Lucy and the Rug

I finally managed to get the pictures taken of the new painted rug I made for the kitchen. While I love the rug I learned a few things about painting a rug on foam mats and the trouble with an 85 pound lab.

Lucy is a bit of a handful. To save our sanity we spent a summer forcing her to be stationed in the kitchen. This meant that she was unable to terrorize the other dogs, eat the cat food, eat the towels, eat the socks, eat the….well you get the picture. The upper floor of the house is open from one end to the other so while she is in the kitchen she can see into the living room where we are most of the time and cannot cause problems.

(Pretty girl isn’t she)

However her claws are hell on this mat. She has already scratched up the surface fairly significantly so I am going to have to touch it up. I realized that I have enough space left in the kitchen that I am going to take the remaining 2 floor mats and paint them so that she is damaging a portion of matt that is much easier to fix.

However on the plus side she is much more comfortable laying on the floor. I could not have a dog bed for her because she ate the last 2 I had bought for her ( I said she was a handful) so she has been forced to lay on the bare floor for a while. Now she lays on the mat with her full body and her head lays on the bare floor. And she has not even tried to eat the mat!!! Unless you have a dog that has been a terror for several years you have no idea.

She has been difficult from day 1. She wouldn’t let you flip her over on her back at 6 weeks old and tried to bite the vet when he tried to cuddle her as a puppy. To top it all off she has a food allergy that we did not know about that made her unable to stop moving. She was constantly into everything always and aggressive like heck. The only reason that we realized it was a food allergy affecting her behaviour (and not just bad behaviour) was when we had been reading about the things they put into dog food (side note “animal digest” is poo, yes, poo) and freaked out and decided to make homemade dog food. Within one week she was walking into the house and laying down. I know that sounds simple  but she had NEVER done that before…NEVER,EVER!!

So then we started experimenting with her foods. We switched to a higher quality food. She started chewing her feet (grain allergy). Started her on an even more expensive food ($75 every 2 weeks) couldn’t afford it. Finally found a reasonable priced food that can be feed to all three dogs and only have to buy one bag a month and there are NO allergy issues.

However now she is eating vegetarian food. Here’s the thing. She is less aggressive and crazy. She is (to my embarrassment) THAT dog on the street. The one that barks like crazy and you think that if she ever got loose she would attack you. But since putting her on a veggie diet she is becoming less…forceful…in her opinions. She still barks but it is with less craziness and she will actually stop now when we go out to get her.

I still have issues with walking her and I think I am going to enlist some professional help with that but all in all we have slowly managed to bring her under control.



More recent Update

So I bit the bullet and found a trainer (who was awesome) and we met one Saturday morning. Lucy was her usual crazy self but Kim (trainer) took the leash and Lucy was an angel. I KNEW it was me helping create the behaviour. When she asked me “did you expect her to behave to quickly?” I responded “Yes I had high expectations!”

So the diagnosis was A) too much energy, B) Not enough leadership = Crazy Dog and the deal with the trainer is she would help us if we promised to walk her 2 hours a day. That first weekend just about killed me. I hurt my knee by not easing into the exercise but that got better.

So we started walking her 5 days a week for 5+ kilometres. I couldn’t do 2 hours of walking everyday without serious damage to my knees so we did about an hour and a half. We don’t take two days off in a row and try to space them out throughout the week so that she is getting plenty of exercise.

She is so much better. We realized that some of the issues were stemming from her reacting to one of our other dogs. So know when a dog is coming towards us we separate and I walk about 10 feet ahead of our other dogs with Lucy. 85% of the time I can get her by the other dogs with minimum fuss. She still reacts but it is managable. The other 15% of the time something else is going on with the other dog or the other owner and my job is to make her do what I want. Even with the little hissy fits within seconds she is back to walking with a loose chain and right beside me. Yes there is still work to do but it is SO much better!

Walking 25 km a week has changed her completely!

Update #1

I have had some people wondering what kind of food we give Lucy. We feed her Dick Van Patton’s Natural Balance Dog food. If you go here you can look up and see who sells it close to you. It is available in both the US and Canada and it really did make a huge difference with Lucy.

But I cannot stress how much exercise is important to help her deal with her excess energy (minimum of a half hour on the treadmill every day and walks outside when the weather will cooperate). The food helped with her ability to ….well…slow down. Like I said she never sat still and was into everything. It also took a lot of work and patience and love. The food is not a miracle but if your dog has a food allergy good quality food could help. She is four now and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and a good dog is sitting in the light, wagging her tail and shoving her head between my knees to get an ear rub!

If you have questions ask. I’m not an expert but I’ve tried lots of things.

44 thoughts on “Lucy and the Rug

  1. Lucy’s a doll! So sorry to hear about your troubles, my Lucy is a handful too, so here’s to better days. I never thought about the claws on the mat. I keep my Lucy’s shorter and didn’t have any trouble with the mat when it was in my apartment [she walked on it, but didn’t stay long!]

  2. I am in LOVE with this rug! and the kitchen is the perfect spot. I have slate floors and wanted a cute cushy rug. this is perfect!! now…off to find a pattern/stencil I like.

  3. HI! I just stopped by ’cause I saw you fab rug on Shannon Berrey blog. I love the rug, but I have MAJOR dog issues too. I’m so glad I found you. We adopted a boxer this summer. He is as sweet as can be, with no behavior problems, but crews himself to death! especially his paws.
    Please fill me in, what did you start feeding poor Lucy to get her to stop chewing her paws (he also focuses on his face and thighs).
    So glad to find you, I’m off to search your blog for more info on the rug too!
    d e n i s e

  4. I’d love to hear what food you found to help your dog. We have a crazy barking labrador whom I used to adore but enter a now 4 and 20 month old and our beautiful lab was given away to a good home with good friends of ours. However said good friends developed a allergy to our labrador after a year- yes may be a nerve allergy but none the less she is coming home and I’d love any advice to make it smoother for all of us.

  5. This is an awesome idea with the rug, I almost goodwilled my daughters old set, but now I am keeping them. I would also like the information on the dog food. My mothers dog has issues and this may help. Thank you

  6. I just wanted to commend you on sticking it out with a dog that’s obviously a handful, and tell you that you are a great pet owner and human being for trying so many scenarios to see which ones play out. I have 5 dogs 2 Boxers, 3 Jack Russells)so I know of what I speak. There is not many things that make me more mad and sad at the same time than someone who gives up on an animal without really trying. Kudos to you!

  7. One thing that really helps with active dogs, as well as that hour of exercise, is exercising their minds. You will be amazed at how calming they are if their minds are challenged. Obedience tricks, solving little puzzles, learning something new, are really really helpful for dogs with this type of personality.

    1. Oh I agree totally. Lucy is one smart puppy!. Once we have her walk under control I want to start doing other types of training with her.

  8. Wow! I followed a link to check out an amazing rug and much to my surprise, I got a 2 for one!
    A wonderful new craft and a beautiful heartwarming story about a woman with patience of gold and a golden canine who learned to be patient. Bless your heart for never giving up on Lucy!
    I believe There’s a special place in heaven reserved for people like you…
    I look forward to meeting you there someday 😉
    Blessed Wishes,

  9. I saw your rug on Pinterest and really would love to know how you made it! It is super cute and looks very comfortable to stand on while cooking!!
    Jenny Carper

    1. Hi Jenny

      I primed the foam mats with a good quality primer(probably 2-3 coats- enough to cover the original colour) Make sure to paint on the smooth side not the textured side. Then I painted the base colour over everything ( the darker green) 2 coats. I found a pattern that I liked and then free-handed painted it onto the rug. You could draw it out first and then paint but I just winged it. Then I painted 2 coats of a varnish over it.

      Hope that helps and thanks for looking!


      1. Kim, this looks amazing! found it on Pinterest. what kind of paint is it? just latex? thanks!!!

      2. Hi Lucie! The base green was a latex house paint and the pattern was acrylic artist paint. Followed by two layers of varnish.

        Thanks for looking!

  10. I love this and am about to make one myself. I really love the stencil pattern you used – can you tell me the name/brand?


  11. I’m in love with the rug!!!!!! I’d like to make one for my daughter’s room. I was wondering what kind of paint you use?

    1. Thanks Alysa!

      I used a regular house paint for the base colour and then some artist acrylics for the turquoise colour. Then I put 3 layers of varethane to seal it up and make it shiny!

  12. Hi!
    You did an absolutely STUNNING job on this…I wish I stumbled across your blog sooner!! I have a question for you though, if someone wanted a 4×4′ rug like this, what would you charge them?!?!

    1. Hi Jennifer.

      Thanks! I would probably charge about $10 a square foot depending on the complexity of the design. It takes time to both design and paint it so for a rug that size it would be about $160 but for a simpler design it would be less. Good question, made me think about it! Thanks for looking!!

  13. I love the Rug!!!!…. but im in love whit Lucy! … so cute, so special… i have a Lab.. and i know what you arte talkign about!!!… CONGRATS!!!….

  14. Wondering how the rug is holding up after time. (?) I’m seriously considering doing this. After lifting the old carpet, discovered the 286 sq. ft room was padded with these mats. They make great padding under carpet I might add, but instead of donating them,,, I’d like to try my hand at this as well. Any further suggestions for upkeep, or switching paint brands? Thank-you so much.

    1. That will be cool! If you have a dog that will be using the room then I actually wouldn’t do it. Lucy’s claws pretty much wrecked it within about 6 months. You could see the pattern but it was all clawed up and that was just with her walking on it and sitting down. However I know of other people that have not had thier’s wear down quite so quickly. I did notice that the background colour (which was a cheap latex paint, my mistake) did not hold up very well and the artist acrylic that I used for the pattern was much more durable. The cheap paint was a recycled paint and that was NOT good. I think that a latex house paint that is a bit better of a brand would be more durable. Or do the whole thing in artist acrylics. Should be cool you should let me know if you post pictures anywhere!



    1. Hi Debbie!

      Unfortunatly it did not hold up well at all but that was due to Lucy’s claws in the surface of the foam mats. She scratched it up pretty bad just walking on it. However the areas that she was not walking on were pretty decent. Perhaps a bit of cracking in the heavily walked areas but not that bad. part of the issue was the highly used area that I had the rug. If it had been in a bedroom or subjected to light traffic it would have been better.

      I did free hand the rug but it could be easily stenciled if you have the right stencil.

      Thanks for looking and for the comment! Always makes my day!!


  15. Hi there! I found your blog through ANOTHER blog that I found on pinterest lol 😀 I just had to comment, even though your “rug” is fantastic, we have the EXACT same kitchen layout. I know that’s probably really common but it seriously surprised the heck out of me! I thought it was my kitchen that I was looking at haha 😀 I’ll have to send you a picture when it’s all cleaned up but goodness it was like looking at my kitchen but with nicer appliances and paint 😀 anyway, well done!!

    1. I’d love to see a picture. Don’t be fooled by the appliances! We were and the former owners had propped them up with wood underneath because they have no feet! Should have been more careful in the home inspection! Oh well at least they work.

  16. Like many others…came to look at thehrug; stayed to read your story about your work with Lucy. God bless you!!! I have done dog rescue for years and if more people had your caring heart and willingness to find solutions….this would be a very different world for pets. Good for you!!!! And thanks for sharing!!

  17. Well I loved your story as much as I loved your rug! I do have a question regarding the dog and the treadmill. I live in North Dakota and my Jack Russell puppy could really use a good walk daily. But the weather makes it impossible and deadly. Did you employ any tricks to get Lucy to walk on the treadmill? Thanks for sharing all of it! You rock in every way!

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment. When I started Lucy on the treadmill I had to stand on the rails over top of her, between my legs, with her on a leash, because she kept diving off the front and sides. I also started it out as slow as possible so she could get use to the ‘ground’ moving.

      After a couple of sessions I moved to standing on the side rail, rather than overtop of her, and picked up the speed a little. I really didn’t, at the start, keep her on the treadmill for very long, maybe about 20 minutes or so. For a while I had to keep cardboard propped up on either side of the treadmill because she kept diving off the sides. I also had to figure out a way to shorten the leash because the little brat would go to the end of the leash and only walk with her front paws!

      I also give her lots and lots of cuddles when she gets on the treadmill. Even today she tries to hide from her leash that we use on the treadmill but I put her on the leash and walk her to the treadmill, walk onto it and pull her until she starts to walk onto it herself. I want her to make the choice to move forward and walk onto it. If you force them it just scares them

      I never pull her onto it and I would probably suggest that you start by simply putting your dog on a leash and get him/her to walk onto the treadmill and just stand on it, without it moving. That way they get the idea it’s ok to stand on this weird thing.

      Hope that help and good luck! I’m in Northern BC so I get the cold weather winter thing all too well! We’ve had winter since the beginning of October and have the potential of snow until the end of May so the treadmill is a lifesaver!

  18. I was wondering if once done these rugs could be taken apart…I would love to make one for my mom who is always in the kitchen cooking !

    1. Absolutely! I would probably suggest painting it all put together and then take it apart to let them dry. If you let them dry together then I would suggest using an exacto knife to cut the seam so that when and if you want them to pull apart it does not tear your painting!

      Good luck!

  19. I must say.. I love everything about this post. I saw the rug and told myself i HAD to make one of them. Then I read about Lucy and that thought went out the window quick! I feel for you with all of Lucy’s issues. I have two labs – or as i say – I have 180 lbs of lab. My pup is almost 2 and he is nothing but a handful. Every day is a work in progress.. slow progress but progress! As I was reading about Lucy I could not help but to laugh. I don’t know (or have read about) many people who have experienced close to the same or actually “get me” when it comes to my pup. As an animal lover, thank you for stepping up and giving Lucy a loving home even though she is high maintenance. Most would have gave up by now. Cheers!

  20. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! It’s great that lucys calmed down and you were able to figure out she has a food allergy. But I find it AMAZING that you never gave up on her. So many people get cute little puppies and give up on them when they become “troubled dogs”. It’s nice to hear about a great dog owner.

    P.s very cute mat, I actually came to your blog to see how you made it but now I’m more interested in Lucy! 🙂

  21. Kim you are definitely not alone. We had a black lab that was a handful that lived to be 17 year’s old. We were told that if we could make it through the first 18 months He would turn out to be a good dog. His name was Kaiser Willham Hole Digger (king william the hole digger) lol I hope that you and Lucy have a very long life together.

    1. lol! Thanks! She is miles better than she used to be and has turned into quite the sweet dog with a bit of character.

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