Who doesn’t love snuggling up with their fluffy little puppy while they watch their favorite dramas or reality shows? Dogs make great companions for watching endless television, or even when you’re reading a good book or just relaxing. It’s just later when your dog is so accustomed to sitting on the couch that they’re always there and refuse to let you have the best spot when you see that there may be a problem. Along with that, there is also the problem of dog hair all over your couch, and as a result, all over your clothes. New black sweater? More like new black and white sweater now! Let’s discuss why your dog adopts this behavior, and what you can do to make it better.
Why Does Your Pup Sit On the Couch?
The answer to this is fairly easy. Your couch is extremely comfortable! It’s soft, it warms up easily and it’s the perfect place to be near the owner! Apart from that, your pups see you sitting on the couch all the time, so to them it seems like it should be okay if they do the same. The thing is, dogs, initially think that they’re the leaders, not you. So if you’re sitting on the couch, why shouldn’t they? To dogs, their humans are part of the pack, and they will follow the same pattern as their owners. Apart from that, as we mentioned before, your puppy is really comfortable on your soft, fluffy couch!
One of the easiest, most popular and effective ways of training your dog not to sit on the couch is through positive reinforcement. A treat, a toy, encouragement, anything that makes your puppy feel good about itself and as if it is doing the right thing means that your dog will repeat that behavior. If your puppy has just begun to sit on the couch, you can teach him the command “down”, by holding a treat on the floor away from the couch and luring the dog towards it. Remember to say the verbal command! Soon your dog will realize that he isn’t supposed to sit on the couch. This trick also works for dogs that have begun to make sitting on the couch a habit.
If your dog is already sitting on the couch and has become a permanent fixture, animal hair and all, and refuses to be lured by a treat or a toy, you may need to do some aversive action. Remember to not do anything that could physically harm or injure or emotionally traumatize your dog. Dogs are really sensitive creatures. The nature of the aversive action you take depends upon your dogs’ nature. For dogs that hate water, you can use the command no, with a light spray to the dog’s face, and say “bad dog, down” in a disapproving tone. Another thing you can do is to make noise near your dog when he is on the couch. These actions are essentially harmless but they convey to your dog that his behavior isn’t good.
There are some other alternate ways to keep your dog away from your couch, especially when you’re not at home. When your dog knows that you aren’t there, he will run around the house and not comply with any rules! One easy way to remind your dog that the couch is still off-limits is to use a child gate around the couch when you’re not home. If your dog can’t access it, he will remember that he isn’t supposed to access it anyway. This simple trick can save you a load of retraining to change the bad behavior that occurs when you’re not around.
Using Treats to Get Your Dog off the Couch
This is an easy, simple yet very effective way to keep your dog off the couch! Whenever you see your dog near the couch, pick up a few of his favorite treats and lay them on the ground at a distance from the couch. When your dog comes over to get the treats, praise him and encourage him and tap him, so that he knows he did something right. Make sure you give him treats everywhere but the couch, so he knows that being on the couch doesn’t get him treats.
However, do not always give him treats when he is on the couch and sometimes use toys to lure him. If he starts getting treats every time you are trying to get him off the couch, he may start sitting on the couch so that he may be offered a treat!
His Own Personal Space
Another great solution is to give your dog a nice comfortable bed of his own. You can keep the dog’s bed in the same room you spend most of your time in so that your dog isn’t alone, but he should know that he is supposed to stay on his bed and not your couch. You can put the dog toys and other things in his bed so that he knows that this space belongs to him.
Don’t Let Your Dog Sit in Your Lap On The Couch Either!
One thing to remember always is that when you’re training your dog to stay off the couch, you should never let him sit in your lap while you’re sitting on the couch. This will only send mixed signals to your dog and confuse him about what is right and what is wrong. Instead, drag his cushion to where your feet are, if you must cuddle, and let him sit by your feet while you sit on the couch. This way he is within petting distance but at the same time he knows who the boss is.
Using these simple and effective techniques, you can train your dog to stay off the couch and off of all other furniture as well. It will help your dog learn excellent self-control and be better behaved in the long run as well!