Having trouble keeping your pup off the furniture? These six simple tips will help you train him to use his own bed instead!
Everybody enjoys lounging on the couch now and then, including our dogs! But if your sofa is white, and your dog is brown and hairy, you may want to curtail his couch napping. Here are 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 sofa or other furniture as “off limits”. Make your decision early on, though, since it’s easier to teach a dog appropriate versus inappropriate behaviours when you first bring him home.
2. Get everybody on board
If everyone in your house agrees that the couch should be a dog-free zone, it’s important 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 sofa as his own personal item. Eventually, he may become overly protective of his “spot”, and react aggressively when anyone approaches it. If this happens, take immediate action. Be firm but calm when asking your dog to get off the couch, and praise him when he does. Ignore any possessive behaviour 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 to 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 in peace. 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 sofa, 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 sofa 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. Use a baby gate to confine him in one room or crate train him. If you prefer to let him roam, try arranging pillows on the couch to deter him with a barrier.
You can also position clean 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 sofa altogether, and you can put the mats back in your vehicle where they belong.
Jason Goldstein is a Marketing Specialist for Premier Pups. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Behaviour, but is interested in anything dog-related and understands that having a happy life alongside your companion involves more than training him for obedience.