Your furniture is very attractive to your dog, especially when you are sitting on it. They will want to jump up there and cuddle up with you, but dogs make a lot of mess and if you want to keep your furniture in good condition, you may not want them climbing up there.
Training your dog properly when they are a puppy is important if you want to keep them off the furniture. If you don’t set those clear boundaries from a young age, your dog will assume that it’s ok to get up on the furniture and it will be very difficult to convince them otherwise. These are some of the best ways to train your dog to stay off the couch.
Teaching Them The ‘Off’ Command
Using the command off is one of the best ways to keep dogs off the furniture. When teaching your dog new commands, it’s always best to use positive reinforcement. Dogs soon learn how to act when they are rewarded for behaving in the right way.
When your dog attempts to climb up on the furniture, give them the command ‘off,’ and use a treat to lure them back onto the ground. Once all of their paws are firmly on the ground and they have lost interest in the furniture, click your fingers or mark the good behavior with a "yes" and give them the treat. Making your dog work for the treat shows them that climbing off the furniture is a good behavior. You should repeat this process the next three or four times they make the attempt to get up on the furniture or until they clearly understand the desired behavior is to stay off.
Hopefully, by this point, your dog will recognize and listen to the command. Next time they try to climb on the furniture, use the command without luring them directly with the treat. If they respond and jump down, click and give them a treat. If they don’t, you will need to go back to step one and repeat it another five times or so before trying again.
Eventually, your dog will start responding to the positive reinforcement and will follow the command without any treats. At this point, you need to cement their behavior. Repeat the whole process on different items of furniture so the dog generalizes the behavior and understands the command in different contexts by adding one new piece of furniture at a time.
It’s also a good idea to get other people to practice the command with your dog and test it out in as many different situations as possible. Using the off command is one of the most effective ways to train your dog to stay off the furniture. It is also important that you do not confuse your dog by saying "down" if you use that command for them to lie down. Ensure everyone in the house uses the same word for the same expectation.
Using The Sit Command
Teaching a dog to sit is another simple way to stop them from climbing on the furniture. When they are sitting, you have more control over their movement and you establish clear boundaries for them. In most cases, it is the first command that people teach their dog and it will help later on when using the off command and trying to manage other difficult behaviors.
This is a relatively simple command to teach. Start with your dog in a standing position and show them a treat. Then move the treat over their head in an arc, slowly enough for them to follow. As they follow it, they will naturally sit down and when this happens, you need to praise them and give them the treat immediately. The positive reinforcement will encourage the dog to sit as you keep practicing this movement with them. Eventually, they will start sitting for longer periods.
Now, you can add the command word as they start moving to sit down. Make sure that you don’t give the command to early or late because they will associate it with the wrong movement. With regular practice, your dog should pick up the command fairly easily.
Once you train a dog to sit, you can use the command if they are in an energetic mood and they keep jumping up on the furniture. Using the off command in conjunction with sit will help you to set clear boundaries for your dog so they know that they are not allowed to jump on the furniture.
Consistency is essential if you want to enforce certain rules for your dog. If you train them to stay off the furniture but other family members allow them to climb all over it, the dog will not understand what their boundaries are. Without consistency, your training efforts are undermined and the dog will continue to climb on the furniture because it thinks that it is allowed.
To avoid this, involve the whole family in the training process and make it clear to everybody that the dog shouldn’t be allowed on the furniture at all. As long as you are consistent from the beginning, your dog will understand the boundary.
Create A Comfy Bed Area
Your dog might be so interested in the furniture because they don’t have a comfy bed of their own. If you improve their bed area, you should find that they take less of an interest in the couch. Instead of a simple flat bed, get a donut shaped one that gives your dog something to lean up against for more comfort. Place the bed in an area that is close to you because your dog may also jump on the furniture because they want to be near you. If you encourage your dog to spend more time in their own bed from a young age, you will have less trouble keeping them off the furniture. Behaviors are more easily taught from the start then breaking an undesired behavior.
Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking that jumping on the furniture is just something that dogs do. So, they either give in and allow the dog to sit on the furniture whenever they like, or they simply push the dog off each time it jumps up.
But it is absolutely possible to train your dog to stay off the furniture. Making your dog work for treats and then using positive reinforcement is the best way to teach them commands to keep them off the furniture. Our online puppy training courses can help you get these commands right when your dog is young and set boundaries so they don’t climb on the furniture.