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No More Couch Potato Dogs: Tips For Keeping Dogs Off The Furniture

At A Glance

Dogs love cozying up on the couch for a number of reasons, including asserting dominance, seeking reward, or simply wanting to be closer to their humans. Learn how to keep a dog off the couch with training and consistency.

  • A comfortable dog bed can help your dog feel safe and loved, especially when they’re not on the couch.
  • Use positive reinforcement to train your dog to keep away from the couch.
  • Make your couch less appealing to your pup by using deterrents such as training sprays and bubble wrap.

Have you decided that your couch is a dog-free zone? Has communicating this to your pet felt like a losing battle? We know the struggle.

Many pet owners love snuggling with their furry friends on their couches. People.com reports that 75% of dog owners share their beds and couches with their pups.

Let’s admit it – it’s not easy to say no to your dog, especially when they look at you with those large, watery puppy dog eyes. Or when we find them asleep on the couch in such cute positions. Or when they try so hard to blend in with the furniture.

The good news is dogs can be great housemates – you just need a little patience to help them understand the house rules.

Whether you want your pet to stay off furniture for hygiene reasons or health concerns, there are ways to manage your dog’s behavior and learn how to keep dog off couch for good.

Should Dogs Be Allowed On Couch?

It depends.

Some owners prefer to give their dogs designated spots in the house where they can lounge comfortably, such as a dog bed or blanket.

Other pet parents may be okay with allowing their dogs on the couch or bed as long as they are well-behaved and do not damage the upholstery.
Another option is to train your dog to come up to the couch only when invited. It will also ensure that if you leave your dog alone at home, it will not jump on the furniture while you’re away.

It all comes down to personal preferences for how you want your dog to behave. The key here is to establish boundaries and maintain consistency with training.

That said, keeping your dog off the furniture, especially during the early days of house training, is generally recommended. To ensure that your house stays clean and your furniture remains in good condition, it’s also important to have your dog regularly groomed and checked for fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

 

Why Do Dogs Get On the Couch?

Understanding why dogs have the instinct to jump on furniture can help train them to stay off.

In the wild, animals often search for high ground to ensure their protection and safety. Jumping on the couch may help your dog feel secure and in control. You might notice your dog jumping on the couch during playtime with another dog or when they’re on high alert and trying to assess their surroundings.

Quora user Henri Kainama shares that our scent may also have something to do with it. “Beds and other furniture have high centralizations of human smell, which is wanted by canines with close bonds to their proprietors. Dogs additionally appreciate being higher up in light of the fact that it empowers them to see what’s happening around them (like different dogs passing by outside) and to move away from upheaval on the floor,” she says.

Dogs may also jump on furniture to claim ownership and mark their territory with their scent.

But more often, the reason could just be that your couch is just very comfortable and offers a cozy spot for your pup to nap.

“The couch is where owners spend their time, and dogs often want to spend time closer to them.  Additionally, if your dog is not given a comfortable spot to lay down on and be rewarded for it, the obvious choice would be the couch,” shares Dr. Melissa Bain, Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior.

Additionally, some dogs may see lounging on furniture as a type of reward and use it to seek attention from their owners. Dogs also seek out places where they feel safe, loved, and comfortable; more often than not, this place is wherever their owners are.
As you can tell, dogs jump up on furniture for many reasons.

However, this behavior can be trained and modified. Observing your dog may also help you better understand why it is jumping on the furniture and how to redirect its behavior.

Dog sitting on couch

5 Ways To Keep Dog Off The Couch

If you want to train your dog to stay off the furniture, here are some tried-and-tested methods for how to keep dog off couch.

Be Consistent

Consistency and patience are key to training your dog to stay off the furniture. Set boundaries and expectations for your pup, and be sure that all people living in the household are on board.

It can be confusing for a dog if some people allow it on the furniture while others do not. So, it’s crucial to maintain consistency with what is allowed and what isn’t in the house.

Provide A Bed Of Their Own

One easy way to prevent your dog from jumping onto furniture is by investing in a comfortable dog bed like those on our list of Top 10 Dog Beds: Buying Guide.

Providing your dog with its very own cozy space will give it a designated spot in the house and encourage it to stay off the furniture.

Obedience Training

Teach your dog obedience cues or commands such as “off” and “go to your bed” can help redirect it from jumping on furniture.

Practice these commands regularly and provide positive reinforcement when they follow commands correctly.

Avoid Aversives

Be calm and assertive while training. Any aggression can do more harm than good to your pup.

Avoid using aversives like yelling, hitting, or spraying them with water to correct your dog’s behavior; instead, consistently redirect it to its own bed or designated resting spot.

Praise Your Pup’s Good Behavior

Positive reinforcement is an effective training technique for modifying your dog’s behavior and teaching boundaries. When your dog stays off the furniture, you can praise or reward it with treats or toys.

“Every time it tries to get on the couch, gently tell it ‘no couch’ and redirect its attention. When it gets off the couch, give it some time, and then praise it and give it treats for not being on the couch. Don’t give it treats as it gets off the couch, because it will associate leaving the couch with the treats.” — Jennifer Ellis, Consultant and Attorney in PA, USA.

This training method will reinforce that staying off the furniture is a desired behavior and can act as an incentive to continue this behavior.

How To Make Your Furniture Less Desirable

A method that can make your dog training more effective is to make your furniture unappealing to your pup. Deterrents like furniture covers or sprays will prevent your dog from jumping on the couch or other furniture.

Keep in mind that these should only be used as temporary solutions while consistently training and reinforcing boundaries with your dog.

Block Access To The Furniture

Physical barriers such as pet couch defenders or baby grates will restrict your dog’s access to the couch. You can even use sprays with specific scents that dogs tend to dislike (citrus, mint, vinegar). These can serve as temporary solutions until your dog is trained to stay off the furniture.

Crate training is another way to keep your dog away from your furniture. These techniques may take some time, but with consistency and positive reinforcement, they will eventually learn the boundaries you set for them.

Place Bubble Wrap on the Couch

Dogs often love plonking themselves on your couch because of how comfortable it is. So, you can make it less comfortable by temporarily covering your furniture with bubble wrap or tin foil. So, how to keep a dog off the couch with aluminum foil or tin foil? The uneasy texture and unpleasant sensations of the foil will deter your dog from jumping on it.

Be sure to monitor how your dog reacts, as some pups may try chewing or playing with the bubble wrap or foil.

Some pet parents also find that placing pots, pans, and empty soda cans on the couch can create a loud and unpleasant noise if your dog attempts to jump on the furniture. As always, use caution and supervise your pet while trying these deterrents.

Avoid Leaving Food Near the Couch

Leaving any food or treats on or near the couch is an invitation to your pup for a feast. It can accidentally reinforce that it is okay for your dog to be on the furniture when food is around.

Keep a designated area for feeding and snacking to prevent this from happening. If your dog likes bringing up a treat or piece of food to enjoy on the couch, redirect it to its own bed or lunch spot and reward it with a treat there instead.

Dog on couch

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Dog Love My Couch?

Dogs may enjoy the comfortable and cozy feeling of a couch, or they may have learned that being on furniture gets them attention or rewards. Your dog may also be following an instinct to be on elevated ground to ensure its safety and a better view of the surroundings.

How To Keep My Dog Off The Couch When I’m Not Home?

Consistently redirecting and reinforcing boundaries with your dog, using deterrents or physical barriers, and avoiding leaving food near the furniture can all help prevent your dog from jumping on the couch when you are not home.

Additionally, providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation for your dog while you are away can also keep it occupied and less likely to jump on furniture.

What Can I Put On My Couch To Keep My Dog Off?

Furniture covers or sprays, physical barriers like couch defenders or training mats, bubble wrap or tin foil, and even noise deterrents like pots and pans are all great options for deterring your dog from jumping on the furniture.

Why Shouldn’t You Let Your Dog On The Couch?

Aside from personal preference, there are a few reasons why you may not want to let your dog on the furniture. Your upholstery can easily get covered in pet hair and dander, and allowing your dog on the couch can also reinforce undesired behaviors like jumping or scratching, which will ruin your furniture.

Does Tin Foil Keep Dogs Off The Couch?

Some dogs may be deterred by the texture and sensation of tin foil on furniture, but this is not a guaranteed solution, as some pups may try to chew or play with it. Monitor your dog’s reaction and use caution when trying out any deterrents.

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Paul Andrews
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-andrews-172490189/

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.