Has your pooch started hanging out on the couch way too much? Do you often come home to find your dog lounging on your couch or armchair? If yes, and you aren’t happy about it, you have to get the message across pronto, but without hurting your furry friend in any way.
Did you think your dog is the only pet who loves lounging on your couch? You guessed right. Studies claim that over 80% dogs love the couch, especially when their favorite human is sitting on it!
Having a dog is like having a child―what’s yours is his, and you don’t mind sharing whatever it is happily. Sometimes, though, you don’t want to share EVERY single thing with your dog. Take for instance, your couch. Many pet-owners have complained that their dogs take up residence on their big, comfortable couch, and end up covering it with dog hair more often than not. Not only is this hair difficult to clean, but it also smells, a lot. Now to be fair, this isn’t your dog’s fault. Dogs do come with that furry smell, and they can’t help it if their fur sheds, can they? For those who don’t mind their dogs sharing their furniture with them, this isn’t a problem. But for those who do, it’s best to adopt simple, cost-effective techniques that won’t hurt your dog in any way, and will also do the trick of keeping him off the furniture.
Before we jump to these ideas, let us first stop to think about why your dog seems to love the couch so much in the first place. Many people claim that they do it to show their dominance in the house. Whoa, back up! Your adorable blob of fur (or less fur) isn’t trying to prove anything to you. Instead, it’s highly possible that the soft couch is way more comfortable than the floor, and in the case of cold areas, the couch is simply warmer than the cold, hard flooring. If you haven’t objected to it before this, your dog has assumed that it is okay with you, and made a habit out of it. If you’re the one who invited him up on the couch for a cuddle (sigh!), well, who can blame him? The point is, your dog prefers the couch only because it is more comfortable than the area where he’s supposed to be sitting/sleeping. Now that you know what the reason for this problem is, you can take care of it straightaway. Read on!
Effective Ideas To Keep Your Dog Off The Couch
Train your dog right from the puppy stage, it will take less time to adopt a long-term habit. We know this may not be your situation right now, and your dog may not be a puppy anymore, but you can still train him to stay off the couch or the armchair, whatever you want, though it’ll take you a little longer. Don’t hit or yell at your dog―no negative reinforcement. Instead, be stern and command your dog by saying “Off!” or “Down!”. Once he gets down, command him to stay there. With a little practice, your dog will start to keep away from the couch altogether.
Treats are a great way of positive reinforcement for your dog. Whenever your dog gets on the couch, casually get his attention, and toss his favorite treat on the carpet/floor. He will gradually begin to associate the treat with staying on the floor, and will stop climbing onto the couch. However, you have to be very careful when adopting this technique. Don’t make the treats a habit. Instead, replace them with gentle pats, or praise, every now and then. Thus, your dog will begin to associate your approval with his behavior, and will continue to please you in this way.
If you associate aluminum foil with just food, you’re in for a nice surprise. Aluminum foil is a great, and possibly even the best method to keep your dog off the couch. Cover your couch evenly with aluminum foil, and remember to use nice, long sheets, not just a few thin strips. Leave your couch that way, and then remain inconspicuous in the background to watch what happens. Your dog will stroll over to the couch, thinking of cloud number nine, and jump up and land on the aluminum foil instead, which will make a constant, weird, crinkly noise for the entire time that he is up there. The noise will freak your dog out without hurting him, and he’ll remember to stay away from the couch after that! This method works well with cats, too.
Another good and effective method to ensure that your pet keeps off the couch even when you’re not at home, is to buy a simple chair mat, the kind that is used in an office on low-pile carpets. Cut the chair mat to the size you require, and then keep it on the couch upside-down, meaning, the pointy side should be up. Your dog won’t like the pointy plastic to sit on, and after a few poking experiences, will leave the couch well alone. Don’t worry, the plastic won’t hurt him, just make him very uncomfortable!
We’re all mature adults, until someone brings out bubble wrap. Sounds familiar to you? I’m sure people of all ages love bursting bubble wrap. That little ‘pop!’ gives you so much satisfaction! But it will rather annoy your dog. So the idea here is to spread bubble wrap on your couch and let it stay (remember, the bubble wrap needs to be unused!). Your dog will hear a series of ‘pops’ when he climbs up on the couch, and won’t appreciate it the way you do. Do this a few times to make him associate the ‘pops’ with the couch, and he’ll stay away. Don’t end up bursting all the bubble wrap yourself!
Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with laundry! Just put your laundry baskets on the couch so as to leave no sitting place for your dog. It may take some time, but ultimately, your dog will be used to having no sitting place on the couch and will just look for someplace else for his siesta. Don’t leave fresh or dirty clothes in the basket, though, you’ll just end up giving your dog something else to play with! Also, if you think your dog might end up sleeping in the basket, turn it upside-down when putting it on the couch.
Crating the dog
Many pet owners prefer crating their dog before they leave the house so as to keep the couch dog-free. Some people may approve of this, while others won’t. It really depends upon individual perspective, and individual situations! The idea is to shut the dog in one room or in his kennel or crate before leaving the house so that he doesn’t lounge on the furniture instead.
This method is ideal if you want your dog to keep away from any other piece of furniture apart from the couch. Coat the area with Tabasco sauce so that the intense smell disturbs your dog when he tries to go near that piece of furniture. However, you must be sure that your dog is not curious enough to lick the coated furniture to see what the fuss is all about! Tabasco sauce has a strong smell which will help keep dogs, and even cats, away from furniture. Please carefully assess your furniture before you decide to use this method, as the sauce may spoil it.
Turn up the cushions
If you can remember to do this, it is a good method of ensuring that your pet stays off the couch. You can turn up the cushions so it no longer stays soft and comfortable. Your dog will dislike the hard, brittle surface of the couch and will stop hanging out there. Like Chandler Bing from F.R.I.E.N.D.S says, “The cushions are the essence of the couch!” Without the ‘essence’, your dog will quickly lose interest.
This can be a tricky method, but if used correctly, can be very effective. Take a few plastic bottles and fill them with small stones or pennies, or something similar that will make a noise. Put these bottles on the couch in a way that your pet will end up dropping them to the floor, which will then make a noise that will scare your dog away from the couch. You can also try putting these bottles in laundry baskets (or any other basket) to make a louder noise.
Spraying essences on the couch will also help in keeping your dog away, as dogs do not appreciate these smells at all. However, the trick is finding the perfect smell that your dog will just want to stay away from. You can make your own sprays using essential oils and water at home, or you can buy a non-chemical spray from the pet store. Once you spray this on the couch, your dog will keep away to avoid the smell, and eventually get used to keeping away from the couch.
A home-remedy, albeit a smelly one! Vinegar too has a strong smell which your dog is bound to dislike. Soak some cotton balls in vinegar and put them on the couch. Your dog (and perhaps, even some other members of your household!) will avoid the couch because of the smell. Incidentally, vinegar will help cover the dog-smell on the couch, too. Great, isn’t it?
We would recommend using these only after having checked their facts thoroughly. There are various products available in the market, and are also known as ‘pet-repellents’. These products range from training mats to traps, and they are designed to make a little noise every time the dog approaches the couch. If the noise isn’t enough to deter the dog, some products are also designed to give a light shock to the pet which apparently won’t harm him, but will startle him instead. Again, we repeat, please get all the facts about these products checked thoroughly before you decide to use them. Most are safe, and very popular, but it’s just best to be safe than sorry, right?
Provide your dog with a comfortable bed
Is your dog’s bed comfortable enough for him to sleep on? The reason your dog loves the couch may be that his own bed is not comfortable enough. Ensure that his bedding is soft and warm, and big enough for him to lie comfortably. If you want, you can also assign another place for him in the house, apart from his bed, where he can relax whenever he wants.
Remember, don’t ever lose your temper with the dog if any method is taking more time than you imagined. Don’t yell, or raise your voice, and most of all, don’t abuse him in any way. After all, you don’t want your dog to be scared of you, do you? We hope the methods we suggested help you keep your dog off the couch!