How to Keep Your Dogs Off the Furniture
Some dog owners prefer their dogs to stay off the couch whereas other people buy furniture they know will withstand the wear and tear a dog will inflict with their nails, teeth, and fur. Some people are concerned it will aggravate their allergies; others don’t suffer from them. Some people want to cuddle their dog all the time whereas others don’t want to have to tell their dog to scooch every time they want to sit down. Although there’s no right or wrong answer, if you think animals shouldn’t be on the couch there are a few techniques you can learn to change their behavior.
How to Keep Dogs Off the Sofa
First, pets enjoy being on the furniture because it makes them feel comfortable and secure. To give your dog the same feeling, create a comfortable space on the floor for your dog to rest. Consider getting a dog his own bed and then rewarding the him with treats and stuffed Kongs to reinforce that you want him to stay in his spot. When you see your dog sitting on the floor, reinforce it with a treat. Be genuine and offer sincere praise. You may consider placing their dog bed near furniture where the dog jumps, so he has an alternative space to sit instead of your couch.
This will help you establish boundaries. Dogs are smart, and they will push boundaries if you’re not there to reinforce the behavior you want. Consider making every trip to the living room a mini training session. Be consistent with your rules. If you don’t want the dog on the furniture don’t let the dog on the bed sometimes and then not others. Establishing firm boundaries will help the dog understand what he’s allowed to do and what he’s not permitted to do.
How to Keep Dogs Off Your Furniture When You're Not Home
If you’re not home and you don’t want your dog on the furniture you can lay a thick, plastic sheet over it. This makes the space less comfortable. You can also restrict your dog’s access to certain areas when you’re not home with baby gates and dog crates.
Second, it’s important to know you’ll need to reinforce the behavior you want more often in the beginning than once the dog has learned the behavior. It will take time and patience not to let your dog jump on the furniture. It is important to stay consistent and reward your dog for tiny bits of progress. Take advantage of the times the dog is succeeding, even if it’s only a short period of time. Reward good behavior.
Third, it takes a lot more work to prevent a dog from jumping on the furniture once he already believes it’s okay to do so. It’s harder to change bad habits than to prevent them from forming in the first place. It’s better to decide as soon as you get the dog if he’s allowed on the furniture or not.
Fourth, it may feel like you’re not getting anywhere when you’re teaching your dog a new behavior. Some breeds are notoriously stubborn. English Bulldogs, Jack Russell Terriers, Siberian Huskies, Collies, Beagles, and Akitas are known to do their own thing. It will require patience, but these dogs can be taught not to get on the furniture, too.
Finally, know you can keep your dog on a 6’ a non-retractable leash on your dog when he’s home with you. This way, when he gets on the couch (or anywhere else he’s not supposed to be) simply say, “off,” show your dog a high value treat, gently pull the leash, and the dog will move. Then, deliver the treat and praise. This will help your dog understand that “off” means that their four paws belong on the floor, not the chaise. If he gets up again, gently pull him off with the leash or redirect him by luring him with a treat. Tell him to sit on the floor and then reward him for doing so. Keep doing this until your dog gets the message that he isn’t allowed up.
Over time your dog will understand that he’s not meant to be on the furniture provided you’re consistent. Each time the dog gets on it, you must tell him “off” and then enforce it and then redirect the dog to where he’s allowed to sit.