Personality traits are just as unique to dogs as they are to humans. Every dog is an individual. Although behavior issues in dogs are as specific to the individual as they are in humans, one of the most common issues dealt with by pet owners is their dog getting on the couch. Like humans, dogs appreciate the comfort of a soft place to lie down. Unlike most humans, dogs have no concept of being dirty, smelly, or wet when it comes to home furnishings. They are also blissfully unaware of the effect their nails and hair can have on delicate surfaces. As you seek to find the balance between keeping your pet happy and also preserving your furniture, there are three intelligent strategies that you can use to keep your dog off the couch.
Make the Couch Seem Less Inviting
Dogs like couches for the same reason as humans: they are comfortable. One thoughtful way to make your couch less appealing to a dog is to make it much less comfortable. One cheap and clever way to do this is by purchasing several feet of plastic carpet runner from your local home supply store. Cut it to the length of your couch, place the smooth side down against the seat cushions so that the carpet spikes are facing up and tuck the ends neatly into the sides. Doing this before you leave the house will make the couch uncomfortable to your dog without risking injury or trauma. If your dog likes to get on the couch whenever you do, place a section of the carpet runner on the empty seats beside you.
Give the Dog a Better Place to Go
It’s usually not enough to simply tell your dog where not to be; you also need to give them a special place that they are encouraged to go and enjoy. Dogs are companions by nature. They want to lie down, be comfortable, and be near their owners. Half of the reason dogs get on the couch is because that is where their owner sits. Putting a dog bed or blanket on the floor near your couch is a great way to help your dog stay true its purest instincts without compromising the health of your furniture. If possible, place the dog’s bed close enough to where you usually sit that you can deliver treats, praise, and other positive reinforcement without getting up. Dogs seek to please, so it’s critical that you reward them for pleasant behavior.
Establish Rules, Routines, and Boundaries
While it’s true that dogs have very little concept of time, it can hardly be said that they have no need for routine. On the contrary, dogs thrive on knowing what to expect. Your dog wants to know where you’re going and what’s next practically every single time that you stand up because they long to go there with you. When your dog gets on the couch, it’s not trying to do the wrong thing, it just doesn’t understand. It is never necessary to hit or shove your dog when it gets on the couch, a gentle push or other loving correction is completely sufficient.
One last tip that is of critical importance in keeping your dog off the couch is making sure that every person who sits there enforces the same rules that you do. If the dog is not allowed to get on the couch with its owner but is allowed to get up there by other people, it will confuse them tremendously. Although it is not completely necessary for the dog to be taught to stay off all couches ever, having the dog stay off couches at your friends and families’ homes will help certainly reinforce the behavior you’re trying to encourage. When it comes to achieving successful results in the home that the dog lives in, training the other humans that reside and visit there is just as important as training the animal. Instruct everyone that sits on your couch to enforce the same rules about it that you do.
As companions, dogs are willing to play virtually any game, so long as they understand the rules. You want to be happy, your dog wants to be happy, and your dog wants you to be happy. Therefore, all that remains is for you to make it clear to your dog where his place is. Regardless of how it may seem, your dog also loves you even more than it loves your couch. Dogs all have a strong desire to please. By making the couch less comfortable, giving them a place that they can call their own, and establishing rules that are gently but consistently enforced, you can help your dog learn to respect both you and your property.