to get products made.  so i partnered with my friend art and we got started! coming up with the company name was a no-brainer, as my name is molly mundt.  the first designs also came easily and the rest in history!

where do you find inspiration for your patterns?

i am first and foremost a consumer, so i know immediately what i like.  (and even quicker what i don’t like!)

i find inspiration all over the place in my everyday life – most recently it was this color scape made of yarn in a craft store.

i find cool stuff everywhere – bars on a gate, typography and from the billion style & design blogs that i subscribe to.  (bright bazaar, poppytalk and a beautiful mess are a a few of my favorites.)  and like any good designer, i pin everything so i don’t lose track of my inspirations.

are their certain artists and / or designers who’s work inspires you? 

jonathan adler and orla kiely are two beloved sources of inspiration for my surface pattern designs.  i am also mildly (ok, completely) obsessed with all kinds of illustrations from the 1930’s through the early 60’s.  i can be found between the hours of 10pm to midnight scouring eBay for lots of vintage magazines to satisfy my cravings!

why did you decide to name patterns after songs?

i have always been a huge fan of creatively named colors (think OPI nail polish) – and i knew the best way to remember something is to give it a cool name!  as a huge band nerd (band president, ahem), i absolutely love music!  what sounds better to you? “aqua with tan trim” or “nightswimming”?  exactly.

how does the molly mutt team like to celebrate together?

we are big fans of having outside lunches & dinners during the summer in our co-founder art’s backyard.  we also have been known to convene a “meeting” at a local happy hour place with an outside patio, because no meeting is a REAL meeting  at molly mutt without the dogs!  we love going to drakes dealership (@drakesbeer) as well as old kan beer & co. (@oldkanbeer).

what dogs join you in the molly mutt offices? what are their job titles or responsibilities?

pickle: CRO (chief relationship officer / mouse hunter): pickle loves people almost as much as she loves ridding the office of any mice (gulp) that find there way over here from the nearby recycling plant.

bacon: head of security: bacon is the first to sound the alarm if someone is at the door.  she then greets and vets all visitors, and will let the rest of us know that the visitor has been reviewed and approved for entry. you can’t make it into our office without first meeting bacon – that’s how seriously she takes her job.

mm_201710_pickle and bean

sustainable living: we love ewe!

we talk a lot about dogs and puppies, two of the cutest things in the world.  but we wanted to give a shout-out to a less popular animal that enchants all of us at molly mutt: sheep.

skeptical?  stick with us for the next 250 characters.

cute 😍

sheep start life impossibly fuzzy like a bird, enjoy prance-dancing and frequently exhibit what seem to be very authentic smiles.  sure we’ve heard they can be a bit surly later in life (we cannot confirm nor deny rumors of spitting), but they make up for it in street-savvy and sheer volume of tangible resources!  bringing me to the next two reasons we love sheep….

smart 💡

contrary to popular belief, studies show that sheep are just as intelligent as their livestock counterparts; pigs and cows.  sheep are capable of long-term recognition, meaning they can recognize faces, names and even emotions.  and if you’ve seen the classic 90’s film Babe, you know sheep can be competitively trained!  additionally, sheep have keen senses including peripheral vision that extends up to 230°, literally giving them “eyes in the back of their heads.”  (something even mom can’t truly claim.)

valuable 💰

sheep’s wool is the most widely used animal fiber worldwide.  (yep, more than leather.)  and it is a truly divine natural fiber – moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, antimicrobial levels of divine!  it is because of its many attractive natural properties that wool has been used for centuries for garments, warmth and padding.

unlike most dog beds that are filled with uncomfortable, non-breathable, processed material destined for the dump, when we do stuff our beds, we stuff them with 100% natural, sustainably sourced california wool… because we love sheep!  (and because it is the right thing to do, and that’s our style.)

need more reasons to love wool?

photo credit: @speckz / Reddit

dog-friendly vacation spots for everyone

no matter where you take your dog, making time to be together and share new experiences is what matters most.  from luxury hotels to a night under the stars, whatever you choose is sure to (literally) thrill your dog and let him know just how much he matters to you.  below is a list of our favs, but be sure to make things easy by doing a little more online research, calling ahead to confirm policies and protect your car seats from scratches, fur and water spots with a new molly mutt car seat cover


head over to the dog-loving state of colorado for tons of luxury accommodation options that welcome dogs.  only a 2 hour drive from the denver international airport, the ritz-carlton bachelor’s gulch boasts spa treatments and guided hikes for your pooch.  or fly directly into aspen to enjoy a pampered stay at one of the many top-rated hotels that welcome dogs like hotel jerome or the st. regis aspen.


la quinta is a great mid-range hotel option that requires no deposit or fees to welcome dogs into their rooms.  with over 700 locations across the country, the odds are good there will be one near most large cities when you and your dog take that cross-country road trip you’ve been dreaming about.  (make post-road trip clean up a snap with a gorgeous, machine-washable car seat cover!)


dog bark park inn & bnb: cottonwood, idaho (photo above)

this rental vacation home takes dog-friendly to another level with not one, but two, beagle-shaped structures on site.  located in rural idaho, the big dog sleeps up to four people with one bathroom and features expansive views of grain fields backdropped by the mountains.  perfect for a low-key getaway, this is when being “in the dog house” is a good thing!


big sur riverside campground and cabins: big sur, california

a location made famous as the title of keroac’s novel, ‘big sur’ is located on the central coast of california where the santa lucia mountain range rises abruptly from the pacific ocean.  truly an american treasure this unincorporated town is home to some of the best camping in the USA, including the riverside campground and cabins.  at only $20 per night, you and your pup will have the choice of a furnished cabin, a rustic cabin or campgrounds appropriate for RVs or tents to enjoy this stunning part of the country.

for the dogs

should you want to treat your pup to a vacation that is all about him, travel + leisure magazine has compile a fantastic list of events and locations that are sure to give your dog perma-grin.  we suggest you check alaska off both of your bucket lists and show your dog why he is so special with a once in a lifetime trip to the iditarod!

color code: the secret meaning of colors

we live in a deliciously diverse world full of different cultures, languages and social contracts.  there are few things that are consistent across humanity.  mathematics are one, as 1 + 1 = 2 everywhere you go.  and another unifying (and arguably more fun) concept across the planet is color.  while a boy in spain will say ‘rojo’ and a boy in denver will say ‘red,’ they are both agreeing upon the same fiery color of strawberries and blood.  this allows colors to have deep historical and cultural roots, not to mention color is proven to have psychological affects on the human mind.  so before you select the color palette for you next design project, we feel like you should know what you’re getting into.  some of these fun facts you may know, others may cause the ‘more you know’ rainbow to shine bright. 


as established in the opener, red is the color of fire and blood.  a primary color, red is a dye found commonly in nature and has significant historical significance.  red is associated with strength and power making it a popular color in national flags (and ahem, dictator regimes) and is a universal sign of caution and danger.  red is also the color of love and desire, ironically claiming both valentine’s day and our world’s red-light districts.  red triggers impulse, too.  pay attention to those ‘buy buttons’, y’all.

designer profile: top-of-the-class charmers, bold bad-assess, those who are trouble with a capitol T

molly mutt pattern: lady in red


yellow is the color of the sun, which literally makes people happy via vitamin D.  the cheerful color stimulates the brain upon viewing, which is why attention-getting taxis and traditional highlighters are that color.  oddly, too much yellow has an adverse affect on the mind, so use this one judiciously.

designer profile: glass-half-fullers, lifelong wiz-kids, people who prefer accent colors

molly mutt pattern: lion’s roar and northwestern girls


the energy of red + the happiness of yellow = enthusiastically determined orange.  a citrus color, it aligns with health as well as the fall harvest symbolizing abundance.  orange is also high visibility and is effective in promoting food products and toys.  plus nothing rhymes with orange.  (mic drop.)

designer profile: plant lovers, lifelong cheerleaders, people with a top-of-the-line juicer

molly mutt pattern: the boxer and amsterdam


green is the color of nature, combining the vibrancy of yellow with the coolness of blue.  representing fertility, harmony and growth, green is the most restful color to the human eye and can actually improve vision.  green is the opposite of red, representing safety and as such is often used in medical packaging and playgrounds.

designer profile: witches, zen masters, those who prefer being barefoot

molly mutt pattern: title track, dew in the grass and karma chameleon


the color of both the sky and the sea (reflecting the sky), blue is associated with wisdom, confidence and stability, so it is no wonder that is it the chosen color of corporate America.  blue also represents purity, tranquility and cleanliness, and can be found on hygiene related products.  shown to increase metabolism and suppress appetite, restaurants and food products avoid using blue.  the color most favored by men according to years of studies, it is closely associated with masculinity.

designer profile: bosses of all types, manly men, tidy people

molly mutt pattern: romeo & juliet, new theory, weekend away and nightswimming


kids love purple and no one really knows why.  maybe it is because they know it is uncommon in nature giving it a rare quality, associated with mystery and magic.  purple combines the materialism of red and the grounded nature of blue, making it an appropriate historic color for royalty.

designer profile: magicians, elusive rockers, queens of all kinds

molly mutt pattern: royals

inspired by song: our new ‘jitterbug’ pattern

Wake me up before you go go,

Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo.

british pop duo Wham! exploded on to the UK and USA pop scene in 1984 with their inexplicably upbeat and catchy song ‘jitterbug (wake me up before you go-go)” which quickly climbed to the top of the charts.  in addition to the song, the signature dance performed by frontman george michael in the music video is now accepted as the quintessential dance of the 80’s, riffed on in nearly every john huston film and later by carlton on the fresh prince of belair.  jitterbug is also synonymous with the classic scene from zoolander where the excitement generated from the 80’s hit combined with “orange mocha frappacino” related elation results in a gasoline fight resembling a pillow fight.  we won’t tell you how it ends (#nospoilers), but needless to say this scene exposed younger generations to the glory that is the jitterbug. 

the boy duo, comprised of george michael and andrew ridgeley, went on to make other hits such as “last christmas” and GLBTQ anthem “freedom”, which featured the world’s top supermodels mouthing the lyrics in the video.  by their break-up in 1986, Wham! had sold 28 million records worldwide.  george michael went on to have a successful solo career, albeit controversial at times, up until he died of heart failure at the young age of 53 on Christmas day 2016, capping off what was a truly devastating year for musical legends.

as a lover of his music, molly knew she needed to pay homage to this incredible loss with a design.  the molly mutt pattern jitterbug emulates the chaotic exuberance of the 1980’s hit with a white line that jitters across a salmon-colored background, not unlike that of a jumping yo-yo.  (george wore a salmon sweatshirt in the video… no coincidence.)  the pattern is graphic, joyful and perfect for a home that embraces play (and dance parties)!  we tend to think george would have approved – we love you, george!

dogs and fireworks: 3 ways to plan for a calm 4th of July

visually delightful for humans, 4th of July fireworks are a source of anxiety for most dogs.  a few lucky breeds are in the minority, such as hunting dogs who are accustom to the sound of gun shots and smells of explosives, but generally speaking if you have a dog – they are going to lose it during fireworks. 

we realize ‘lose it’ is a loose term, so let me clarify.  the nervous behaviors dogs exhibit during firework displays are seemingly limitless.  from noticeable anxiety manifested in shaking and cowering to constant barking and destructive behavior, all dogs react differently to this loud independence day tradition.  remember that to your dog, fireworks are much more disruptive than thunder as it is closer to the ground and paired with bright light and smells.  the good news is there are a variety of ways to support your dog during this annual experience. 


arrange to have your dog stay at a familiar alternative location such as a dog sitter’s home or doggy day care if you are setting off fireworks on your property.  if the alternative location is unfamiliar, make a few practice visits before the 4th of July stay.  this solution is fool-proof in that your dog never gets the chance to lost it, but it is only a short-term solution.


if you are unable to take him to a firework-free location make a safe space within the quietest room of your home (likely the basement), so your dog can hideout when the booms begin.  a crate is ideal, but if you do not have one you can use furniture and blankets to create a den-like environment.  the sense of enclosure with naturally soothe him, as will calming reassurances that everything is going to be ok.  add in a special treat, his favorite toy, and a bed that smells like you and he will be set up for success!


the very best way to prepare your dog for this annual occurrence is getting him used to the sound of fireworks, creating a positive association in your dog’s mind.  for 3-4 months prior to independence day, play a firework soundtrack increasing volume over time.  while this is the most time-consuming solution, acclimatizing your dog to loud noises is a long-term solution.  (if you are lucky enough to adopt a puppy you can start exposing them to loud noises at 3 months, so thunder, fireworks and other loud noises will not even phase them later in life!)

most importantly, during firework displays remain calm.  if you are anxious or reactionary to the fireworks, you will confirm your dog’s sense of fear and exacerbate the problem.  if at all possible keep things business as usual, supporting your dog with soothing reassurances and lots of love until the event is over… until next year.

room for everyone: how dogs and babies best coexist

there comes a time in many couples lives when they need to explain to their fur-babies, about human babies.  it can be a tough conversation, of which the realities won’t be fully comprehended until 24 hours after the human baby actually arrives in home.  not only does this new baby sister represent a new center of adoration and attention, she also produces very loud, non-barking noises at unpredictable times of day and night.  in sum, this household change can be a lot.  for everyone.  while sleepless nights are inevitable, sibling rivalry is not.  with a little planning and a few tricks, your dog and his new kid sister will be coexisting peacefully from day one.


long before human baby sister arrives, train and socialize your dog to improve his obedience, comfort with others, and sense of independence.  (if at all possible try not to welcome newborns into a home with an untrained dog, as it is not only challenging but can be unsafe.)  desensitize your dog to baby smells, sounds and routines with role-playing and socialization with friend’s infants and children.  additionally, the humane society of america created ‘preparing fido,’ a CD of baby noises, that will help normalize these new round-the-clock, non-barking noises.


also well before the highly anticipated due date, create a den for your dog within the common area — corners being best.  (stop there, what is a ‘den?’)  work with your dog to sleep, play and rest in this space, making it a safe haven that he loves.  when baby girl becomes mobile, work with her to respect this space as “off limits” keeping your dog’s den (and toys) intact.  this can be difficult as a den looks an awful lot like a fort, so it’s up to you to maintain these important boundaries.

cardinal rules

these are non-negotiable, friends.  no matter how truly exceptional your dog and / or baby is.

    • make a non issue of introducing human baby girl to your fur baby.  with him leashed and calm, welcome him to sit by the family +1.  let him observe, in a low-pressure environment, until he feels more comfortable.  do that daily, then slowly graduate to sniffing and closer interaction.
    • create a ‘dog zone’ where he can play and relax and a ‘baby zone’ where she is safe, to use whenever needed.
    • do not leave babies or child alone with dogs.  tiny humans are not able to understand what will provoke even the most docile of dogs, so wait until they are grown for alone time.
    • seek professional help if you have concerns about your dog’s interaction with your children, family members or friends. 

up-cycled gifting

once sweet baby girl has grown out of her crib, let her give her new best friend (and the planet) a gift with the crib-e™, a chic and durable duvet that turns an unused crib mattress into a huge dog bed!

with preparation, clear boundaries and a few rules, you will be on you way to supporting the growing love between your dog and child.

want more?  we’re not experts but victoria stillwell is!

why your dog spins in circles before lying down & other nap trivia

our wonderful dogs: they are loyal, adorable and provide us with unconditional love.  but if we’re all honest, they’re behavior can be downright strange sometimes!  (endearingly strange, of course.)  for instance, nap time is one part of a dog’s daily life that brings out some odd habits that can leave us human’s a bit mystified.  we like to think of ourselves as ‘nap experts’ here at molly mutt and wanted to shed some light on your dog’s nap time quirks.

why does my dog sleep in the strangest places?

ever found your dog behind the toilet?  under a bookshelf in a space so small you can’t figure out how he got there?  yep, this is a thing.  no matter how much he loves his dog bed, you might find him occasionally holed up in an odd space due to the comfort it provides.  when dogs seek shelter or small spaces, they are instinctually recreating a ‘den.’ help your dog out with a crate cover (that is chic enough to keep in your living room) from molly mutt and build his den into your decor!

** molly mutt pro tip: darker pattern crate covers will keep the light out best when sleeping during the day for dogs who like to crash in closets.  choose a lighter patten for those dogs who love napping in sunny spots. **

why does he spin in circles (or scratch the bed) before getting comfortable?

this behavior is instinctual as well, going back to a time when dogs did not have ‘beds’ as they do now and would create soft places to sleep in nature by turning in circles and scratching the ground to clear the area.  modern farm dogs still need do this with loose hay when cozying up for the night barn, but the habit remains for many long domesticated breeds.  (this also explains why he may pull and nuzzle an unfolded blanket into a desirable shape before lying on it.)

do dogs dream and are they chasing rabbits?

it is widely believed that dogs can dream based on observation. in lieu of just being able to ask this question of our dogs, we turned to psychology today to provide some facts.  they note that brain wave patterns of sleeping dogs are consistent with those of human’s, suggesting dreaming is occurring.  additionally they site a study proving that rats, an animal with a smaller, less complex brain than dogs, dream about real-life activity based on memory.  (in the rats’ case: running a maze, in your dog’s case: chasing rabbits.)  finally, psychology today agrees that simple observation of your dog when sleeping can indicate a dream state. after about :20 minutes into your dog’s nap you may notice a change in his breathing, odd muscle twitches, and perhaps even see his eyes moving behind closed lids because he is actually looking at the dream images as if they were real images of the world. 

in sum yes, your dog is dreaming and likely about something he experiences in his daily life or even earlier that day!

while we can’t demystify all of the weird things our dogs do, we hope this helped explain a little bit about his napping behavior.  give your dog a durable and gorgeous backdrop to sleep on with a molly mutt dog bed: the dog bed dogs love! 

an ode to dog moms

at molly mutt, we had a thought, with you we’d like to share.

a mom is a mom, no matter what, even to those covered in hair.

mother’s day, is not a day, for moms of humans alone.

it is a day, to celebrate (even if barking prone).

from the love they give, to the support they show.

moms know what’s best, even when it’s ‘no-no.’

she washes the bed, when accidents occur.

and always takes you with her, like a personal chauffeur.

she’s strong and wise, and always kind (except when dad is late)

she is your mom, and loving you, is her chosen fate.

so raise a paw, to all the moms, for everything they do.

and since it is her special day, her shoes remain unchewed.

we know it’s different and don’t mean to be bold,

but we love dog moms, which is why we wrote this ode.

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