Snuggling up with dogs on the sofa is not for everyone, yet dogs will always look to find their way up on the furniture, to a paradise of comfort. They may look cute and lovable, but what can you do if you don’t want your dog to have free reign of your furniture? With a little care, a touch of inspiration, and some repetition, you can keep your dog off the furniture and into its own space, and here is how to go about it.
Why Dogs and Furniture Don’t Mix Well
When dogs jump up on the furniture, they can leave couches and chairs dirty and covered in hair. Just think of where your pup’s feet venture every day, through muck, puddles, and who-knows-what-else, then consider all of that on your furniture.
Dog hair can be difficult to clean off and although tools for removing pet hair do a great job, it is a job many of us don’t need. Most owners have enough hair around the home to get rid of, without adding the furniture to the list. All of this can be prevented with some training and discipline.
Why Dogs Love the Sofa
Dogs love getting cuddles and love from owners on the sofa, but what about when the owner isn’t there, why do they love the furniture so much? Simply put, they like sofas and chairs for the same reason as us, comfort.
Not only is the furniture comfortable for the dog to snuggle into, but it also smells of the dog’s owner. Given that owners are the most important people in a dog’s life, this setup is a utopia for any pooch.
Deciding How Much to Let the Dog onto The Furniture
The dog will need a clear message from all members of the family regarding whether they are allowed on the furniture, or not. If there are four of you at home and one person lets the dog up on the sofa when the others don’t, your pup will get confused.
This could lead to the dog thinking that it can jump up on the sofa when it shouldn’t. This will get them in trouble when it isn’t their fault. Speak with everyone in the household and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
No matter how frequently your dog jumps up on the furniture, the process to teach them not to is identical. In fact, teaching your dog any new behavior is fundamentally the same:
- Show the new behavior using motivation.
- Reward New Behavior
- Repeat until the dog learns the behavior, even without a reward.
In terms of getting your dog off the sofa, you will have to be patient, no pooch wants to give up the comfort of the furniture without being convinced. Here is an example of how you can train your dog not to jump up on the furniture.
Wait until your dog is on the furniture, and then look to lure them off. You can do this using their favorite toy, or the promise of some belly scratches.
When you lure your dog from the sofa, it is important that you add a cue, so that they know what this behavior is called. In most cases, this will be something like ‘get down please’ or simply ‘down’.
Don’t bark this order like a command, at least not at first. If you’re sure that your dog knows the cue but chooses to ignore you, then you could add a more demanding tone to your voice.
Small treat rewards are ideal here, as it tells your dog they have done something well and will encourage them to continue to heed your cue. Try not to give them anything too big as a reward, because when the reward is eventually taken away, they may decide that paying attention isn’t worth it, given the loss of such a great treat. Small biscuits or chews are the best options here.
As you continue to repeat these steps, over multiple days if necessary, you should gradually stop the rewards. To do this, begin rewarding the treat every 3 or 4 times the dog gets down from the furniture. The goal here is for your dog to not know when the reward is coming. Eventually, as the treats stop, your dog will have adopted this new behavior.
If your dog reverts to jumping up on the sofa at any time, for example when guests arrive, start the process again so that they can relearn this behavior.
What Not to Do When Teaching Your Dog
When it comes to training dogs, you must dangle the carrot in front of them, not give them the stick. If you train your dog using aggression or dominant strength, they will learn, but they will do so through fear.
This is never the way to treat your dog and it can have a hugely negative impact on their emotional well-being. Teaching a dog using motivation and rewards will work just as well as aggression and will lead to a happier pup.
Offering An Alternative
Simply because your dog can’t get on the furniture with you, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be comfortable. With this in mind, why not give them their very own place to crash, lounge, and snuggle?
Dogs enjoy having a space that is their very own, covered in their scent, that only they can enjoy. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, although your dog will be happy if it is. You could simply give them a blanket or rug that they can call their own. These days you can even buy little dog-sized sofas, so that could be an option too.
Your pooch will love every minute of chilling out on its furniture, while the rest of the family does the same on theirs. This will both keep your dog happy and keep them off the sofa for good.
If you are going to offer an alternative, be sure that it is in place before you start training the dog to stop jumping on your furniture. This will make the process far easier as the dog can still find comfort.
If you don’t like your dog jumping all over your furniture and treating it like its own, this is how to stop that behavior.