The ground that we walk on
Ground - the solid surface of the earth; firm or dry land.
Having moved around quite a bit I have experienced a great deal of different floor coverings and exterior ground conditions. When we lived in Canada we had a couple of acres that was pretty much natural and a huge dog run at the side of the house with gravel in it. The gravel was large enough so that it did not stick to the dogs feet in the winter and with a good bed of sand beneath it, there was excellent drainage. It kept their feet working and no one ever took a spill on it.
The last house we had in California had a beautiful large concrete patio with a massive set of steps leading down to more concrete. There was also a grass area in the back. The concrete was beautifully smooth; it was wonderful to clean and we spent a great deal of time enjoying the yard. If the dogs really got going they would slip a very small bit here and there but it was pretty great most of the time. Here in Connecticut we have natural surroundings and a few wood decks. The property has gorgeous rock outcrops, flat grass areas and wooded pieces here and there around the yard.
As dogs age, like us they lose muscle mass which makes walking more difficult. Tilley is now nearing 15 and has a great deal of difficulty walking on anything that she cannot get a grip on. The regular ground is great, rocks not so much. It is the decking that gives her the most difficulty outside; and add to that a bit of frost and it can be treacherous for an old gal. I have put several rugs out on the area where she walks to come in and am always there for extra support. Under foot substances need to be thought out.
The inside of the house is something altogether different. Looking at flooring from a cleanliness point of view, tile or wood/laminate flooring would seem to be the clear choice. I have stated many times before how much I hate carpet; I consider it to be one of the stupidest inventions ever. BUT, it definitely gives traction when needed. Back in California we had recently renovated our family room. It was beautiful; we transformed it from a shag carpet and chain shelving retro room into a warm and cozy modern one. We chose laminate; one of the newest products out. It was environmentally friendly and cleaning was a breeze.
As far as being a good product for the dogs? NO. It was horrible and had I known how slippery it was going to be I would have never chosen it. The dogs could barely even walk let alone romp and play; playing was all done in the living room with the carpeted floor. Here in Connecticut, almost the entire house is wood floors and they are just about as slippery as the laminate. There is no playing on the wood floors; Elsa doesn't mind as she seems to have little grippers on her feet and falling is a non issue when you are only half a year old. For Luke and Tilley it is an unwelcome surface beneath their feet.
The kitchen here is tiled, again it is very old and very worn giving it more texture and hold ability when walking on it. It is a great floor for any dog messes, easy to clean and although hard it is easier for the dogs to walk on. We do have a large office area that is carpeted as well as a small area in our bedroom. I took Elsa and Luke to the office area yesterday and they had a full on rip and tear. It was obvious how much Luke enjoyed and needed the traction of the carpet to keep up with his little sister. On the slippery surfaces he is quite leery of wiping out, on the carpet he threw caution to the wind and let her have it. It is wonderful to watch.
So with all this surface experience under my belt; where am I as far as likes and dislikes? First off I am not a plush, luxurious type of gal, I like utility. I love anything that makes living with dogs easier and less hassle. So as much as I hate the idea of carpets with dogs it is definitely easier for them. I am not a fan of wood or laminate flooring with dogs now; it is an extremely slippery surface. I really, really love stone or tile floor; not the slippery shiny type, the rustic rough stuff. It is easy for them to walk on and easy to clean. So if and when I redo or build again, it will be stone and the occasional very low, very tight, tough type carpet here and there for when a dog really needs a good tear around without the fear of falling.