Keeping your dog off the furniture is a constant battle in so many homes with a canine pet. As much as we would love to cuddle up to them on the sofa or even in bed, the stark reality is that they get the furniture dirty with mud and malting fur a great deal of the time, as well as sometimes not always being the most sweet smelling. Plus there is something to be said for not allowing them on the furniture to underline and emphasise the hierarchical relationship that should form between an dog owner and a pet. When this relationship structure is strong, dogs tend to behave a great deal better at all times as a result.
So how can you keep your dog off the furniture? In this guide, we share some top tips for keeping dogs off furniture covers and onto dog beds. That being said, furniture covers are a good back up if you have a very stubborn dog who simply won’t listen to you and refuses to do anything but curl up on the couch!
Top Tips For Keeping Your Dog Off The Furniture
As soon as you get your new dog or puppy, start as you mean to go on. This means not allowing them on the furniture from the get go, however tempting it can be to have your new cute little puppy cuddled up next to you in bed or on the sofa. Owners need to be consistent with this as well as being consistent with how they reward their puppy or dog each time they behave and stay off the sofa. Plus stay consistent in how you reward them. This is key to their progress and grasping of the concept that they’re not allowed on the furniture. By using positive association with the behavior of staying on the ground or floor, owners will soon find that their dog or puppy remains seated with four paws on the ground as a matter of habit.
Have a Command
As well as staying consistent from the start with not allowing your dog on the furniture and rewarding him or her when they do so, it’s a good idea to have a command that gets them down off your couch – and one that is used forevermore by yourself and other human house members. The obvious word to use is ‘off’ and most dog owners will soon find that their dog will start to listen to this command if they initially couple it with physically removing them from the sofa. Obviously how this is done depends on the size of the dog. If you have a chihuahua, you can simply pick them up and say off while you are putting them back down on the floor. If you have a Doberman, try using a collar tug to get them off your bed or couch.
Give Them Their Own Bed
For dogs to want to stay off the sofa or beds, you need to make them a place that they want to lie as an alternative. This means providing a warm and comfortable dog bed that they are happy to return to time and time again. Dogs often curl up next to us on the sofa simply because the piece of furniture smells like us, so try putting a jumper or blanket that has your scent on it in their bed with them. Another good idea is to somehow heat the bed so your dog can stay warm and cozy, which has been seen to be very enticing for even the furriest dogs with the warmest coats.
Giving them their own bed makes sense if you think about it. Which would you prefer – the hard floor or a cozy soft sofa that’s lovely and warm? These are the only options your dog has if you don’t provide him or her with a bed.
Make It Less Comfortable
Further to providing your dog with his or her own bed that is ludicrously comfortable and inviting, is the idea of trying to make your bed or couch less appealing to them in general as well. This is a particularly useful tip to employ when you leave the house for large periods of time and you cannot be there to enforce your no dog on the couch rule. So put lots of junk on the sofa while you are out, or put lots of laundry on the bed so your dog cannot get into a flat surface and curl up to sleep. Other ways would be physically putting up a barrier to the sofa while you are out or even your bed – it is possible to buy foldable gates and fences that would be suitable for this job by providing sofas and beds with a perimeter that your dog cannot infiltrate.
The Bottom Line
Training your dog to stay off the furniture can actually be one of the most difficult notions to teach a dog, essentially as it requires a great deal of patience and consistency to maintain this standard. Plus, if you are out of the house a lot of the day, how do you ensure that they are behaving well when you aren’t there and not becoming stealth furniture users? The answer is to continue using the above tips calmly, patiently and regularly. Without doing so, you will be sending your dog mixed messages and he or she will never behave how you want them to in future.
Finally, if you are really struggling to keep your dog off the furniture, invest in some attractive furniture covers that are easy to peel off and wash when needed.