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,what can you do?
Why do dogs like to lay on the couch? Because it’s comfortable! Studies claim that over 80% of dogs love the couch, especially when their favorite human is sitting on it!
Dogs love to be with us and like to sit with us on our furniture. Often times, they like to be on the couch even if we aren’t there. Sometimes, you don’t necessarily want them on the furniture. Maybe you just got a new sofa and want to keep it dog-hair free. Many pet-owners complain that their dogs take up residence on their big, comfortable couch, and end up covering it with dog hair. Not only is the hair difficult to clean, but it also might smell. Now to be fair, this isn’t your dog’s fault. 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 learn what you can do to keep him off the furniture.
Before we go further, 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 fur puppy 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 you want him to be sitting/sleeping.
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, teach your dog the “Off!” cue. “Off” means, put all four feet on the floor. This cue is useful in many areas, including the couch. Practice by using something he can get on. Maybe a step, or maybe you have a piece of furniture he is allowed on. Have him get on it, and point to the floor with a treat in your hand and say, “Off!”. Once he gets down, give him the treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat! With a little practice, your dog will start to keep away from the couch altogether.
Capturing the Behavior of Off
Capturing the behavior when it happens is a great way to work on “Off”. You’ll want to make sure you always have treats in your pocket. You always want to make sure you are using 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. You want to make sure he doesn’t create the pattern of jumping on the couch, getting a treat, and jumping back up to get the treat. You want to make sure you are breaking up the pattern by treating many times once he is on the floor. maybe even do some sits and downs to change the subject.
Crating the dog
Many pet owners prefer crating their dog before they leave the house so as to keep the couch dog-free. If your dog is crate trained and likes the crate, this is an ideal solution.
Eliminating Access to That Room
Either close a door to the room, or put a baby gate up. Eliminate access so they can’t get into the room where the furniture is. This is a surefire way to stop the behavior! Manage, manage, manage!
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.
Put Something On The Couch So He Can’t Get To It
Something not scary, like maybe a laundry basket. 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. Though, often times, your dog might just throw the basket on the ground to get to the comfy spot!
Turn up the cushions
If you can remember to do this, it is possibly a good method to keep your pet off of the couch. You can turn up the cushions so it no longer stays soft and comfortable. Your dog should dislike the hard, surface of the couch and stop hanging out there. But again, it might not work! I’ve seen dogs turn the cushions back down or just lay on the hard part.
Some Things NOT to Do
Here are some techniques that some people may tell you to use. I do not recommend any of these. They will only scare your dog, and you don’t want to train our dogs using aversive techniques like these. They can create unwanted fears or behavior issues that are much worse than keeping them off of the furniture! You always want to make sure you are using positive reinforcement to train your dog. This way, you will always have a loving and trusting relationship.
I’ve heard people recommend putting aluminum foil on the sofa. Don’t do this. It may scare your dog into not wanting to get onto the couch, but it also may scar him for life when he sees you break out the roll of aluminum foil to wrap up your leftovers!
Another scare tactic that people suggest to keep your pet 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 and turn it upside down. The point is that your dog won’t like the pointy plastic to sit on, and after being poked, will leave the couch well alone. Again, it will just scare him.
So don’t use scary things like these above, or cans to shake at him, or spray bottles, or Tabasco, or anything else that can cause fear. All of these might do the trick and keep him off of the couch, but they may also cause some unwanted behavioral issues.
Remember, don’t ever lose your temper with the dog. If any method is taking more time than you imagined, be patient. Don’t yell, or raise your voice, and most of all, don’t intimidate him into staying off of the couch. After all, you don’t want your dog to be scared of you, do you?