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25 November 2019


How to Keep Dogs off the Couch: Tips to Keep Your Furniture Dog-free

Expert tips to keep your dog off your couch.

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Dog owners are divided about whether or not to allow their pets on the furniture. If you are a new pet parent and have decided the couch is a dog-free zone in your home, you may be wondering how to keep your new pet off your good sofa.

If you have had a dog for a while and he needs to stay off the couch for another reason like being in heat, recovering from surgery or an injury that requires them not to jump up onto the couch you may also need to retrain your pet to stay off the furniture.

Why do dogs even go on the couch in the first place?

Same reason you do, it’s comfortable and their favorite people are there. Your dog may want to be on the couch to spend time with you.

If you don’t want your pet on the couch there are other ways to accomplish this. You can have bonding time on the floor or their bed for example.

Your pet may also decide the couch is the coziest place in the house to snooze the afternoon away when you are not home. That could be fine, but what happens if your pup decides to use the pillows as chew toys or scratches at the delicate fabric? If you want to prevent any damage, it might be best to keep the pup off that couch or have one couch in your home that is specifically to be shared with or used by your pup.

Four tips to keep your couch dog-free

  1. Provide them with their own bed and show them how to use it.
  2. If you and your family are sitting on the couch and you don’t want the dog to join you, one thing you can do is teach the command go to your bed or go to your place. Having a comfy spot near the couch will help your pet feel close to you without having to actually be on the furniture.

  3. Do not ever let your dog on the couch under any circumstances.
  4. Dogs don’t generalize well so if your pet is allowed on the couch with dad to watch Sunday football but mom says no, that can be confusing for your pet and hard to reinforce. If the dog isn’t allowed on the couch the dog can’t ever be on the couch. Be sure that everyone living in your home enforces the no couch rule and if you have houseguests or a pet sitter they have to be in on the ‘game’ as well.

    Another thing that can be confusing for your pet is a home with multiple couches. If you let your dog on the family room couch but not the formal living room that can be confusing. If you want to do this, the best bet is to keep the pet out of the formal living room so he is not tempted to test out that couch.

  5. Don’t let your pet near the couch when you are not home.
  6. This means crate training your pet or gaiting off the area where the couch is so your pet can’t hop up for a nap while you aren’t at home to redirect them to a more appropriate place.

  7. Reward your dog for staying off the couch.
  8. If your best friend cooperates and keeps the couch fur-free – be sure to reward generously for good behavior. This can be in the form of a favorite toy or bone on his bed, treats for listening or just some playtime with you!

    What to do if your dog won’t stay off the couch

    Be consistent

    Ensure you are not sending mixed messages to your pet about what you expect. If your pet gets on the couch tell them off and take them to their bed or place. You can give them a bone or toy on their bed or place to play with.

    Try a physical barrier

    There are several products designed to keep your pet off the furniture. These include:

    • X-mat Pet Training Mat: this can be placed on the couch. It contains small, pointy nubs that deter your pet from spending time on your furniture. It comes in a few sizes depending on the size of your couch or other furniture.
    • A baby gate — you can use this barrier to keep your pet out of the space where your couch is.
    • Couch Defenders: These products create a physical barrier so that your pets can’t get on the couch in the first place. They come in neutral colors like brown and beige and they can easily be folded and stored when you have company and want to use your couch. These products work best in rooms that have couches that aren’t used frequently including guest rooms and living rooms that are primarily used for entertaining.
    • Furniture Pads: these make a crinkling sound that deters your pet from jumping on the couch. They’re more popular in homes with cats but can work for pups as well.
    • You’ll want to avoid products that cause your pet pain or scare them when they go near the couch. These products could make your pet scared of the couch (or you) and they do not teach your pet what you do want them to do! These include:

    • A can of pennies that you’d shake at your dog when he gets on the couch. This can cause an adverse reaction or scare your pet.
    • PetSafe Scat Mat: this mat uses static electricity like shocks to keep your pet off the sofa. While not painful it can be uncomfortable for your best friend. This mat does not help your pet learn what to do. It only provides a ‘correction’ for doing the wrong thing.
    • Sofa Scram Sonic Dog & Cat Repellent Mat: When your pet steps on this mat it emits a 95-decibel beep that is irritating. This can cause your pet to avoid the couch and area around it – but not for the right reasons.

    Bring in some professional help

    If your pet is becoming territorial over your couch or is finding ways to sneak onto the couch, don’t panic. While you might make the choice to share your couch with your best friend you don’t want your dog to think he owns the couch. If your pet growls or snaps when someone tries to sit on ‘his’ couch or your pet won’t move over to make room for your partner you may have an issue. Contact a knowledgeable dog trainer or behaviorist who can help you work through the challenge.

    They may give you some training exercises to do with your dog to help reinforce the behavior you want (staying off or away from the couch). Look for trainers who use positive reinforcement and humane training methods to help your pet feel physically and psychologically safe.

    Should I consider letting my dog on the Couch?

    This is a totally personal decision that you need to make for yourself. While some owners can’t imagine not allowing their dogs to share the couch other people want their pups to sleep in their own beds. If you have an antique couch in the living room no one goes in, you may also want to keep the dog from making that his nap spot, BUT if the whole family is cramming on the living room couch to watch Disney+ it might be okay for you to let your pup join in there. Just know that once you’ve allowed the dog on a piece of furniture, it’s much harder to say no in the future!

    The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.

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