Like most things with your pets and home, there are pros and cons to letting your dog up on the couch and other furniture. Some dog owners love to snuggle up with their favorite furry friend. Others have a strict no-couch rule for their pups. If you fall into the latter camp, getting your dog to comply with your limits can be frustrating and time-consuming. Try one of these strategies and tools to keep your dog off the couch or other furniture for good.
1. Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Donut Dog Bed
- Great for calming anxiety-prone dogs
- Has a lounge set up as well as sides for your dog to rest their head and limbs
- Soft, plush exterior
- Fully washable and easy to clean
- Available in multiple sizes and colors
- Calms anxiety-prone dogs
- Soft, plush exterior
- The raised rim provides head and neck support
- 100% washable
- Available in a variety of sizes and colors
2. Petcube Cam Pet Monitoring Camera
- Two-way audio to redirect your dog off of furniture
- Vet support to help with any troubling behavior or issues
- Night vision to see in the dark
- Easy to mount and use
- Can set up sound and motion alerts
Maintain Consistent Expectations
One of the most important things you can do when training your dog to stay off the couch is to remain consistent. If you approach it like any other trick or behavior that you want to train your dog to perform, it can be easier to recognize situations where you need to redirect or reward your dog.
When starting to train your dog, it can be a good idea to have treats or other rewards on hand. When you direct your dog to get off the couch, reward them by giving a small treat. Repeat this often for the first few days of training. As your dog gets used to the new routine, stay consistent with your expectations. You can start moving away from treats and instead off verbal praise or other signs of your pleased reaction with their behavior.
Some dogs are more easily trained than others. For dogs who are stubborn or just don’t have the same people-pleasing disposition, stay the course and remain very, very consistent in your expectations. Most will catch on eventually. As soon as you let one day slide, however, expect to start over from the beginning to retrain them to stay off the couch.
Your dog may be jumping up onto the couch or other furniture just because it provides a comfortable place to rest. If you think this is the case, try a dog bed instead. There are countless options on the market. You can find dog beds for just about every need, from orthopedic support to heated dog beds for the ultimate luxury.
Some dogs like to stay close to their owners to get comfort and affection. Setting up a dog bed in the same room can be the perfect answer. Once you do introduce a dog bed, give them some time to get used to it. You can redirect them from the couch or furniture to the dog bed with a simple command, such as “go lay down” or “bed.” Most dogs learn to follow these commands quickly, especially if it results in a calm, cozy nap on a nice bed. You can also reinforce with treats like you would when training your dog for any other behavior.
If your dog likes to spend time outside and the weather allows them to do so, consider a doggy door so that they can access their favorite place when they want and need to. They may be opting for the couch or other furniture to get some variety. Providing them with other options that work for you might be the answer.
Make The Furniture Hard To Reach
If your dog can’t reach the couch, he can hardly get up on it. You can block the couch using baby gates, pillows, and cushions, or a well-placed coffee table. Keep in mind that if you make the couch hard for your dog to access, it may impede your use as well. This option is best used as a short-term solution paired with training your dog not to get up on the couch. It can also be a helpful way to keep your dog off the couch when you aren’t home.
One thing to consider before rearranging your furniture is the determination of your dog. Some dogs are bound and determined to get up on that couch. If you position it in a way that becomes dangerous for your dog, you may end up dealing with an injury instead of a soiled couch. In that case, stack items on the couch itself to make it less accessible rather than moving the furniture.
We generally don’t recommend trying a couch barrier that is meant to make the couch uncomfortable for your dog, however. This can cause anxiety and stress in dogs. They may rebel by doubling their efforts to make a home on the furniture. Other unwanted behaviors, such as chewing, can also begin as they experience stress.
Like with any training for your dog, you have to monitor their progress. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement and keep an eye on them, even when you aren’t home. Some pet monitors allow you to talk to your dog from your phone. You can watch on the video feed to see if they are on the couch and redirect them using the same commands you trained them on earlier.
This is best used as part of a training program or plan. You should not expect your dog to respond if you have not taught them the commands in person. Some dogs also get startled when they hear your voice but don’t see you in the room. Watch your dog’s cues to see if this tool helps in their training or causes them more stress and anxiety. If the latter, restrict your training to in-person sessions.
Using a monitor also requires that you check it periodically. It isn’t feasible for most of us to stay glued to our pet monitor all of the time. Accept that your dog might jump up on the couch or furniture when you aren’t there to redirect them, especially in the beginning. Over time, most dogs learn to follow those expectations even when you aren’t home.
Stimulation and Enrichment for Your Dog
Your dog might be jumping up on the couch just to get some attention and company. If you suspect this is the case, look for other ways to give them this outlet. Increase your daily walks, play in the yard, or engage in a fun game of tug-of-war on the floor. You should do these things off of and away from the couch to encourage the association with something other than the furniture.
If your dog tends to jump onto the couch when you are there but doesn’t do it much (or at all) when you aren’t on the couch, chances are they want to be near you and aren’t as fixated on the furniture itself. You can sit on the floor with them while they get the attention that they want and then go back to the couch when they are once again happy.
Should I Allow My Dog On The Furniture?
Whether or not you let your dog onto the furniture is mostly personal preference. It will not cause any behavioral or health issues to let your dog curl up next to you on the couch. Snuggling with your dog can even alleviate your anxiety and create a wonderful bonding experience.
Some dog owners prefer to provide their dogs with a place of their own to lay down, either a kennel or dog bed nearby. Keeping your dog off the furniture does reduce wear and tear as well as keeps the furniture cleaner overall.
If you are worried about guests with allergies sitting on a couch covered in dog hair, you can use a removable cover or blanket to give your dog their own place to go. Before your guests come over, simply remove the blanket or cover to reveal the dog hair-free couch underneath. It is a good idea to give it a quick vacuum as well.
Can I Use a Couch Guard Or Other Barrier To Keep My Dog Off The Couch?
Some dog owners use things like aluminum foil, bubble wrap, or specially-made couch barriers to keep their dogs from getting comfortable on the couch. While these can be effective, they can also create anxiety in dogs that results in even more troubling behavior like chewing or urinating.
Generally, we recommend using positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement when training your dog. Teach your dog what you do want them to do, such as go to a dog bed or other designated place, rather than making their trip to the couch unpleasant or uncomfortable. This can take longer but will have better and more long-lasting results.
Finding a great training treat or reward can make the process much easier. Check out the top tips and tools to train your dog.
Letting Your Dog On The Couch
Some dogs do require special considerations if they are allowed on the couch.
Small dogs, such as toy breeds, chihuahuas, and Pomeranians might have trouble getting up to the couch. They can also fall when they are trying to get off the couch. Having a set of pet stairs available can alleviate this problem. Training them to use a dog bed instead is another answer to keep your small dog safe.
Large dogs, such as mastiffs and wolfhounds might have trouble fitting on the couch. Even if they do fit, these dogs can be so big that it leaves little room for you. Pet owners with very large dogs benefit from having an extra-large dog bed available so that their pups can stretch their long limbs without knocking anyone else off the furniture.
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