By Kristy Fike
Having a dog that will hunt all day in the field with you and curl up on the couch with your kids at night is very rewarding. With your gun dog’s company in the home comes extra hair, dirt, dust, slobber, carpet stains, and windows displaying one-hundred different angles of your dog’s nose. With three Labradors and four humans in our home, it seems nearly impossible to keep our home clean. Some days I think it would be easier to roll a grenade across the floor and make a run for it.
With the warmer seasons here, you have probably noticed that your gun dog has turned into a hair-emitting factory. One easy way to remove unwanted hair from your carpets or furniture is to use a rubber cleaning glove or a pumice stone. Put on the glove and rub it firmly across a surface to free stubborn dog hair. Some people also use a wet rubber glove to get better results. Make sure you are using a rubber cleaning glove; I have tried to use gloves that had more of a plastic feel, and they are not effective.
Use the pumice stone in the same manner as you would the rubber glove. Try the glove first because the stone is harder on your furniture and will scratch hard surfaces. You may notice tiny pieces of the pumice stone break off over time when the stone is in use. These are easily vacuumed off surfaces. Another hair removal method is to use a small handheld window squeegee. This works great to gather most loose dog hair but will not remove hair that is deeply woven into carpets or furniture. You may have to follow the squeegee with a rubber glove or pumice stone. These methods have also proven effective in vehicles after traveling with your gun dog.
I have probably spent a fortune on window cleaners and paper towels over the past years. I have turned to cleaning vinegar to keep our windows clean. It is relatively inexpensive and works just as well as the leading window cleaner. Some people dilute the vinegar down by adding water into the spray bottle with the vinegar, but I use straight vinegar. Recently, I have started using a dishtowel to clean the windows instead of paper towels. I was pleasantly surprised by how effective it was, and the dish towels are washable.
After being afield, gun dogs bring a surprising amount of dirt into the home. I keep an older dish towel near the doors in our home, and before allowing them indoors, I wipe them down good. Doing this cuts down the amount of dirt and paw prints on your floors and furniture. As simple as this is, many owners do not bother to do it and are amazed by how much dirt and mud they mop up later when cleaning their floors.
I advise any gun dog owner or outdoor enthusiast to invest in a good carpet cleaner. Our dogs and outdoor lifestyle can result in carpet stains or dingy-looking carpets. Even when we deep clean our carpets regularly, the tank that retains all the dirty water from the carpet frequently has mud and dog hair in it. It is gross but eye-opening to see what was lurking in our carpets. Carpet cleaners can be pricey but are well worth the money.
Having a gun dog in the home means that families need to take action to prevent an unorganized or dirty home. This may mean wiping down your dog after training sessions or letting him out to relieve himself, and vacuuming more frequently, wiping hair off furniture, and deep cleaning the carpets. Once you are set up with the correct tools to do the job, this simple addition to your routine takes less than 20 minutes of your day to keep your house looking and feeling good. Is your four-legged companion worth the 20 minutes so you can enjoy them and have them as a regular part of the family? Yes, they are!