Check out these simple tips to keep your dog off the furniture!
Everybody enjoys lounging on the couch now and then, including dogs! It might be cute at first, but it can easily turn into a bad (and very hairy) habit that’s hard to break. Here’s a few tips to help you keep your companion off the furniture.
1. Lay the ground rules
If your pup is affectionate and small enough that he won’t be a nuisance on the furniture, perhaps he’s destined to be a couch potato. If he’s large and rambunctious, on the other hand, it might be best to establish the couch as “off limits”. Whatever you decide, decide early on. It’s easier to teach a dog appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors when you just bring him home, otherwise the unclear rules will confuse him.
2. Get everybody on board
If everyone in your house agrees that the dog is not supposed to sit on the couch, then it’s important that you all reinforce that rule. After all, there’s no point in having such a rule if someone invites him up to snuggle when no one else is looking!
3. Use positive reinforcement
Problems arise when a dog starts viewing the couch as his own personal item. Eventually, he may become overly protective of his “spot”, and react aggressively when anyone approaches it. When this happens, it’s time to take immediate action. Be firm when asking your dog to get off the couch, and praise him when he does. Ignore any possessive behavior he displays, and continue rewarding him when he settles on the floor. Eventually, he’ll get the gist.
4. Offer him a place to call his own
A dog should have a comfortable, cozy, and calm spot where he can retreat when it’s time to rest and relax. If you don’t want him gravitating toward the human furniture, buy him a bed or set up a comfy corner with blankets where he can unwind undisturbed. Ideally, this space should be somewhere close to you.
If you’re feeling generous, designate one chair as the “dog” chair. Teach him that it’s okay to use it, and be sure to warn guests about the dog hair before they take a seat!
5. Teach him the “off” command
Whenever you ask your dog to get off the couch, firmly say the word “off”. If he seems reluctant, try tossing one of his favorite treats on the ground while voicing the command, and use your hand to point away from the couch. Soon, he’ll start to associate the instruction and the hand gesture with the act of leaving the couch.
6. Keep him off the couch when you’re not home
This is easier said than done. Dogs are smart, and will learn to take advantage of an unsupervised house. The solution? Make the furniture inaccessible while you’re out. This can be achieved by using a variety of items to block his access. For instance, use baby gates to confine him in a room, or crate train him. If you prefer to let him roam, try arranging pillows on the couch to deter him with a barrier.
Another simple method is to position car mats upside down on your couch with their rubber teeth facing upward. Your pup won’t like the prickly sensation on his feet, and will opt to find somewhere more comfortable to relax. Eventually, he’ll stop bothering with the couch altogether, and you can put the mats back in your vehicle where they belong.
Some dogs may be a bit more insistent when it comes to using your furniture. But with patience, calmness, and perseverance, you should have no trouble keeping him off. Just establish the rule early, and be consistent!