why your dog needs a den

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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! 

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.

preparation

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.

boundaries

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.

backyard zen: how to create an outdoor haven for you and your dog

take it outside

as wonderful as our homes are, spending time outdoors is undeniably good for wellbeing.  along with countless other benefits, is has been proven that moderate daily exposure to the sun improves bone density and can reverse the impacts of seasonal affective depression.  (not to mention the generally accepted fact that cocktails taste better on a patio.) 

being outside is also good for your dog!  it encourages them to exercise and engage with the world around them using their powerful sniffer, tiring them out both physically and mentally.  it is also a wonderful place to bathe and brush your dogs to cut down on inside mess.  so now that we have talked you into moving to your backyard for the coming months, let’s get to our very favorite thing: decorating!

elements of your outdoor haven

haven sounds a lot like heaven, huh?  and that is the aim here: to create an outdoor space that is truly heavenly! 

    • the yard – we know, we know, you probably didn’t want to hear this (unless you’re a lucky green thumb) but keeping your yard on point is critical to a backyard haven.  no one wants to chill in an overgrown jungle complete with broken terra-cotta planters… except maybe dickens’ ms. havisham.  so before you start picking out patio sets, tighten up the yard by trimming shrubs and hedges to a uniform height, raking / mowing the lawn, identifying the epicenter of your haven and taming weeds. 
    • safety first – keep your design kiddo and pet-friendly with these simple tips.
      • no harmful pesticides: skip harsh sprays and substitute vinegar for toxic weed killers + more solutions from the experts below.
      • no poisonous / dangerous plants: although beautiful, both amaryllis and begonias, along with countless other flowers and plants, can be harmful to pets and humans.  as a rule of thumb: always research before you plant. 
      • boundaries: edging landscaped areas with a substantial material like driftwood will help keep pets and littles out..
      • paw / feet-friendly: if using stones, choose smooth flagstone or river rock to limit potential scrapes.  if you prefer mulch, small cedar chips are easy on skin but large enough that they won’t stick to fur.x
    • the vibe – starting with an overall feeling you would like to achieve with your outdoor design is a great way to help you hone the decor.  for example should you want to feel vibrant and eclectic, channel an ornate and colorful moroccan spice market and pair with ethnic touches like the ‘elephant parade’ duvet.  or if you prefer a sense of comfort and ease, welcome in a light an bright palette and the nautical ‘weekends-away’ duvet creating a backyard beach cottage.  once you know how you want the space to make you feel, you will know what kind of decor you will need.
    • the decor – now that the canvas is clean and the vibe is set, it’s time to decorate!  based on the feeling you want your space to evoke, select appropriate base and accent colors to keep you focused when hunting for decor. chose a style of furniture based on that vibe, too.  while a traditional patio set may be appropriate for the comforting cottage, the vibrant moroccan design may call for a low-to-the ground table and bright cushions.  be sure to carve out a unique space for your dog(s) to ensure they feel at home in the new space complete with a bed appropriate for outdoor use.  molly mutt developed water-resistant duvets in a selection of patterns ideal for outdoor use.  however, all of our duvets can be paired with a water-resistant armor to shield against the elements, wet paws and accidents.  our durable duvets come in a variety of patterns sure to compliment any vibe!
    • money ain’t a thang – what matters most when creating your outside haven is that great design comes at all price points.  fabulous finds can come from creative upcycling, goodwill or the alley just as easily as jonathan adler.  so don’t let money be an excuse, get creative and turn your backyard into a place you love to be.  (molly mutt is all about up-cycling, so before you toss it ask yourself: could i re-purpose this in the backyard?)

the experts

good housekeeping: 13 homemade organic weed killers that really work

hgtv: outdoor design ideas for any budget

diy network: 10 outdoor rooms on a budget

inspired by song: celebrating dire straits with lattice pattern dog bed

a song so iconic that it has been covered by the killers and the indigo girls alike, “romeo & juliet” by dire straits retells shakespeare’s best-known tragedy.  in this upended version, romeo (frontman mark knopfler) pines after a flighty juliet (his ex-girlfriend) who writes him off as “just another one of [her] deals.”  the grammy winning brit band released the single in 1981 and it has appeared on 90’s soundtracks such as empire records and can’t hardly wait.

opening with a gentle guitar melody similar to the opening chords of their biggest hit “sultans of swing,” the instrumentation is simple during the verses and builds to a rock arrangement during the chorus.  these quiet verses transport the listener to a simpler time (perhaps 16th century verona) where images of a vines crawling up a stone balcony and latticed windows creep into their subconscious.  as the narrative unfolds the deep love and heartbreak of the singer becomes apparent, not unlike that of romeo’s when he believes his beloved has taken her own life. 

although this classic play is traditionally read in high school english it becomes increasingly relevant as we grow up and experience our own epic loves, heartbreaks and losses.  often those that are most supportive, don’t come in human form.  for some, our dogs are our greatest loves and losses in life.  what matters most are those quiet moments spent together, looking out the window at the sky, feeling content.

our “romeo & juliet” duvet pattern features a deep blue behind a white lattice pattern, resembling the window that romeo & juliet first met under.  this pattern is classic, like a shakespearean play, and one of our most popular, like romeo & juliet.  and we promise that your pup will be smitten with the eco-friendly design that encourages you to up-cycle old garments and linens for the duvet stuffing.  its familiar smell will remind your pup daily of the lifelong romance you two share, just like their contented face when they sleep will remind you.

meet the dogs with a love for this pattern that lives up to its name: romeo & juliet

(in order: @adventures.of.roxy.and.zoey, @nikkii.j.cullen, @prestonjenkinsiii, @joyfulgolden, @baxterthebossydachshund, @littlemissveda)

things you’ ll want to do after reading this blog post:

buy the duvet

watch the song performed live (yes, there is a keytar involved)

re-experience the amazing fish tank scene between claire and leo circa 1996

small changes can mean big things for little puppies

i know you didn’t miss it, national puppy day was march 23rd and your instagram feed was full of the sweetest, fluffiest, teeniest puppies you’ve ever seen!  (gah!)  plus it’s spring and you celebrate puppy season the way your boyfriend celebrates baseball season.  (anyone notice that season never ends… ever?… i digress.)  so if you are like me and are perpetually in the market for a new furry friend, you need to get your home puppy-ready should the mood strike you.  it’s not that hard, i promise.  but trust me these few tips are critical for both the puppies and your happiness (re: sanity).

puppy feng shui

reality check.  the thing you love about most about your new puppy is also their greatest weapon of mayhem: they are tiny!  if it is on the floor, close to the floor, can be pulled to the floor or within jumping distance of the floor they will get it.  (this includes shoes.  don’t make this amateur mistake, people.)  put it all on a shelf until they are done teething and / or can be trusted.  this includes covering up low-to-the-ground outlets and cords, removing area rugs, and looking under the bed for the first time since you moved in. make it easy on yourself and simply shut the door to all rooms that are have not undergone “puppy feng shui.”

the nest (aka the den)

whenever i move into a new space (this includes hotel rooms), i like to get my lay of the land, unpack and immediately mark my territory with clothes, toiletries and the smell of my favorite perfume.  i think of it as “nesting,” a term generally reserved for pregnant women but i think it applies here.  similarly, dogs need to understand their home via sniffing and have a space all their own that nurtures comfort and confidence in their new home.  their den should be a soft and quiet space in the main gathering room of the home but off-set from the hub, perhaps in a corner, and other pets and tiny-humans should not be allowed in the den.  it is best practice to crate train your new pup making a perfect place to create a den all their own. the molly mutt sheepy crate pad is the perfect soft solution for accident-prone puppies as they are filled with sheep wool that is naturally anti-microbial.  if sleeping is an issue, we’ve got you covered (literally) with our chic crate covers that can be rolled up and down making their den dark if needed.  (they also dress up less-than-attractive dog crates.)

live by a schedule

having a set schedule is wonderful for new pups as it sets basic expectations that are reinforced daily helping them learn and feel comfortable in their new world.  it also ensures that you make time in your undoubtedly busy life to walk, feed and play with your new family member.  this doesn’t mean a dry-erase board or day-planner (but it can!), it just means being consistent in their activities through out the day.  many mornings will start with an adorable face-licking alarm followed by a trip outside to use the potty, a walk, breakfast and den-time while you get ready for your day.  evenings can look similar – potty, walk, dinner and chill-time (+ final trip outside before bed.) 

we know that if you can incorporate these easy tips into you life, you will be set up for success for being the proud owner of a non-destructive, well-behaved and dearly loved puppy.  happy puppy season, 2017!

great eco-friendly ideas for holiday waste

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as we conclude the holidays, you may be looking around your home wondering what you’re going to do with all of that torn up wrapping paper, the thoughtful holiday cards, the leftover food in the fridge… and where are you going to take your tree??

the answer definitely is not: just throw it in the trash.

according to the environmental protection agency, between thanksgiving and new year’s day, americans contribute an additional 1 million tons of waste a week to our landfills. it sounds like a lot, because it is. by upcycling (and recycling) as many of these materials as you can, you can help reduce that number, plus have something cute and ‘new’ to show off in your home! we have a few ideas you can try at home, and some things to consider for the the holiday season next year.

wrapping paper

if you’re needing to send out “thank you” notes for all of the gifts you received this year, don’t buy an envelope, create one! pick out the prettiest patterned wrapping paper and follow these steps to create your own individualized form of stationary.

need to pack away your christmas tree ornaments or other decorations? simple! use that wrapping paper to keep those items safe while in storage. you can also apply this to any type of storage, especially if you’re maybe moving anytime soon.

if you’re in party mode bringing in the new year and need some extra confetti for you and your friends to throw at midnight, look no further than the pile of wrapping paper you have at home. just run it through a paper shredder! sure, you may make a bit of a mess, but it’ll definitely be festive!

boxes, boxes and more boxes

are you an Amazon addict like we are? if so, you can take every one of those boxes, pack them full of clothes, toys and other household items you no longer want, and Amazon will ship them to Goodwill using givebackbox.com. donations go directly to your nearest participating Goodwill organization using a free shipping label and the empty Amazon (or other) box.

holiday cards

there are a few fun things you can do with your favorite holiday cards this year, giving you the chance to continue spreading the joy of them.

you can prepare for the holiday season next year by creating gift card tags using your old greeting card. simply cut the back off and punch a hole in the top so you can string a ribbon through. you can get more creative by cutting fun shapes, plus, this is a great activity for your kids to do!

you can also take those same backs of the cards to instead create your own postcards to send out. Just write your message on the back and address it to the loved one you want to spread some holiday cheer to (don’t forget the stamp!)

another option you have is to donate them. that’s right, you can donate your old holiday cards! st. jude’s ranch accepts them and repurposes them as part of their recycled card program. they then resell them and help fund their programs, helping families in need.

leftovers in the fridge

Your dogs will love this one. Instead of throwing out all of the leftovers from your holiday celebration, treat your pup to a tasty holiday treat! There are tons of recipes you can try, depending on what you have in your fridge; we found some awesome recipes you can take inspiration from right here.

what to do with your tree

it’s not as simple as just throwing it in the dumpster, which is something you shouldn’t do anyway. you can either recycle your tree or get a little creative with it while it’s still alive.

if you’re already looking forward to spring, you can chip up the trunk and branches to create mulch for your garden. You can still do this for your trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch.

you can create decorations or other items around your home using the tree as well. cut off branches to create a new wreath, or cut and treat discs from the tree trunk to make your own coasters.

if you prefer to dispose of it completely, be sure to check with your local recycling center for free drop-off locations. these places will often chip and shred your tree for use as mulch or as part of soil erosion programs. you can also arrange for pick up in front of your home if you don’t have the time to take it yourself.

there are countless ways to reduce the waste around the holiday season. get creative with it, do a little research and get even more inspiration on how you can become a little more eco-friendly as you celebrate the holidays every year!

our favorite pet-friendly, doggie decor ideas!

roughly 45% of homes in the u.s. have a dog. that’s an incredible number since it adds up to about 75 million dogs that have taken up residence in our homes and our hearts. and we figure of those dog-owning homes, many of them are like us – wanting to seamlessly integrate their dogs’ beds, bowls, baths and more into the stylish decor we have painstakingly chosen. we love our dogs and want them to have every creature comfort, but we don’t want our home to look like a dog house. so we have scoured the world wide web for the best ideas on how to decorate a home so human and hound can live together in harmony.

Lauren & Wolf Interior Design

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in their article, 11 ways to incorporate pet spaces at home, they combine beautiful photography with realistic recommendations on how to best live in a lovely home with your pup. as they say, “Pet stuff isn’t always pretty, but adding their things to your space doesn’t have to result in an interior eyesore.” Check it out for ways to strategically design your home to accommodate both you and your furry friend.

The Creativity Exchange

hideaway-bed

from custom built-ins to diy projects, their article creative ways to incorporate pet items into your home decor, doesn’t skimp on the ideas. with our love of all things upcycled, we really liked their ideas on using children’s chairs for elevated food and water bowls, and a bright red dresser repurposed as a pet center.

PeoplePets

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we found some great advice and ideas on how to live harmoniously with our dog’s belongings in PeoplePet’s article, Tips on How to Make Your Home Pet-Friendly and Post from HGTV’s Nicole Curtis. her main message? “You should never feel like you have to sacrifice your décor to have a pet. There are many materials, furniture pieces, and items that are pet-friendly, but also durable enough for an animal and can match the existing décor of your home.”

DIY Network

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in 12 Tips for Pet Friendly Decorating, Julia Szabo and Nan Ruvel offer a list of advice on how to keep your walls, floors and furniture looking great. “The key is choosing the right materials and accommodating your animals’ needs,” says author Julia Szabo, who shares her digs with a dozen rescued dogs and cats. She says an animal-friendly house is more comfortable for humans too. “If a house doesn’t work with dogs, it won’t work with children or guests either.”

at the end of the day, we want our dogs to feel at home in a house that belongs to us all. it definitely takes a bit of compromise and some creativity, but that’s one of the reasons we work so hard to create beautiful patterns for our molly mutt duvets – we want them to be a beautiful part of your home, no matter what your style!

11 reasons your dog’s crate pad should be made of wool

wool

undeniably popular in the baby diapering world, the health benefits of wool can easily cross over into the realm of pet bedding and we decided it was about time to make that happen! we are excited to introduce our new crate pads stuffed with wool from a sheep farm here in California! with a list as long as your dog’s tail (assuming your dog has a tail) of natural features , these new pads are perfect for any resting or sleeping pup!

  1. 100% naturalwcp54
  2. naturally cooling
  3. naturally warming
  4. naturally anti-bacterial
  5. naturally dirt resistant 
  6. naturally water-repellant
  7. powerfully absorbent
  8. wicks away moisture from the surface
  9. chemical and pesticide free
  10. anti-microbial 
  11. self-cleaning

look at that list! and because wool has all these features, it naturally eliminates the smells of dog, drool and urine – allowing more time between cleaning. not that you really need more time between cleaning since it’s such an easy thing to do – simply remove the wool insert, set it outside in the sun, and toss the duvet into the wash!

we still can’t believe all of this is in one awesome new product!

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