How to Train a Dog to Stay Off the Couch, Most people who own canines as partners treat them just like other members of their families. Although the dog is well taken care of and treated like gold, many people just don’t want their pets on the furniture. The main culprits? Having to clean up pet hair on the couch or being embarrassed when company comes and the doggy won’t get up so your guests can take a seat. Some owners simply believe that pets belong on the floor and not napping on the couch.
Some puppy owners encourage their puppy to sit beside them on the couch, while others find this behavior unacceptable. If you choose not to let your puppy on the couch or other furniture, it’s best to train him to stay off the furniture while he is still a puppy, before he gets too used to getting comfortable on the couch. The following article will provide you with tips on training your puppy so he understands the “off” command.
Training your puppy to stay off the furniture
Training your puppy whatever your reasoning is for keeping your puppy off the furniture, you will be able to do so if you are patient and consistent. Follow these ways to train your pet to stay off your comfy sofa.
Start From the Beginning
The best way to train your dog to stay off of the couch is to never allow him up on it in the first place. Canines are creatures of habit. If you ever give your four-legged friend a license to lounge, he will automatically believe that a sofa is an acceptable place for him to take his afternoon nap. Being consistent from the beginning by never allowing your pup on the furniture is the best way to ensure that he will understand that the couch is for humans and not for him. (Poor fella!)
Why does he want to sit on the furniture anyway?
Your puppy may not be misbehaving when he jumps up on the couch; he may not know that you don’t want him on the furniture. It’s natural that a puppy who doesn’t know the rules will make up his own. If you’ve invited him to snuggle up on the couch with you even once, then he may take that to mean he’s welcome on the furniture all the time. Let your puppy know what is allowed, in a clear and gentle manner.
Your puppy may like to be on the furniture for many reasons. First, he may want to be as close to you as possible. And if you’re sitting on the couch, then the closest spot is up there beside you. If you’re not on the couch he may want to be there anyway, because he’s lonely and the couch smells like you. It may also give him a view of the room that he doesn’t get from the floor. If the couch is located near a window it may be even more appealing, as it may give your puppy a look outside.
Narrow Down the Suspects
There are many households that have more than one canine living in the home. Heck, I’ve got eight Newfoundlands in my home. Most multiple-pet owners immediately think that the youngest or newest addition to the family is undoubtedly the one that decided to relax on the couch. When you have several doggies, you cannot afford to jump to conclusions. However, if you have only one pet, you already know exactly who is getting hair all over the sofa.
To find out which pup is the couch snoozer, create all but one of the dogs when you are not there to watch them. Leave a different dog out each day and check the furniture for evidence when you return. You should soon learn which of your canine companions are taking over your living room furniture.
First, decide right from the beginning if you will allow your puppy to sit on the furniture. And stick to your decision at all times. Consistency is key. Everyone in the family needs to know the rules and help your puppy to remember them. If you allow your puppy to cuddle up beside you on the couch at some times, and not others, he won’t be clear about what the rules are.
Remember, too, that puppies grow. If you decide as he gets bigger that you don’t want him on the furniture anymore it may be a hard habit to break. You should also take into consideration that he will lie on the furniture when he’s dirty if you let him lie there when he’s clean. Also, some puppies become more aggressive when they are allowed on the furniture—they may confuse their role in the dog hierarchy because they are on the same level as you, the pack leader.
The “off” command
The “off” command tells your puppy that you want his paws on the floor, not on the furniture. Some people use the command “down” for this, while others differentiate between the commands “down” and “off”, using “off” for when their puppy jumps up on furniture, or people, and “down” for when they want their puppy to lie down on the floor. Whichever you choose, be consistent.
Learn to Love Laundry
Nobody likes laundry, but your trusty laundry baskets can be helpful in training your pooch to stay off the couch. Simply place the baskets on top of the cushions. This will help to block the pet’s access to the furniture.
Sometimes an owner will arrive home only to find the baskets on the floor and pet hair on the couch. This is an easy fix. Get some empty plastic water bottles or cardboard boxes and fill them with small stones. Load the baskets with the bottles and boxes and place them on the couch. When your dog tries to get up onto the furniture again, the baskets will fall and the sound of the rocks banging together will send him running away from the furniture. It’s decidedly low-tech, but this trick works.
Perhaps shaking cans or stern commands aren’t your cup of tea. You may be interested in positive training techniques using a clicker and treats. In the video below, Pam’s Dog Academy demonstrates how this might be accomplished in your home:
Pamela Reid (animal behaviorist): Keep your dog off the couch
Jolanta Benal (certified dog trainer): How to keep dogs off furniture
Dog Training for Dummies: Teach the “off” command
To get your puppy off a piece of furniture take him gently but firmly by his collar and say “off” while helping him down from the furniture. Release your puppy’s collar once he is on the floor and give him praise and a treat. Do this consistently to encourage the behavior you want, and eventually, you will not have to physically lead your puppy down from the furniture—giving the command in a firm voice will be enough. You may want to provide your puppy with his own bed so he can get comfortable on the floor and will be less likely to climb up on the furniture. The bed should be kept in a central area of the house, where your puppy is not lonely and can interact with the family.
Should dogs be allowed to sleep on the couch?
The first thing to say is that you shouldn’t feel that you are being mean or unkind if you don’t want your dog to sleep on your chairs or sofa.
While your dog is certainly a member of the family, Labs have a fondness for getting muddy and a tendency to leave a nice nest of hair wherever they sleep.
It isn’t mean to you to want to be able to sit on your own couch without you or your visitors getting covered in hair
And your dog won’t suffer if you make sure he has a nice cozy bed of his own to lie in.
On the other hand, if you don’t care about a bit of dust or a few hairs, that’s fine too.
Provided that your dog is not a resource guarder.
Dogs that won’t share, or that growl if anyone tries to sit on the couch with them, should never be allowed to sleep there.
Other than that, it’s a personal choice and there are no rights and wrongs here.
Why do dogs like to climb on the furniture?
Dogs do the things they do because they find them rewarding.
We hardly ever reward our dogs for lying on the floor so why would they want to do that?
On the other hand, the sofa or couch is all squishy and comfortable. It’s an easy choice for the dog.
Start as you mean to go on with a ‘no dogs on the furniture’ rule
We’ll look for a moment at how to stop your dog getting on the furniture.
But if your dog is still a puppy, one of the best ways to avoid the problem arising is simply never to let it get started.
If all family members avoid bringing the puppy onto furniture even when small, he may never ever make an attempt to climb up there when he is bigger.