This one is a case of personal preference. While some people have no problem with their pet jumping up on the furniture, others don’t like it at all. You need to make this decision yourself but be warned: once your dog has gotten comfortable on the couch, they are going to find it very difficult to stop jumping up!
Of course, there is nothing wrong with letting your pooch share the couch with you, but if you don’t like pawprints and fur all over the place, you are probably going to get upset after a while. A possible issue that could occur is that your dog suddenly thinks that he or she owns the couch and starts getting territorial over the space. This could lead to aggressive behavior like growling and snapping, and this is the time that you are going to want to take action against it. You may be able to train your dog out of this behavior and reinstate their couch privileges at a later date.
If you feel like you don’t want to share the couch with your dog, here are a few tips on how to train your dog to stay off the furniture.
How to Keep Dogs Off the Couch
It takes consistent instructions to train a dog to do anything. Otherwise, they are going to get confused from the mixed messages and it is much less likely that you will achieve the results that you want. And this also means that everyone in the house has to order your dog to stay off the furniture. If one person is saying one thing and someone else another, it is going to be tough to get your dog to get the message. You also need to decide whether it is going to be a blanket ban on allowing your pooch on the couch or if you are only allowing them on at certain times during the day.
If you are bringing a new puppy home, it is much easier to start them off with the ‘no dogs on the couch’ rule straight away. If you allow them on at first and then decide you don’t want them there, it is going to be much harder to train this behavior out of them. Even when you want to hold your puppy, you should still do so on the floor or the furniture where they are allowed. It is always much better to start with clear and consistent instructions right from the outset. Otherwise, it is more likely that they are going to develop the kind of long-term bad habits that are very challenging to train out of them.
Give Your Dog a Comfortable Alternative
The reason that your dog loves sleeping on the couch so much is precisely because it is a comfortable place for them to rest their head. Choose a cozy dog bed that will provide the perfect alternative. A donut-shaped one is always nice as it provides something sturdy for them to lean up against. You may want to get a couple of dog beds – one for your primary living space and another in a quieter room. This way, your dog can feel like they are part of the family, but they can also retreat away to somewhere quieter when they like. You can make their bed even more appealing by filling it with their favorite toys and offering them some treats from time to time. Your dog should soon realize that this is the best place for them to hang out and not on the couch! To make things even easier, you can train your dog to ‘go to bed’ using this command every time they head in that direction. Or if you would like to boil it down into a single word, you could use ‘place’. Use an arm gesture that sends them in this direction as well to make it even clearer that this is where you are expecting them to go.
Train Your Dog to Understand the ‘Off’ Command
You don’t want to have to forcibly remove your dog from the area each and every time they jump on. Training them to understand the ‘off’ command will go a long way towards making your job easier. To start off with, you can use treats to lure your dog off the furniture. Say the word ‘off’ and make a sweeping hand gesture when you do so. This helps to create an association with the word and the gesture. You could also lead them over to their bed. Make sure to offer plenty of praise when they lie down in their own space. If you keep consistent with this, you should be able to get your dog to jump down again by simply saying ‘off’ and repeating the gesture we talked about earlier.
If you only want your dog to be on the couch on certain occasions, you can train them in other commands that make this distinction. Bear in mind that this is going to require an ultra-degree of patience as things can get very confusing for your furry friend. You need to start by teaching your dog that the couch is off-limits to them. You will then need to teach them the ‘up’ command, while demonstrating that they are clearly welcome on the couch. But you need to make sure that they have remembered ‘off’ to go back down again. Remember, if your dog starts to show any territorial behavior that could be perceived as aggression, you are better off avoiding allowing them onto the couch at all.
Make the Couch Unappealing
If your dog isn’t able to jump up on the couch in the first place, this is your problem taken care of! When you are heading out on the house, you could cover it with some blocking objects such as chairs or laundry baskets. The latter is an easy option as they are lightweight, but you could try filling them up with books if you find that your dog keeps knocking them over. Some owners use aluminum foil to deter their dog. Tear off a few large strips and make tents out of it – enough to fill up the whole couch. Many dogs will be deterred by the noise of the foil, the strange shape of it, and its shiny surface. Another option is a specially designed Couch Defender. Essentially, this lightweight tunnel made of fabric and wire wedges in between your couch cushions. They are designed to fill up the entire space, making it very difficult for your dog to jump up. Once your dog starts to realize that the couch is not a pleasant space, they will hopefully stop being so keen on jumping up on it all the time.
Block Access to the Couch
Alternatively, you could use a baby gate to block access. Or you could just close the door to keep them out of the living room entirely. If getting on the couch seems to be more trouble than it is worth, you are more likely to find that your dog looks for elsewhere to rest their head. This could be another way of driving them towards their bed, and once they have made this place their own, it is much less likely that they will continue wanting to jump on the couch.
You probably also want to keep your dog out of certain rooms if they are not properly house-trained, they are still in the destructive chewing phase, or they can’t be fully trusted when they are left alone. Crate training is a good route to go down, and there is plenty of advice online about how to do this or you can consult with your vet to get some more detailed information.
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If nothing else seems to work, you may need to go down the path of using deterrents. However, you should always be wary before taking on this option. You could be teaching your dog that the couch is some kind of punishment. You should monitor your dog’s reaction closely to ensure that you aren’t causing them any extreme distress. There are several different varieties of deterrent. You have ones which make loud noises, and others which cause unpleasant sensations such as mild electric shocks. Generally, using one of these methods should only be considered a last resort, and you should consult with your vet if you are feeling at all concerned.
Keeping your dog off the couch can be done in several different ways. First, you need to stay consistent with whatever method you choose. If you can get your dog to stop doing it through simple training, this is probably the best method to take. Otherwise, you can block access to the couch entirely or make it seem like an unappealing place to be. Always offer a pleasant alternative for your dog, making their bed a nice comfortable place to rest their little head.