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Want to keep your dog off the couch? Here’s everything you need to know

Updated by Sheryl on Nov 22, 2021

Is your dog sleeping on the couch when you're not around? Or, does he completely ignore you if you try to reclaim your favorite spot on the sofa? Some pet owners let their dogs sleep with them on the couch, while others do not. First, understand that it's not cruel if you have decided to keep your dogs off the couch. And no matter what the signs are, here are some tips on how to keep dogs off the couch.

bored dog
  • Why do dogs like to jump on the furniture
  • Should dogs be allowed to jump on the couch
  • How to keep dogs off couch and other furniture
  • Keep dog off couch when not home
  • FAQs

Dogs love places where they feel comfortable and safe. They will jump on every piece of furniture that feels nice and soft such as the couch or bed.

Dogs also consider you as their pack. So, when you get on the couch, he jumps up to be close to you. They love the feeling of the couch and think it's rewarding to sit beside you.

In general, there's no harm in letting your dog jump and curl up on the couch. It is unlikely to cause any physical or behavioral problems. But, if you own a smaller breed or have dogs with back injury or arthritis, they can hurt themselves by jumping from greater heights.

You should also consider keeping your dog off the couch if he shows possessive aggression or resource guarding. It's a negative behavior in which dogs become protective of toys, a spot over the couch or bed, and aggressive behavior like growling, lunging, and biting. Removing them from the couch will help you deal with this behavior and work on their training.

bored dog

Whether it's for your dog's own good or you don't want your expensive couch to get all furry and smelly, here are a few tips on how to keep dogs off furniture:

Start early

If you want your dog to stay away from your furniture, it's best to start the training when he's still a little puppy. The best way to avoid the situation is never to allow it in the first place. Don't let any of the family members bring the puppy on the couch. By doing so, they may never think of jumping up, even when they get bigger.

Make a rule to pet the puppy on the floor, rather than cuddling with him on the couch or bed. Because, once he gets bigger and starts lying on the couch, it will be a lot difficult to break the habit.

Consistency is the key

Consistency is the key if you want to stop dog from jumping on couch. If you allow a dog to cuddle up beside you sometimes and stop them other times, you only make the dog confused. Stick to the rule that no one will bring the puppy up onto the couch, not even your family members, friends and the visitors. It will be easier for the dog to remember the house rules if everyone sticks to it.

Get your pet his own bed to relax

Your dog gets on the couch because he loves the comfort and wants to stay close to you. Get your dog his own bed to relax. Place it near your couch so he can relax beside you. Use the dog's bed as an alternative to your couch.

Watch how your dog sleeps and get a couch that supports his sleeping style. If he loves to curl up, get him a donut-shaped bed. If he likes to spread his legs, get him a soft flat cushion bed.

Use rewards for motivations

The best way to teach your dog to use his own bed is to place a dog treat on his bed. Feed him several times throughout the day in the initial stage to use it as positive reinforcement.

With time your dog will grow a habit of going to his own bed. If you Keeble feed your dog, you can give a portion of this meal as treats.
You may also feed him small treats if you notice him relaxing on his own bed. You can also place his favorite toys on the bed.

Teach cues to "get off" and "go to bed"

If you can make your dog respond to the cues, he will never attempt to sit on the couch again. Here are some tips on how to train your dog stay off couch:

Whenever your dog gets on the couch or puts her paws on it, say "off", then pair it with a reward. Offer her a treat as soon as she gets her paws off the couch or jumps off the furniture.

Similarly, teach your dog to go to his bed by pairing it with a reward such as her favorite treat or toy. Say "go to bed" as you see her trying to get on the couch. Then reward her with the treat as soon as she moves to her bed.

Eventually, your dog will learn to follow your commands because they will know they are getting treats for it.

feed dg treat

Some dogs will jump on the couch if you leave them unsupervised. In this case, you need to manage this behavior while you continue working on their training. Here's how to keep dog off couch when not home:

  • Block his access to the furniture:
  • The best way to prevent your dog from getting on the furniture is to block his access. You can install baby gates or pet gates to discourage them from getting on the couch.

  • Place things on the couch:
  • You can also consider placing things that make it impossible for the dog to get on the couch. For example, you can put laundry baskets on the couch when you're not using it, put chairs or stack the cushions vertically. This way, even if your dog manages to get on the couch, she will have a comfortable space to sit and will jump off.

puppy on his sofa

No matter what, don't punish your dog. Harsh punishment will make things worse. Punishing your dog will only add up to the stress that's making her fearful or aggressive. Try not to yell and intimidate the dog; instead, use treats and lots of praise even when she takes small steps.

Some people recommend using scat mats that vibrate to make pets uncomfortable, or placing car mats upside down, or using a loud, sharp noise to prevent the dog from getting on the couch. But I do not recommend you to apply those tips to your dog. Some dogs have adverse effects on this training method, such as growing generalized fear from mats and things that look like mats (bed, blanket) or any loud noise.

If your dog shows aggressive behavior, bites or barks or things go out of hand, seek help from a professional animal behaviorist.

Can I use dog repellents to keep my dog off the couch?
Citrus scents and vinegar are two natural dog repellents that can help keep a dog off the couch. You can either make a dog repellent at home by mixing ½ cup vinegar with ½ cup of water. Or buy dog repellants from pet stores. Make sure you don't overuse it as your dog may dislike this flavor and become less intimate with you if you use them too much.
How to remove dog odor from your couch?
Baking soda is a simple but effective solution to get rid of the dog smell from your couch. Sprinkle some baking soda over the couch. Leave it overnight. Then use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking powder.
Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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