Maggie Bonham, or Margaret H. Bonham, is a multiple award-winning pet author and expert. She has written more than 20 books on pets.
It's no crime if you want to allow your dog on the furniture. Many people let their four-footed friends up on the couch, but if you don't want that to happen, it can be a big pain. If your dog gets up on the furniture and you don't want him to, you need to teach the rules to your dog early. Dogs are unable to differentiate between that ratty freebie from the $5,000 new couch you just bought, so here are ways to train your dog to stay off the furniture and keep him off.
Dog On Furniture?
Train "Off" From the Start
The best thing you can do is teach your dog or puppy that he isn't supposed to be on the furniture at all. This is easily enforced when your dog climbs up on a piece of furniture; show him a treat and lure him off. Use the command "off" to mean "four paws on the floor." Give him the treat when he complies.
The only time you should pick up your dog is when he is a puppy or a small breed and could be injured by the jump. If they are small or a puppy, you need to pick him up gently and place him on the floor with the word "off." Be sure to give him the treat.
Teach "Off" Now
Even if you have a dog who has been on the furniture awhile, you can teach him the "off" command. Just be consistent and train him to leave the furniture with the word "off." You will need a treat to lure him from his comfy place and give him the treat when he is on the floor and away from the furniture in question.
Give Your Dog His Own Furniture
Your dog is more likely to stay off your furniture if he has a comfy place of his own to lie down. When you catch your dog on a piece of furniture, tell him "off" and then lure him from the furniture. Then, you can tell him "bed" and lead him to his comfy bed. After several times, your dog will get the idea that he gets rewarded when he's off the couch and isn't bothered when he's on his own furniture.
It's natural to want to scold your dog, but in reality, it simply makes him do things behind your back. Unless you're planning on crating him during the day, chances are he'll be back up on the couch or your bed the moment you leave for work. It's better to just get him used to sleeping and relaxing on his own bed.
© 2014 MH Bonham
Should I consider letting my dog on the Couch?
This is a totally personal decision that you need to make for yourself. While some owners can’t imagine not allowing their dogs to share the couch other people want their pups to sleep in their own beds. If you have an antique couch in the living room no one goes in, you may also want to keep the dog from making that his nap spot, BUT if the whole family is cramming on the living room couch to watch Disney+ it might be okay for you to let your pup join in there. Just know that once you’ve allowed the dog on a piece of furniture, it’s much harder to say no in the future!
1. Citronella Oil
evitaochel / Pixabay
Dogs hate the smell of citronella, and trainers often use the oil in both collar and spray form to break aggressive behavior and persistent barking habits. In fact, just a whiff of citronella could very well keep your dog away from your garden.
Be sure to only use citronella oil in very small doses, however, and always mix the oil with 10 parts water, as high amounts are poisonous for pets.
Should Dogs be Allowed on the Furniture?
As you may already have guessed, if you don’t mind your dogs hanging out on your furniture or sleeping in bed with you, I don’t mind either. In our house the dogs (and cats) have an array of floor pillows and sometimes choose to rest there, sometimes on a couch or chair. I do lament the animal hair from time to time, and there’s someone living here who labors under the delusion that a weight of 75 pounds is compatible with holding the job of lapdog, but on the whole our household is content.
How to Keep Your Dog off the Couch and Other Furniture
Whether you let your dog on the furniture or not is a hotly debated topic. Some people are very passionate about their stance on their dog's couch surfing. So, what's the big deal and how do you keep your dog off the couch should you desire to?